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Law and Virtual Worlds

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the virtual-gaol dept.

The Courts 283

Greg Lastowka writes "In light of yesterday's spirited discussion of the Shadowbane hack, I thought folks might be interested in this forthcoming article about the laws of virtual worlds. The article has three parts: 1) a history of virtual worlds (e.g. Space War --> MMORPGs), 2) a theoretical analysis of whether virtual world "property" can/should be treated as legal property, and 3) an analysis of whether virtual worlds can/should give rise to any other legal rights, i.e. rights of avatars -- an idea first floated by Raph Koster. I realize there are plenty of strongly-held and divergent opinions on this, so hopefully this might add to the ongoing conversation. Also, we're revising this for publication over the summer, so we will be reading the comments for any corrections/insights/humor that we can incorporate into our revisions."

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fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6078386)

pf

Amazing amounts of (5, Interesting)

Gortbusters.org (637314) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078395)

money can be found on people selling their DAOC, EverQuest, and even Ultima Online characters.

Sometimes I wonder... why not just buy a character and spend the rest of your time doing something more productive. After all, if you take your salary at an hourly rate, you're really losing money by playing games all day/night/forever.

Re:Amazing amounts of (1)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078427)


Screw that. Send out extortion letters to thousands companies. Even if 1% pay you what you ask, you're still ahead.
Hmm. I should patent that process, unless of course SCO has already done it.

Re:Amazing amounts of (5, Funny)

Jad LaFields (607990) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078450)

Speaking of which, can I get someone to live my real life for me? Specifically, the working/commuting/dental exams parts? I think part of the appeal of virtual worlds is that they are less contrained by the rules/laws of the real world.

Running errands (2, Interesting)

John3 (85454) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078585)

So true...I play Asheron's Call and found that the worst parts of the game were the tedious things like shopping for magic supplies and running from place to place (commuting). Over time the game designers have eased the pain of shopping and added more portals and other ways to jump quickly from place to place, allowing players to spend more time killing stuff. :-)

Re:Amazing amounts of (4, Insightful)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078522)

Sometimes I wonder... why not just buy a character and spend the rest of your time doing something more productive. After all, if you take your salary at an hourly rate, you're really losing money by playing games all day/night/forever.

If you take your salary at an hourly rate, why watch TV, why play with the kids, why sleep, why read a book?

Its a game, its about enjoying yourself, relaxing, exercising your mind in a different way. Just try to avoid crawling into your basement and shunning human contact for days at a time.

Re:Amazing amounts of (1, Funny)

Jester99 (23135) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078960)

Congrats, you failed the section in 11th grade english when you learned about "sarcasm" :)

Re:Amazing amounts of (1)

Bonker (243350) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078731)

This would assume that there is only one type of MMORPG player - those who want the highest level character possible in order to play and experience the pinnacle of the game despite having little or no room for advancement.

In fact, this is not the case. There are many, many reasons people play MMORPGs, including the thrill of advancement, social interaction, exploration, strategy, and tactics. All of those reasons for playing will encourage a character to start out on his or her own and advance a character through the mechanisms in the game rather than just buying a pre-leveled/advanced character.

Social interaction, for example, is pretty difficult when you have friends you don't know about -- those the person you bought your character from happened to make during his advancement -- and you have to gain the trust of people who've learned not to trust new faces at the 'high end' of any given MMORPG.

Jesus fucking tapdancing christ (5, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078404)

Thats all we need, another tangled mess of laws to do with frigging online chatrooms and shit.

Listen.

Your virtual house in the Sims is worth nothing. No more than if I kicked in your sandcastle at the beach, or knocked over your chess board in the park.

I can be charged with mischief, or maybe even assault if I threatened you as I knock all your checkers into the sewer grate.

No more zany computer laws!

Re:Jesus fucking tapdancing christ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6078468)

Here here!!!

These are services, privately owned. If the customer is unable to use the service (e.g. due to unavailability), the customer gets his/her money back....that's it. You can't own what you didn't buy, right? (all you warez people can just hush up ;-) )

Re:Jesus fucking tapdancing christ (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078501)

If the customer is unable to use the service (e.g. due to unavailability), the customer gets his/her money back....

In context with the hackers ruining the virtual world, doesn't this mean that the company has a financial loss due to the actions of the hackers and the hackers should be liable for that?

Re:Jesus fucking tapdancing christ (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078909)

... so just give them a f$cking AAA battery and say you're returning their electrons to them. The players don't own the avatars, so they have no grouds for suing based on "ownership". That's what TOS are all about, anyway :-)

Besides, once a hacker hacks into a virtual world and makes changes to that world, he/she is "god", in the sense of "not subject to the rules of the world", and any such damage is rightly an act of god, and non-tortous (fuck, can't believe I wrote that, and, worse, that it makes sense).

After all, shit happens in the real world, so why not in the virtual ones?

Virtual property is worth something (4, Insightful)

itchyfidget (581616) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078512)

... if people are willing to exchange it for money (and evidently this is the case).

Your values are not my values, but value is in the eye of the purchaser (or in cases of extortion, the vendor...?)

Having said that, I think it's nuts that people exchange money for this sort of thing.

Re:Virtual property is worth something (1)

realdpk (116490) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078704)

You can't sell what you don't own, however, and in this case you don't own anything on the game servers.

Re:Virtual property is worth something (1)

Oliver Wendell Jones (158103) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078739)

I think it's nuts that people exchange money for this sort of thing

But there are those of us who have limited gaming time for whom it's worth spending $20 (less than 1 hours wage) to buy a zillion golden kumquats (or whatever the in-game currency is) to let us spend our limited gaming time doing the fun things rather than running back and forth between 2 locations over and over again to make money.

paradox approaching... (2, Funny)

gosand (234100) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078862)

Virtual property is worth something if people are willing to exchange it for money (and evidently this is the case). Your values are not my values, but value is in the eye of the purchaser (or in cases of extortion, the vendor...?) Having said that, I think it's nuts that people exchange money for this sort of thing.

If someone gives me a dollar for no reason, then I have given them nothing in return. There was an exchange there, even though one half of that transaction was nothing. Does that mean that nothing is worth something?

