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The growing usage of apps meant it was only a matter of time until they would find their way into legal education. Following up on a previously published article on LaaS – Law as a Service, this post discusses different ways that apps can be included into the law degree curriculum.

1 Changing legal education through the use of apps

There are different ways in which apps can be used in legal education in order to better prepare students for the legal profession. In this post we suggest three different possibilities for the usage of apps, reflecting different pedagogical styles and learning outcomes. What each of the suggestions has in common is to bring legal education closer to the real-life work of lawyers.

Through identifying aspects in which we perceive legal education as lacking quality or quantity, we apply and implement these to our suggestions for changed legal education. The aspects we view as lacking are: identifying and managing risks, the interaction between different areas of law, and proactive problem-based learning. To take each of these briefly in turn:

  • managing risks is something that practicing lawyers and other legal service professionals must do on a daily basis. Law is not only about applying legal rules but also about weighing options, estimating possible outcomes and deciding upon which risks to accept. Legal education has not traditionally included this in the curriculum, and students have arguably very little experience of such training in their studies.
  • interaction between different areas of law is often hard to incorporate in legal studies, which follow a block or module structure. Each course provides students with in-depth knowledge of that particular legal area. However, the interaction between such modules is lacking, with teachers often unaware of the content of preceding or succeeding courses. For students, a problem with this module structure can be that they forget the content of a course studied at an earlier stage in their education.
  • problem-based learning is generally encouraged and applied in legal education. However, most problem-based learning (PBL) is reactive, asking students to evaluate the legal consequences of a scenario that has already played out, instead of training students purely in after-the-fact solutions, in other words “clearing up the legal mess.” PBL should be made more proactive, aiming to train students in identifying and counteracting problems before they arise. This can also be viewed as an implementation of the first aspect, managing risks.

In aiming to include these aspects in legal education, we view technology as playing an important role. Perhaps ideally, the whole legal education could be re-structured in order to include such practical aspects that reflect the current legal profession; however, such change is perhaps too complex and viewed as somewhat unnecessary by those who are able to make such changes – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, as the saying goes. An app is not necessarily the sole possible implementation method, but it serves as an example of how these aspects can relatively easily be brought within legal education.

The first teaching approach looks at legal aspects of apps themselves, where the apps are viewed as objects within law. Here students are provided with a set problem and are encouraged to consider how different areas of law may apply to the app in question, and how the various areas impact on each other. This approach implements both PBL and the interaction of different legal fields. Proactiveness may also be included by asking students to identify legal risks of the app, and how such risks could by reduced through the use of law.

The second approach brings together technology and law, and is as such a suitable suggestion for inclusion in a legal informatics course, or as part of more general jurisprudence. Students are given the task of developing a legal service app, and thus must implement law through a technological tool. Students must first identify a need for a service within an area of law of their choosing, and then develop an app which provides the service. This approach implements both PBL and proactiveness, and can also require students to consider both legal and technical risks.

The third approach aims to add value to the legal education as a whole, by making available an app to students to be used alongside teaching, complementing the existing education. Students are provided with the opportunity to test their knowledge, and combine different areas of study through interactive learning. Depending on the design of the app, this approach has the possibility of implementing all aspects: PBL, interaction of legal fields, and proactiveness or risk management.

2 Legal aspects of apps

Legal education in many countries around the world is set up as linear blocks of different legal fields and subject areas. As law is often divided into various sub-fields–such as private law, public law, administrative law, environmental law, or information technology law–it appears only natural to discuss and teach the subjects one by one. The amount of material to be learned by the student would otherwise be overwhelming. While in some countries, exams might encompass multiple fields of law, subjects are being taught in a consecutive order.

Though the pedagogical reasons for the linearity in legal education are convincing, some improvements are still possible. One idea that we would like to discuss here are legal aspects of apps that intertwine different legal fields and challenge the students to analyze one particular phenomena from various different legal angles. We are not suggesting any particular fora for this exercise; these might stretch from traditional in-class seminars to online e-learning platforms to a mixture of the two and be included in law school curricula either as compulsory or selective modules.

Apps and information communication technologies, in general, do not adhere to geographical, physical or time related boundaries. They inherently challenge the traditional legal system based on bricks and mortar. In this regard they are, therefore, well-suited for legal analysis.

Another reason to use apps as the object for analysis by students is their popularity among the younger (and older) generation and therefore the close relationship students have to them to start with. As an example, one can compare it to using Facebook when discussing privacy, as opposed to showing a large company’s employee database.

