All rights, in perpetuity, throughout the universe, in all languages, and in all media now known or hereafter devised”

This is familiar language for the transfer of copyright and other intellectual property rights.  Let’s talk about the territory, “The Universe”.  Prior to the rise of social networks and virtual worlds the term “universe” was commonly understood (without getting philosophical).  Now the term may not be so clear.

Most should agree that when we are listening to music, or watching a video in our living room, you are consuming the work in the universe/world/country/city/address you live in.  What happens when you are not watching it in your living room, but rather online, or even if it is your virtual world avatar who is consuming the material?

Let’s take it one step further.  The Music Genome Project was commenced in 1999 by Will Glaser and Tim Westergren, and a year later, with the help of Jon Kraft morphed into “Pandora Media”  The project sought to examine music in much the same way as humans can be examined through their DNA.  The project and Pandora Media would analyze songs through mathematical algorithms using about 400 attributes.  Based on user selections, Pandora Media streams songs to the user’s “stations” introducing the user to new music which has a makeup similar to the user’s initial selection and songs the user has identified that they like.

Considering that avatars in virtual worlds can continue to interact with their environments and even other avatars in the absence of their user, one may ask where their actions are taking place.  If an avatar was to create a playlist or video library, or simply play songs or videos for another avatar, are these activities taking place in the virtual world of cyberspace or the physical world we live in?”

To address this question, in appropriate circumstances, I have started to adopt slightly revised language in my right conveyances, referencing the territory both “physical and virtual”.

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