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Games Your Rights Online

Is Online Property Real? Lawyer Says Sort-Of 128

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the i-paid-10-btc-for-this-dire-wolf dept.
Bob the Super Hamste writes "The St. Paul Pioneer Press is reporting on an analysis by lawyer Justin Kwong in the William Mitchell Law Review about virtual property and ownership. Justin Kwong asserts that virtual items are not real items (PDF) and that you do not own them but only have a license. The analysis stems from a 2008 case of a Blaine, MN man who filed a police report for the online theft of approximately $3800 of virtual goods. Justin Kwong compares virtual items to a mug club at a bar where patrons purchase rights to a specific numbered mug but cannot remove the mug from the premises. He does note that if in game items are purchased there needs to be clear language stating: 'the transaction is a license, not a sale, and that traditional consumer protections afforded by sales of goods do not necessarily apply.'" Justin Kwong also made a weblog entry responding to misconceptions expressed in comments on the St. Paul Pioneer Press article.
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Is Online Property Real? Lawyer Says Sort-Of

Comments Filter:
  • Re:Getting looted (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Monday October 24, 2011 @10:29AM (#37817358)
    Participating in an online came could be taken as an agreement to abide by the rules of that game, including those governing means of taking one's property. In which case it could only be counted as robbery by any stretch if a person used means outside of the game rules - ie, cheating. Plenty of ways to do that, from credential-theft to DoSing the opposing players in PvP. Fraud perhaps as well, but only if it takes place outside of the accepted rules of the game - there are some games (EVE is famous for it) where dodgy dealing is part of the appeal, and in-character con artist considered a perfectly legitimate career choice and endorsed by the game operators.
  • by krygny (473134) on Monday October 24, 2011 @10:33AM (#37817448)

    All the money I have in the bank and my 401K ... is ... well, ... "virtual".

With your bare hands?!?