If so, then every day I work, I lose something (nothing) by coming in to work when I could be at home doing nothing (something). Therefore, my employer is robbing me of something (nothing) for 40 hours a week! Instead of just paying me for working, they are also taking away my nothing. I did not agree to that when I took this job, so now I can sue them to oblivion! USA! USA!

At some point, someone has to draw the line on this stupid shit.

Re:paradox approaching... (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078951)

If so, then every day I work, I lose something (nothing) by coming in to work when I could be at home doing nothing (something).

As someone who has taken an introduction to economics class, I am fully qualified to say Exactly. This is known as an opportunity cost, what you gave up to receive what you got. You evaluated the value of "nothing", and perceived it to be less than the value of your job (paycheck, esteem/prestige, skills gained), and so you took the job.

One place where the left and the right agree (1)

Bold Marauder (673130) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078527)

Is that free spaces such as the internet cannot be allowed. Both sides [democrats and republicans] seem to feel that the internet needs to be regulated "we had burn the village to save it" style.

It's gone far, too far out of hand and sadly there are no viable [I know about the libertarians and the greens--note that I said 'viable'] alternatives available.

Re:One place where the left and the right agree (1)

andr0meda (167375) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078631)


One place where the left and the right agree (Score:1)
by Bold Marauder (673130) on Friday May 30, @01:38PM (#6078527)
Is that free spaces such as the internet cannot be allowed. Both sides [democrats and republicans] seem to feel that the internet needs to be regulated "we had burn the village to save it" style.

It's gone far, too far out of hand and sadly there are no viable [I know about the libertarians and the greens--note that I said 'viable'] alternatives available.



But that's assuming that the internet is regulated singlehandedly by US bodies. Which will not be the case. And that's a presumption that a lot of US posters make.

I think that the minute the US government starts taking ownership of the net, as in: regulating and listening in, you will see that a lot of euro-providers will be forced to snip the chord, pressured by the european parliament, who don't want the US patronizing their part of the Net. You will probably see the same thing happen in China and Russia. The once famous 'internet' will then be split in smaller parts and pieces where each nation can have it's desired sense of 'control'.

I would highly dislike such a course of action by your government officials if I were you. But hey, as they say, write your congressman today.

Re:One place where the left and the right agree (1)

cancrine (673769) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078874)

[I know about the libertarians and the greens--note that I said 'viable'] alternatives available. Yes, we heard what you said. Libertarians have elected officials in every state in the country and in Congress. Luckily, not everyone is willing to sit back and accept the status quo.

Re:One place where the left and the right agree (1)

Bold Marauder (673130) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078936)

Libertarians have elected officials in every state in the country
City council seats are cute, but hardly effective or signifigant.
...and in Congress.
You've got a lib in congress. bully for you. So did the socialists at one point in time.

Re:Jesus fucking tapdancing christ [ot] (-1, Offtopic)

FroMan (111520) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078672)

Got a silly offtopic question for you, well kind of a rhetorical question.

I personally do not know your view point of Christianity and such, but I am going to assume that you flow along with most of slashdot's anti-Christian undertones.

Who is Jesus Christ to you? Why is he fucking or tapdancing?

My point is, why could you not have choosen "Straight fucking tapdancing Jacket?" Why use Jesus Christ?

My point is more this. If, you don't believe in Christianity, why use the name at all, as you do not believe Jesus as the Christ. Might as well use any random name. Or do you believe in Christianity yet wish to openly rebel against it? At which point I would ask why. The other posibility that I see is that you don't believe yet actively want to just spew forth from your mouth/fingers acid and venom. Yet, seeing how you are a Friend of a Friend I would assume that is not the case. Perhaps you just have not looked at why you said "Jesus fucking tapdancing christ."

Re:Jesus fucking tapdancing christ [ot] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6078820)

Seriously, just shut the fuck up. There is no Christ you little nitwit.

Re:Jesus fucking tapdancing christ [ot] (1)

FroMan (111520) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078918)

Might you be the "very open to discussion" fellow that has in the last hour or so gone through and systematically modded 5 of my posts down?

Why don't you go ahead and post non-AC?

I love how slashdot is supposed to be an open place, yet instead likes to hide behind AC's and quiet moderation to try and suppress folks with a differing view.

AC is truly a good term. Come now, its only karma. Show yourself.

From Princess Bride: And when I say you are a coward, that is only because you are the slimiest weakling ever to crawl the earth.

Re:Jesus fucking tapdancing christ (1)

CFrankBernard (605994) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078755)

I don't like your subject line (and neither does He), but I agree with this idea: our government has a full-time job punishing counterfeiting already. Although some see a fine-line between virtual/game money and the ex nihilo fiat "funny money" Federal Reserve Notes made for and by profit-seeking non-Federal/private shareholders who lend to our Government, our FRN's are nonetheless given to us by our Government, which was given the authority to do so. If the Government considers every programmer's form of money to be protected by law, I would shake my head at its financial wisdom : ) I hope/pray the Government won't (continue to) waste my tax dollars.

In Other News (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078884)

Joseph Smith was convicted of murdering of "Diana the Magnificent" with a two-handed sword yesterday in Texas. He will be executed by lethal injection tomorrow.

Diana has expressed her deep satisfaction with the verdict. She will appear in exclusive interview with David Letterman later this evening.

Re:Jesus fucking tapdancing christ (5, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078888)

Your virtual house in the Sims is worth nothing.

Why is it worth nothing? Lets take a look at a progression here.

If I were to build a house in Missouri, would you deny that it has value?

If I were to spend hours building bird houses, would you deny that they have value?

If I were to spend hours making paper roses to sell on a street corner, would you deny that they have value?

- Now that we have identified that objects I produce have value, regardless of the triviality, lets move on.

If I were an author and wrote a book, would you deny that it has value?

If I wrote a book and sold it on a street corner, would you deny that it has value?

If I wrote a book and sold it online, would you deny that it has value?

If I wrote a book and only sold it online, would you deny that it has value?

If I wrote a book and only sold it online, in an electronic format which you downloaded, would you deny that it has value? (in case you're not understanding, this book has no physical manifestation aside from a series of bits in various places.)