In order to reflect the real-life experience of the exercise even more, the students would be allocated a certain expert area. As at law firms, one student would be an expert in intellectual property rights, another in contract law, another in privacy, international law, consumer rights issues, etc.

The students would –from the perspective of their expert area–firstly investigate possible legal issues with a specific gaming app, for example. They would analyze the application of the rules and norms within their field and identify potential conflicts or loopholes within these rules. Their investigation would include testing the app itself, as well as looking at possible end-user agreements and other applicable contractual agreements between the user, the app store and the developer of the app.

The next step would be to identify and discuss possible overlaps, discrepancies and conflicts between the different areas of law in relation to the app. The exercise should result in a written and/or oral report of the different legal issues involved and solutions to potential conflicts between the law and the app.

Adding another layer of real-life scenario, each group could be asked to present their findings to an imaginative client who is the producer of the app. This simulation would allow the students not only to develop a legal analysis based on correlating fields of law but also to present the analysis to non-lawyers, translating legal jargon into understandable everyday language.

The exercise–analyzing an existing app–very much fits into the idea often conveyed in legal education that law is applied after an incident occurs. In order to add a level of proactivity, students could be asked to analyze an app under production, before it is launched. This would guarantee more proactive thinking by the students asking them to foresee potential conflicts and avoid them, rather than discussing legal issues after they have arisen.

While the exercise as such might not be a revolutionary idea, we think that the increased inclusion of such exercises in legal education would contribute to better preparation of students for their life as young lawyers.

3 Law’s implementation in apps

While the previous exercise fits well within the traditional legal education by asking students to deliver a legal analysis, a topic less discussed in undergraduate legal studies is how to employ technology for delivering law. With a few exceptions, students generally focus on analyzing the law rather than implementing law in technology.Change Priorities

Until several years ago legal analysis was the main business for lawyers, so legal education well reflected the profession. In the last few years, however, legal services delivered via and as technology have increased and opened up a new market for lawyers and legal professionals. This change should be reflected in legal education in order to prepare students for their future.

While the idea is not to replace lawyers with apps or software, an app or another technology could either help lawyers in their working tasks or deliver law as a valuable service for consumers, citizens, companies or organizations. Examples of such apps, both for lawyers and end-users, are mentioned in a post at iinek’s blog and Slaw; shorter lists can be found on iinek’s Delicious page and the iPad4lawyers blog.

In the exercise, students would look at law from a different perspective, i.e. how legal regulations affect the individual or organization. Going away from a linear text approach, students would have to translate law into a format that users or apps can read. In other words, law would have to suit the user/app, and not the other way around. Students would, therefore, have to go beyond text and translate rules into flowcharts, diagrams, mind maps and other visual tools in order for the app to be able to follow the law’s instructions.

Implementing legal rules into technology, therefore, not only encourages students to think proactively but it also motivates them to identify solutions for the application of the law and how rules could be transformed into practice. From a pedagogical point of view the exercise would allow the students to think about different aspects of law beyond the traditional case or contract. It would also encourage a wider viewpoint of law as a tool in society.

Again, how the exercise is included in the curriculum is a matter of taste. Technical assistance is of importance, in order for students to know what aspects to take into account and what schematics developers need in order to be able to create an app. The exercise could be set up as a competition (Georgetown Law SchoolIron Tech Lawyer) with an expert jury consisting of practicing lawyers and developers.

4 Legal education as an app

Talking about legal education as an app can have different meanings. While legal apps (for lawyers and individuals) and educational apps are rather common these days, legal educational apps are not so developed, yet.Puzzle

Legal education, as mentioned, is traditionally taught in blocks or modules, with very few references and links between them. This setup clearly has its benefits, not least logistically. There are clear arguments in favor of such an approach; planning and studying becomes easier for teachers and students alike, time limitations mean that implementing an approach that makes connections between each subject is hard. This is where we believe that technology has the potential to play an important role. Technology is not bound to physical classrooms and attendance requirements of students or teachers. It has the ability to be accessed at a time of the student’s choosing, without placing additional demands on instructors.

A legal education app could provide the key in aiding students to make connections between their study areas; it could be made to fit alongside a law degree, assuming a student’s knowledge in sync with their level of study, by including content from both current and past courses. The app would offer an easy way to implement an interactive, problem-based learning approach. It could provide additional content, quizzes, exercises, social media functions etc. complementing the education and enabling a holistic perspective.

