It's easy to see why people find the story of Peter Ludlow and his banishment from Sims Online - a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game - interesting. Ludlow was banished for running a newspaper on the virtual world, detailing some of the sleazier aspects of the game with the exposure of minors posing as adults offering virtual prostitution as a high point. It is easy to see the kind of corporate intervention that Ludlow experiences as a warning of times to com. Physical artificial communities with highly restrictive bylaws are already a reality even if your human rights would of course be protected in an actual artificial setting. The economics of defending your rights may however make it economically unfeasible to protect them.
The story is covered in a recent piece in Salon (Premium - nonfree registration required) and also covered on the Copyfight blog.
It reads like an advertisement for big government. Somebody has to provide balance against corporate interests.