Having predicted that law will follow activity (and complaints) into the virtual worlds, let me now respond to Orin Kerr and look for obvious places where even some libertarians might favor intervention, criminal and otherwise. Most of us think that fraud ought to generate government intervention, so what about fraud in the virtual world? I understand that when one cheats when playing poker or in calling fouls on the basketball court, the normal remedy is social disapproval and, eventually, removal from the game. Occasionally, the fraud is so severe that law comes into play because the fraud has so affected one's out-of-game wealth or physical safety.
Isn't all this likely to be true when one "plays" or lives part-time in virtual worlds? If A deletes much of B's existence in the virtual world, or A manipulates B in that world to such a degree that B's real world health and safety are at issue, why should criminal law be thought out of bounds? I think Orin's argument (we will find out shortly) might be that there will be too much of a chill on participation, but that is something we can take into account with our remedies; it is rarely if ever something that causes us to promise that there will be no criminal law intervention. I can be held accountable for things I do and say in a church (despite the chill problem), such as fraudulently inducing marriage or charitable contributions. I can be accountable for things I do and say in a classroom. And the same is true for the basketball court and for many other settings that might have been set aside as safe havens.
It is part of the growing pains of a field, I think, for early settlers to wish that it be kept pure and clear of outsiders. But it is inevitable that the logic and interest groups, good and bad, that brought about legal intervention in the old worlds will bring about similar intervention in the new.