Cyberspace Outlaws – Coding the Online World

Morgan M. Broman, Pamela Finckenberg-Broman, Susan Bird

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Online gaming creates unique public spaces of interaction. These spaces are both highly controlled but also able to slip through the regulatory net, as domestic legislation struggles to respond to fast-changing interjurisdictional environments. Inter- and transdisciplinary research hold potential to respond to questions surrounding the regulation of these online spaces, by exploring multiple perspectives. The authors of this paper each come from a unique starting point in their exploration of these issues. The paper will examine three spaces of regulation in online game world environments. It will look at (1) rules and regulations that governs online interaction in virtual spaces, (2) the ‘code’ that controls behaviour through game architecture, and (3) the laws that are developed by players inside the game world. The first part will analyse whether domestic law can be adequate to regulate a space that is not geographically fixed. The second will discuss how the coding of the game and its architecture regulate behaviours within the space. The last is a “bottom-up” regulatory system, originating within the gaming community. Where do these three layers of regulation interact with each other? What are the unique languages of these spaces? This paper is a starting point for further investigation into the regulation of online behaviours through interwoven rule systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1153-1183
Number of pages31
JournalInternational Journal for the Semiotics of Law
Issue number4
Early online date24 Feb 2024
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2024

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© The Author(s) 2024.


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