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The Universal Declaration of Avatar Rights

Imagine a world where your community, your friends, your assets, and all your creative freedoms were suddenly expelled by a corporation or government. Now consider the same corporations and governments pulling the plug on Facebook, 4Chan, Twitter, or other online communities you may belong to. A frightening thought. But is it really that far off? When considering the totality of creative expression and human connection found in online communities – arts, beliefs, thoughts, emotions – we are well beyond the simple definition of community, we are now entering the realm of culture. As online cultures continue to aid and develop human connections, serious moral questions arise. Is it time to start considering the ethical responsibilities of platform controllers who create and maintain these unique cultures? Should they have the right to determine the destiny of these cultures, or should the people have a right to self govern, free from the fear of complete annihilation? As online communities continue to blur the line between virtual and true reality, is it time to critically consider a Universal Declaration for Avatar Rights?

I have submitted this idea to the SXSW (South by South-West) Interactive conference in Austin Texas to present next year.

If you like the idea, please go to the website and vote for it. You don’t have to attend the conference in order to vote, so it would help me a great deal either way.
Questions I aim to answer:

  • Are we beyond the basic definition of community on the internet? Have we entered the realm of culture?
  • Should these online cultures have the right to exist free from the possibility of complete annihilation?
  • As a brand or a company, are we really obliged to preserve and protect online cultures?
  • What would a declaration of avatar rights look like?
  • What can I do to identify and protect rights of members in my online community?
  • Also:

    Check out these other panel ideas from colleagues at Proximity, please vote for them too!

    • Andrew Bailey ” What does Google TV mean for advertising industry?”
      This panel will explore what Google TV means for the advertising industry, what it will take to produce award winning and effective creative and how creative will have to evolve to meet the demands of Google TV.
    • Matt DiPaola “Branded Entertainment: Do Brands Hurt Good Storytelling?”
      This panel is for anyone who lives to tell a story. Content producers will learn how to assess brand participation in their project, navigate new funding models, and bullet proof their elevator pitch.

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    28 Responses to “The Universal Declaration of Avatar Rights”

    1. lilydustbin Says:

      Is it time to consider a Universal Declaration for Avatar Rights? Pls support @collindouma & vote 4 his SXSW panel

      This comment was originally posted on Twitter

    2. MichelSavoie Says:

      Sounds like an awesome idea! RT @CollinDouma The Universal Declaration of Avatar Rights:

      This comment was originally posted on Twitter

    3. Tweets that mention The Universal Declaration of Avatar Rights :: radical trust -- Says:

      [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Michel Savoie, Danielle Holke. Danielle Holke said: Is it time to consider a Universal Declaration for Avatar Rights? Pls support @collindouma & vote 4 his SXSW panel [...]

    4. eModeration Says:

      Interesting SXSW idea from @CollinDouma: The Universal Declaration of Avatar Rights:

      This comment was originally posted on Twitter

    5. superdifficult Says:

      Very Interesting Idea @CollinDouma The Universal Declaration of Avatar Rights:

      This comment was originally posted on Twitter

    6. megbutton Says:

      Are we beyond the basic definition of community on the internet?Have we entered the realm of culture? via/ @CollinDouma

      This comment was originally posted on Twitter

    7. thejordanrules Says:

      My SXSW Pannel Reco – Do basic human rights apply to virtual communities, from @CollinDouma –

      This comment was originally posted on Twitter

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    August 12th, 2010