A bed designed for avatar sex? That's intellectual property. An agreement between virtual real estate developers? It's an oral contract. Or so say some lawyers, who are opening offices to handle disputes in the virtual, online world of Second Life, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. "It's an emerging area of law, which is really a treat for attorneys," says one Silicon Valley lawyer.
In Second Life, players use a currency that can be exchanged for real US dollars. They also purchase virtual property and create items protected by intellectual copyright. So some lawyers are even setting up shop in-game—which one Silicon Valley attorney warns against. With Second Life designer Linden Labs able to access all chats, he says, no conversation is truly confidential.
(Read more Second Life stories.)