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Examining Virtual Crimes

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the too-much-time-on-your-hands dept.

Crime 85

GamePolitics has an article about a research paper issued by the AU government's Institute of Criminology titled "Crime Risks of Three-Dimensional Virtual Environments." The paper discusses the legal questions raised by game worlds and avatars, ranging from regulation of in-game currency to a report of virtual rape. "A person controlling an avatar that is unexpectedly raped or assaulted might experience the physical reaction of 'freezing,' or the associated shock, distrust and loss of confidence in using [3D virtual environments]. While civil redress for psychological harm is conceivable, the 'disembodied' character of such an incident would invariably bar liability for any crime against the person. However, Australian federal criminal law imposes a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment for using an internet carriage service to 'menace, harass or cause offence' to another user. Further, US and Australian laws ban simulated or actual depictions of child abuse and pornography. Therefore, any representations of child avatars involved in virtual sexual activity, torture or physical abuse are prohibited, regardless of whether the real-world user is an adult or child."

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So... (5, Insightful)

Entropy98 (1340659) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282152)

Tea Bagging in a FPS could get u 3 years?

I find it dumb, immature, and annoying, but like most times someone says "There ought to be a law", there ought not to be.

You know what I always say? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282178)

There ought to be a law.

Re:You know what I always say? (1)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282324)

There ought not to be.

Re:You know what I always say? (2, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283346)

In other news properties in the game of monopoly are to be rent controlled.
Infractions shall be a matter for civil court and anyone who actually does manage to build a monopoly shall be subject to unfair trading practices legislation.

Re:You know what I always say? (1)

Sinesurfer (40786) | more than 4 years ago | (#31292820)

So....... if that's a civil matter is it legitimate to offer payment in Monopoly money?

Perhaps a few questions before you can gain entry to determine if you're an adult with a realistic outlook before the game would start is worth considering.

Re:So... (1, Insightful)

jo42 (227475) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282182)

You'd think the Ozzies, that are usually portrayed as a rough and tough bunch, are being such a bunch of limp wristed mamby pambies when it comes to all this online stuff. Would like to hear what the Ozzies think of their fascist government on this subject.

Re:So... (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282220)

Most Ozzies I know (especially the non-native transplants) seem to love their government. I've yet to figure out why.

Re:So... (1)

ozdeadman (1656597) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282402)

you cant know too many aussies who can still lay claim to being properly aussie. most with technical knowledge who still live in Oz are disgusted at what the government is trying to do regarding the internet and technology..

Re:So... (3, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282444)

Where the hell did you get that idea? Most of us ignore them as best we can. This is summed up by the popular saying "Don't vote, it only encourages the bastards." Those that aren't ignoring them are taking the piss out of them [youtube.com] .

Just typical voter-grabbing techniques (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283876)

Lots of politicians do this stuff. Turn full-force against some virtual, pointless "cause" that won't bring any real opposition, so it's easy, yet scares lots of voters with silly issues, so pleases them that "someone is doing something". It's the same as railing againt immigrants, movie or tv violence, or "crime", "communists", or "terrorists". There will be no real useful work done for anyone, but will get attention and votes, and since the opposition is voiceless, powerless, very distant or inexistent, the campaign is successful -- politically. Socially, it's a disaster, gets all of society hysterical and confused over a non-issue, but that's not what they care about. If they were to do something about health care, pollution, corporate crime, political or police corruption, education, etc, it's likely some real opposition would appear, frequently from deep-pocketed lobbyists, who would finance ads and opposition to them and their efforts. Not to mention stop financing them, making the political campaign a true disaster. No good deed goes unpunished, in this society ruled by self-serving groups. So, those without scruples simply do none.

Re:Just typical voter-grabbing techniques (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31285114)

If I was a politician I'd do the exact opposite, and work to eliminate bad laws and then brag about it: "Good news! The law that would have arrested you for kissing a black person (or vice-versa white person) no longer exists. I killed it." Or: "You can put $100 more in your bank account this year. The War of 1898 tax has finally been repealed." Or: "You no longer need fear being arrested because you grow a natural plant in your backyard. The marijuana prohibition has been lifted, although it will still be regulated as a drug. Next step: Amend the Constitution to give the Tenth Amendment some teeth, so the States can enforce it."

