In the past two years, we’ve become accustomed to working remotely and collaborating through video-conferencing and other communication tools. We’ve transformed the way we work and socialize. In this current environment, the Metaverse is starting to make waves for taking virtual reality to entirely new levels. Businesses and law firms are among the early adopters of this technology, buying property and setting up law offices. But, there are some legal issues to consider before scheduling attorney-client meetings in an augmented reality.
What is the Metaverse?
The Metaverse is a 3D rendered virtual reality in which people can work, socialize, and play. It comprises several elements of technology and video, with many guests using a VR (virtual reality) headset to access the augmented reality. It’s a centralized, virtual cyberspace. The Metaverse is always on, and it can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
Many people may already be aware of the Metaverse from playing games like Second Life and World of Warcraft. But those wearing a VR headset can take part in more than just games and entertainment. They can shop, communicate with other participants, learn, and work. With the continued growth and popularity of these three-dimensional spaces, more people are exploring its potential for creative, communication, and business purposes.
Law Firms Joining the Metaverse
Over the past several months, big brands like Coca-Cola and Nike have entered the Metaverse. JP Morgan was the first bank to open a virtual lounge in the Metaverse, and major US law firm Arent Fox opened a virtual office there in February. Accounting firm PwC was also scouting Metaverse property. Why is the Metaverse so appealing for businesses and law firms?
Law firms can leverage the Metaverse to increase their visibility and provide their clients with a new, personalized experience. The Metaverse offers a way for the legal industry to access its clients and interact with them – especially those who may not be to go to a brick-and-mortar office due to safety concerns, disabilities, or time constraints. In the Metaverse, attorneys can meet with their clients, prepare for court, teach a workshop, or even host a social event or charity function. There are lots of opportunities to connect with colleagues and clients. While the legal industry is starting to shift to this new technology, however, there are some issues to consider.
Legal Issues to Consider
As the Metaverse utilizes new and evolving technology, there can be an issue with users acquiring the appropriate VR headsets and understanding how to access the cyberspace. There are also a number of legal questions to consider as the Metaverse continues to grow:
- Attorney-client privilege: how will the Metaverse ensure that attorney-client communication is protected?
- Client consent: how will users be able to consent to data use and communication? How will this be regulated?
- Contracts: how will contracts be designed and executed in the Metaverse? Will they become automated?
- Data protection: how will companies we interact with on the Metaverse access our data?
- Dispute resolution: how will disputes be addressed in the Metaverse, if the disputes involve parties from around the world?
- Intellectual property: do creations that are produced in the Metaverse qualify for legal protection? Are AI (artificial intelligence) machines subject to intellectual property laws? Can intellectual property be hacked?
- Platform security: how will the Metaverse protect its user from a data breach?
- Privacy laws: With the Metaverse not having any international boundaries, which country’s law(s) govern privacy, and how with these guidelines be communicated to its users?
- Transfer of property: will users be able to transfer their property across the different Metaverse platforms?
These are all important questions to consider. They will likely start to be addressed as the Metaverse continues to grow in popularity and as governments try to step in and regulate interactions between the real and virtual world.
Contact the Legal Experts at Brian M. Douglas & Associates
There’s a lot of discussion as to what the Metaverse can be, but no one really knows for sure what it will become. There are tremendous opportunities for businesses and law firms who want to enter the virtual world, and as more companies join the Metaverse, cyberspace will expand and evolve. With that expansion will come an increase in legal and regulatory issues.
If you have questions about the legal industry’s presence in the Metaverse, or if there’s an estate law or real estate law issue we can help with, please reach out. You can contact our team of legal experts at (770) 993-9009 or via our website.