New Dimensional Governance Framework for Metaverse

Information

Date: July 12, 2022 14:00-16:00

  • Moderator:
    Dr. Chien-Liang Lee (Institutum Iurisprudentiae Academia Sinica, Director & Distinguished Research Professor)
  • Panelists:
    • Mr. George C.C. Chen (Taiwan Association of Information Technology & Intellectual Property, Chairman)
    • Mr. Taka Kao (Taiwan Association for Blockchain Ecosystem Innovation, President)
    • Prof. Li, Gi-Kuen(Institutum of Law For Science and Technology, NTHU, Professor)
    • Prof. Hsiao-Yue Tsao (Interaction Design Department, NTUT, Department Chair)

 

George C. C. Chen (president, Taiwan information intellectual property association)

Chen felt that there remains much to explore when it comes to metaverse. Several important elements that have surfaced include: blockchain, smart contract, Artificial Intelligence, edge computing, quantum computing, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), cryptocurrency, and non-fungible token (NFT). The essence of metaverse is experience and interaction; namely, creating experiences in collaboration with others. Important legal issues arise in these applications. For example, users will have to provide personal identifiable information (PII) such as biometrics, personal preferences, and consumption habits in order to interact with other users. Adequate protections of such PII are extremely important. Other possible legal issues include: intellectual property rights, trademark rights, innovative digital crimes (deepfake and insulting digital identity), financial regulation of cryptocurrency, information security, jurisdiction, and preservation of evidence.

Chen shared several examples of metaverse lawsuits, one of them being Hermes‘s trademark lawsuit against an artist for selling “MetaBirkins” NFTs. The NFT trend has also created multiple legal controversies including copyrights, trademark, property rights, unjust enrichment, transaction security, delivery, money laundry, and fraud. NFT is a unit of data stored on blockchain. In theory, it is distinct from the referenced physical objects. However, the NFTs being sold have to show the original trademark of their references, and this invokes legal problems. The anonymous nature of blockchain technology also makes delivering legal documents to both parties of the lawsuits difficult. NFTs are not yet deemed as financial products. However, there have been cases where the FBI arrested and indicted suspects in connection with an alleged insider trading operation on an NFT platform.

The NFT trading platforms are decentralized and subjected to little regulations. As a result, it is difficult to determine legal responsibilities in lawsuits. The Supreme Court in Taiwan acknowledges the property rights of NFT owners as NFT technically is digital evidence thus protected by property rights. Chen suggested that the Taiwanese government can slow down on developing laws regarding metaverse. It is better to review existing regulations in Taiwan and identify relevant laws and regulations after observing as many cases in other countries as possible.

Taka Kao (President, Taiwan Association for Blockchain Ecosystem Innovation)

According to the definition of Coinbase, metaverse is a massively-scaled, persistent, interactive, and interoperable real-time platform comprised of interconnected virtual worlds where people can socialize, work, transact, play, and create. Metaverse is open to everyone. Blockchain is the fundamental technology of metaverse, and its decentralized nature enables a more transparent operation and decision process.

A smart contract is a computer program or a transaction protocol which is intended to automatically execute, control or document legally relevant events and actions according to the terms of a contract or an agreement. Kao found smart contracts useful for its unalterable nature. According to Kao, blockchain data governance model can be applied across disciplines, borders, industry types, and platforms. He also believed that blockchain can be used to prevent monopoly and build industry consensus. 

Blockchain is not flawless. Owners of blockchain asset cannot deal with the asset directly without third parties providing relevant information. It is also true that blockchain is not yet capable of complicated computing. Kao emphasized, however, that there is no such thing as totally centralized or totally decentralized; there are only different models in various degrees. The objectives of smart contracts are reducing needs in trusted intermediators, arbitrations and enforcement costs, fraud losses, as well as the reduction of malicious and accidental exceptions. However, the success of smart contracts relies on users’ trust of blockchain technology and willingness to store their asset on blockchain. As long as the public trust the existing centralized system, Kao suggested, blockchain would not be necessary. Efficiency and high transaction cost remain the downfall of blockchain technologies.

Questions remain whether blockchain can popularize and replace centralized data processing models as the mainstream. One thing is certain, Kao claimed, that it is impossible to build a purely decentralized world in the near future.

Li, Gi-Kuen (Assistant Professor, Institute of Law for Science and Technology, National Tsing Hua University)

Li thought Meta is correct about metaverse being still far away despite the introduction of relevant products and services. Compared to how mobile games popularize thanks to the prevalence of mobile phones, metaverse games have higher hardware requirements. It remains to be seen whether metaverse games will become popular.

Li also touched on the legal problems of metaverse. For example, virtual identities in the metaverse could still face harassment. Current solutions are platform providers setting restraining rules for its users in technical ways.