-- If you've said No so far, then we've established that lack of a physical manifestation of what I have produced does not prevent it from having value. So, one last question:

If I build a house online, would you deny it has value? If so, why?

Now, lets assume that you said that you denied me my value. At what point was that? Was it the roses? (I have seen a number of nonprofits that employ blind or otherwise handicapped people to produce and sell these or other small trinkets) Was it the electronic version of the book? Even if you did not receive a physical object with "bookness", you obtained the output of many days of the labor of multiple people (the author, the editor(s), and so on...).

Re:Jesus fucking tapdancing christ (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078905)

While I agree that laws are getting insane lately, the way how things currently are it actually makes sense. Currently it seems that paying $800 for a license, which may not even need to be a physical object, so what's so strange about owning something in a virtual world?

Ridiculous. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6078415)

This entire discussion is utterly stupid. Next thing you know, you'll be doing time in f-me-in-the-ass federal prison because you fragged your neighbor in Quake. The legal system doesn't need to enter this realm, and the bounds and limitations should be enforced by the administrators of the multi-user game. Everytime something goes wrong, people cry out for assistance from some sort of legal/authority system... These are just games.

Cheating forever!

umm...the civil rights of avatars? (-1, Redundant)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078420)

gimmie a break. that is the dumbest idea ever...they are not even real!!!

Re:umm...the civil rights of avatars? (4, Funny)

greymond (539980) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078444)

I cast level 9 flame bait argument

You block with level 10 slashdot shielding

I cast Level 1 Alt F4

Poof your gone!

HISTORY: Lambda MOO rape (4, Interesting)

mekkab (133181) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078423)

For those who don't know... [juliandibbell.com]

A bit of relevant history! Social justice, if you will.

DISCUSS!
-Professor B.

Re:HISTORY: Lambda MOO rape (1)

Klerck (213193) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078557)

Uhhhhh that's a lot of words

Can you post a summary please?

Re:HISTORY: Lambda MOO rape (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6078599)

in words less big than six chars plz? kthx

Re:HISTORY: Lambda MOO rape (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078744)

Ok, the short form.

Once upon a time there was a crime in a MOO. The people in charge said "let the punishment fit the crime". And so it did.

Re:HISTORY: Lambda MOO rape (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6078714)

I read a little bit of this article so ill summerise what I read.

Basicly even though the people and events on a online game are not "real", they can have a real impact on people. so, just because the game is virtual, people can have the ability to harm people though it.

recall how several people killed themseves over everquest etc. Hell, even I got mad in diablo when people stole my stuff.

(Off topic, but is there a spell checker for mozilla?)

Its simple (3, Interesting)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078432)

If something malicious done in-game causes damages in the outside world, then that should be treated as any other crime would and punished accordingly. This really only applies to server and software hacks, not duping the new guy into giving you all his gold. If you use a hack to alter the gamestate to say give yourself an item or take an item from someone else, this should be prosecuted because it is deriving other players the game that they are most likely paying for.

kc

Re:Its simple (1)

Jason1729 (561790) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078536)

Stealing someone's in game assets is not the same as stealing something in the real world. It is just computer cracking and there's already laws to prosecute it.

Jason
ProfQuotes [profquotes.com]

Re:Its simple (1)

Bame Flait (672982) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078556)

So.

If I'm roleplaying a hideously evil character on some MMORPG, and I decide I'm going to ruthlessly kill you even though you've spent 18 hours a day for 6 weeks collecting all of the ancient artifacts of homoerotic power. Now you get killed, losing your precious artifacts and decide to go throw yourself down a flight of stairs in anguish.

You'd put me in jail for in-game actions that have unexpected repercussions on someone I've never seen in person before?

Sorry, we do need some protections here, because without them, some asshole is going to come along and screw it up for the rest of us.

Re:Its simple (1)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078707)

Sorry, I should have clarified. I just meant to say that if you apply some hack to alter the gamestate, that should be prosecuted just as exploiting a vulnerability on another system would be.

kc

Katz.. is that you? (-1, Offtopic)

poopdik (623969) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078433)

*fart*

Two things (5, Insightful)

Bame Flait (672982) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078435)

MMORPG's and their ilk are beginning to tread into a world that has long been known to text-based mudders. As a nerd who worked in development on various text muds on and off for the past 10 years, I can see clearly the failures of those who administrate these online communities. By and large, the folks running the games of today are not the ones who have years and years of experience doing it (as most people who played text games still do as a matter of preference).

I have particular concern for those who use published tools (like NWN's Aurora toolset) to create persistent online worlds. Rarely do these individuals seem to have a firm grasp on what they're getting themselves into.. least of all on issues of virtual rights that may or may not present themselves.

Most places I have worked had agreements with builders that virtual property created for the game would become the property of the game and its administrators. As for actual items in the game, it's ludicrous to expect (in spite of the incessant everquest ebay activity) those items to be protected legally. Game administrators need to know their rights, however, to keep the few litigious individuals at bay. (How bored and obsessed do you have to be to sue because the server crashed and you lost your vorpal sword of owning +2?).

It's a thankless job running an online game.

Have Excellent Karma... willing to sell (5, Funny)

bigpat (158134) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078438)


Will sell my Slashdot "avatar" for no less than $5000.

Many Insightful and Funny posts, not many Informative ones though. Currently one Moderator point left.

disclaimer (0)

bigpat (158134) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078518)

no, not really

Re:disclaimer (1)

mbogosian (537034) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078966)

no, not really

Was it necessary to qualify this? Did you actually get an offer for $5,000 for your account? :-)

Re:Have Excellent Karma... willing to sell (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078561)

IIRC, a while back someone did try to ebay a slashdot account, but VA/Andover's lawyers put a stop to it. Or maybe they just set his karma to -BIGNUM :)

Re:Have Excellent Karma... willing to sell (1)

Cloud 9 (42467) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078641)

IIRC, a while back someone did try to ebay a slashdot account, but VA/Andover's lawyers put a stop to it. Or maybe they just set his karma to -BIGNUM :)

Ungrounded Lightning [slashdot.org] tried it a couple years ago. He immediately saw his Karma go from ~120 to ~-5000. It was actually quite funny to watch.

