Dubai: Gitex Global 2022 is playground for metaverse enthusiasts
A metaverse user at the recent Gitex Global 2022 tech show in Dubai. Photo for illustrative use only. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News archives

Dubai: The Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department held its third virtual law conference entitled ‘Legal Regulation of the Metaverse’ on Friday to discuss developing law practice and legislative requirements related to augmented virtual reality.

The virtual meeting was attended by around 2,000 participants from local and federal government entities, law firms, and law schools. It discussed mechanisms for dealing with the implications of the technological innovation in the legal sector.

Dr Lowai Mohamed Belhoul

Dr Lowai Mohamed Belhoul, director-general of the Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department, said the department is fully committed to being supportive of the government’s digital economy in line with the directives and visions of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

He said: “The world is facing a new challenge related to the future, in which we are moving from physical reality to augmented virtual reality, through sophisticated digital technologies making the world a borderless space offering working environments identical to the physical world. Technology is no more a mere tool for doing business, it is rather a real space where tasks are exercised, and unlimited platforms where countries can invest in various fields.”

Screengrab of the virtual conference Image Credit: Supplied

He added Metaverse brings “legitimate questions about privacy, the ability to provide a safe environment for users of these technologies, and legislative changes, and the creation of an appropriate infrastructure that accommodates the implications of this transformation together with its applications, especially in government legal work”.

Digital transformation

In his opening speech, Naim Yazbeck, general manager for Microsoft UAE, highlighted Dubai’s digital transformation, while Dr Juma Obaid Al Falasi, director of the Advocates and Consultants Affairs Directorate of the Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department, discussed the legislative requirements for regulating the use of the Metaverse, and legal services in augmented and virtual world, as well as protecting personal data and privacy of users.

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Dr Bashar Malkawi, head of Research and Publication Section, noted the legislation governing the protection of copyright (Federal Decree-Law No. 38 of 2021 on Copyright and Related Rights) has provisions that can be used in the Metaverse, such as protecting computer software, licensing or transferring of copyright, and other legal provisions.

Paprita Mohan Mishra discussed ownership of virtual assets and their different forms which are regulated by law, and proprietary rights that arise along the Metaverse, pointing out that the surge in the spread of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) reflects the high demand for simulating private ownership that has always been in existence in the physical world.

Legal counsel Tarek Saeed, head of the Government Claims Section, made a presentation on money laundering and the Metaverse, in which he discussed the UAE’s endeavours to combat money laundering through a set of regulations intended to eliminate that crime and support judicial and supervisory bodies to curb relevant illegal activities committed in violation of UAE’s legislation.