October 23, 2008
Virtual World Actions, Real World Consequences
One of the more fascinating issues that bubble to the surface from time to time are real world legal consequences for things that happen in the virtual world. A running story line that appears from time to time is about tax agencies examining whether and how to assess value (and a levy) when virtual items are bought and sold using real money.
Two stories remind us that real world crime is another aspect of virtual reality. Ars Technica reports on a Dutch case where two teenagers were sentenced to community service for stealing virtual property, a mask and an amulet, from another teen. The victim gave up his game property after being physically threatened with a knife, though the assault was not part of the charge. The case centered on theft of virtual property.
The Chicago Tribune is reporting on a Japanese woman who murdered her online husband after a quick digital divorce. Killing a bunch of pixels is normally not a crime in the real world, even in the Netherlands. Her method involved using a login ID and password for the virtual victim. The charge in this case is suspicion of hacking, which if prosecuted would result in a potential prison term of up to five years and fine of up to $5,000.
To paraphrase Abe Simpson, its nuts I tells ya. [MG]
October 23, 2008 | Permalink
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