Virtual Worlds, Virtual Property

Chancellor's Chair Lecture by Dan L. Burk

May 13, 2009


Prof. Burk is an internationally prominent authority on issues related to high technology. He lectures, teaches and writes in the areas of patent, copyright, electronic commerce and biotechnology law. He co-authored The Patent Crisis and How the Courts Can Solve It (with Stanford Law Professor Mark Lemley), and has written numerous papers on the legal and societal impact of new technologies, including articles on scientific misconduct, on the regulation of biotechnology, and on the intellectual property implications of global computer networks.

In his lecture, Prof. Burk discussed the emerging relationship of copyright to computer games and the texts that surround them. Online computer games have become an important part of the Internet society, attracting millions of players and creating virtual economies larger than those of many actual nations. Game developers are increasingly turning to copyright and other intellectual property laws to police behavior in these virtual worlds. But player communities also have a stake in the development of this digital culture.

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