Basically I'd be like Thomas Jefferson. (Or in modern terms: Ron Paul.)

Re:Just typical voter-grabbing techniques (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#31301192)

The issue of mandatory filters in Oz is a good cop, bad cop routine to neuter religious zealots who occasionally hold the balance of power in the senate. The endless inquiries are indeed intended to give the impression of "doing something". Thes inquiries have been going on now for at least a decade regardless of who is in power and IMHO will never come into force. The current independent senator who's votes this legislation was intended to buy has gone cold on the idea since his own anti-abortion sponsers were added to the proposed blacklist.

Most sane Aussie (and I believe most of the MP's / senators, including Conroy) realise it's unworkable and will never become the law of the land. But as you say this does not stop them from appering to "do something" in order to garner votes and distract from real issues.

I like many other Aussie's will continue to ignore this crap until something concrete actually happens, at which point the culprits will find themselves out of a job.

Re:So... (5, Interesting)

Smirker (695167) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282448)

I'm an Aussie and most of the people I know dislike the current government and are against laws such as

Australian federal criminal law imposes a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment for using an internet carriage service to 'menace, harass or cause offence' to another user.

We think that ruling cartoon depictions of child pornography illegal is plain stupid, and are against Internet filtering. Our far left Labor government completely ignores the people (ETS, NBN anyone?), and instead tries to protect them against their will or by the will of a small minority. They also put too much weight on the voice of parents who think that the protection of their children supersedes the right of society's freedom, when if they didn't they would loose their precious votes in our extremely tight federal elections. It's in shambles and is completely bs.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31283518)

Look I'm Australian too, and me and most of my semi-literate friends agree with you, but I'm afraid to say that you me and them still do not constitute the majority. Have you been in the suburbs lately?

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31285052)

Yeah, but you can't say anything about it without looking like a creep.

Re:So... (1)

chentiangemalc (1710624) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283680)

our government here in australia is completely clueless in areas of technology, but i still think a lot of the general population just don't care.. anyway hopefully they get kicked out in next election (please! some good alternatives!)...and stop wasting our money on the completely pointless NBN hopefully i didn't offend anyone, hate to go to prison for this comment.. on 2nd thoughts they're probably more likely to apply a filter excluding all content with keywords "government", "australia" and "waste"

Re:So... (1)

pcolaman (1208838) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282966)

*Sneaks up behind you and stabs you in the back (virtually)*

*Runs away, knowing he will be pursued by the virtual law*

That is all...carry on.

Re:So... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283606)

Tea Bagging in a FPS could get u 3 years?

Get your virtual character 3 virtual years in a virtual jail, which of course you can try to virtually break out of.

Re:So... (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 4 years ago | (#31284934)

OR '1' = '1' ESCAPE!

Re:So... (2, Interesting)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283970)

I'm for a one-law constitution. Absolutely no violence against human beings. Violence against other things is also discouraged, but less so. Everything else is legal. Society will have to learn to define for itself what is violence, what is human, and not. That debate is not simplistic and bite-sized for the attention-grabbing media, politicians, or the poor people attempting to learn something from the entertainment-gossip-*news*. You will need some scholars. And engaging in violence won't get you sent to prison, but to a society where the violent go, a distant island where... umm... wait a minute... well I did have a point somewhere.

Re:So... (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 4 years ago | (#31287440)

The world resulting from your 'one law' would be brutally violent. The only way you could enforce the 'one law' would be with police--and there would be a lot of pissed off people angry because somebody took their stuff (legally, in a 'one law' world). You'd need taxes to pay the police--but you couldn't enforce the tax collection law (in a 'one law' world). Violence would go unchecked.

BTW: Good luck in fifth grade next year.

Re:So... (1)

Syberz (1170343) | more than 4 years ago | (#31288202)

Would fragging an opponent in a FPS deathmatch get you 25 to life as well?

If you get a streak of frags does that make you a serial murderer?

