VR Experience

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Synonyms: Virtual Reality Experience, VR Recreations, Immersive Environments,
See also: Modding (video games)
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A Virtual Reality Experience is an interactive computer-generated experience taking place within a simulated environment. These experiences often aim to be immersive and explorable.

Many VR experiences are official releases made with the permission of copyright holders. However as the technology has become more widely available, many fan produced VR experiences are also been created. These works are often collaborative projects, made by fans for fans, and available to download for free.

Unlike video game mods, VR fan projects are rarely supported by copyright holders. This may be in part due to the fact that fan created VRs are not limited to gaming fandoms, with several media fandoms providing the setting for VR experiences. These works are not considered transformative and creators may be subject to legal action, including cease and desist letters and DMCA take down notices.

Examples of Fan created VR experiences

  • Stage 9, a VR recreation of the Star Trek Enterprise. It was removed from sites following a cease & desist from CBS.
  • Blade Runner 9732 was subject to a DMCA takedown.
  • Duel Monsters VR, Yu-Gi-Oh! duelling game in VR, which supports multiplayer gaming.

Legal issues for Fan Creators

From the perspective of legal professionals:

Blogger Eric Greenbaum created a hypothetical scenario that aptly captures the legal issues that will inevitably accompany advances in VR.

In his hypothetical, he imagined the ultimate Harry Potter fan creating a virtual Hogwarts and sharing it online through free downloads. Based upon the title of the download and the details of the virtual world, it is clear that the entirety of her virtual world is taken from the pages of a Harry Potter book. Although well intentioned, and likely a dream come true for millions of people, it is likely a copyright violation.

While copyright law does not provide owners with unlimited rights over their works, it does provide a comprehensive scheme of protection. Copyright laws give owners the exclusive right “(1) to reproduce the copyrighted work; (2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work; and (3) to distribute copies to the public by transfer of ownership.” The policy rationale behind the law suggests that a virtual representation, although in a different format, is likely considered a “derivative work” of the original. Therefore, the advent of VR technology is likely to result in a steady increase in copyright infringements. [1]

References

  1. A Virtual Dream is a Copyright Nightmare by ALLISON LAUBACH on OCTOBER 16, 2015 posted on www.jetlaw.org