That Was Fast: Woman Arrested For Virtual Murder Of Virtual Husband

from the fantastic dept

Earlier this week, in writing about some kids convicted of theft in the real world, I jokingly asked if we'd soon hear of someone arrested for "murder" for killing a virtual character. Who knew it would happen so fast? Okay, actually, it's not that extreme, but a woman in Japan has been arrested (in real life) for "killing" the avatar of her virtual husband, who had apparently "virtually" divorced her. The charges are not for murder (phew), but illegally accessing his computer. She basically logged in to his account and killed off the character. Of course, you might argue that she didn't do anything illegal, since the guy had given her his password in "happier times" and hadn't changed it. Also, again, this certainly seems like the sort of thing that could (and should) have been taken care of directly in the world. The folks who run the world could easily revive the guy, and kick the woman out of the world. Case closed.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    another mike, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 11:24am

    change the locks

    You'd change the locks when you divorce someone in real life, you should change passwords when you virtual divorce someone in a game world.

     

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  2.  
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    Greg, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 11:50am

    ...

    hmmm... wow just.. just.. just wow.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 11:53am

    "...has been arrested (in real life) for "killing" the avatar of her virtual husband"

    Wouldn't that be called 'Character Assassination?' ;)

     

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  4.  
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    Dave, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 11:55am

    "...has been arrested (in real life) for "killing" the avatar of her virtual husband"

    Wouldn't that be called 'Character Assassination?' ;)

    Sorry, I'm not anonymous, I just forgot to fill in the info...

     

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  5.  
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    Just some guy, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 12:00pm

    Wow

    Only in Japan

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 12:10pm

    geez, I remember back in Ultima Online a dude killed me, took my recall stone and keys to my house and robbed the hell out of me before I could revive myself and get a posse of friends to take the jerk down... I should have totally sued him! Or you know... not care that much about virtual stuff!

     

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  7.  
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    Rob, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 12:14pm

    Actually, it's no big deal if they were virtually killed. Every game I know has a resurrect option with small, if any, penalty. If she actually Deleted the character, that would be different.

    Since he gave her the account information, it then means that she did NOT "break in" but merely abused the privilege he had given her. I don't see this as being something to arrest her for and charge her with - and I'm a gamer. Of course, not even my wife has MY password...

     

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  8.  
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    Staying Alive, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 12:19pm

    My wife threatened to kill me in the real world if I didn't kill off my game avatars so I understand where this woman is coming from.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 12:20pm

    Re:

    I'm guessing that, in this case, "killed" is how the press is reporting deleted. In some cases, Deleted is forever.

    Not sure how many games can undelete a character, but most I play can. WoW did it for someone I know, after his characters had been deleted more than 9 months.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 12:23pm

    This would be a big deal if she had been arrested for murder. But she was arrested for illegal access to a computer. That is a whole different thing.

    I am disappointed in techdirt for publishing this article. It is hyping something in the headline that simply is not true. I don't see any difference between this and someone hyping that video games promote violence or that piracy is ruining the recording industry. Please, please don't become what you have fought so hard against for years.

     

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  11.  
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    Mike (profile), Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 12:32pm

    Re:

    I am disappointed in techdirt for publishing this article. It is hyping something in the headline that simply is not true.

    Actually, many of the mainstream press are using a headline about murder, but I specifically chose to highlight VIRTUAL twice, to make the point of how silly that was. Perhaps it was too subtle? The headline is mocking the concept...

    Plus, the post is quite clear on what happened. So I don't think we have fallen into the hype problem you describe.

     

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  12.  
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    John Doe, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 12:34pm

    Can you send a virtual "you" to jail in place of the real "you"?

     

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  13.  
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    MATT, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 1:05pm

    maplestory = game without deaths

    all you could do to "kill" a character in maplestory is either continually respawn it (racking up a leveling penalty) or delete it.

    There is no murder of any sort.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 1:20pm

    Re:

    virtually all the time

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 1:30pm

    Re: Re:

    I thought the charge was going to be murder by the title of the post, but was mislead.

     

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  16.  
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    Jeanne, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 1:38pm

    This is just a plain waste of time and money. I love game play but sending someone to REAL jail over a Virtual character is silly.She only accessed what he had given her the account information for and by choosing not to change his passwords is responsible for his own virtual demise.

     

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  17.  
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    Igor, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 1:51pm

    Makes total sence

    I do not see what the problem is (except that some prosecutor's office had so little work that they bothered with this case).