Re:So... (2, Interesting)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31294358)

I am more curious what happens if you teabag an npc. Technically its e-rape still.

Raped in an MMO? (4, Funny)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282168)

What game engine supports rape? World of Sex Crimes? Everrape?

Re:Raped in an MMO? (1)

savanik (1090193) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282272)

Second Life. Except both parties have to click on the little ball labelled 'RAPE POSE', so...

Re:Raped in an MMO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282942)

So click on it and let's get it on! You are a juicy Georgia peach from Savannah, right?

Re:Raped in an MMO? (5, Funny)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283222)

Now, on this 3D model, please show the doctor which polygons the bad person clicked on.

Re:Raped in an MMO? (1)

metaforest (685350) | more than 4 years ago | (#31294884)

In SL:
It used to be possible to trick an avatar to "consent" to being animated. Longer ago... there was this nasty object
called a "skull fucker" that would allow the assailant to simulate a "Skull Fuck" without the victim's consent.

There are still WAY more options for wanna-be greifers in SL than any other platform on the market. Many more have been nerfed. And a huge number of accounts and even entire groups have been banned over the years.

In WoW I get a kick out of the "after-school-special" kids who flip their PvP flag and run into the middle of lower-level group's EvP melee. They try to force a cross-faction PvP by getting hit with an AOE from the victim group.

Re:Raped in an MMO? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282300)

Without reading TFA, the usual citation for virtual rape is a case from years and years ago on a text-based game called LambdaMOO. A particularly asinine user wrote a puppet that was, yes, used to rape people. Exactly how and why people manage to associate with MU* characters so strongly that they can actually be emotionally harmed by this sort of thing is beyond me, and I've spent years on them!

Re:Raped in an MMO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282318)

Try playing HellMOO. I've been raped plenty of times in that game, I even got a coat hanger abortion as a result of it.

Awesome!

Let's stop calling them crimes (3, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31284394)

I agree - and it's an insult to people who have experience such horrific crimes.

A virtual crime is a crime that happens in a virtual envirnoment - e.g., fraud. Things like harrassment can also constitute crimes, but the crime is still harrassment, and not "rape". This is nothing new - did people refer to dodgy phone callers as "virtual rapists"?

A depiction of a crime is not a virtual crime. By that logic, films show "virtual murders", and when they media report on crimes, they should also be guilty of committing virtual crimes. It is depressing to see the media and politicians conflate depictions of crimes (which should be legal), with crimes that occur in a virtual environment (which is what "virtual crime" implies).

And when the media report on virtual crimes, I guess they must be guilty of a virtual virtual crime...

Re:Let's stop calling them crimes (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31285454)

And fraud is still fraud, regardless of using a virtual environment, telephone, mailed letter or used car salesman.

Virtual crimes do not really exist. That is the meaning of virtual. The idea that you can get tried and convicted of crimes that do not really exist is horrific.

Re:Raped in an MMO? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282308)

What game engine supports rape? World of Sex Crimes? Everrape?

It all depends on how the rape procedes really. If you want your faith in humanity thoroughly but gently violated there's WoW. If you want your star wars related hopes and dreams mercilessly skullfucked there's SWG.

Or if you want to just skip the gameplay and get straight to plain old fashioned sexual raping, you can sample half the programs coming from Japan.

Re:Raped in an MMO? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282352)

My first experience of Second Life involved my avatar being dryhumped by some 'naked perv' avatar on noob island. The person even had modeled a penis for their avatar oh and a bowler hat. It was very odd. Sad really.

Re:Raped in an MMO? (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31284218)

Do you think you'll ever get over the trauma? :D

Re:Raped in an MMO? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#31286052)

Well, I for one am rather disturbed by bowler hats.

Re:Raped in an MMO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31286662)

I LOL'd so hard!

How would that work in court? (2, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282372)

Can you show me on this doll where he said that he was touching your avatar?

Re:How would that work in court? (2, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282398)

Well, since a virtual crime can only be punished with a virtual punishment in a virtual court...

But hey, who says that a virtual world has to have the same laws as the real one.
After all, other rules are often the whole POINT of that virtual world!

