Dutch Supreme Court Rules That Free Virtual Items Theft Is Real Word Crime

The Dutch Supreme Court has ruled that theft of virtual goods is a crime punishable by real-world criminal sentence, even if the stolen items were free.

The crime that prompted the ruling took place in 2007 when two teenagers beat a 13 years old boy and threatened him with a knife until he logged in to RuneScape and transferred a (virtual) mask and amulet to one of his assailants' characters.

A lower court has already sentenced the offenders to 144 hours of community service each in 2009, but one of them appealed to the country supreme court on the grounds that the stolen goods "were neither tangible nor material and, unlike for example electricity, had no economic value."

The Supreme Court however counter-argued that the stolen virtual items have value because of the "time and energy invested" to acquire them.

The court's logic sounds right to us. After all, people don't still worthless stuff at knifepoint. Make sure to express your opinion in the comments section below.

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Should of got time in young

Should of got time in young offenders for holding a person at knifenpoint, regardless of the stolen property being material or virtual. They threatend another persons lifewhich diservse more than a few days picking litter up, also if the lad spent money on game time rightfully everything his character has, has been paid for so there is an economical value whether it be a penny or a pound its still a value.

Senseless idiots

So one of the kids argued that he wasn't committing crime by holding the other kid up with a knife, because he was stealing nothing. Brilliant. I guess that means that if I stab someone, as long as I'[m robbing him for air, the stabbing is nullified -- "see, I stabbed him, but I didn't commit a crime, he didn't have anything of value on him." Brilliant! Someone get these kids a Darwin award, quick! before abominations like them contaminate our society.


over a fucking retarded ass game they do that? those kids have no life and need to grow some real balls.... they definatly are guilty of playing a dumb ass game in the first place O-o oh well lol


This odd situation of events has led me to reach the conclusion that to even say that these boys simply have no life is an enormous understatement. They are mentally.......well.."FUCKED". They are obvioulsy in need of major therapy, and depserately need to get out more. Have they never heard of girls??? Were they deprived their entire life locked away in a basment never to see daylight, subject to, and only subject to the world of runescape??? If modern times are leading us down this path fraught with such weird corruption and unspeakable depravity, then God help us all.


its kinda funny how they rob a thirteen year old kid who has been playing the game probably much less than them who has items that they somehow dont have

i take offense in your

i take offense in your statement. Nerds don't do stupid stuff like that, we don't commit crime for a virtual item. And we preferred to take the challenge for what we want instead of killing or threatening someone for it.


Once again Society you have proven yourself undoubtedly stupid. Oh my god stealing in a virtual game that's like stealing something of actual economic value- oh wait no it isn't. -.- Society will eventually just kill itself under the stupidity of it's children and it's laws.

The biggest problem here is

The biggest problem here is that the kids threatened another kid with a knife. They didn't get jail time, because they were kids. In exchange for jail time they got the community service. I think that the reason why the focus of this article was on the games is because this is a game website. The other thing about this, is that when the kids took the stuff in the game, it was another persons, and that is different from taking it from an NPC.

Actually since people all

Actually since people all over the world are willing to pay for in game virtual items with real-world hard-earned currency, then the items do have a monetary value. Take any MMO and it either has gold farmers selling you in-game gold for real money, or it has a virtual shop where you use your credit card to buy virtual items. Therefore the theft of virtual items should be indistinguishable from any other theft.

Also I think a few hours of community service is a bit light for threatening someone with a knife.

Direct comparison

Perfect example; eve online. PLEX (purchasable from the devs with real cash) can be sold in game for isk (gold, effectively). By tracking prices you can determine the going rate for plex so when someone ran off with 850 billion isk from an alliance, it was determined that about $45,000 (US) had been stolen.

Because there was no violence, just trust placed where it shouldn't have been, the games devs promptly laughed, told the victims to man up and stop handing wallet access to everyone they met then turned the theft into an advert. I approve :)

However, this is quite different. There's the metagame and then there's just taking things way too far. I don't mind a (verbally) hostile MMO community, sometimes it even adds to the metagame, but at no point is physical violence justified. Personally I don't think criminals got a harsh enough punishment.


Geez I just love these FAKE headlines when the story turns out to be totally different. The problem wasnt stealng in a game, it was beating a kid up until he gave it to them, what a load of shit. THat somehow equates to "stealing in a game could end you up in prison" LMAO, what absolute lies sites will tell just to get more hits. Pathetic

Please re-read

humbug, the article clearly states that the court ruled that stealing the items was a crime. I'm sure they were also done for assault but the article is not about that. The title is perfectly valid.

LOL? also something about the article

LOL? You think this is funny?! It's not funny! They beat a kid and threatened him with a freaking knife and you LOL ABOUT THAT? Also about the article they probably put more punishment for the threat and assault but this article ONLY wrote about the game.