Although no teacher-student relationship is required here, clearly pedagogical thinking would need to play a strong role so that a worthwhile learning environment for the individual could be created. Much time and effort would need to be invested in planning, and the application itself would need to be flexible to adjust to different study plans and so forth. Another issue is, of course, who would make the app. As curricula vary from law school to law school, and jurisdiction to jurisdiction, such an app is ideally built by those who know the curriculum. Such “in-house” expertise also means that potential bias from outside factors should be avoided.

Legal apps have already been introduced to help lawyers study for qualifying exams, e.g. BarMax. (These are often, however, still very topic-specific.) Implementing the same kind of thinking at the educational level would start to prepare students for their future workplace, allowing them to be better prepared for helping clients with real-world scenarios dealing with complex and interrelating legal issues. If students begin such thinking at the beginning of their legal studies, it becomes normal, arguably allowing for better educated graduates.

This last approach is perhaps a little future-oriented (although not as much as, for example, grading by technology), and it is of course not easy to implement at the university level; academics must work together with app developers to produce a tool of real value to students. However, even a slimmed-down version of such an app can be a tool for helping students prepare for exams, test their knowledge of legal areas, or simply make sure that they have understood concepts covered in teaching. Some examples of such implementations in legal education are shown here.

5 Conclusions

There is no doubt that apps are the future for legal services. To what extent they will be included in legal education is yet to be decided. Here we have shown three differing approaches that could help in this regard. Implementation of any or all of these would bring in aspects that are currently lacking in legal education.

Rather often discussions on technology and legal education focus on e-learning and online teaching environments. In our opinion, traditional offline exercises and their pedagogical value should not be underestimated, with technology offering an excellent platform as an object, tool or companion during legal education and life as a lawyer.

6 Sources

Christine KirchbergerChristine Kirchberger is a doctoral candidate & lecturer in legal informatics at the Swedish Law and Informatics Research Institute (IRI). Her research focuses on legal information retrieval, the concept of legal information within the framework of the doctrine of legal sources and also examines the information-seeking behaviour of lawyers. Christine blogs at iinek.wordpress.com and can be found as @iinek on Twitter.

Pam StorrPam Storr is a lecturer at the Swedish Law and Informatics Research Institute (IRI), and course director for the Master Programme in Law and Information Technology at Stockholm University. Her main areas of interest are within information technology and intellectual property law. Pam is the editor for IRI’s blog, Blawblaw, and can be found as @pamstorr on Twitter.

 

VoxPopuLII is edited by Judith Pratt. Editors-in-Chief are Stephanie Davidson and Christine Kirchberger, to whom queries should be directed. The information above should not be considered legal advice. If you require legal representation, please consult a lawyer.

In this article, I reflect on the legal frameworks that affect virtual worlds. In particular, I focus on the use of non-game three-dimensional online virtual worlds such as Second Life, for purposes of education and training. These worlds are also known as “serious” games. Pictured below is an example of such a “serious” game: a possible learning support scenario — interacting with a complex 3D geometric object, in the context of a geometry lesson within a virtual world.

Interacting with a complex 3D object, a dodecahedron, in the context of a geometry lesson within a virtual world

The European Union Information and Communication Technologies Seventh Framework Programme, FP7 ICT, has funded a VirtualLife consortium of ten partners that plans to create a secure and legally ruled virtual world platform. The legal framework they are constructing includes a novel, editable, and enforceable Virtual Constitution. This article describes the legal framework of VirtualLife, using material from several VirtualLife project deliverables: a presentation and publications, primarily Bogdanov et al. (2009), and Čyras & Lachmayer (2010).

The problem of law enforcement in virtual worlds

The rules of games, such as chess, can be programmed. However, this is not the case for legal rules contained in a code of conduct in a virtual constitution. Moreover, in a code of conduct for a virtual world, we supplement the normal concept of “persons” who are subject to law, with the concept of “avatars” — that is, the virtual persons used to navigate a virtual world. This variety of rules, which applies to avatars, is called “virtual law” (see Raph Koster). A sample “toy” rule, such as “Keep off the grass,” illustrates constraints on avatar conduct, constraints aimed primarily at preventing unwanted behaviour.

Various methods of norm enforcement by computers are being investigated worldwide (see, e.g., Vázquez-Salceda et al. (2008)). Lawrence Lessig‘s Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (1999, updated in 2005) noted that cyberspace would be controlled — or not — depending upon the architecture, or “code,” of that space.