Re:How would that work in court? (4, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282474)

"Can you show me on this doll where he said that he was touching your avatar?

No I can't, that would be virtual molestation.

Re:Raped in an MMO? (2, Informative)

nuckfuts (690967) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282498)

The article describes a 1993 incident where a female player was "raped" in a text-based multiplayer game, where

the harm involved 'a real-time non-consensual textual description of the rape' through 'the display of graphic and offensive sentences'

Re:Raped in an MMO? (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282508)

Any virtual environment or even chat systems support virtual rape by way of emotes. The article even cites a rape case that took place in a text-based MMO.

Re:Raped in an MMO? (2, Insightful)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283700)

Any virtual environment or even chat systems support virtual rape by way of emotes

No, no they don't. There's a reason why you can be sued for sexual harassment at work for saying something obscene but you can't be sued for rape for something you say. Words can be hurtful, but they can't be rape.

Re:Raped in an MMO? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291066)

> There's a reason why you can be sued for sexual harassment at work for
> saying something obscene...

It's your employer who can be sued.

Re:Raped in an MMO? (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31284484)

If that counts as virtual "rape", then the article is guilty of a crime too, as by citing it, it also depicts the crime "virtually".

Re:Raped in an MMO? (0, Troll)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282616)

Halo.

Re:Raped in an MMO? (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291424)

What, teabagging doesn't occur?

Re:Raped in an MMO? (2, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283388)

What game engine supports rape? World of Sex Crimes? Everrape?

Evony, judging by the ads.

Re:Raped in an MMO? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283616)

What game engine supports rape?

Hell, never mind rape, what about murder? Apparently murder is encouraged in many of these 3D games, and yet goes almost completely unpunished! We need some virtual law and order.

Re:Raped in an MMO? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31285434)

As a longtime Fallout 3 serial killer, I ain't afraid of no cops. Let's see them take me in when I'm holding a loaded Fat Man!

Re:Raped in an MMO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31297502)

+1 double entendre

Re:Raped in an MMO? (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283996)

Isn't there a game called "Australia"? There's like an island with a society made up of criminals? Then they form a government and an army?

What You Say! (1)

The Wild Norseman (1404891) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282170)

I'm in UR jail, doin UR time

Yeah, but... (1)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282190)

What if the objective of the RPG is to rape, steal and harass?

Legal Questions of Virtual Activity? (2, Insightful)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282208)

So I guess GTA (from original on up) should cause you to have to do time for grand theft of an automobile, drug dealing and cop killing? Absolute balderdash.

Re:Legal Questions of Virtual Activity? (4, Insightful)

PaintyThePirate (682047) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282480)

Bad analogy. The real life equivalent of what you're saying is getting convicted for shooting at a paper target. These laws are about harassing human beings over the medium of video games.

That's not to say the laws aren't ridiculous, just that your example isn't an argument against it.

Re:Legal Questions of Virtual Activity? (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283456)

alright

Seriously? (2, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282258)

ranging from regulation of in-game currency to a report of virtual rape.

Really? Every time I think we have rock bottom with the sheer scope of fucking mentally challenged concepts in government, they continue to amaze me with how much deeper than can go.

Reminds me of Eddie Murphy in the Golden Child when he flips a coin down into the darkness. "Hey! They're ain't no ground here".

It's fucking virtual with real world consequences.

Well then I want to prosecute those douchebag lawmakers. They virtually "blew my mind" on the Internet. Where's my commercial saying I got a 1 million dollars?

Chatroulette? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282274)

I put on my robe and wizard hat...

So PK is now a crime?? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282288)

WTF, if you're an online player, and haven't at some point been gang-banged by a bunch of Uruks, you haven't been around. Get a grip.

OMG (1)

ilovecheese (301274) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282364)

You've got to be kidding me, right? Some idiot somewhere in the legal system really needs to get a grip on reality.

Re:OMG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31283508)

OMG. I can't believe you have a six digit ID. Given that your post has absolutely no content, I was SURE you were a seven digit boy, until I checked.

Re:OMG (1)

kaini (1435765) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283826)

careful now. i hope you're not based in australia.