Re:Have Excellent Karma... willing to sell (1)

fobbman (131816) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078920)

That's nothing! I've got a list of Conservative Freaks that people are WILLINGLY signing up to! THAT has gotta be worth ten g's, at LEAST!

Seems straightforward enough... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6078442)

I can't wait until my virtual character files a virtual lawsuit which somehow nets me cold hard cash IRL. Go gray areas!

Virtual Lawyers (2, Funny)

Bull999999 (652264) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078447)

Now people can play lawyers on MMORPGs instead of Slashdot!

Re:Virtual Lawyers (1)

wronskyMan (676763) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078562)

Their lack of a law degree would probably MUDdy the situation somewhat, though.

This seems fairly like a non-issue. (1)

jat850 (589750) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078454)

Avatars have rights in the virtual world as dictated by the creators of said world. No more, no less. The same goes for the principles of property.

The real world laws do not (and should not) cross over into the real of virtual worlds.

is slashdot a virtual world? (0)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078462)

karma, moderators, meta moderators, trolls, oh my!

One Solution (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6078465)

Tiny little virtual violins.

*blinks* (5, Insightful)

Zeriel (670422) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078470)

Eh, I'm not sure we need any new legalese to deal with this. If you crack a system, you can be liable if that system belongs to someone else. This could easily be construed to include server-side cheats in addition to the time-honored tactic of rooting the server and changing the database (which I had been known to do in Phantasia and a few MUDs/BBSs back in the early '90s, sad to say.)

Why complicate matters further?

Further, damages (in terms of $$$) are easy to calculate...how many hours/months/billable time increments did it take a person to achieve what was destroyed? How much can be got back? Total it out, it's simple math. Perhaps not enough compensation for some basement loser who plays such things 80+ hrs/wk (like my roommate =P), but I think those folks are in the very small minority anyway.

Re:*blinks* (1)

eet23 (563082) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078761)

Further, damages (in terms of $$$) are easy to calculate...how many hours/months/billable time increments did it take a person to achieve what was destroyed? How much can be got back? Total it out, it's simple math.
Except that if I play a MMORPG, I'm not paying them $15/month or whatever just so that I can get a level 100 character with a +5 Sword of Ultimate Whatever. I'm playing for fun. Of course, it's annoying to lose that stuff, but how much of the total value of playing is lost?

Re:*blinks* (2, Insightful)

Zeriel (670422) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078912)

Well, you'll note my phrasing...if the place is smart enough to do regular incremental backups of the gamestate, you really shouldn't lose any more than a day of playtime to acts of God or l33t crackers. Here's your $0.50 in damages, have a good day. =)

OTOH, the cracker might see $0.50 x 5,000 to 25,000 (players) disappear out of his pocket, in addition to criminal penalties. Personally, I think that's the way to do it--you don't really give people cash for being obsessive about a game and having it ruined for a day, but the people trying to compromise other people's systems get it in the shorts (as they well should).

Virtual property (1)

itchyfidget (581616) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078474)

I think there is precedent for virtual property in the patent business.

What you register, when you register a patent, is an idea - intellectual property, if you like (even if it describes a device - IANAL though so maybe these are very different concepts in law). The patent documentation serves as written proof of this - a certificate that your creativity is recognised as unique and non-copyable.

Thus if someone has a character, or other online 'item' that they have created, doesn't it make sense that as long as that character or item is documented in some way (code on the server?) then that character/item is 'owned' by its creater?

One obvious difference here would be that people don't typically sell their patents, though I'm sure it's not unheard of. Perhaps a better analogy would be domain-names?

My Question then is (1)

notque (636838) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078633)

If Virtual Property in videogames can be sold, bought, stolen, arrested for stealing, and jailed for,

then I will be suing nintendo for the countless times in the middle of a long game with no save built into the cartidge that it decided to reboot.

Furthermore!

If I play a mud that I DO NOT pay for, but do spend time on, and the server is taken down, I will sue for my property. It must at least be copied to me in usable form!

And frankly, This post right here...

This post..

I want access to this post for the rest of my lifetime.

And I will sue you if you mod me down, and thus limit others from viewing my post, as it is virtual property, and it will be like littering on my lawn.

My lawn, My rules.

(Ignore the fact that I don't actually own the servers! or the code created! or the bandwidth, or the etc.)

Civil law? I think not (1)

shylock0 (561559) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078480)

I can see certain elements of criminal law being applied to online situations. Theft/destruction of property (let's say your house in the sims can be considered intellectual property, with standard disclaimers to those /. posters who believe such property doesn't exist). I imagine with time a whole new set of common law will apply to the digital realm.

As for civil law? I can't see this happening. Sexual harassment lawsuits against avatars? Gender and disabled rights in a pre-industrial or post-apocalyptic online world? Right to trial by jury? These are fantasy worlds people, c'mon...

Re:Civil law? I think not (1, Insightful)

NeuroGrrrl (673087) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078598)

Sexual harassment lawsuits against avatars?
I took a class as an undergrad where we discussed this very issue. A character in a RPG was raped by another character and the "raped" player attempted to file a real-world civil suit against the latter. To the best of my recollection, the suit was thrown out of court. I remember no one in our discussion siding with the plaintiff.

Could go pretty far... (4, Interesting)

Papineau (527159) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078486)

Would you like be sitting on the chair for being a PK? Or even fragging an opponent? It's intentional murder, after all (well, that's what some lawyers say at least).

Now, do you still want physical laws applying in MMORPG or other games?

Re:Could go pretty far... (1)

bobbyn (575932) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078621)

How about a virtual death penalty for PK characters? Would I need a virtual lawyer? Who wants to get virtual jury duty?

moron behaviours above the 'law' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6078489)

sure enoug. that's how the BiG guise doo it over at felonIE.con.troll.

way to goo. the creator is...?

"Halliburton Co. said on Friday it has agreed to pay $6 million to settle some class-action lawsuits that concerned accounting practices during Vice President Dick Cheney's tenure as chief executive."

buy golly J., we sure do look like fauxking idiot/mugs to the rest of the wwworld. sure enough. vote with your wallet. consult with yOUR creator.

Obvious Opnion (4, Interesting)

gerf (532474) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078502)

These are only virtual realities. They are not, and shouldn't be protected in the same way as physical properties.

