Regulatory concerns have been raised in a variety of legal concepts in virtually every corner of the Metaverse ecosystem. At the time of the meeting, many possibilities remained speculative. Today, many of these issues are becoming real and should be the focus of attention for policymakers and users of Metaverse-related applications. But despite the many concerns, the benefits are likely to outweigh the harmful uses and legal challenges, just as the internet has changed most people`s lives for the better. Policymakers have the opportunity to proactively monitor developments and immediately imagine new areas of concern to avoid the most obvious legal pitfalls. The metaverse – or metaverse, to account for competing offerings from a growing number of companies – is emerging, and no one can really predict what the final shape of this new digital landscape will look like, let alone what the market structure will look like. One aspect that tends to receive too little attention, however, is the legal situation. The new world of virtual possibilities, augmented realities and hybrid solutions will bring unique, new and unpredictable legal and regulatory challenges. Currently, there are more legal questions than answers. Such a regulatory vacuum is not uncommon. In the 1990s, when the Internet became the communication, information and entertainment hub we know today, legal frameworks required adjustments to new realities. In many cases, there was simply no precedent to draw on; In other situations, it was not clear whether existing laws would apply at all. Perhaps because the law in the United States makes discrimination based on these characteristics illegal anyway.

The law also protects against discrimination on the basis of religion. But would it become morally reprehensible if someone appropriated the customs and traditions of other cultures? Specifically, could an individual design their avatar to look like other individuals in real life? A general question that needs to be answered is: in which jurisdictions do virtual interactions take place? Where and how will users and third parties take legal action? Finally, from a societal point of view, new norms and standards could emerge in AR and VR. The question then will be: will the XR guidelines have an impact on real-world regulations? While not all of the legal regulations that will emerge in South Korea match the legal structure and business needs of other countries, lessons can be learned from the problems at play and the solutions that may exist. There is no doubt that augmented and virtual realities will bring with them complex legal issues, and many legislative needs will only become apparent as metaverse environments form, freeze, and connect. But where do game environments end and work environments begin? Perhaps such environments could mix and overlap? And when do legally binding interactions arise and how should they be designed? In general, where is the legal dividing line between avatars as creative freedom and misrepresentation or even illegal imitation? What aspects need to be authentic? And this is where the line between entertainment applications and productivity solutions is crucial. This line is likely to blur as gaming apps merge with design and collaboration tools over time – in fact, gamification apps could intentionally mix such worlds. General legal considerations relate to all the new environments that will create augmented and virtual realities. The most obvious question is which types of XR environments represent fictional worlds and which are extensions of the real world. Therefore, different laws may apply to different types of virtual worlds. Some worlds may require disclosures, others may require alerts to ensure users understand if they are exposed to problematic content, how their data is being used, or what legal obligations they might take.

Ownership of virtual elements, physical real estate and intellectual property are also grey areas of actions that will be useful, problematic and illegal. In a July 2021 article on reality virtualization, I highlighted concerns about enriching real-world places and objects with different types of information and the question of who can monetize that information. In 2010, Intel began exploring the meaning and impact of the concept of the “personal digital persona.” It had become clear that people move online and are present in this virtual world – the question was how big such a presence was and what business, social and legal implications it would have. One of the topics that emerged was horizon scanning – an approach to identifying developments that will impact the business environment in the future. Essentially, it provides a way to identify the emerging business forces that will shape the markets of tomorrow. However, representatives of the defence industry in particular have expressed discomfort with a number of security challenges. They foresaw the potential for criminal counterfeiting, in particular the possibility of accessing restricted areas. Other concerns revolved around regularities in the online world and how law enforcement would approach problems in the non-physical world.

Do different environments require different disclosure rules? Can avatars only move from one environment to another if they customize features according to the policies of certain environments? Besides, who is allowed to change someone`s avatar? Should only the person represented by the avatar have such rights? Should rightful owners be allowed to do so? Similarly, some virtual worlds will “bleed” extended applications. Different sectors will raise unique legal issues that need to be addressed. Some legal issues will apply to the entire field of emerging metaverses; Others will be specific to the type of reality and application. Some of the regulatory requirements relate to administrative processes; Other legal concerns relate to organized crime and criminal offences. All these issues require conscious reflection and action on the part of decision-makers. Policymakers should also monitor developments in South Korea to better understand possible legal developments in the Metaverse. There, the government plays a very proactive role, and many early political and legal decisions will be made in this country. There are already clear legal questions that will arise as the world of the Metaverse takes shape. Here, we`ll take a closer look at four different areas of legislative needs – the list of legal issues is by no means exhaustive, but it does give an idea of the diversity and confusion of legal issues in virtual and hybrid environments.

The areas that certainly deserve attention are the personality of each actor, their behavior and that of their companies, ownership considerations, and finally the metaverse landscape as a whole and how it is integrated into real-world environments. There are many legal issues, and they have complex interactions – they are interconnected, and some of them represent convoluted issues that must first be implemented to accommodate meaningful policies and regulations. The list provided will probably only scratch the surface. There will be many unimaginable problems at this early stage. Over time, new questions related to the specifics of augmented realities will create regulatory requirements that no one can predict today. In this context, can avatars become legal representatives for cooperation efforts, or even negotiations and agreements? What are the preconditions for the outcomes of these meetings to be legally binding? And again, what aspects and characteristics of negotiating partner avatars should be authentic representations of real aspects? Could someone use and embody an avatar they don`t agree with? For example, might non-binary individuals be forced to assume male or female representation in environments that do not offer diverse representations? It`s worth taking a look at the early days of the commercial internet: many lessons can be learned to avoid predictable problems in the metaverse.