Considered by many to be the next evolutionary stage of the internet, the metaverse can be viewed as a single, persistent and ever-expanding environment that connects people, places and things digitally – or physically with some digital augmentation.
The metaverse will migrate large parts of the human experience, such as working, socializing and learning, from the physical to the digital world. And like previous iterations of the internet, the metaverse and related technologies – such as augmented and virtual reality headsets, haptic devices, blockchain, and cloud and edge computing – are set to revolutionize industries and business models.
“Like previous iterations of the internet, the metaverse and related technologies are set to revolutionize industries and business models.”
Its potential is limited only by humankind’s imagination but, for starters, the metaverse could:
- allow businesses to test, learn from, and improve processes, applications and product designs;
- enable teachers and trainers to offer more engaging content;
- improve healthcare and health outcomes; and
- offer brands a new advertising channel and revenue stream.
As with any new technology, it can be difficult to separate hype from reality. But one thing is certain: as businesses begin to explore the metaverse’s commercial potential, new legal and regulatory challenges will arise.
Well-versed in the metaverse
We’re working with businesses at the frontier of this new world. For example, we’re helping leading brands and content owners:
- develop metaverse advertising and marketing strategies, including virtual brand collaborations, influencer-marketing policies, prize promotions (often using non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and other digital assets), virtual event sponsorships, and resolving novel advertising regulatory issues such as how to comply with ad targeting restrictions in an interconnected virtual environment;
- understand how such strategies could be impacted by gambling and lottery rules;
- protect, enforce and monetize their intellectual property rights in virtual environments, including copyright issues relating to community- and AI-generated content;
- manage the collection, storage and use of personal data generated by metaverse-related technology; and
- negotiate complex commercial contracts, strategic alliances, joint ventures and novel metaverse-enabled distribution agreements, helping to facilitate interoperability between otherwise closed-loop, gated virtual experiences.
Further, we’re helping metaverse businesses raise capital, assess M&A opportunities, and understand how their products and services could be impacted by laws relating to:
- tax, particularly in relation to the sale of NFTs and other digital assets;
- sanctions and export controls;
- antirust and competition;
- employment; and
- criminal liability, e.g. in relation to harassment and other unwanted conduct in the virtual realm.
If you’re concerned about the legal issues the metaverse presents, we have the experience to give you the clear, pragmatic and insightful advice you’re after. To find out more about how we can help, get in touch with a member of our team.
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