Dude calm the **** down

I don't get why you are flinging your tits all 'round and twisting your panties about this. "They probably put more punishment." All they got was community service. This only proves that runescape and pretty much almost every single MMORPG can make people Into assholes. Take (not an MMORPG, but still an example.) CoD for example, and maybe Club Penguin. Shut up, please.


what are you thinking people? there are humans diying hungry. Submited in a facist word, and you worry on boys wasting their time in a game?.... totally sick, seriously, get a life, and help those coward kinds to live in real worl.


the kid could have been hurt but i agree theres bigger trouble in this world altough this is a videogame site (just look up at the address bar)

The fact that it is a virtual

The fact that it is a virtual mask and amulet is irrelevant. The kid was threatened with bodily harm to transfer the items to their accounts. It is armed robbery pure and simple. The virtual item has no monetary value, but it does hold an emotional/intellectual value or there would have been no conflict. Intent is a big factor in crime in general. They assaulted the kid, threatened him with a knife, and took his property. That is Assault, Armed Robbery, Extortion, and possibly Trespassing if the kid was in his home. The teenagers should have been tried as adults not as minors.

it is relevant he wasted his

it is relevant he wasted his time on the items just to get robbed is fucked up those teenagers deserve prison because they were to lazy earn the items so they beat up that 13 year old just so they didnt have to do shit

Good article, stupid ruling

The crime is threatening the boy at knife point, not some fucking mask. They should have been charged with attempted murder. Who ever made the ruling of making stealing of virtual things illegal is an idiot. So if i beat down a kid so he can tell me the colour of his underwear, am i going to be charged with espionage now? Or unlawful interrogation? That info was free, and absolutely worthless. The point is it was assault. Get my point?

Not all the time

I don't really know the dutch laws, but in America you can be tried as an adult once you hit 17 years old. To add to that in this article it says teenagers not what their real age is. You'll be a teenager until your 20th birthday. If you don't understand say the words out loud you can figure it out. even as a minor you can be sent to a sanitarium if deemed clinically insane just to let you know of a thing you can add on your list.

Steal this post!

Perfect A.P. quote, especially considering that the scene has a great mockery of Cockney by Caine who *is* Cockney. Letting it slip through his pretend posh accent at the end of "Sleuth" was a brilliant piece of acting. I am surprised that people on this page seem not to have apprehended that while the items stolen were on a server somewhere, the threat was physical, and took place at home. With a knife. If I were, as we all have see in (too) many a movie, take a gun and stick it another's face and demand he transfer bank account to mine in the Caymans, that wouldn't be a crime would it? After all, upon earning and depositing it, it was just turned into ones and zeros floating on the cloud. Of course, I had taken what he had earned, and converted it into what I could touch and use, though at the time of the theft it had no substance in space. The boys wanted certain items and used coercion through the threat of violence to obtain them, which should not be encouraged. Getting back to the mask, it was after all, intellectual property sitting on a corporate server. Of course the courts are going to take a dim view of its theft.


I agree with the both courts, The fact is they beat up a boy and threatened the boy with a knife just to steal data shows that they should be in jail. its dose not matter who you are or where you are in this world, its something you should not do.

Well gotta say never saw that

Well gotta say never saw that ever happening, but it's always possible to happen.

Just glad something was done for that kid cause I've never had that happen to me because of a game, but I guess some people will go to such drastic measures for some very unorthadox reasons.

I mean seriously a game item?

Geez you could have just been friends with the poor kid and maybe bought it off him or something instead of just stealing it.

Even if the kid didn't wanna sell it there really isn't any reason for them to put someone like that at knife point... just sad....


How would it be dumb stealing from a 13 year old, think of the little kid, all his stuff were stolen and being that not enough he was threatened with a knife, thats murder intent my friend. Sadly those laws don't apply in my country, damn it I hate those bastards that just keylogged me my gunbound account (Cash items stolen) back in 2003 I was 14.

Calm down

It isn't murder intent, it's armed robbery.

There's no need to be angry at the people who hacked your account; if you're stupid enough to download a keylogger then there's only yourself to blame. Also, it happened nine years ago dude. Let it go.

Uhm... Seriously?

Wow i can't believe this... Stealing in a game is a crime punishable in real life? That is just dumb. Guess we gotta throw away thief mmo games and burn all the rouge classes... I mean why would you do something like that... If you think i am wrong then i will give you three words: NO REALWORLD VALUE! I mean this is as stupid as paying real money for hats in team fortress for more bouncy playthings in dead or alive... I mean am i going to court for stealing a gem worth 2 gold on Wurm Online? I better hope not. I mean just please... The stupidity of the government is just bogus.


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