April 13, 2022 · less than 3 min read
While you won’t be doing 25-to-life for murder in the metaverse, some law experts think real-world prosecution could be a real possibility.
Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time
Online harassment is, unfortunately, not a new phenomenon. Trolling, bullying and threats via the internet are all acts of online abuse that have, one way or another, been punished in the real world, and we could well expect the same when the metaverse rolls around.
There are plenty of games out there right now that are inherently violent. Some of the world’s most popular, like Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty, go all-in on crime and even killing. But as we slowly start to learn more about what exactly the metaverse will look like, questions are popping up over how people will conduct themselves there – and whether violent crimes like murder, rape or assault could result in jail time.
At the moment, this is all conjecture, as the metaverse will change exponentially before we all go virtual. Plus, according to experts, it’s all down to the wording of the laws. As you’d expect, there aren’t concrete laws in place surrounding a digital universe that doesn’t exist yet.
But the outlook could be bleak. Greg Pryor, a lawyer at Reed Smith LLP, said: “All the trolling, virtual bullying, threats and bad behavior online happens all the time. It’s nothing new, and it’ll happen in the metaverse.”
Social media is doing its best to crack down on trolling and abusive behavior. It looks like the metaverse could well have the same problem in the years to come.
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