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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