The complexity of
massively multiplayer games is such that they are generally also called 'virtual worlds'--and as places that echo the
real world, they carry with them a whole host of unanswered legal questions. GameTycoon has compiled a list of issues
that are currently unresolved in various worlds, including such touchy topics as theft, copyright, indecency and
Most of these are crossovers from the real world, and are a result of the anonymising nature of gaming: people of all ages and nationalities are subject to the same in-game laws, and may carry out actions in-game that are illegal for them to do in their own country. Scripted game interactions, such as killing human NPCs, are not an issue--but when other players get involved, it becomes an extremely murky area.
While there have been notable lawsuits involving online game companies, it may not be long until legal action between players becomes commonplace; without ingame law enforcement to handle it, these 'virtual' issues may soon become very real indeed.
[via GamePolitics] [Updated to fix minor typo]