There are three major regulative issues concerning metaverse. Firstly, whether the government should regulate metaverse, including the innovative risks and controversies arise from metaverse. Secondly, the legal responsibility and status of platforms in the metaverse. Thirdly, whether business transactions in the metaverse are as legally binding as contracts in the physical world. As for now, most games in the metaverse are controlled by platform providers, which risks creating asymmetrical relations between platforms and users. The fact that platforms play the roles of lawmaker, arbitrator, and enforcer at once without providing complaint mechanism is problematic. 

Li suggested that gaming rules in the metaverse could learn from online game’s users terms and conditions. 

Hsiao-Yue Tsao (Professor and Chair, Department of Interaction Design, National Taipei University of Technology)

The National Taipei University of Technology founded the first metaverse XR research center. Tsao shared the application cases of the students, including fashion design (virtual Terresa Teng appeared in Taipei Fashion Week this year), virtual influencers, virtual outfits, and virtual tourist spots.

Tsao thinks that the ability of providing joy and sustainable experience without physical products is what makes metaverse attractive. She thinks the younger generation values user experience more than money and material products, which enriches the unlimited potential of metaverse.

Q&A

Q1.Roleplay is one of the critical elements of metaverse, but the online identity can distinct from the real-world identity. Does this create the problem of digital identities not having rights to personality, only rights to property?

Chen noted that many other countries are having similar discussions. As the characters in metaverse are extremely real, he expected that it is only a matter of time before digital identities owning rights to personality. He also concurred Kao that the public opinion on decentralization varies and relevant regulations ought to accommodate the evolution of metaverse.

Li explained that most metaverse lawsuits are game-related and concerning public insult. According to recent rulings, digital identities are not only deemed by the court as property but also personality.

Q2.Can Professor Tsao share more about how user experience and experience sharing are keys to metaverse?

Tsao observed that the younger generation share the tendency of merging entertainment in social activities, which aligns with the nature of metaverse. Community participation is the key to success for metaverse; users can live in the stories of metaverse, creating relations through their interactions with the metaverse.

 

元宇宙的新維度治理框架

議程

14:00–14:05     活動介紹

14:05–15:45     焦點座談

  • 主持人-李建良 所長(中央研究院法律學研究所)
  • 與談人
    • 陳家駿 理事長(台灣資訊智慧財產權協會)
    • 高崎鈞 理事長(台灣區塊鏈愛好者協會)
    • 李紀寬 助理教授(清華大學科技法律研究所)
    • 曹筱玥 系主任(國立台北科技大學設計互動學系)

15:45–16:00        現場問答

會議紀要

陳家駿 理事長(台灣資訊智慧財產權協會)

陳家駿理事長說明元宇宙目前還在瞎子摸象階段,相關重要要素包括:區塊鏈、智慧合約、AI科技、邊緣和量子運算、AR擴增實境、VR虛擬實境、MR混合實境、虛擬貨幣、NFT等。元宇宙的精隨在於體驗與互動,與他者共創經驗為其中關鍵,而這也衍生出個資保護等重要法律議題。例如,用戶為了在元宇宙中與其他用戶進行互動,會提供生物特徵、興趣、消費習慣與偏好等重要資料,因此相關保護措施極為重要。其他法律問題包括:著作權、商標權、新型態數位犯罪(深偽技術、數位身分公然侮辱等)、加密貨幣金融管制、資安、司法管轄權歸屬、證據保存等問題。

他接續介紹了諸多不同國家所發生有關元宇宙訴訟案例,像是奢侈品牌愛馬仕控告將柏金包形象NFT化的創作者侵犯智慧財產權及企業商譽等。NFT目前已產生包括著作權、商標、財產、不當得利、交易安全、送達、洗錢詐欺等法律爭議。

NFT產品是一堆編碼,理論上已與編碼前的參考範本或實體不同,然而,販售NFT須秀出參考範本的原商標,因此衍生出侵犯商標權之疑義。除商標權外,著作權、姓名和肖像權等爭議也層出不窮,且由於NFT使用者多為匿名,因此產生法律文件難以送達至告訴人與被告手中的問題。此外,儘管目前NFT尚不屬於金融產品,但FBI曾起訴利用NFT進行內線交易的不法人士,相關金融犯罪值得關注。

目前NFT交易平臺不受監管,且具有去中心化性質,當發生法律爭議時,其責任歸屬未臻明確,中國杭州法院就曾認定交易平臺須承擔NFT侵權責任。至於NFT是否構成財產權,英國和臺灣最高法院的判決皆持肯定觀點,臺灣最高法院認為,NFT在技術上屬電磁紀錄,受財產權保障。陳理事長最後建議,當今相關政府機關不必急著對元宇宙制定新法律,而是多蒐集不同國家的案例,再回頭檢視台灣現有法規有沒有辦法處理相關問題。

高崎鈞 理事長(台灣區塊鏈愛好者協會)

根據美國加密貨幣交易所Coinbase定義,元宇宙是大規模、持久且可即時操作的平臺。元宇宙包括物質與虛擬世界,是一個獨立運作的經濟系統,性質為去中心化,人類可透過數位身分進行一切社會經濟活動,當然也涉及安全隱私與信任問題。而元宇宙世界為開放架構,所有人皆可參與,背後技術為區塊鏈,該技術所帶來的去中心化特性可讓使用者自由出入,其運作與決策都相對透明。

