On February 7th, Professor Juliet Moringiello
spoke to the Harrisburg faculty about her trip to Beijing, China to present at the Second International Conference on Legal Security and Privacy Issues in IT. The conference, held from December 5th-7th, 2007, featured presenters from all over the world offering their analysis of topics ranging from data protection to social networking. Professor Moringiello presented her paper, “Towards a System of Estates in Virtual Property”, as part of a panel on virtual worlds.
The panel on virtual worlds examined privacy rights in virtual worlds. Professor Moringiello’s paper focused on what legal rights people might develop as part of the virtual worlds created by products like Second Life or MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games) like World of Warcraft. According to Professor Moringiello, “There is a lot of confusion as to whether or not the rights are simply contractual.” While games like World of Warcraft have contracts that grant the rights to everything in the game world to the company, a program like Second Life is a complicated case because no such contract exists, and users are creating items in the virtual world. Professor Moringiello plans on expanding her research into a larger work entitled “What Virtual Property Can Do for Property.” The conference also featured a roundtable examining social networking and associated websites like MySpace and Facebook.
As far as China itself is concerned, Professor Moringiello said, “The first thing that hit me is that this is a country I need to learn more about.” She found it difficult to communicate and noted that very few people seemed to speak English, but said, “It was a terrific experience. It was really interesting to spend the week with all of these academics from other countries. It is a good way to make connections and enhance our international programs.” While in China, Professor Moringiello kept a blog
to share her thoughts with students and faculty.