A general frame of a virtual world

A general sketch of virtual world legal issues, as described by legal scholar Friedrich Lachmayer, is outlined below. It differs from the view of software engineers. Many legal rules in a virtual world are described informally. The entities of major importance are avatar actions and the rules that regulate their behaviour. Here is a conceptualisation of the “theatre” depicting the elements of a virtual world and the principles of construction of its legal framework:

A conceptualization - the elements of a virtual world and principles of construction of a legal framework

Rules can form different normative systems within a virtual world, as well as a regime, or paradigm, of a virtual world. The rules in a virtual world can have different modes or degrees of effectiveness, such as “barrier,” “occasional,” “step-by-step,” etc. Moreover, these rules can be divided into different classes, such as technical rules, legal rules, reputation rules, energy rules, and professional rules:

  • Technical rules establish factual limitations. Real world examples include fencing in a plot of grass, locking a door to forbid entry, and an automatic teller machine’s refusing to dispense money unless a PIN code is provided. Violations of technical rules are impossible: there is no possibility of violating a technical rule unless you break the artifact completely (e.g., by cutting the fence, or breaking down the door). Hence technical rules are strictly enforceable. They are based on natural necessity and can be formalised as: “If P then Q.” They do not have modes or degrees of effectiveness such as “obligatory,” “permitted,” and “forbidden.”
  • Legal rules. Their nature is that they can be violated. For example, you can jaywalk, but you risk being sanctioned. These laws are enforced by an authority such as the police, or peacekeepers in a virtual world.  Legal rules are not strictly enforceable, and their enforcement may be subject to the so-called “spirit,” or purpose, of the law.
  • Legal rules are necessary, because it is impossible to implement normative regulation by means of technical rules alone. Consider a norm providing that indecent content is prohibited in the virtual world. Such an abstract norm can hardly be implemented by automatic checking. A naked body should not be automatically treated as indecent content, because it may be a picture of a statue in a virtual museum.

  • Energy rules prohibit certain kinds of behaviour. If energy rules are violated, the violator’s “energy points” are decreased. Such sanctions are 100% effective.
  • This can be illustrated by the avatar identity card in VirtualLife. Each avatar has an ID card, which contains information about the avatar’s virtual and real-life identities. The ID card includes simple indicators of trust. A red (entrusted) bar means that the avatar is a guest and has not proved his or her identity; a yellow (weakly trusted) bar indicates that the avatar has an identity, but it has not been verified by any certification authority; and a green (trusted) bar denotes that the avatar’s identity has been verified by a certification authority. Furthermore, each avatar has an economic, social, and civic reputation, whose indicators are handled by a sophisticated reputation system that depends on the avatar’s behaviour. Thus energy rules are implemented by hard constraints.

Identity card in VirtualLife

  • Professional rules, etc. Other kinds of VirtualLife rules include moral rules, professional rules, user community rules, etc. For example, in VirtualLife, the users can engage in a trusted community called a Virtual Nation, in which particular rules apply.

The architecture of VirtualLife

The VirtualLife project aimed to develop a prototype of a virtual world platform. The main pillars are:

  1. Strong identity
  2. Decentralized peer-to-peer (P2P) network architecture
  3. Interactivity and scripting
  4. Legal and social cooperation framework.

A motivating example of identity verification and trusted service provision is business transactions, where parties need to identify each other to enter an agreement. To prove the concept, currently VirtualLife is targeted at scenarios focused on learning support, such as (1) a university virtual campus and (2) simulations of human and environmental interactions in costly or dangerous situations.

Strong identity. Unlike most other virtual world platforms, VirtualLife requires that the person behind each avatar be real; VirtualLife forbids avatar principals from using pseudonyms. Thus, VirtualLife’s identity system requires the user behind an avatar to prove that he or she really is who he or she claims to be. The requirement that an avatar’s principal be responsible for actions in the virtual world to the same extent as he or she is in the real world is the basis for building any legal framework in the VirtualLife platform. The avatar’s principal needs to be traceable with a customizable and transparent level of trust. This level can be enforced directly within the final platform, according to the rules one wants to impose on its participants. Such rules are either specific to the implemented business logic, or can be dynamically disclosed and enhanced in specific moments during VirtualLife usage.

For this reason, behind any identity in VirtualLife are X.509 compliant certificates. Such a certificate can be issued by a certification authority (CA), either an externally trusted one or a dedicated one. The platform provides, for bootstrapping purposes, an internal CA. Its certification policy is set at installation time according to the company policy.

