Online Gamer Wins Back Goods From Virtual Theft

from the well-that-answers-that-question,-but-raises-plenty-more dept

There’s been a ton of discussion in the last few months about how the law applies as it crosses over the real/virtual barrier. The biggest question seems to be whether or not someone can be charged for stealing virtual items in an online game. Especially in cases where such items can be resold for real money, is it really theft, or is it “just a game”? What if the whole point of the game is to attack others and steal their stuff? There isn’t a particularly easy way to answer these questions, though anyone creating an online game might want to think about it, as their “terms of service” are likely to act as a de facto Constitution for the world. Over in China, though, the first decision has been made on such a case and a video game company has been told to return the goods lost to a player when someone else hacked his account. The guy tried to find out the identity of the hacker, but was denied, and then sued the gaming company for money. The court’s ruling sounds fairly reasonable. It looks like they aren’t making the company pay, but are telling them to restore the items the player lost.

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