The challenge of the emergence of virtual property to the traditional legal theory and the corresponding solutions


  • Xiaochen Mu no


The layer theory divides virtual property into three layers, namely (1) infrastructure layer, (2) abstraction layer and (3) content layer, based on distinguishing between codes which constitute a platform of the virtual world and codes which consist of user generated content. The infrastructure layer contains the service providers’ codes which constitute the platform of the virtual world. This level of virtual property could be considered as the fundamental basis of the operation of the virtual world. At the abstraction layer sits the unique computer code which comprises of the unique items designed by service providers which have not been e transmitted to users in the virtual world. The content layer consists of virtual items which are closely relevant to specific individuals due to their personal investment and arrangements. The twofold virtual property rights system adopts what I term ‘restrained-exclusive property rights’ or ‘fundamental property rights’ to describe the ‘rights’ users can claim to regulate the relationship and conflict between them and ISPs, meanwhile ‘relative-exclusive property rights’ or ‘external property rights’ are used to describe owners’ property interests to prevent infringement from other users.






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