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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Comments

Meh

Best way to solve this dilemma is to simply remove the ability to share virtual items with other players, wouldn't really a be a major blow to how economies work anyway. You could still use in game auction houses.

Many online games' end user

Many online games' end user agreement states that all items are property of the game developer. With no ownership there are no property rights. However, threatening another player with physical harm in real life is a crime even if there is no property involved.

Game companies should restore

Game companies should restore lost accounts/items/currencies free of charge for customers, which makes this issue pretty much null. They need to also look at IP locking for protection. A bunch of MMOs use it and it adds extra security with little to no extra hassle for the user.

Unfortunately no...

Unfortunately what you say isn't a viable form of appeasement to the players, and it would not fix the issue at hand even the slightest. For all you know the two boys made him log onto his own personal laptop and do it. IP lock protection can't stop the kid from holding a knife to your neck, only logging on from his IP address, and even that has ways around it. Not to mention the fact that the kid who was "robbed" has no way of proving to the game company that it was an involuntary trade if he is being forced to do it outside of the game itself. Bad idea, not very well thought out haha.

EVE Online

I'll have to forward this article to a few dutch friends of mine who play eve-o. Corp theft is a major pastime there.

I have my doubts that the victims would bring the offenders to court tho, based solely on their lack of identity.

noobs

i get the point. the kid has no friend in real life but he has something in the game but.... dude like its just a game get over it..... if jagex shut runescape down there would sue jagex for taking way his game? wow

Please try to understand..

The point isn't that the items were taken,the point IS that 2 lazy gamers decided to use a knife to threaten a boy to give him something. If the victim was you, would you still say, "Dude, get over it"? Because I probably wouldn't forgive someone that threatened me with a knife to get something I had in a game. :D

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