Together with an X.509 certificate goes a keypair. The private part of this keypair is usually protected by some means (related once again to the general policy the platform provider wants to adopt). VirtualLife, by default, protects the private part of the keypair with a password. The password is exclusively used to unlock the access to the locally stored keypair and is not used for authentication. (This is the same approach used by openssh when using keybased authentication.)

Decentralized peer-to-peer architecture. First of all, VirtualLife can inherently be run on separate servers (even servers located at different physical locations). This means that the architecture of VirtualLife — unlike the architectures of other similar virtual worlds today — allows for a configuration in which no single provider/company owns and rules the entire virtual world. When, within VirtualLife, Zones (i.e., world subparts) federate with a specific Virtual Nation (see details below), they implicitly accept and abide by its rules. They make use of Nation services, and can customize part of the laws to some extent, depending on the original Constitution and law in the Nation. Every VirtualLife avatar is able to verify the current set of laws that rule the specific part of the world he or she is logged in to. Changes in the laws are allowed through a democratic e-voting process.

A Virtual Nation is a set of VirtualLife users sharing the same purpose and values. Within each Virtual Nation are virtual entities based on such real-world concepts as “constitution,” “government,” “register office,” etc. Legal values such as “avatar integrity,” “honour,” “freedom of thought,” “freedom of association,” “sanctity of property,” etc. are implicitly or expressly provided for in the code of conduct within the Virtual Constitution that governs each Virtual Nation.

A Virtual Nation

A Virtual Nation is defined by:

  1. The list of Virtual Zones belonging to it;
  2. The allowed avatars (virtual citizens), authorised by the Virtual Nation;
  3. A constitution (that will be mapped onto a set of technologically implemented laws).

Legal and social cooperation frameworks. Within VirtualLife, people primarily cooperate directly in the 3D world, where avatars can assemble, arrange, prepare, or edit their surroundings. Other mechanisms for social interaction and cooperation within VirtualLife include:

  • Public text chat
  • Private encrypted text chat
  • Voice over IP (VOIP)
  • Reputation and evaluation mechanisms
  • Friendship relationship
  • Contracts
  • Online dispute resolution
  • E-voting.

Interactivity and scripting. The Lua language and the Scripting Engine allow interactivity and programming of complex behaviour within VirtualLife. Scripting has been targeted toward programmers, privileging power over ease-of-use. Scripting is on both server side (to define the behaviour of interactive entities and to implement some “virtual laws”) and client side (to personalize the graphical user interface and to create building tools).

Nodes, Virtual Zones, and Virtual Nations. Each virtual world in VirtualLife consists of a peer-to-peer network with nodes connected using a secure protocol. Control in each virtual world subpart (referred to as a “Virtual Zone” or, simply, a “Zone”) is managed by a Zone server (Z-server). A collection of Zones forms a Virtual Nation, consisting of a network of Virtual Zone servers. The peer-based connection model of a Virtual Zone is depicted below:

Peer-based connection model of a virtual zone

Virtual Zone server. Unlike in traditional client-server approaches, there is no centralized point of truth regarding the state of entities in the P2P virtual environment. The truth is maintained in a distributed fashion, where a single node on the network is the authority for a particular entity. The authority node is the only node that sends “update” messages to the rest of the peers, where the latter resolve their internal representations with the truth obtained from the authority.

Network and P2P communication infrastructure

Innovative features in the virtual legal framework

Today, most virtual worlds try to prevent conflicts through rules of conduct contained in end-user license agreements (EULAs) and terms of service. But this regulation is not enough. The existence of rules does not prevent a user from engaging in bad behaviour towards another user. When a user feels that an injustice has occurred, the only way the user can seek justice is to report the abuse to the virtual world’s creators, who can decide to ban or punish the offender. In some cases, the creators invest in specific techniques to keep the virtual world ”under surveillance,” e.g., the peacekeepers in Active Worlds. VirtualLife takes a different approach to regulation.

VirtualLife’s legal framework is a three-tier system:

  1. A “Supreme Constitution”;
  2. A “Virtual Nation Constitution” (e.g., Constitution VN1, … , Constitution VNn);
  3. A set of diverse sample contracts.

The Supreme Constitution expresses the fundamental principles of VirtualLife that every user has to adhere to. Additionally, the Supreme Constitution sets out the basic organisational rules according to which the laws of a Virtual Nation, the second tier of the framework, are formed.

