Dutch court rules virtual theft is real


Dutch court rules virtual theft is real

In September 2007, two teens, both aged 14 at the time, forced a 13-year-old classmate to hand over two items he had acquired playing Runescape, an internet game extremely popular with 10 to 15-year-old boys.

The culprits, who cannot be named due to their age, kicked, hit and threatened their classmate with a knife before the 13-year-old gave in and transferred the Runescape items, an amulet and a mask, to his attackers’ online accounts.

Cyber goods
The public prosecutor argued, in what has become known as the ‘Runescape’ case, that virtual items used in the game should be considered as real and tangible goods as they have real, tangible value for the owner. The prosecutor noted that winning, collecting and trading Runescape objects play an important role in the virtual world and can also be sold for money in the real world.

Well, you seem to have not just theft but assault & battery here. The ruling makes sense – something belonged to A and B & C forced him to hand it over. BUT, if Rune stuff weren’t being traded in the real world, how would it be valused as far as petit/grand larceny?

Also some of those ingame items cost REAL WORLD cash at times. So yes I consider it theft to.

Common cost. In the US, the typical scale is $250; under, it’s petty larceny, and over, of course, is grand larceny. There are auction sites out there that actually take cash for virtual items (and give out cash for virtual items), as well as exchange real cash for whatever currency is used in the game. Thus, finding the value of the in-game item on an auction site, or relating the in-game currency value of the item and relating that to real-world currency, you can hit a reasonable value of the item(s) in question.

Interestingly enough, the auctioneers and other people who make money selling items have been forced to reject monetary value of such item for tax purposes (among other reasons) and now insist the money is for “the time and labor involved in acquiring the item” rather than the item itself. Thus you could also prosecute this case (again, in the US, as I have no idea about Dutch law) under a theft-of-services theory.

In a related story, as they say –


Woman jailed after ‘killing’ virtual husband

                                                                                                         TOKYO – A 43-year-old player in a virtual game world became so angry about her sudden divorce from her online husband that she logged on with his password and killed his digital persona, police said Thursday.
                     The woman, who has been jailed on suspicion of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data, used his ID and password to log onto the popular interactive game "Maple Story" to carry out the virtual murder in May, a police official in the northern city of Sapporo said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of department policy.
                     "I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry," the official quoted her as telling investigators and admitting the allegations.
                     The woman, a piano teacher, had not plotted any revenge in the real world, the official said.

Yikes! Get a grip, folks! It’s a game – isn’t it?

Guess she took “'til death do us part” a little too seriously, huh?

For some of us the Virtual world is far more real than the world outside our doors.

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