Education in the Metaverse
Jincy ThomasAssociate,Innovation, Patents & Industrial Property
Ahmad SalehPartner,Innovation, Patents & Industrial Property
As virtual reality technology continues to advance, the concept of the metaverse has become more prevalent in our society. The metaverse is a virtual world where users can interact with each other in a fully immersive and interactive environment. In this world, users can create their own avatars (digital identities), develop unique technologies, and engage in a wide range of activities. The emergence of the metaverse has ignited a paradigm shift in various industries, and the education sector is no exception. As this transformative technology infiltrates education, it also introduces a range of legal challenges, particularly concerning Intellectual Property (“IP”) protection, third-party content licensing, and the intricate world of educational technology (“ed-tech”)
Identity protection is critical to innovation in the metaverse, and the global market for identity protection is expected to nearly double by 2025. The transition to a digital economy requires different identity systems, and digital identity is key to privacy and security in the digital world.
Metaverse avatar applications ("apps”) allow users to store their non- fungible token (“NFT”) avatars as special files and export them to the metaverse. These apps also allow you to create, buy, sell, and monetise them. By exporting the metaverse avatar directly to the metaverse, users can use their NFTs as avatars in the metaverse. There are several popular metaverse avatar apps such as Bitmoji, Avatoon, SuperMii, Zepeto and others, which are available for users to create and customise their avatars and export them to the Metaverse as unique files.
There are also avatar creators that allow users to create an avatar from a selfie and customise it with various features. Turning NFTs into avatars can be quite profitable, as avatars can be used to trade goods and services or participate in unique experiences.
NFTs are unique digital assets that exist on a blockchain and cannot be replicated. They represent a wide range of digital or real-world objects, including graphics, videos, sports highlights, collectibles, virtual avatars and more. NFTs are created or 'minted' from digital objects and are bought and sold like any other item. They are designed to be unique assets in the digital world and their value is determined by supply and demand. NFTs are primarily based on blockchain technology. NFTs may be subject to IP protection, including copyright, design patents and trademark rights, to protect NFTs from potential infringement. NFT creators need to be aware of potential infringement issues when using third-party IP and should also consider IP protection for their own creations.
In the realm of education, the use of the metaverse can bring exciting opportunities for immersive and interactive learning experiences. Avatars, which serve as digital personas, emerge as a crucial aspect of the metaverse, enabling students and educators alike to assume virtual identities within this expansive digital landscape. By embodying avatars, individuals can engage with educational content in an entirely novel way, transcending geographical limitations and enriching the traditional classroom setting.
Avatars in the metaverse can be created using a variety of methods, including 3D modelling software, animation, or photogrammetry. Once an avatar is created, there are several ways to protect it. However, the metaverse is currently unregulated, meaning that no laws or regulations have been written to govern its use.
So, is there an IP office in the metaverse, and if not, how can individuals and companies creating avatars obtain IP protection? Copyright laws apply to avatars, and the creator may own the rights to their avatar. Additionally, it is important to follow guidelines and requirements when creating avatars, such as setting up the Software Development Kit (“SDK”), which is a collection of software development tools that are used to create applications for a specific platform or software framework. If an avatar is considered an original work of authorship, it may be protected under Federal Decree Law No. 38 of 2021 on Copyright and Neighbouring Rights (“Copyright Law”). This would give the creator exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, and display the avatar. To protect their avatar, creators would need to register their copyright with the Ministry of Economy.
In addition to this legal protection, some metaverse platforms have their own policies and procedures for protecting avatars. For example, some platforms require users to agree to terms of service that prohibit the unauthorized use of avatars. Other platforms may have reporting mechanisms that allow users to report instances of avatar theft or infringement.
Ultimately, protecting avatars in the metaverse will require a multi-faceted approach. IP protection is critical for encouraging innovation and creativity in the metaverse, and it is essential for companies to take appropriate measures to protect their IP. As the metaverse continues to evolve, it is important for creators to stay up to date on the latest developments in the existing laws and platform policies to protect their avatars / digital identities.
Licensing third-party content for use within the metaverse requires careful attention to the Copyright Law, usage rights, and the terms set by content creators. Educational institutions must ensure that they have the appropriate licenses to incorporate external content into their virtual classrooms. This entails understanding the scope of usage, potential restrictions, and the terms set forth by content creators. A failure to obtain proper licenses can result in legal consequences, making due diligence in licensing agreements an imperative for educators navigating the metaverse. By understanding these issues, educators can ensure that the metaverse serves as a safe, enriching, and legally compliant learning environment. As the metaverse continues to reshape education, responsible practices will be pivotal in unlocking its full potential while safeguarding the rights and interests of all stakeholders involved.
The metaverse's integration into education holds promise for enhanced engagement, collaboration, and personalized learning experiences. It is important to protect privacy, property, and identity in the metaverse, and creating and becoming a digital version of yourself that can move and do things brings digital identity to the forefront. However, the use of the metaverse in education raises various intellectual property concerns, including copyright infringement, trademark infringement, ownership of virtual assets, privacy and data protection, and licensing and permissions. It is important for educators and students to be aware of these concerns and take appropriate measures to ensure compliance with intellectual property laws and ethical practices. By addressing these challenges proactively and collaboratively, educators can harness the full potential of the metaverse while ensuring the protection of rights, fostering innovation, and advancing education into a new era.
For further information,please contact Jincy Thomas and Ahmad Saleh.
Published in September 2023
I draw and color every free moment. It’s my passion and it gives me comfort.
I am happy and I enjoy going to Mawaheb. I enjoy field trips. Mawaheb is a happy and exciting place with nice friends. Painting on canvas makes me feel happy.