A Virtual Nation Constitution contains special and more detailed provisions as regards, for example, the protection of copyrighted objects used in that Virtual Nation, or the authentication procedure required to become a member of that Nation. The Supreme Constitution and each Virtual Nation Constitution are ordinary contracts, implemented by way of click-wrap agreements.

Contracts. The third tier of the VirtualLife legal framework consists of a variety of sample contracts that parties may use to formalise the terms of their transactions, though parties remain free to use their own contractual terms. Currently, two pre-filled contractual templates are being developed, that will be offered to both the Professors’ group and the Students’ group in VirtualLife. Additional clauses of these model contracts concern such issues as the role of an auditor, the VirtualLife reputation system, and dispute resolution.

Effecting the Virtual Constitution at the level of contract law contributes to law enforcement. The EULA represents soft constraints on VirtualLife users’ behaviour through the users’ avatars. Apart from this, a user of VirtualLife software is not ruled exclusively by the previously mentioned sources of law in VirtualLife; the user is also governed by his or her real-world national law — VirtualLife users cannot escape from the law of the material world.

Virtual laws. Within a Virtual Nation, laws are also defined via a dedicated constrained language that is able to translate concepts related to copyrights and rights of use over in-world objects, into the terms of the underlying virtual reality engine permissions system. These laws are defined in terms of permissions respecting in-world entities, and rights-to-change those permissions, that each avatar category grants to other avatar categories. For example, different values and rules are covered by “NoCopy,” “CopyRight,” and “CopyLeft” Nations. Permission language tables serve to implement particular rights.

Related work

Respecting legal issues, the concept of electronic agent has received much scholarly attention; see, e.g., Artificial Intelligence and Law, vol. 12, no. 1-2 (2004). Respecting issues related to the construction of virtual worlds, such as operational implementation, a recent issue of the same journal was devoted to software agents and normativity; see Artificial Intelligence and Law, vol. 16, no. 1 (2008). Anton Bogdanovych (2007) has developed the concept of “virtual institutions” (VIs), defined as “3D virtual worlds with normative regulation of interactions.” VIs incorporate the strengths of normative multiagent systems, particularly “electronic institutions”; see, e.g., Marc Esteva (2003).

Conclusions

Virtual worlds are part of the real world. However, legal and security features of virtual worlds need to be improved in order to guarantee safe and reliable virtual infrastructures.

In virtual worlds, we face the challenge of building a bridge between reality as it “ought-to-be” and reality “as it is.” Here, software engineers identify the rules for virtual worlds, and implement them in computer code. A part of these rules can be explicitly represented — this part corresponds to the “strong” interpretation of the term “normative multiagent system” (see Boella et al. (2009)). A part cannot be represented explicitly, however. Rules of this kind are formulated explicitly in the system specification, namely, in the EULA text — consistent with the “weak” interpretation of “normative multiagent system” (Boella et al.).

A complete implementation of legal rules in software is infeasible. Whereas technical rules allow little space for interpretation — and therefore can be implemented — legal rules allow too much space for interpretation. Moreover, the limits of this space can only be interpreted by lawyers and judges — not programmers untrained in law. Therefore engineers developing legal information systems cope with the following problems:

  • Abstractness of norms. Norms are formulated (on purpose) in very abstract terms.
  • Open texture. See H.L.A. Hart’s example of “Vehicles are forbidden in the park.”
  • Teleology. The purpose of a legal norm usually can be achieved in a variety of ways.
  • Legal interpretation methods. The meaning of a legal text cannot be extracted from the text alone. Apart from the grammatical interpretation, other methods can be invoked, such as systemic and teleological interpretation.

In the VirtualLife system, these challenges have been addressed through an architecture in which legal norms and technical constraints complement each other. This architecture points to the development of virtual worlds manifesting new levels of reliability and security.

Vytautas Čyras is associate professor at the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics of Vilnius University (VU)Lithuania, EU. He teaches computer science and artificial intelligence. He received a Master’s degree in computer science from VU (1979) and a Ph.D. from Lomonosov Moscow State University (1985) with a doctoral dissertation entitled “Synthesis of Loop Programs over Multidimensional Data Structures.” In 2007, he earned a Master’s degree in law from VU. He is interested in legal informatics and legal theory.

VoxPopuLII is edited by Judith Pratt. Editor in chief is Robert Richards.