PUBLISHED:May 10, 2010

Pillsbury Virtual Worlds Writing Competition


Pillsbury is sponsoring a writing competition on legal issues relating to virtual worlds. Participants can elect to write a paper on a topic within one of the categories listed below. The papers must be submitted by June 30, 2010 and will be judged by members of Pillsbury’s Virtual Worlds team. Judges will
select a best paper in each of the five categories, including a best overall paper. The best paper in each category will be awarded $500. The best overall paper will be awarded $2000. Winning and other notable papers will be recognized on Pillsbury’s Virtual World Law blog.

June 30, 2010: Papers due.
August 30, 2010: Announcement of winning papers.

Following the announcement of the winners, Pillsbury plans to host a seminar in SecondLife. During the seminar, Pillsbury will provide winning authors the opportunity to do a short presentation of their paper and answer questions on their topic.


(1) Agreements and Policies for Virtual Worlds. Examples of topics can include, but are not limited to, EULA/TOS, DMCA, COPPA, data privacy and protection, community rules and/or
other legal issues relating to agreements or policies used with virtual worlds;

(2) Virtual Goods. Examples of topics can include, but are not limited to, IP protection issues, brand protection, secondary markets, ownership vs. license to use, rights upon termination of account or death of account holder, enforcing rights (e.g., IP and/or contractual) against infringers and unauthorized use of virtual goods and/or other legal issues relating to virtual goods;

(3) Virtual Currencies. Examples of topics can include, but are not limited to, statutes, laws and regulations relating to virtual currencies, legal strategies to minimize liability when providing
virtual currency, issues with different types of currency models, TOS provisions relating to virtual currencies, ownership vs. license to use, rights upon termination of account or death of account holder and/or other legal issues relating to virtual currencies;

(4) IP Protection Techniques and Strategies for Virtual Worlds. Examples of topics can include, but are not limited to,patents, design patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, IP aspects of TOS and other agreements and/or other issues regarding IP protection for virtual worlds; and

(5) Legal issues with Mirror Worlds and Augmented Reality - Examples of topics can include, but are not limited to,privacy, IP protection and enforcement relating to to people, places, and/or
things, represented, legal issues with different business models, and/or other issues regarding mirror worlds and/or augmented reality.

Rules and Regulations:

1. The competition is open to currently-enrolled law students,
including students graduating in 2010.
2. Authors may submit more than one paper. Each paper must be submitted separately.
3. Submissions will be evaluated based on the following criteria: (1) depth and quality of research; (2) originality of thought; (3) quality, clarity and efficiency of presentation and (4) application of legal principles to current and future business models and technology.
4. Papers authored by two or more eligible students may be submitted. All submissions must be the original work product of the author or authors, without substantial assistance from others. Each student warrants that it is the sole owner (or joint owners) of any copyrights in each paper submitted.
5. All submissions must adhere to the following minimum requirements: (1) all papers must be doublespaced,
have a 12-point font, and be in .PDF format; (2) all papers must use footnote references (not endnotes), must include a table of authorities, and may include a table of contents and/or index; (3) a cover sheet must be provided including name(s) of the author(s), category, contact information including e-mail address and phone number, law school and class, and title of the paper and (4) no personal information should be included in the paper. There is no minimum or maximum page limit.
6. All submissions are due by 12 p.m. EDT on June 30, 2010. Late entries will not be eligible for an award. All entries shall be emailed to:
7. Winners will be required to provide a Social Security number and a mailing address in order to collect the cash prizes. The author(s) of the best overall paper will receive a cash award of $2,000 (total award); the author(s) of the best papers in each of the other 4 categories will be awarded $500 (total award per
paper). If a winning paper has more than one author, the prize will be split equally among the co-authors.
9. Authors retain all ownership rights with respect to their submissions, but by submitting their paper(s), grant Pillsbury a non-exclusive, perpetual, world-wide, irrevocable, royalty free license to use, copy, redistribute and publicly display (publish) the paper(s), including, without limitation, in connection with
publishing the results of the competition, on Pillsbury’s website(s) and/or blog at
10. An impartial panel comprised of members of Pillsbury’s Virtual Worlds and Video Game team will judge the writing competition entries.