However, if you view the value of things as how many man-hours go into it, then yes, there is some kind of value, and right associated with these characters, and products. However, just because there is time involved, does not inherently imply value, or even many rights.

The company has a say in this more than the Gov't, or the gamer. The company runs the server, the company saves your profiles. If this company were to go under, they have no reason to hold onto those profiles, as they are simply another part of their business, which they own. You have no say, no matter what you think. However, a nice company may do something like transfer their servers, code, or other necessary info to open source, and thus preserving the environment. This does not mean individual properties are saved, which is what people would want to save, most of all.

Really, if your life is so consumed by the internet as to make it a pseudo-physical part of your life, then you need to think about something else for a while. Go into a rehab facillity, something. Please get some sunshine and a tan, we all need it (me especially...).

Alternately, internet addiction is a real illness (1)

Bold Marauder (673130) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078555)

In other words, someone who makes the internet a pseudo-physical part of their life is ready for the virtual betty ford clinic. At least, IMHO.

Re:Obvious Opnion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6078692)

if your life is so consumed by the internet as to make it a pseudo-physical part of your life, then you need to think about something else for a while.

I don't understand why people believe that this is an invalid state for humanity to be in. Why must humanity chain itself to its body when its mind can roam freely in this way? Why do people insist that an environment created by mankind cannot be real and must always be "virtual"? We see this idea everywhere, from people being chastised for taking the first step, to movies like The Matrix, where we are told that if mankind attempted to abandon the body for the sake of a fully-experienced utopia, we have no choice but to reject it. Why?

At least Science Fiction authors have the foresight to see what possibilities could come if humanity could realize the possibilities that come from abandoning the body and living in an real-experienced universe which is under man's own control.

Re:Obvious Opnion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6078990)

Really, we're slowly moving in this direction. 100 years ago, even 20 years ago, people would have found it quite sad for people to be stuck to computers all day. I'm at a computer at work, and i'm at mine at home. I live on computers, which is really quite sad. i need a hobby, i know. i have a g/f, which is the main reason i'm online at home, to IM with her. i don't have long distance, so i can't call her. But really, having a large part of your life online is becoming more and more acceptable. irc channels, AIM, email, fazed, fark, rotten, consumptionjunction, are all building a new social way of life. i consider myself lucky in that i've been able to grow up with it somewhat (born in 80), but i still know how to live without (didn't have internet till '99). so really, the future may bring even more of this, and perhaps my quote won't be as warranted in 30 years. But my point really is that the company is the one who owns what you're doing right now. not you.

Short Answers (1)

nanojath (265940) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078559)

whether virtual world "property" can/should be treated as legal property


Sure - if it is not specifically contractually prevented by the terms the user agreed to in joining the community responsible for the game, and the transfer of said information does not violate anyone else's copyrights.


an analysis of whether virtual worlds can/should give rise to any other legal rights


Sure - if the community agreed-upon terms under which the game is conducted accomodates such rights.


These are simply collective works of fiction. The core legality arises from copyright law, nothing more. Everything else is contractual agreement and community agreed-upon terms (I'm sure some will protest that companies running a show does not a community make, but when you click "I Agree That You Are the Master and I am the Minion, Oh Great Corporate Overlords," you give up the right to that gripe.

Re:Short Answers (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6078699)

The terms of service for MMORPG's spell it out very clearly; All the content on the servers is the property of the game company. Just like E-mail at your work! Players who sell characters, etc. on eBay are breaking the TOS and can be kicked. There have been instances of a character being cancelled after being purchased on eBay.

Trouble for thieves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6078575)

Why after reading this post am I getting visions of REAL police officers going after REAL people who's VIRTUAL characters are thiefs who, by definition, are going to be stealing VIRTUAL property from VIRTUAL people?

I mean, obviously in this case the thieving action would be expected within the context of the virtual environment, but for some reason I don't have faith that real life politicians would word whatever laws they come up with to take that into account.

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6078619)

...scientists have shown that as people get hooked up with girlfriends, they become less concerned with this shit.

moron bulleaving the BiG lie (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6078628)

