Commentary on Metaverse-related laws and regulations using the example of “addressing consumer protection” | Contribution to Law Firm ZeLo

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    Possibilities and Regulations of the Metaverse

    Attempts to build a virtual space on a computer that began around the 1980s have incorporated elements such as SNS, online games, and electronic 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 purchasing products in the virtual space.

    The spread of NFT (Non-Fungible Token) is also a tailwind, and the market is expanding further. Metaverse is expected to be used in various fields such as education and retail as well as media and entertainment.

    On the other hand, the laws and regulations related to the Metaverse business are extremely diverse, and it is necessary to pay attention to various laws and regulations such as transaction regulations, 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 often conducted non-face-to-face, and will explain the laws and regulations related to the Metaverse. . consumer protection. to do.

    Features of Metaverse x Law

    Concerning the Metaverse, a specific legal system has not yet been sufficiently developed. Therefore, when a business operator enters the metaverse business,

    • Trading Perspective
    • Rights protection perspective

    Mainly the following regulatory and legal issues should be considered:

    Regulatory and legal issues from a trading perspective

    1. Digital content becomes the subject of transactions: Sorting out the relationship with civil law ownership rights, etc.
    2. Where cross-border transactions are conducted, applicable laws and jurisdictional arrangements are made.
    3. Trading on non-face-to-face platforms
      (1) Dealing with transactions and impersonation by minors
      (2) Responding to consumer protection, etc.
    4. Digital currencies such as crypto-assets are the mainstream of settlements – Sorting out the relationship with financial regulations –

    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: Organizing the Relationship with Intellectual Property Rights such as Copyright
    2. Potential infringement of privacy, honor, or moral rights: securing remedies for rights infringements, etc.

    In the previous article, I explained 3 (1) of regulatory and legal issues from the perspective of transactions, so this time3(2) Legal MattersLet me explain using a hypothetical example.

    Metaverse x Transaction Law (including transaction law on non-face-to-face platforms)

    Relationship with Consumer Protection (Specified Commercial Transaction Law)

    Mr. F wanted to purchase item Y that can be used in metaverse space X, but he purchased item B by mistake, so he wants to return item B.

    In the case of conducting mail-order sales over the Internet, etc., it is clear that the seller intends to accept the offer through communication based on the indication, and the consumer can apply for purchase after receiving the indication. (= In other words, when operating a business such as an EC site on the Metaverse space, certain items must be displayed in the advertisement (so-called “display based on” ) is required (Article 11 of the Act on Specified Commercial Transactions).

    And if the seller of item Y in the hypothetical example is the operator of metaverse space X, then the metaverse space operator should display the above. On the other hand, for example, if exhibitor C, who rents space in metaverse space X, sells item Y, and C receives an offer to conclude a sales contract from Mr. F, there is a possibility that C will also be liquidated at the time of the advertisement. I have. obligation arises.

    In addition, if the seller is obligated to display information based on the Act on Specified Commercial Transactions such as C, the seller’s own address and phone number must be displayed. However, in the Metaverse space, sellers (especially sole proprietors such as virtual YouTubers) may not want their contact information such as addresses and phone numbers to be disclosed.

    In this case, after fulfilling the following certain requirements announced by the Consumer Affairs Agency in “Specified Commercial Transaction Act Guide ‘Mail Order Advertising Q&A’ Q18”, instead of the seller’s own address and phone number, the platform management person (for example, the address or phone number of the operator of the metaverse space).

    In addition, under the Civil Code, it is stipulated that in the case of gross negligence such as input errors, the contract cannot be canceled on the grounds of negligence (Article 95, Paragraph 3 of the Civil Code). On the other hand, Article 3 of the Electronic Contract Law stipulates that if the business operator does not take measures to confirm the true intention, it can be canceled even if there is gross negligence.