    Forget the game. She accessed his account w/o authorization. The fact that he gave her a password is irrelevant. It is people and not the passwords that grant/deny authorization.

    Since the husband (obviously) never say directly or even implied that he is authorizing her to login to his account to deliberately perform such actions as killing his avatars, she was doing so without authorization.

    Just imagine instead of screwing up his "avatar state information", she was "deleted his doctoral thesis research notes" stored in some account to which he had previously gave her a password. Both are purelly "the state of some bits on some magnetic media".

     

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  18.  
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    Overtkill, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 2:27pm

    Hmm....

    She could have given him a bad haircut and a few tattoos in raunchy places. That would likely be a lesser charge of "Virtual Assault."

    You know the lawyers would have fun with that charge too. I suppose players of games like rainbow six, ghost recon, and battlefield would have some stiff fines place on them. Assault.... a very wide definition. :)

    Out of curiosity, in what game did this happen??

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 2:51pm

    Re: Makes total sence

    Seeing how they are husband & wife and he gave her his password, it would be a civil case, not a criminal one.

     

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  20.  
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    Igor, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 3:25pm

    > Seeing how they are husband & wife and he gave her his password, it would be a civil case, not a criminal one.

    What are you smoking? Who cares whether they were "married" or who gave whom a passowrd?

    I can give a neighbor keys from my house, so in case I lock myself out, I can ask him to open my door. That does not give him any more rights AT ALL to come into my house to destroy my furniture.

     

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  21.  
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    Miss Tay, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 3:47pm

    Re:

    That was hilarious!!!!!

     

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  22.  
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    john, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 4:04pm

    in jail

    this has to be the stupidest thing i ever herd of in my life' she deletes an avatar and is in jail for murder come on people its a game for crist's sake wake up will ya's

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Patty, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 4:17pm

    That Was Fast: Woman Arrested For Virtual Murder Of Virtual Husband

    You might want to reread or research this story. According to what I read this was not her husband, but she got the login information from an unrelated 33 year old office worker. The police could not verify if she is actually married to anyone.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Joeymom, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 4:22pm

    Geez Louise

    When I played MUDs, you just restored him, banned her, and it was all over. What's with the real arrests? This is ridiculous.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 4:39pm

    Arrest someone over this? It's not hacking by any stretch of the imagination. You leave your account and password out for anyone and you take this chance. The furthest this should have gone is banning her account and restoring his. It's a story because how far the police went in this case...which it should have been a civil matter.

     

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  26.  
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    undergrunder, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 4:53pm

    She deserves to be put into virtual jail, not real jail.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    The better half, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 6:40pm

    Re: Makes total sence

    Erm.. It says she was charged with Illegaly accesing his computer. All she did was access his account. His computer was never touched....|-* Sooooooo Stuuuupid.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Jesse, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 8:59pm

    While justice is so hard to come by for most people in the real world, it is nice to see that real world legal professionals are ensuring justice in pretend worlds.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    chad, Oct 24th, 2008 @ 5:23am

    They were only married in the game. She is wrong. she should be held to some kind of penalty. It could have been his bank account or his wrok files or any number of importan info we now trust our computers to "hold" safe for us. If she gets away with it,how long till it is ok for me to hack all your money out of your bank and get away with it???

     

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  30.  
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    Omari, Oct 24th, 2008 @ 5:30am

    Wow

    What the hell. This is some serious bullshit. What has the world come to wehn this happens. Only in japan..

     

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  31.  
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    ?????, Oct 24th, 2008 @ 5:32am

    its dumb over something on maple story lmao

     

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  32.  
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    Jenjen, Oct 24th, 2008 @ 5:49am

    this is funny! i bust out laughing when i heard about this. woooooooooow.........

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Prince Onyeka, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 12:29am

    looking for that special soulmate

    Dear
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    Handsome man looking for that special soulmate to share all of life up and downs , very outgoing honest and yes i dont play games , slim build for now chose me and i will do everthing to make you happy meaning cook clean and yes i can do laundry and i will even pick up the milk call during the just to hear your voice verykind honest and loyal i promiss never to make you cry or even shed a single tear ,if interested just drop me a line trust me your friends will be jelous your friend will wonder why there soulmate doesent do that for them.
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    My Call Phone number+233248891723
    My Prayer to God is for he to give me the right woman in my own life ,a woman i will call my own ,in any part of this world ,we all are humans

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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