go for it. 2003-05-23 BALLMER, STEVEN A. Chief Executive Officer 4,381,510 Automatic Sale at $24.32 - $24.5 per share. (Proceeds of about $106,953,000) 2003-05-22 BALLMER, STEVEN A. Chief Executive Officer 24,648,452 Automatic Sale at $24.04 - $24.25 per share. (Proceeds of about $595,137,000) 2003-05-21 BALLMER, STEVEN A. Chief Executive Officer 2,610,098 Automatic Sale at $24.43 - $24.67 per share. (Proceeds of about $64,078,000) 2003-05-20 ALLCHIN, JAMES E. Vice President 50,000 Option Exercise at $2.984 per share. (Cost of $149,200) 2003-05-20 ALLCHIN, JAMES E. Vice President 50,000 Sale at $24.81 - $24.835 per share. (Proceeds of about $1,241,000) 2003-05-15 BURGUM, DOUGLAS J 348,858 Planned Sale (Estimated proceeds of $9,029,796) 2003-05-13 MARQUARDT, DAVID TR(DM) Director 200,000 Planned Sale (Estimated proceeds of $5,210,800) 2003-05-13 ALLCHIN, JAMES E. Vice President 50,000 Planned Sale (Estimated proceeds of $1,310,000) 2003-05-13 ALLCHIN, JAMES E. Vice President 50,000 Sale at $26.12 per share. (Proceeds of $1,306,000) 2003-05-12 MARQUARDT, DAVID TR(DM) Director 200,000 Planned Sale (Estimated proceeds of $5,223,760) 2003-05-12 - 2003-05-13 MARQUARDT, DAVID F. Director 400,000 Sale at $26.054 - $26.118 per share. (Proceeds of about $10,434,000) 2003-05-12 ALLCHIN, JAMES E. Vice President 50,000 Option Exercise at $2.984 per share. (Cost of $149,200) 2003-05-05 JOHNSON, KEVIN R. Vice President 322,560 Sale at $26.11 - $26.2 per share. (Proceeds of about $8,437,000) 2003-04-29 RUDDER, ERIC D. 102,400 Planned Sale (Estimated proceeds of $2,644,992) 2003-04-29 RUDDER, ERIC DAVID Senior Vice President *100,000 Sale at $25.83 per share. (Proceeds of $2,583,000) 2003-04-29 GATES, WILLIAM H. III Chairman 5,000,000 Sale at $25.70 - $26.16 per share. (Proceeds of about $129,650,000) 2003-04-29 GATES, WILLIAM H. Chairman 5,000,000 Planned Sale (Estimated proceeds of $128,700,000) 2003-04-28 GATES, WILLIAM H. Chairman 4,000,000 Planned Sale (Estimated proceeds of $100,840,000) 2003-04-28 GATES, WILLIAM H. III Chairman 4,000,000 Sale at $25.68 - $25.91 per share. (Proceeds of about $103,180,000) 2003-04-25 GATES, WILLIAM H. III Chairman 4,000,000 Sale at $25.18 - $25.45 per share. (Proceeds of about $101,260,000) 2003-04-24 GATES, WILLIAM H. Chairman 1,000,000 Planned Sale (Estimated proceeds of $25,720,000) 2003-04-24 GATES, WILLIAM H. Chairman 2,000,000 Planned Sale (Estimated proceeds of $51,440,000) 2003-04-24 GATES, WILLIAM H. III Chairman 3,000,000 Sale at $25.40 - $25.67 per share. (Proceeds of about $76,605,000) 2003-04-23 RASHID, RICHARD F. Senior Vice President 300,000 Option Exercise at $2.984 per share. (Cost of $895,200) 2003-04-23 RASHID, RICHARD F. Senior Vice President 300,000 Sale at $25.68 - $25.71 per share. (Proceeds of about $7,709,000) 2003-04-23 GATES, WILLIAM H. III Chairman 1,000,000 Planned Sale (Estimated proceeds of $25,740,000) 2003-04-23 GATES, WILLIAM H. III Chairman 1,000,000 Planned Sale (Estimated proceeds of $25,740,000) 2003-04-23 RASHID, RICHARD Vice President 300,000 Planned Sale (Estimated proceeds of $7,692,000) 2003-04-22 GATES, WILLIAM H. III Chairman 2,000,000 Sale at $25.50 - $25.79 per share. (Proceeds of about $51,290,000)

Re:moron bulleaving the BiG lie (0, Offtopic)

krumms (613921) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078947)

what the fuck? aren't you a few /. posts behind?

Value in games applied to the real world (1)

TigerTime (626140) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078629)

If you spent "real" time in creating a virtual existence, then it has a "real" value.

If you purchased a virtual thing for "real" money off of ebay or whatever, then it has a "real" value.

So if you can put it into either of these 2 categories, then yes you have a right. JMHO

Can you imagine how much games would suck... (2, Interesting)

DaedalusLogic (449896) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078632)

If you let kill-joy technocrats put laws around your games. Although it would be funny if you kill another player's character and your superbadass wizard in Diablo and a little virtual cop car rolls up and gives him life in prison.

Even the story of this game being hacked. It's really cheap... bad sportsmanship... but in the end you've gotta laugh that someone was able to do that. If this game was a subscription service I think the company in charge should have a backup policy in place to prevent this from ruining what you've really paid for... Otherwise... it's a game, lighten up.

ah, just great... (1)

maxpublic (450413) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078635)

...laws to pretty imaginary property and imaginary people. Just what we need

Unless some kind of actual, recognizable harm is done in the real world the law shouldn't be involved at all. Anything else is the purview of the person who runs the server and the game. That is, if they say virtual theft in their world is okay, then either you deal with this fact or you move on to some other game and some other world. That is the sole extent of your choices and anything claim to further 'rights' is nothing more than childish whining.

By definition a virtual world isn't real. Therefore real-world laws have no place in *any* virtual world. And the only rights you have in such a world are those afforded to you be the creators/owners - nothing more.

I can imagine the howls of protest coming down the line by the typical Evercrack addict and his MMORPG brethren. Confusing the virtual and the real seems to be inherent for many of these folks. But if you think you need legal protections for your virtual activities, all this really says is that you're in desperate need of extensive, ongoing therapy - or a life.

Max

Avatars not only in MUDs etc (3, Interesting)

Rxke (644923) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078660)

imagine, you create some kind of Ueber-universal Avatar, that you use everywhere: in games, but also in places like /., other forums... Some people build up quite a reputation in several fields, through hard work, searching studying,...teaching things online. Let's imagine, I'm using this avatar 'Mr. Smith' (Yea...,) widely recognized in certain semi-pro forums, et.c. If somebody hacked into my ueber-avatar-account and start posting spurious things in my name, or go on a rampage in some games, using hacks,... my Avatar would lose a lot of it's 'worth,' however virtual it may seem, but i would be really pissed off, for the so-called virtual money-worth-karma-acceptance et.c. is, or could be, in fact very important to me for my work, research, et.c.

Avatars as Copyright, not Persons (1)

thefinite (563510) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078666)

I just didn't really feel all that motivated by the whole idea of Avatars being extensions of persons. If anything, copyright is a better analysis of them. For example, while I realize that having the same name for your avatar as someone else is restricted for logistical reasons, I know I would be bugged that someone would steal what I considered my *idea* by using the same avatar name as me. The whole avatar to me just seems like an idea, and perhaps a copyrightable one. If anything makes them property, I guess that would be it. I am sure the affinity and identification a player feels with an avatar is not too different from what an author feels with one of his/her characters.

Where the paper introduces the "Personality theories of property", it gets a little wobbly in my opinion. For example, a person can feel a close affinity to the character created by someone else (like some Star Wars fanboy who wishes he could be Anakin). That character does not become his property.

We are still talking about a GAME (5, Informative)

serutan (259622) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078687)

Here's an excerpt from the Declaration of the Rights of Avatars: "That avatars are the manifestation of actual people in an online medium, and that their utterances, actions, thoughts, and emotions should be considered to be as valid as the utterances, actions, thoughts, and emotions of people in any other forum, venue, location, or space."

