I have a short (1500-word) essay online at the Yale Law Journal Pocket Part as part of a new symposium issue on virtual worlds. My contribution, “Virtual World Feudalism,” looks inside the common metaphor of virtual worlds as “feudal societies” and concludes that feudalism might not be such a bad thing for them. Feudal property—based on a personal relationship between a lord and a vassal—turns out to be a pretty good fit for the current state of Second Life. It gives players some stability and a powerful ally while giving Linden Labs the flexibility it needs to keep he world running.
I’m extremely happy with how this one turned out. There’s something about short-form academic writing that’s especially satisfying, and my editors genuinely cared about making every word count. t also provided me a good excuse to renew my acquaintance with S.F.C. Milsom and some of the other fascinating scholarship on feudal property law. The resulting piece is a bit of a provocation, but it’s also a serious argument about the purpose and nature of “property.”