Residents - as well as flying from place to place and fashioning outlandish avatars - can create, buy and sell goods. And the money they make from these businesses in Linden dollars, the currency of Second Life, can be turned into a quantity of real world cash - a sum that depends on the current exchange rate.
As such, companies including ABN Amro, IBM and Nissan have set up operations already (see this Business Week Second Life photo story for more businesses).
And which - and whose - law is applicable is also open to debate. Naylor said, as a practical approach, European businesses should assume that unfair contract terms, consumer protection, ecommerce and distance selling obligations will apply to transactions in virtual worlds - unless European customers can be filtered out of the sales process.