    Therefore, when providing actual services, it is necessary to (1) provide a screen where consumers can clearly confirm their intention to apply by clicking the application button, and (2) “express their intention to apply.” becomes. It is conceivable to provide a screen to display the application contents as a “final confirmation screen” and give an opportunity to make corrections there.

    Relationship with consumer protection (standard clauses)

    Japanese operator A, which operates Metaverse Space X, wants to change its terms of use and create new clauses to limit its liability.

    Terms and conditions such as terms of use prepared in advance for the purpose of being used as contract details when a business operator conducts standard transactions with an unspecified number of people is called a “standard document.” agreement. In order for the standard contract prepared by the business operator to become part of the contract with the user, it must satisfy any of the following requirements (Article 548-2, Paragraph 1 of the Civil Code).

    1. Where the modification of the formula conforms to the general interests of the other party.
    2. Whether the change to the standard terms and conditions does not conflict with the purpose of the contract, the necessity of the change, the appropriateness of the content after the change, whether there is a provision to the effect that the standard terms and conditions can be changed according to the provisions Based on the provisions of this article, the content and other Whether it is reasonable in light of the circumstances surrounding the change.

    Therefore, as in this case, when a business operator intends to establish new terms of use that are disadvantageous to users, it is necessary to change these standard terms and conditions.

    Relationship with Consumer Protection (Consumer Contract Act)

    Mr. G purchased an item Y that can be used in the metaverse space X, but he cannot use the item Y after the purchase, so he wants to claim damages.

    Under the Consumer Contract Act, if a consumer contract exempts or limits the liability for damages borne by a business operator based on voluntary provisions of the Civil Code, Commercial Code, etc., the effect of the special contract becomes invalid. (Article 8, Paragraph 1 of the Consumer Contract Act).

    1. Clauses exempting consumers from all liability for damages caused by a business operator’s default or tort (performed in connection with the performance of an obligation)
    2. Clauses that partially exempt consumers from liability for damages when consumers suffer damages due to default or tort due to intentional or gross negligence of business operators

    For this reason, business operators need to establish disclaimers on the business side in the terms of use, etc., in preparation for possible cases.

    Please note that the revision of the Consumer Contract Act (promulgated on June 1, 2022, scheduled to be enforced on June 1, 2023) has added a clause that invalidates the salvage clause. A salvage clause is a clause in terms of use or a contract in which the scope of exemption is unclear in order to avoid the pursuit of responsibility from the consumer.

    Therefore, for example, when setting the upper limit of the amount of damages, it is necessary to clearly indicate what actions of the business operator are exempt from liability, such as “except for cases where the business operator is intentionally or grossly negligent”. need to do it. ” I have.


    In this article, we have focused on the fact that economic transactions are conducted in the Metaverse space, and have explained the laws related to transactions on non-face-to-face platforms, especially from the perspective of consumer protection. Metaverse x transaction related. . From the next time, we will explain other transaction-related laws, Metaverse x financial regulation-related laws, and Metaverse x intellectual property-related laws.

    In particular, in the area of ​​intellectual property, we will explain the relationship between content on the Metaverse and intellectual property rights, such as laws and regulations related to NFTs and tokens exchanged on the Metaverse, as well as skins that can be attached to digital twins and avatars. increase. .

    ZeLo Law Firm has provided legal advice to many clients related to the Metaverse business, making use of the knowledge gained through research and practice that focused on the potential of blockchain and crypto-assets before they became widespread. In 2022, we will launch a team specializing in three web areas: blockchain, crypto assets, NFT, and metaverse, and establish 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

    Posted by Yusuke Sawada (Daini Tokyo Bar Association)
    Law firm ZeLo and foreign law joint venture

    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. In 2014, he became a public prosecutor. 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 law firm ZeLo. His main areas of expertise include Web3 (Blockchain, NFT, Crypto Assets, Metaverse, etc.), Litigation/Dispute Resolution, Crisis Management, M&A, General Business, Human Resources, Venture/Startup Legal Affairs, etc.


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