Commentary on Metaverse-related laws and regulations with the example of “underage transactions and impersonation” | Contribution to law firm ZeLo

Possibilities and Regulations of the Metaverse

Attempts to create a virtual space on a computer that began around the 1980s have incorporated elements such as SNS, online games, and e-commerce, and in recent years have come to be called the “Metaverse.” On the Metaverse platform, unique economic spheres are expanding, such as interacting with others by operating avatars and conducting consumption behavior such as product purchases in virtual space. The spread of NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) is also boosting the market, and the market is expanding further. In addition to media and entertainment, it is expected that the Metaverse will be used in various fields such as education and retail.

On the other hand, the laws and regulations related to the Metaverse business are extremely wide, and it is necessary to pay attention to various laws and regulations such as transaction and financial regulations, intellectual property, and data. Therefore, as a series, we will introduce a wide range of laws and regulations related to the Metaverse.

Continuing from the last time, this time, we will focus on the “Laws on Metaverse x Transactions”, focusing on the fact that transactions on the Metaverse are usually conducted non-face-to-face, and will focus on laws and regulations related to underage transactions and impersonation. I will explain about

Features of Metaverse x Law

Regarding the Metaverse, the specific legal system is not sufficiently developed at present. Therefore, when a business operator enters the metaverse business,

It is necessary to consider mainly the following regulations and legal issues.

Regulatory and legal issues from a trading perspective

  1. Digital content is the target of transactions: arrangement of relationships with civil law ownership rights, etc.
  2. Cross-border transactions are conducted: arrangement of applicable law and jurisdiction, etc.
  3. Transactions on non-face-to-face platforms
    (1) Dealing with transactions and impersonation by minors
    (2) Dealing with consumer protection, etc.
  4. Digital currencies such as crypto-assets are the mainstream of settlement: Sorting out the relationship with financial regulations, etc.

Regulatory and legal issues from the perspective of rights protection

  1. Possibility of infringement of digital content created by various companies and individuals in the Metaverse: Sorting out the relationship with copyright and other intellectual property rights
  2. Potential infringement of privacy, honor, and moral rights: securing remedies for rights infringements, etc.

In the previous article, I explained 1 and 2 of the regulatory and legal issues from the perspective of transactions, so in this article3(1) Legal Issueswill be explained using a hypothetical example.

Metaverse x Laws on transactions (among them, laws on transactions on non-face-to-face platforms)

Regarding the relationship between transactions by minors and civil law

Mr. B, who is a minor, entered a false date of birth and purchased item Y that can be used in Metaverse space X.

Under the Civil Code, transactions made by a minor without the consent of a legal representative (a typical example is parents) can be canceled in principle (Article 5, Paragraph 2 of the Civil Code). Cancellation by minors is restricted (Article 21 of the Civil Code).

In this regard, in the “Regulations Concerning Electronic Commerce and Information Property Transactions (April 2022)” published by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, “a screen for confirming whether a person is a minor or not” set by a business operator Individual specific circumstances, such as whether the above display is a display that makes minors understand the meaning of the warning, or whether there is an age verification system that makes it difficult to make transactions according to the degree of the transaction, etc. It is understood that the decision will be made from a practical point of view after comprehensive consideration,” and it is believed that the actual service specifications will also be considered factors.

As a response policy, when providing the actual service, in addition to the declaration of age, in addition to displaying the age confirmation in the terms of use, pop-up at the time of each transaction, etc. Technical countermeasures such as displaying a flag for

Regarding the relationship between spoofing transactions and civil law

Mr. C purchased an item Y that can be used in the Metaverse space X using his friend D’s ID and password, as well as his avatar.

If the transaction is carried out by impersonation, as a general rule, the contract will not be concluded between the person in question (Mr. D in the hypothetical case).

However, in exceptional cases, for example,
(1) Mr. D has given Mr. C some kind of power of attorney in advance,
② Mr. C is in the name of Mr. D,
(3) In the event of an act beyond the scope of the power of attorney in (1),
(4) Good faith and no negligence in the belief that Mr. C’s transaction partner was Mr. D’s act (=When Mr. C did not actually act and there was no negligence in ignorance)
In such a case, there is a possibility that a contract will be concluded with the principal (Mr. D) under the apparent agency law (Article 110 of the Civil Code).

In this way, in order to prevent transactions on the Metaverse through spoofing, as a countermeasure policy, we will adopt technical measures such as personal identification and two-step authentication, prohibiting the lending of basic information such as IDs and passwords in the terms of use, etc. It is possible.


As described above, this time, focusing on the fact that economic transactions are conducted in the Metaverse space, we have explained the regulations related to transactions on non-face-to-face platforms, especially transactions by minors and impersonation, among the laws related to Metaverse x transactions. . Next time, I will explain how to deal with consumer protection in transactions on non-face-to-face platforms.

Also, in subsequent installments, we will explain other laws related to transactions, laws related to Metaverse × financial regulations, and laws related to Metaverse × intellectual property. Especially in the intellectual property part, we will explain the laws and regulations related to NFTs and tokens exchanged on the Metaverse, and the relationship between intellectual property rights and content on the Metaverse such as skins that can be attached to digital twins and avatars. .

ZeLo, a law firm, has been providing legal advice to many clients regarding the metaverse business, making use of the knowledge gained through research and practice focusing on the potential of blockchain and crypto-assets since before they became popular. In 2022, we will launch a team that specializes in three web fields such as blockchain, crypto assets, NFT, and metaverse, and have established a system that can provide more specialized services. We also accept consultations at spots, so please feel free to contact us.

Related: Law firm ZeLo/Foreign law joint venture official website

Contributor: Attorney Yusuke Sawada (Daini Tokyo Bar Association)
Law firm ZeLo and foreign law joint enterprise

Graduated from Kyoto University Faculty of Law in 2011, completed Keio University Law School in 2013, and passed the bar examination in the same year. Appointed public prosecutor in 2014. In 2019, he registered as a lawyer (belonging to the Daini Tokyo Bar Association). In 2019, he joined Sato Sogo Law Office. In 2021, he joined the law firm ZeLo. His main areas of expertise include web3 (blockchain, NFT, crypto assets, metaverse, etc.), litigation/dispute resolution, crisis management, M&A, general corporate, personnel and labor, and venture/startup legal affairs.

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