Well, here we go again. For years we've questioned
the wisdom of using real world laws to deal with issues within virtual worlds. You begin to open up quite the Pandora's Box of problems. If it's okay to charge someone for theft of virtual goods in a virtual world, what do you do if "theft" is a part of the game? And then does killing another character in a virtual world become "murder"? These issues are coming up again as Slashdot
points out that a guy in the UK has been arrested for "robbery" of a player in the online world RuneScape
. In this case, the arrested guy used a phishing scheme to get access to the username and password, making it similar to a story from two years ago involving "stolen goods"
in Habbo Hotel that involved a similar "hacking" of an account.
But, again, it seems questionable to call this a robbery. Why not just charge the guy with violation of whatever laws there are against phishing or fraud, rather than robbery. These sorts of "robberies" can and probably should be dealt with directly in the virtual worlds themselves, where game administrators should be able to just "make things whole." Instead of calling it a robbery, why not focus on the actual crime of phishing, rather than the questionable "crime" of "robbery" of another's character.