virtual property rights? Virtual Earth 3D & adverts.

“Because adverts are natural”… this but does bring up questions of rights over virtual representations of real property. Microsoft have just announced their new additional functionality, 3D views. Works in Windows only, IE6 and 7 and is a plugin, essentially. It does look and move very well, with the detail on the sides of buildings and on the roofs looking to have been rendered correctly with areal photographs. Very impressive looking buildings! And they’ve also added adverts, making this virtual world more like the real world for better or for worse.

I saw this advert/billboard for “Eragon” almost immediately when I searched for San Francisco and zoomed directly in (New York for some reason didn’t show any 3D buildings for me, London seems quite flat, but there are some areas rendered like the Battersea Power Station).bps.png

I can see that there will be prime areas of a map, like where does the map center when someone searches for “Manchester”? … .That central point will be more expensive to have adverts in. Or on the top of a high building, or in the middle of a park. Perhaps we will see loads of billboards in the centre of the cities, and maybe not so many on the motorways and arterial routes into and out of them.

It also raises questions of ownership….(Something we chatted about in #geo not too long ago) Do I have the right to stop a competitor putting their billboard on top of my Headquarters? Can a town argue to stop certain businesses advertising on their map, if they have similarly banned them from the physical space? Do I have a right to say how my physical property is represented in a virtual (3D) world? Can state owned property have paid advertisements on the 3D representation? Does anyone have a right to the representation of the reality.

Do you have any rights that you can cite in respect to how Microsoft/Google represent physical property over which you claim ownership? Doesn’t the representation of your property come under trademark/copyright? How about the physical space above it?

You would have the right to point out any inaccuracies in their representation (i.e. my house now has an extension) but I would guess that wouldn’t be the same as the right to have your own representation, giant flower, purple mushroom etc. Perhaps in the future ownership of virtual representation of real property becomes as standard when you come into ownership of real property.

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