Short Description:

Virtual world environment to offer government entities and interest groups an on-line space for conducting citizen consultation. In short, this project will use the metaphor of the “county fair,” a familiar civic event in the life of a community. This will be a place – like a meeting tent, a town hall or even a shopping mall – where groups can congregate online. The aim of this project is to design a space where interested parties, such as trade associations, activist groups and scientific experts, will be able to set up virtual booths for presentation of information and deliberation as well as advocacy.

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Democracy Island

Current projects include the following:

Business Model

Second Life is unique among online worlds in that their users are allowed to retain their own intellectual property and generate income within the space. Because this is a geographic space, professional groups, including lawyers, will be able to rent space from NYLS for advertising, as they would in the real world. Since Second Life allows residents to purchase more land when desired, the Democracy Fair can grow as needed. In addition, the content and systems built early in the process can be sold or leased to other groups who wish to utilize the space.

Participants in Second Life participate in building content, developing structures on the land and running events. Some participants work for fun and for free and others work for in-world currency. Either way, we receive top quality design assistance at a fraction of the cost of hiring traditional developers and artists.

We will also work with Federal agencies and other entities to set up such participation and consultation fairs according to their needs and to manage the fairgrounds. We will charge a “conference organizing” fee.

Walking through the fair, deliberating, learning and participating will, of course, be free and open to all Second Life users. We will treat this as a public forum.

Linden Lab will provide technical support for our users.

We retain all intellectual property rights in and to the fair, allowing us to move it to new virtual worlds as they arise and to secure our rights in the event Second Life goes off-line. This is an important distinction between Second Life/Linden Lab and other massively multiplayer game companies. Not only is Second Life a society and not a game, but the ability to retain intellectual property is unique in the industry. The proposed project will not infringe the rights of any third party.