State of Play (conference series)

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State of Play is a conference series put on by the Institute for Information Law & Policy at New York Law School which deals with the intersection of virtual worlds, games and the law.

Past Conferences[edit]

There have been five State of Play conferences to date, with the sixth planned for June 2009.

SoP I: Law, Games, and Virtual Worlds (November 13-November 15, 2003)[edit]

This interdisciplinary conference on virtual worlds examined the state of play at the time in an effort to understand the phenomenon of digital games and the virtual worlds they create, creating a discussion the complex social, psychological, and legal issues to which they give rise.

SoP II: Reloaded (October 28-October 30, 2004)[edit]

State of Play: Reloaded continued the conversation. It highlighted two themes: the role of intellectual property and governance in virtual worlds. Should we import copyright and trademark into virtual spaces? Can we exclude them? What should be the relationship between real and virtual world economies? Should legislatures protect virtual world property? What are the possibilities for using virtual spaces to practice the activities of real world democracy? Should virtual worlds be treated as separate jurisdictions with their own evolving norms and forms of dispute resolution? What is the potential for using virtual worlds to promote democracy and self-governance?

SoP III: Social Revolutions (October 6-October 8, 2005)[edit]

State of Play III: Social Revolutions was the third annual State of Play conference on the future of cyberspace convened by the Institute for Information Law & Policy at New York Law School, the Information Society Project at Yale Law School, and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. Focusing on social relationships in the metaverse and how to build vibrant, flourishing, creative places the conference drew leading voices in the online virtual world and videogame space together with legal and social thinkers to explore the next-generation of cyberspace and the legal implications of its massively-multiplayer, immersive and graphical environments.

SoP IV: The Terra Nova Symposium (December 1-December 2, 2006)[edit]

State of Play IV: The Terra Nova Symposium was an intentionally smaller event intended to engage in the serious study of virtual worlds by getting researchers to inquire into the nature of research into these worlds. The Symposium gathered researchers, scholars and thinkers together to ask how virtual worlds should be studied, as well as what are the most fruitful lines of research, the most interesting substantive developments, and the most fascinating voices from whom we should be hearing? This conference was capped at 60 participants and was put on in conjunction with Terra Nova, the blog about the serious study of virtual worlds.

SoP V: Building the Global Metaverse (August 19-August 22, 2007)[edit]

State of Play V: Building the Global Metaverse was a pioneering global conference on virtual worlds, inviting experts across disciplines to discuss the future of cyberspace and the impact of these new immersive, social online environments on education, law, politics and society. The hallmark of the conference was a multi-disciplinary perspective on emergent virtual realms capable of seamlessly supporting communication, commerce and interaction across national and continental boundaries.

While all previous State of Play conferences had been held at New York Law School in the Tribeca district of New York City, in keeping with the global scope of the event, State of Play V was held at the Marina Mandarin in Singapore.

SoP VI (June 19-June 20, 2009)[edit]

State of Play VI: New York Law School’s State of Play Conference will convene in New York to examine the past, present and future of virtual worlds. The conference will focus on the startling rise of virtual worlds and multiplayer online games, and ask whether these worlds have reached a plateau in their development. At the same time we will question whether professionals and academia have reached a limit in our understanding of these worlds, and ask whether there are useful research questions still left to pursue.

SOP Academy[edit]

The State of Play Academy is the first law and technology academy built in a virtual world. Its purpose is to challenge the traditional means of imparting a legal education — in time, place and manner—by experimenting with opportunities offered by the virtual space. It is funded by a grant awarded to New York Law School by There.com.[citation needed]

SOP Book[edit]

In 2006, NYU Press released The State of Play: Law, Games and Virtual Worlds, an essential first step in understanding how the emergence of virtual worlds has impacted the real world and how the real world has in turn shaped the development of virtual places. "Millions of people around the world inhabit virtual words: multiplayer online games where characters live, love, buy, trade, cheat, steal, and have every possible kind of adventure. Far more complicated and sophisticated than early video games, people now spend countless hours in virtual universes like Second Life and Star Wars Galaxies not to shoot space invaders but to create new identities, fall in love, build cities, make rules, and break them."[1]

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