Meta-Regulation: Regulatory Framework for a Virtual World


Joseph E Cosgrove Jr.

62 Infrastructure 1


This article tackles the question of what should be the appropriate regulatory framework for the metaverse/virtual reality. The article addresses the origin of the term metaverse and how it should be defined. Questions are raised such as does the metaverse currently exist or will it ever be reached? The article argues that we should not leapfrog past basic constitutive decisions, such as whether the metaverse should be regulated, and, if so, by what agency or agencies. The article asks if the appropriate regulatory approach should be "command and control," or "hands-off," or a stage in between.

The article reviews the failed antitrust challenge by the FTC of the Meta and Within Unlimited merger which represented an early regulatory/legal challenge to the development of the metaverse. The article notes that the FTC received criticism for pursuing this case and asks if this criticism will deter future effots by the agency in the virtual reality space.

The article points out issues such as the idea of an avatar being "portable" from one platform to another platform, the possible need to update antitrust laws and the serious issue of the possible psycho-physical effects fo the metaverse.

The author suggests that a "let's see how this goes and worry about it later" approach is not a prudent path to take.

Full Citation

Joe Cosgrove Jr., Meta-Regulation: Regulatory Framework for a Virtual World, 62:3 Infrastructure 1 (2023).