Hooo-ly crap. Academic papers on virtual estate have been floating around for a while now, but with the recent EVE scandal I'm betting they're going to become a lot more prominent. You can find an abstract (the short version) of one here
. It has graphs!
Why the excitement about long and technical papers? Well, let me put it like this. Academic papers are one of the first things to start floating around when really educated people start to become concerned about the legality of certain issues. Like what our dear friend Dentara Rast did. So some smart people with letters after their names are "concerned", you might say. So what?
Academic papers are often used as a call to arms for reformation. The more papers there are about a certain subject (virtual fraud), the more likely that said people are going to star pushing for legal changes. Now this doesn't apply to all
academic papers; as of yet I haven't seen anyone trying to ban "A detailed analysis of glycolisis as pertaining to the Krebs cycle". But generally when papers start coming out about the real life worth of virtual money, goods, and services its a pretty good indicator of legal unrest.
Here are a couple related links on the topic if you're interested:
Who's in Charge of Who I Am? Identity and Law online
by Susan P. Crawford. This paper talks about who owns the online you, how they have the power to censor your identity, and who is going to to make sure that you have access to your constitutional rights online, since traditional laws aren't going to be a big help.
The IRS's Topic 420
, which deals with taxes on bartered goods. Technically it could be said that IRS already has a mechanism in place to start taxing income acquired from online bartering.
is a really technical paper. It deals with legal proceedings as pertaining to online commerce.
Gamers with Jobs has a really awesome post on the EVE scandal and what it means
as well. They're the ones that got me started on the academics side of it. I used some of the thinks posted there too. Much kudos!