Jurisdiction (1)

Lorens (597774) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282366)

So maybe reprehensible in .au and .us, but what if the victim is there but the perp is in some other country where the legislator thinks rape is not so bad in First Life and/or doesn't even have Internet ?

Sue the game company, of course.

Re:Jurisdiction (1)

dmneoblade (848781) | more than 4 years ago | (#31294562)

Even more fun. Chinese player and a Ukranian player on a US server. What law/court are you in now?

Re:Jurisdiction (1)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 4 years ago | (#31313180)

International court in The Hague? ;)

past actions? and what about trolls? (1)

thesappho (1293114) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282392)

will it cover our past actions in virtual space?

because it will be execution or life for me.....(depending state laws)

also trollers disturb my psychological state..
will this be applied to them as well?!
at the end it is an disturbing action too

Re:past actions? and what about trolls? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282916)

I was worried about that too.

"Using an internet carriage service to 'menace, harass or cause offence' to another user" pretty much defines life on slashdot.

Quick, what countries do not have Extradition treaties with Australia?

shame (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282468)

i am ashamed to be an Ozzie soon they will legislate thought crime.......

Inaccuracy in summary (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282582)

US law does not ban simulated child pornography. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashcroft_v._Free_Speech_Coalition [wikipedia.org]

Re:Inaccuracy in summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31290448)

This is about Australian law, not US.

Re:Inaccuracy in summary (1)

general_re (8883) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291058)

US law does not ban simulated child pornography. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashcroft_v._Free_Speech_Coalition [wikipedia.org]

Yes it does - "PROTECT Act" (2003):

The PROTECT Act includes prohibitions against illustrations depicting child pornography, including computer-generated illustrations, also known as virtual child pornography.[1][2][4] Provisions against virtual child pornography in the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 had been ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2002. However, the provisions of the Protect Act are distinct, since they establish the requirement of showing obscenity as defined by the Miller Test, which was not an element of the 1996 law.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PROTECT_Act_of_2003 [wikipedia.org]

3d virtual worlds? (1)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282776)

So I guess all of this behavior is perfectly fine in 2d virtual worlds, or textual virtual worlds.

Bring back the telnet!? (1)

freaker_TuC (7632) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283654)

SMAUG Stalkers are the worst you can get!

Good we can customize appearance ...

You are 5'6", and weigh 99 pounds. Your long black hair has been drawn back
into a ponytail behind you. Your faded yellow skin creates a disturbing
contrast with your black eyes.

Customize appearance (Y/N)?

Someone should read the pre-existing literature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31283720)

A Rape in Cyberspace: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Rape_in_Cyberspace

Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition (1)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283798)

Further, US ... laws ban simulated ... depictions of child abuse and pornography.

Uh, not quite. See Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, 535 U.S. 234 (2002) [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition (2, Informative)

general_re (8883) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291042)

Further, US ... laws ban simulated ... depictions of child abuse and pornography.

Uh, not quite. See Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, 535 U.S. 234 (2002) [wikipedia.org] .

Yes, quite. See "PROTECT Act" (2003): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PROTECT_Act_of_2003 [wikipedia.org] The short version is obscenity can, as always, be prosecuted, and the PROTECT Act remedied the missing element in CPPA, which was the law struck down in Ashcroft, thus once again allowing the prosecution of virtual child pornography found to be obscene.

Re:Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition (2, Informative)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 4 years ago | (#31292398)

That's what I meant by "not quite." The law they passed afterward contains the "lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value" phrase oft found in obscenity laws, which makes it almost impossible to prosecute someone.

Can't deal with real crime? (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#31284784)

If you are dumb, powerless or too involved to deal with real crime, start fighting virtual crime.

Why does only rape matter ? (1)

ladadadada (454328) | more than 4 years ago | (#31285154)

What about murder or theft ?

What if I'm playing an online game and someone attacks and kills my character ? Is that against the law too ? Does it matter that death is not permanent in this particular virtual world ? What if death is a normal part of this particular virtual world (WoW PVP servers for instance)

What if I have a virtual house in (say) Second Life and someone enters without asking or enters through the window ? Is that virtual break and enter ? What if they steal my stuff ? I have then suffered actual losses, not just psychological trauma.