區塊鏈依靠智慧合約運作。智慧合約會將訂約雙方的協議條款寫入程式碼,幾乎無法被修改,可解決不履約與違約問題。由於區塊鏈中的資料不可消除,可保證遊戲規則和相關資料無法任意竄改,適合在龍蛇混雜、無法被輕易信任的開放環境中使用。區塊鏈資料治理模式可用於跨領域、跨界、跨境、跨產業與跨平臺,不僅如此,區塊鏈還能防止壟斷、凝聚產業共識。

區塊鏈並非毫無缺點,其無法處理鏈下資產,且須透過外部資訊提供者提供資訊,方能與外界接軌。此外,為同步所有節點、執行智慧合約,區塊鏈尚不能進行複雜運算。他也強調,沒有完全的中心或去中心化,只有程度差異。實體世界的交易行為除買賣雙方外,會需要許多的中介者,但是在元宇宙,只要靠智慧合約就可以達成交易目的,但前提就是交易雙方的數位資產與狀態都保存在區塊鏈,才有可能被智慧合約處理,也就是把Law寫入Code裏頭。高理事長認為只要大家皆相信中心權威治理,就沒有非得要區塊鏈不可;因為去中心化還有執行效率低,交易成本普遍比中心化系統還要高的問題。

目前中心化的資料處理模式仍為主流,區塊鏈未來能否普及,實有疑義。儘管去中心化為發展趨勢,但短期內不可能建構出純粹的去中心化世界。

李紀寬 助理教授(清華大學科技法律研究所)

李紀寬助理教授引用Facebook的說法,提及元宇宙目前還離我們很遙遠,但相關商品與服務已推出,例如社群媒體、聊天室、遊戲及AR/VR服務等。然而,相對於手機遊戲得以在手機普及的特點,元宇宙遊戲的硬體需求較高,未來能否普及則尚待觀察。

元宇宙法律爭議包括:契約治理與規範、用戶隱私、言論規管以及各類刑事和民事糾紛。舉例而言,元宇宙中的虛擬身分可能面臨騷擾,而目前的解方是由平台業者從技術面為虛擬身分設定社交距離。

元宇宙未來三大問題規管包括:政府是否該介入規管元宇宙,元宇宙所產生的嶄新風險與爭議為何;平臺的責任歸屬與地位問題;一般契約能否處理元宇宙中的商業關係。目前元宇宙遊戲仍以平臺控制為主,如此情況恐將產生平臺和用戶權利不對等的問題,目前尚欠缺具體平臺審查標準,且平臺可以用戶違規為由進行懲處,但卻未提供用戶申訴管道,此外,平臺可任意中止或減少服務提供,此一現實恐將造成用戶蒙受損失。

在訂定元宇宙遊戲規範的時候,可參考過去遊戲公司的契約規範,例如停權規範、用戶回饋機制等。

曹筱玥 系主任(國立台北科技大學設計互動學系)

曹筱玥系主任則介紹了北科大成立了第一個元宇宙XR研發中心,以及學生在虛擬與實體結合的元宇宙的運用包括:時裝設計(例如今年臺北時裝周出現的虛擬鄧麗君)、影響力不下於真人實況主的虛擬網紅、全身虛擬裝備以及虛擬觀光場景(例如虛擬的馬祖藍眼淚)。

他也提到,元宇宙的迷人之處在於,可在不提供現實世界商品的前提下,為消費者帶來愉悅感及永續體驗;而千禧世代是個體認世代,不見得是透過金錢來換取商品,而是使用者體驗。

提問與回應

Q1.角色扮演是元宇宙重要元素,其身分卻很可能與現實世界迥異,會不會造成數位身分不具人格權,僅有財產權的情況?

陳家駿理事長提到,國外已開始談論元宇宙人格權的問題。元宇宙角色具擬真性質,相似度高,數位身分會愈來愈像真人,預期將具有人格權。另外,誠如高理事長所言,去中心化雖是發展趨勢,但絕不會往純粹的去中心化世界發展,目前大眾對去中心化的看法迥異,而未來相關法律須根據元宇宙的發展情況而設。

李紀寬教授則回應,目前元宇宙訴訟案多在遊戲,以公然侮辱案件為大宗。在人格權方面,法院近期判決普遍認為,虛擬ID與真實人類人格可對應,數位身分並不僅是財產,也具有人格性質。

Q2.「用戶體驗」與「經驗分享」為元宇宙關鍵,請曹筱玥老師分享更多內容。

娛樂經濟正在轉變,根據我對學生的觀察,其大多希望能將娛樂融入於社群關係,這與元宇宙的特性不謀而合。社群參與為元宇宙成功的關鍵,使用者能活在元宇宙的故事裡面,並透過與元宇宙世界的互動,創造自己與元宇宙之間的關係。