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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Justitia Virtual Legal Resource Village-Legal Assistance for the Virtual Worlds- Nomad Aries Reporting…

Did you ever have questions of a legal concern or feel the need for legal advice on Second Life?   Were you aware that there is legal help available to residents of Second Life?

Most of us never consider seeking a lawyer.  We conduct business and acquire possessions and land, create products, sell them, produce works of art, literature and music, and most of us never run into any conflict. What if you do? Where can you turn for advice and resolution?

Justitia Virtual Legal Resource Village is where you can turn for all types of legal advice and assistance on Second Life.  Justitia is devoted to helping the residents of Second Life. 
It may interest you to know you can also obtain legal counsel for real life legal matters from the lawyers of Justitia.  Yes, they are real lawyers!
 In order to be a lawyer on second life, they must first belong to the Second Life Bar Association, be verified to be in good standing and licensed to practice in their state and country of origin. 

The Second Life Bar Association's Mission Statement is as follows:
 1) educate the public and profession concerning legal issues arising from the Second Life virtual world.

2) study the legal, business, and technical implications of the 3D internet , including virtual worlds,, and the Second Life virtual world in particular.

3)  offer our members opportunities to meet and discuss the association’s interests with professionals from around the world.

4)  promote justice, professional excellence, and the rule of law in Second Life.

The Justitia Virtual Legal Resource sim is set up to help fulfill the goals outlined in their mission statement.  

When you first visit the sim, you notice rows of lawyer's offices and one large building. Each of the offices belongs to a lawyer who has a mailbox to contact them. The offices are professional in appearance with the lawyer's credentials mounted on the walls. Some of these offices state on the front of them the area of law that this lawyer specializes in. 

The large centralized building on the sim is the home of the SLBA. Found on the lower level of the building is a learning center, a recreation room, a directory, the SLBA's mission statement and a large SLBA primer of "Copyright, the DMCA(Digital Millennium Copyright Act) and Second Life".
 On the upper level is a conference room and library. You may also contact a lawyer from the learning centre in the SLBA building as well as the SLBA via a mailbox located at the front door.

Further along on the main street of the sim, is the auditorium also known as the moot court. True to form, it is set up like a courtroom. 
While investigating the offices, I met one of the lawyers, Hector R. Cupril JR. esquire. He practices law on Second Life and in the real world in the State of Florida, U.S.A.  Hector is a congenial and friendly person who graciously offered to give me a tour of the sim and allow me to interview him.
 I had many questions regarding the legal processes on Second Life. When we talk about law in Second Life, we are speaking of the laws of the United States of America.
When you originally logged in to Second Life, you must agree to be governed by those laws under the Terms of Use. These laws include treaties made between the United States and other countries and territories as well. 

I asked Hector how long legal services have been available to residents. Hector replied, "The Second Life Bar Association was launched in 2006. I am a third generation RL lawyer, licensed to practice in Florida, USA and with over 10 years worth experience in RL". 
 It is interesting to note that legal services began pretty well at the inception of economic opportunities in Second Life along with an extreme growth in popularity in the years 2005 and 2006.

I asked Hector how the services offered on the Justitia sim can assist avatars that have concerns regarding their rights on Second Life.
Hector said, " We help people with day to day problems in RL and SL.  Such as contacting a vendor who is not honoring a warranty (or defending a vendor against an unlawful warranty claim). 
Other circumstances can be such as feeling like you are without hope after being banned from a club/sim without an opportunity to be heard by the owner of the sim (or defending the actions of an owner of a sim for banning someone). 
The worst case scenario being one where an AV is banned from public land such as the Blake Seas, which is composed of many sims, without being able to contest (or the manager justify) the specific ban". 

What is surprising to learn about the services offered by Justitia is assistance for real life legal matters can be addressed as well. As Hector explained, "My services cover RL services throughout the State of Florida, United States and SL services worldwide.  If it is an issue where I am not licensed to practice law in that Country or State, I will find a referral source for the potential client and  contact information for them to contact a lawyer who is licensed to practice law in that State or Country.  I have referred RL cases to other lawyers who practice in the areas of Intellectual Property.  
Part of the SLBA's mission statement is to "educate people and the profession concerning legal issues arising from the Second Life Virtual world".
I asked Hector In what ways does he accomplish this. Hector replied, "Most people will never need a lawyer in their lives.  Here in Justitia, however, we offer lectures free of charge for you to avoid having to pay for a lawyer's advice. The question that you have to ask yourselves is do you want to avoid being sued or what are the consequences of your actions regarding a potential problem in RL or SL (are you in a position to lose a lot of money or profit--questions that need to be asked before hiring an attorney). If you want answers to these questions, then you should contact a lawyer or at least come to the free lectures held at Justitia through the SL Bar Association". 
I asked him what the most memorable case he worked on in the realm of SL. Hector stated, "Mediation between a club owner and a patron. After a ban, and my involvement, the patron was allowed back in the club".

Lawyers are incredibly busy people most of the time. They often deal with difficult and complex issues. It makes one wonder why a lawyer would use their professional knowledge and expertise to come to the virtual world to help people.

 I put this question to Hector and this is how he responded, "This is the equivalent of 3D Chat where a virtual world can take real meaning and memories can be made.  Linden Labs allows us to create a world and what you create is yours, subject to Linden Labs Terms of Service.  I facilitate you having a pleasant experience in this world, by giving you sound advice.  The virtual worlds allow me to work from my desk at home, if necessary.  It allows me to mentor other lawyers or for lawyers to mentor me.  Also, as a solo practitioner in RL, it allows me to collaborate with other lawyers.  
There is no doubt that the virtual world of Second Life and other virtual worlds has changed the way that law is practiced to some extent. Because of the existence of virtual worlds there is also a need to have law and order, as many virtual issues may have a resounding effect in the real world”.
 I asked Hector where he saw the progress of law and justice heading in the virtual worlds of the future. Hector said, "I see the profession as a mobile one, and it is ever changing, more demanding and competitive than when my grandpa was practicing law in 1947.  On the other hand, it is now a profession where the potential client and consumer of legal services will not have to wait in a lobby for a lawyer to provide them with sound legal advice.  After their request, we, the lawyers, will come to you the client when you need us".

 As a citizen of the Second Life world it is comforting to know as I as go about my daily business that I have legal rights as well as responsibilities. For residents considering starting a business or for those creating products to sell on the market or producing works of art, it is important that they are aware of their rights and protect their investments. 
 If you find yourself in conflict and aren't sure what to do, don't lose hope or wallow in confusion. It would be well worth your time to visit Justitia Virtual Legal Resource Village and explore your options.  There are many lawyers with a vast array of experience, like Hector R. Cuprill JR. esquire, who are more than willing to share their expertise in law with you.  It costs nothing to talk with them to determine if you need assistance.  You can also attend one of the conferences for information. The work the SLBA is involved in not only helps the virtual world as it exists now, but will benefit the evolving virtual worlds in the future. 

Hector R. Cupril JR. Attorney At Law
Client contact options:

Web: HTTP://
Phone : 386-473-1750


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