Well I certainly wouldn't play RPGs if I had to worry about being charged with criminal assault for starting a brawl in a Greyhawk tavern as Zorgo the Rogue. The whole point of RPGs is to ESCAPE from reality into different worlds with their own rules. Let's not drag the real world into it, PUH-LEEEEEEEASE!!!

Contract/agreement (2, Informative)

DreadSpoon (653424) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078700)

This really should belong to the companies/organization running the virtual world. If they state, "we own all virtual property, blah blah" then that's that. And honestly, every single MUD/MMORPG/etc. should have that in the agreement...

People make claims about how they put time and money into building characters and amassing equipment in these games. People need to realize you're paying for the right/time/resources for you to _have fun_ while doing this. You paid to be allowed to spend your time playing a game.

It's like an arcade; you don't own the game or anything when you put in a quarter (or dollar, as is becomming common), you are just paying for the right to play the game for a while.

If you don't like those rules... don't give them your money to play!

Virtual society... (4, Insightful)

bziman (223162) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078702)

While I admit, that I'd be upset if I spent time building a character only to have it destroyed by another player. However, if this is "outlawed", there will be no bad guys, and no fun. Who wants to play against the computer all the time -- that defeats the purpose of online gaming.

Perhaps it makes sense to regulate offline actions affecting in game actions -- such as hacking into the game. But on the other hand, I have no problem with selling in-game items for real world money. Why not? It's not like the in-game items were manufactured out of nothing. Someone had to go through the work. Who cares if money changed hands in the game or in real life? And besides, people who do that are likely to do it both ways, so the economy of the game is likely to balance out.

The point is, aside from outside problems like hacking, things like murder and theft within the game must be controlled by the virtual society -- if you get mugged in the game, next time, you'll make sure to travel in a group. Or maybe you and your friends will get together and form a police force. And so on.

The same societal forces apply to the game as to the real world, because the same minds control both. But it's okay if your game persona gets killed from time to time or goes to jail or whatever. That's what makes the game different from real life and what makes it a useful diversion. If people stick with it, some form of order will eventually emerge, just like it does in any other group.

yesterday?! (1)

ab0mb88 (541388) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078709)

yesterday's spirited discussion
How long are things posted in the members only section of slashdot?
That article was dated Wednesday May 28, @10:58AM

rights?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6078711)

I am little confused here. I mean animal rights, property rights, rights of corperations, the rights of national sovernty, and now virtual avatar rights??

Perhaps we should get civil and human rights first and worry about all this other crap later.

Of course the world works exactly oppposite to this idea but a guy can dream.

Bits are already protected by law (1)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078746)

Your bank account is bits. Those bits do not all represent actual paper dollars as the bank does not keep your money on hand, it is reloaned. Even the cash they have on hand is virtual - it is a fiat and not secured by any other physical resource.

So yes there is already a longstanding protection of virtual assets in our economy. Everquest assets should be no different.

Re:Bits are already protected by law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6078798)

that's because a bunch of banking laws have been written.
and a bunch of contracts read, signed and agreed by both parties.

so no, there is no protection of virtual assets, only good old legally binding contracts.

Re:Bits are already protected by law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6078946)

That's rediculous liberal BS. How could you ever equate somebody's hard earned cash deposited into a bank account with some virtual money that doesn't have any tangible value. Be realistic here. Use some common sense.

One major problem... (3, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078752)

In an RPG, you can choose to play an "evil" character. A "lawless" or "chaotic" character.

At the very heart of role-playing, you act (in-game) in accordance with how your character should. That may well include "Kill the wimpy newb and take its stuff".

The main idea of this thread would effectively kill the entire idea of an RPG - Basically, a player couldn't do anything except stroll along the bunny-grounds holding hands and singing kumba-ya.


And let's not overlook when PETA and the like get into the act. Plan to level? Better not kill any of the game's "indigenous" life, or end up whacked with a virtual-cruelty-to-animals charge. Want to solve a quest and get some powerful ancient weapon? Oops, distubing an archaological site has some hefty fines to go along with it.


Grow up, people. This topic deals with GAMES. Games, games, games, games, games. NOT the real world. If you have trouble telling them apart, and in-game losses "hurt" you IRL, you need to jack-out right now and go interact with other humans, in a real, live, actual physycal setting.

Re:One major problem... (1)

kid-noodle (669957) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078838)

Yes, and part of playing an evil character is that you should expect to be regarded as evil and treated as such - surely by that argument, having to run like stink because you've just been reported to the in-game police is part of being an evil-doer?

Unless of course, you were just being a griefer...

Regulating the virtual currency (1)

NetDanzr (619387) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078779)

MMORPGs face one serious economic problem - inflation [ranter.net] . I don't think it's coincidence that all the successful MMORPGs keep their monetary policies under strict control, so that the money supply doesn't get out of hand.

What really intrigued me in this paper was the talk about currency exchange between real-world currency and the game currency (pp 49-51). Right now, it's not much of a concern. However, considering the growth in on-line gaming, I can well imagine a world a few years from now, where several "virtual economies" combined would have the economic strength of a G-8 country, such as France or perhaps even Germany. In that case, you'll have a currency exchange market between several currencies that are regulated by central banks, and several currencies that are regulated by private companies. If the amount of virtual currency becomes signifficant, the unregulated currency exchange could possibly destabilize world currency markets. I am wondering whether this would result into governments taking control over MMORPGs or whether by that time the MMORPG providers will be economically powerful enough to force the governments into some kind of a compromise.

moron fauxking last gasper stock markup felons (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6078789)

time to wake up J., the georgewellian fairytail is about to be bullown apart. pay attention. that's reasonable enough.

Less laws = more happiness (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6078794)

It is my belief that more laws (in any world) do more damage to the rights of people than good. By looking to a higher authority to settle dispute, we as individuals and communities thereby abdicate our right to settle the dispute ourselves. Now, I will couch this by saying that I believe there are certain laws that are universaly recognized, but they can be summed up rather succinctly in "Do no harm". What I am talking about is morally based law, and the idea that we can own things. If you dismiss the underlying assumption that we can own things (which is truly a large debate unto itself), and do away with morally based laws, and simply abide by "To each his own", then does the nature of conflict change within a society? I believe this is the true value of virtual worlds, as a testing ground for how societies behave and operate.

