The metaverse is seen as the most critical evolutionary stage of the internet that will exist in the future. Naturally, we will encounter various legal problems in the future. The legal ramifications are hardly surprising in a world where not everyone is ready for the metaverse.
You can imagine a world similar to our physical world but completely virtual. Wearable devices are used to access this world, an almost complete replica of the physical world. Creating a metaverse is the technical side of the job, but people should not forget the legal dimension.
At the Connect 2021 event, Facebook announced that it would operate under Meta Platforms (Meta for short) in the coming years. Facebook’s move was a little different than Google’s Alphabet. Meta was a little unlike because it included brands like Instagram and Facebook.
In addition to the parent company, Facebook announced that it would be closer to metaverse technology in the future. An initial investment of $10 billion followed. It was no surprise that Facebook was keen on technology like the metaverse. The company was already ready for this.
A department within the company focused on augmented reality (AR) technologies and virtual reality (VR) technologies. This department was called Facebook Reality Labs. In addition, the Oculus company, which produces VR glasses, was acquired in 2014.
Although Meta has taken a significant step forward, he did not invent the Metaverse concept. The term metaverse was first used by author Neal Stephenson in 1992. In the 2000s, there were approaches such as purchasing virtual objects and advertising spaces in the game called Second Life.
Games such as World of Warcraft and Minecraft are cited as examples of metaverses. Minecraft has over 110 million monthly active users. The most crucial model in terms of the metaverse is the game Roblox, it has more than 100 million monthly active members.
The situation that accelerates the metaverse concept is blockchain technology. Blockchain technology has laid the foundation for a new era called Web 3.0. It’s a giant leap forward after the Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 eras because there is a different transfer of value.
Blockchain provides the opportunity to control rights to virtual goods. It does this through assets called tokens. Blockchain is an incredible innovation in terms of internet history. Blockchain-based assets called Decentraland or The Sandbox are prime examples of this innovation.
In addition to the initiatives that have been put forward specifically on the metaverse, various well-established companies are closely interested in the technology. Companies such as Nike and Adidas are the most important examples of this. They reach potential customers by bringing their products to the virtual world.
Metaverse, which is on the radar of big brands, is a development that excites everyone. However, many people do not yet understand precisely what this means. From a legal point of view, it is a big question of what kind of problems await metaverse lawyers in the future.
People who join the metaverse world interact with each other thanks to their internet connections. The metaverse structure varies according to the conditions stipulated by the company providing the virtual world. In general, it is a very realistic replica of the real world.
In Metaverse games, the focus is on completing specific missions, winning certain levels, and gaining an edge over other players. It is directly related to people interacting and collaborating in other planned metaverse worlds.
There are many different possibilities in addition to playing games within the metaverse. It is possible to encounter events such as concerts, exhibitions, conferences, audio chats, video chats, and virtual shopping in shopping stores. The last of these is the most interesting case.
In the following periods, metaverse developments may open the door to great revolutions. Sectors that have been digitized will suffer, but it is not easy for non-digitalized ones to claim the same. Many brands’ opening of virtual stores is an ideal example of this.
In addition to many new opportunities, metaverse will bring various possibilities for using technologies and providing new content. It is important to note that there is not just one metaverse. Even now, there are many different versions.
The created metaverse worlds are constantly updated. There are efforts to have more features, better graphics, new content, and more virtual reality elements. For this reason, there is a huge market for software developers and hardware manufacturers.
Each metaverse consists of different technical components. Hardware requires sufficient storage and computing power. Persons who have control can manage the world from a single data center, or it can be deployed to different centers.
In terms of peripherals, VR glasses, hand gesture control systems, improved gloves to provide a better experience, and virtual world input and output devices are required. From a software perspective, it’s a primary platform that will allow people to sign up.
A high-performance graphics engine is used to display graphics and calculate the laws of physics in the virtual world. There is a need for digital assets that will enable users to shop in the metaverse. However, a secure solution to store assets is required.
It is possible to make only specific predictions regarding the metaverse. Despite this, it is almost like a guarantee that we will encounter various legal problems. Just as the applications in the metaverse are very diverse, a similar situation will be valid for legal processes.
Competition law, copyright law, securities, banking supervision laws, trading of digital assets, tax law, civil law, and criminal law for the metaverse world will occupy a lot of legal processes in the future.
Some legal problems may arise during the construction phase of the metaverse world. When companies turn to create metaverses or try to advertise in the world, they may need legal grounds.
Those who want to create a metaverse may choose to act following legal requirements. It is necessary to establish a legal time base from the very beginning. However, because the project does not have a central office, legal grounds may be rejected.
Suppose you look at it in terms of copyrights. In that case, it is necessary to establish transparent and understandable communication between the buyer and the seller. Owning and proving digital assets is an essential requirement. In the Metaverse world, all this needs to be placed on a legal basis.
Several licensing solutions are explicitly required for crypto assets from a regulatory perspective. Digital assets (tokens, etc.) are qualified as a financial instruments by the German Banking Act (KWG). It may be necessary to consider NFTs as securities.
Whether the securities or related investments are issued with the sale should be checked. Various obligations may be triggered. More legislation will be introduced in the future. Still, for now, it is necessary to act in line with the German Banking Act.
Data protection can apply to almost any item in the metaverse. The advertising industry will attempt to use every element in the metaverse. Users will process a series of data with the equipment they use.
Data processed by users may violate private personal data in obligations such as GDPR. Therefore, there is a need for legal principles to limit the use of data. It is essential to raise awareness of people who want to step into the metaverse world.
Data protection in the metaverse will be one of the most legally problematic situations in the future. It is incorrect to expect everything to be much more precise in Web 3.0. At the same time, some situations are not clarified even in Web 2.0.
The metaverse is now a reality rather than a dream. It will bring innumerable opportunities and enable new business models to emerge. It is necessary to make legal arrangements before facing major turmoils that may arise in the future.
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