Avatar legal protection as an atypical copyright object

Keywords: avatar, copyright protection, object, atypical, originality, objective form.


The legal protection of an avatar as an atypical copyright object has been investigated. The originality and objective form of an avatar have been established and characterised, which will allow correlating an avatar with atypical copyright objects, and the atypicality of an avatar as an object of copyright has been emphasised.

It has been determined that the phenomenon of an avatar as a legal category is that it is a complex category which has a different legal regime. It has been noted that it is most appropriate to relate an avatar to an object of rights, in particular, in the field of personal non-property rights and intellectual property rights. Creating objects with the help of a neural network, in particular, an avatar in the form of a computer copy of a person, is a complex work of different people. At the same time, this work has signs of intellectual, scientific and creative activity. Due to the complexity of such activity, it may fall under different legal regimes of intellectual property rights, in particular copyright and patent law. An avatar as a game character can be considered as an object of copyright. If an avatar is created using digital tools offered by the developers of a computer game, the copyright belongs to the respective developers.

It has been proved that an avatar is an intangible benefit that can include such virtual objects as: a game character tied to a specific user; a social network profile of a person; a computer copy of a person with unique identification features, originality and objective form. It has the following characteristics: the presence of a digital objective form that makes it possible to perceive the avatar in the digital environment, originality, uniqueness, and the availability of legal access to use the avatar. The legal protection of an avatar within the framework of copyright may be carried out under two legal regimes: copyright protection; and the institute of rights of a special kind (sui generis). It would be appropriate to supplement the Law of Ukraine “On Copyright and Related Rights” with a definition of an avatar and rights to it.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

V. A. Kroitor, Kharkiv National University of Internal Affairs

Doctor of Law, Professor.
Department of Civil Law and Process (professor).


Wakai, Т. (2023, February 21). Japan examines whether online avatars require legal protection. The Asahi Shimbun. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14829317.

Cheong, В. С. (2022). Avatars in the metaverse: potential legal issues and remedies. International Cybersecurity Law Review, 3, 467–494. https://doi.org/10.1365/s43439-022-00056-9.

Michurin, Ye. O. (2023, February 17). Separate problems of private law regulation of public relations in relation to information technologies (IT) [Conference presentation abstract]. XXI Scientific and Practical Conference “Civil law: problems of theory and law enforcement”, Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Avramova, O. Ye. (2022, December 16). Homo virtualis as an object of civil legal relations [Conference presentation abstract]. Scientific and Practical Conference “Problems of improving private law mechanisms of acquisition, transfer, implementation and protection of subjective civil and family rights in modern conditions in Ukraine”, Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Ochoa, T. T. (2012). Who Owns an Avatar? Copyright, Creativity, and Virtual Worlds. Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law, 14, 958–991.

Ditkovska, O., & Chelyk, V. (2022, October 20). Characterization of the raw data for building an avatar of a child figure in CLO 3D [Conference presentation abstract]. VI International Scientific and Practical Conference “KyivTex&Fashion”, Kyiv, Ukraine.

Dziuba, O. (2022, December 7). They made Zelensky an avatar. Blitz An interview with a company that “turns” celebrities into holograms. dev.ua. https://dev.ua/news/zrobyly-zelenskoho-avatarom-blits-interviu-z-kompaniieiu-iaka-peretvoriuie-znamenytostei-na-holohramy.

Avramova, O. Ye. (2022, May 20). System of intellectual property objects [Conference presentation abstract]. Scientific and Practical Conference “Problems of civil law and process”, Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Sitnikova, I. (2021, January 8). Microsoft has patented a technology that will allow you to “talk” with dead people. More precisely, with their digital copies. hromadske. https://hromadske.ua/posts/microsoft-zapatentuvala-tehnologiyu-yaka-dozvolit-rozmovlyati-z-pomerlimi-lyudmi-tochnishe-z-yihnimi-cifrovimi-kopiyami.

Refahi, I. (2021, March 13). Digital life after death. How virtual personalities help to survive separation from the dead. Focus. https://focus.ua/uk/technologies/476949-cifrovaya-zhizn-posle-smerti-kak-virtualnye-lichnosti-pomogayut-perezhit-razluku-s-umershimi.

Kharytonova, O. I. (2016). Literary and scientific works as objects of copyright. Journal of Civil Studies, 21, 100–104.

Maidanyk, L. (2018). Functions of copyright: concept and content. Entrepreneurship, Economy and Law, 3, 14–18.

Franks, М. А. (2011). Unwilling Avatars: Idealism and Discrimination in Cyberspace. Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, 20(2), 224–232.

Lucchetti, S. (2017, May 22). Why Artificial Intelligence Will Need a Legal Personality. LawCrossBorder. https://lawcrossborder.com/2017/05/22/why-robots-need-a-legal-personality/.

Delcker, J. (2018, April 11). Europe divided over robot ‘personhood’. Politico. https://www.politico.eu/article/europe-divided-over-robot-ai-artificial-intelligence-personhood/.

Krat, V. I. (2010). Atypicality in civil law: history and modernity. Journal of the Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine, 1, 134–143.

Venedyktova, I. (2018). Copyright on elements of a literary work in a computer video game. Law of Ukraine, 1, 91-102. https://doi.org/10.33498/louu-2018-01-091.

Dubniak, M. V. (2019). Problems of determining the legal regime of objects created with the help of neural network technologies. Information and Law, 4(31), 45–53. https://doi.org/10.37750/2616-6798.2019.4(31).196668.

How to Cite
Kroitor, V. A. (2023) “Avatar legal protection as an atypical copyright object”, Bulletin of Kharkiv National University of Internal Affairs, 102(3 (Part 1), pp. 46-60. doi: 10.32631/v.2023.3.03.
Civil Law and Civil Procedure; Family Law; International and Legal Direction in