Of course there are worldly societies that have taken these questions to heart and seem to prove that the nature of conflict does indeed change, and that the quality of life in general goes up. We here in the US (mostly) have not allowed this level of enlightenment to take hold, and indeed seem to want to constrain the way people live according to some kind of repressed morality. So lawyers are thriving, prisons are huge moneymakers, and we end up worshipping material wealth because there is no true happiness or comfort.

Just as elegance in technology is accomplished through simplicity in design, elegance in society is accomplished through simplicity in governance. The technological revolution (so called) has seen repeatedly a development cycle where the first few generations of a technology are complex and inefficient. As the technology matures, it is optomized and made simpler, until the sheer simplicity of the widget is truly awe inspiring. Our energy generating technology is still in the infant stages where we are using complex and inefficient means to generate energy, but we are starting to see impressive, simple, elegant solutions in this arena and the next century should see a really nice change in how well we meet our power needs. So to, I think, is the fate of the legal codes. We will see that as people are more spiritually and emotionally cared for and supported in communities, their need for accumulating property will dissipate. Poor people already understand the meaningless nature of stuff, and are inherantly more generous than the rich. As a wise man once said, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to [live a happy life]. The argument over legal codes and property only serves to create a class of rich parasites like lawyers, insurance salesmen, etc at everyone elses expense. There is no inalienable right to own an SUV, a cloak of indifference, or a plasma tv. We should be more concerned with the right to pursue happiness, which should not require money but only good health, nutrition, and access to nature with that special someone. What can be better than walking to a secluded hot spring, and boning your honey for the afternoon?

More relatable then you might think. (1)

Vile Requiem (677539) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078797)

I consider avatars to be an extention of a person, almost like acting. In real life, a person's "avatar" on a television show can become MORE popular then the actor themselves, and anyone trying to imitate that character/avatar can logically be sued for defimation of character/copyright infringment/etc...

This also has an extention into Everquest and other such MMORPG's. Some of the players of these games are better known IN THE GAME then in real life, they might have a online girlfriend, lots of gold, and be infinitally powerful, when in real life they are a 25 year old nerd living in their parent's basement. Is it right to defame these people's virtual characters when it might cause depression and even suicide (which has happened to EQ players) in real life? I would say it's quite wrong.

Virtual Laws for Virtual Worlds? (1)

kid-noodle (669957) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078810)

Surely a more appropriate solution is to apply 'virtual laws' to the virtual worlds?
It is absurd to suggest that one should be compensated for somebody nicking your Sim's stereo, in the Sims, for example - but not as absurd to suggest that the evil sod sim who nicked your sim's stereo that he bought with his hard earned simolians should get nicked.

In this manner you can maintain the contintuity of the world - it damages the overall world of Everquest, if you can demand trial by jury for player-killing the baker, for example.
I believe Star Wars Galaxies is at some point planning on introducing a legal system - player kill somebody within a town where this is forbidden, and expect a visit from the police force.

The question is whether this is a law, or a gameplay mechanic - most of the questyions of legality are real world issues, sexually harassing another player character should be covered by real-world law, as should hacking into somebody's account and stealing their character - stealing a player's items on the other hand, if dopne by in-game means, should be considered a matter of virtual law, to be dealt with (or not) by the adminstration of that particular world, whether that be a trial by jury, or just putting a bounty on the thief's head.

But then, I'm not a lawyer, I'm a cognitive scientist.

GTA vs virtual laws (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078887)

ohh boy. That's gonna be ugly.

Many, many actions in GTA would be 'illegal' IRL. Do we now have whole new sets of laws, one for each game?

In this one, it's legal to carjack another player's virtual property, but in that one, you (and your real world persona) may get thrown in jail for 'stealing' virtual property

Talk about blurring the lines.

What are my rights? (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078908)

I've ran a MUSH for about 4 years and I've had some problems with people taking descs/stuff from website/theme stuff and I've had problems with people making all sorts of claims as to thier "rights" when it comes to monitoring situations to make sure there is no cheating/abuse.

What is "mine" what isn't, what rights to I have to keep my work under my control?

take the red pill (1)

gobbo (567674) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078964)

[obligatory Matrix reference follows]

Where is the line between intellectual and virtual property? If we go down the road of naturalizing the virtual worlds we invent and bring them up to status with 'consensual reality', then do we risk blurring the boundaries and losing ourselves in [nearly] inconsequential realities, bequeathing care of this reality to those enamoured with power?

Funny, this feels real, but perhaps it's just another level in a simulation [albeit a very good one]. Mind you, I do see the occasional unexplainable glitch.

moron disempowering Godless corepirate nazi felons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6078987)

just stop giving them more&more monIE.

they already have more than enough, most of the rest of US, do not.

it's not as simple as it sounds, but it is quite doable.

if you are a greed/fear based lifeform, you may choose not to participate.

consult with yOUR creator. don't take forever to do it, 'cause time is not on yOUR side at the momeNT. future generations would be grateful. if we don't get our heads out of our .asps, what the future generates may not be what you wanted for US/them (yOUR kids).

there must be a line somewhere?

here's won: "Beware the industrial/military complex"

won of you knows who said that?

Before the "it's just a game, losers" start up (1)

ScottGant (642590) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078998)

Yes, they're only games we're talking about here, virtual worlds. But is it any different from other pass times?

There is NO difference from someone spending time online in EQ than the average sports fan. Both can be viewed as wastes of time. And how many more people waste their time with sports? Sports are no more "real" than online worlds. I mean, both are just for fun...a way to spend time. That's it. Don't tell me about sports teaching teamwork and all that CRAP! GOD I hate that term. Who gives a damn! I'm not a team player!

But I digress...

Here's another example

Also, major sports fans and like....I don't know...Trekkies perhaps (Trekkers...whatever) are in fact the same exact type of person! Both go to special places (football stadiums and Star Trek conventions), they both dress up as they're favorite "character" (football jerseys, face paint, hats vs. uniforms and makeup), they both litter their homes with memorabilia. They talk all the time about both pass times with their friends..etc etc.

It's someone's hobby. It's someones interest. One mans passion is another mans target of ridicule. Who's right? Who's wrong? There is no right and wrong with these things.
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