So why is rape different ?

The laws that apply to a virtual world must be appropriate for that virtual world. If death is a minor setback to a player then the punishment for killing someone needs to be minor. If death is an expected part of the game then there need not be any punishment at all. If death is permanent in the virtual world and not an expected part of the gameplay then there probably should be some sort of significant punishment for a killer. The same reasoning applies to theft and rape and (one would extrapolate) child pornography. It is a mistake to attempt to create a single set of laws that apply to all online virtual worlds.

Of course, any actions in a virtual world that cause real-world crimes to be committed can be simply dealt with by the existing real-world laws.

Re:Why does only rape matter ? (2, Informative)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#31286200)

What about murder or theft?

Well, virtual currency is considered equal to real currency [slashdot.org] in South Korea, and a man was arrested [slashdot.org] for virtual robbery in Britain. A Dutch Court [slashdot.org] punished a couple of teenage thieves as well. If I dug deeper I'm sure I could find more stories.

On a WoW server, a group of mates and myself played highwaymen. One of us would be a scantily clad Dranei, and the others would be hidden near by. Stand and deliver! d:

Re:Why does only rape matter ? (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326646)

I'm guessing they chose to cite rape and child ponography because they are emotional issues that people generally hold strong opinions about in the real world.

With current technology, it is unlikely (but not impossible) that you would find yourself in a situation where you would be as emotionally invested in your avatar where an attack would be personally damaging on an emotional level. As technology improves and people associate more closely with their online representation, it increases the likelyhood that an assult on your virtual self will begin to equate to an attack on your real self.

Take the world portrayed in the Surrogates, would an murder or rape of a surrogate be perceived as being an assult on the person? How much better does technolgy need to get before we hit that boundary?

Re:Why does only rape matter ? (1)

ladadadada (454328) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327200)

I imagine you are absolutely correct about people having strong emotional reactions to rape and child pornography. In fact, much more so than murder, the mere mention of the other two crimes can cause an emotional reaction, whereas for most people, the murder needs to be of somebody they know to have the same level of emotional reaction.

On the other hand, within some games, death is a normal part of the game. In FPS style games, murder is the entire point. In this sense, our expectations are different in the game to in real life. But since rape and theft are not expected in most games we are taken aback and shocked if it happens. I wonder if murder might matter more in a game where death and murder are uncommon.

As for the technology, I'm not sure if you are familiar with the LambdaMOO case or the technology involved. As for me, my University used their own MOO based on the LambdaMOO as a tool to help teach their Computer Ethics course and I have had a character on the actual LambdaMOO in the past.

A MOO is basically a multi-person text-based adventure game. You can cause any text you like to appear on the screen of everybody currently connected if you know how. The rapist could cause the text:
Macgrrl slowly takes off her clothes.
to appear on the screen. This would (to most users) be completely indistinguishable from Macgrrl actually typing that. The technology is low but precisely because of that, the power of words became greater. Any player could completely alter the world as you (and everyone else) saw it. With current games, our power over the world is much less because the world is so much more complex. We can only do what the developers give us the ability to do. But this has not changed the emotional involvement (at least for some people). I think the emotional involvement comes more from the social interaction rather than the online persona. In the LambdaMOO case, the avatar was an extension of her real world self and had real friends, even if they were only ever contacted in a virtual setting. In that sense, WoW is unlikely to ever have this problem, but Second Life very well could or, as you said, Surrogates. The technology, however, I think is almost irrelevant. It's just the player's power over the world and other players that matters and the technology affects this.

Virtual time for a virtual crime. (1)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 4 years ago | (#31289348)

Perhaps those who do commit crimes such as theft, murder, rape in games should do time for their crimes. But as these are virtual crimes, it should be the avatar, not the real person who does the time, and they should do so in a virtual prison. If the game designer doesn't have a justice system built into their game, and it bothers you that crimes go unpunished, then you are free not to play their game and to design your own.
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