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Gamer Killed For Virtual Property

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the i-didn't-want-to-report-on-this dept.

The Courts 135

The BBC has the story of a young Chinese man who was slain over a virtual property dispute. His killer has been sentenced to life imprisonment. The Guardian Gamesblog has a deeper look at the situation with Terra Novan Ren Reynolds. From the article: "We're becoming a service property marketplace. Is this as good as a manufacturing economy? It doesn't have the moral solidity in a way. You can kind of see that shift in ethical terms. People would think that stealing an album in a shop is immoral, but stealing an mp3 isn't. The idea of property has become more intangible."

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I remember hearing about this... (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 9 years ago | (#12770870)

... when it first happened. This just gives the people who think video games cause violence more fuel for the fire.

So much for, "It's only a game."

Re:I remember hearing about this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12771572)

This just gives the people who think video games cause violence more fuel for the fire.

Gee, I wonder how they would get such an idea? Oh! Some guy got killed over a video game!

Re:I remember hearing about this... (0, Redundant)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#12773146)

You shouldn't even give them any idea. I am only saying this because every person I have met who defends the fact video game causes violence is so fucking stupid.

These are the same people who safeproof their toothbrush so their kids won't stab themselves.

Re:I remember hearing about this... (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 9 years ago | (#12774630)

Heh, I misread the 'Mr Qiu lost patience and stabbed him with "great force"' part as, "stabbed him with great justice".

Anyway, it was only a game, except this poor sod didn't realise that.

Re:I remember hearing about this... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12777985)

This is just the nature of the human, and has nothing to do with with games.

I loan you something. You sell it. I'm pissed. I'm gonna do something to you because I'm pissed.

His choice of action was no different to stabbing someone due to road rage.

Stealing versus Copying (4, Interesting)

GJSchaller (198865) | more than 9 years ago | (#12770893)

"People would think that stealing an album in a shop is immoral, but stealing an mp3 isn't. The idea of property has become more intangible."

The key difference here is that the MP3 is copied, not removed. The original owner didn't lose his copy of the file / song when the other person took it, whereas in the case of the shop, the owner can no longer sell that physical media. The first is not viewed as theft becasue the owner doesn't lose it, where the second involves actually losing something. (Of course, if the MP3 was erased after it copied, that would be a different story.)

Re:Stealing versus Copying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12771303)

Try telling that to GPL nuts...

Re:Stealing versus Copying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12772045)

The first is not viewed as theft becasue the owner doesn't lose it

That's like saying swearing isn't "viewed as" murder because nobody died. Copyright infringement isn't "viewed as" theft because it's a totally different thing. The only relation between copyright infringement and theft is that they both involve obtaining something that you shouldn't rightfully have. The word for that is misappropriation, and it is a superset of theft, not the same thing as theft. An action can be misappropriation without being theft, and copyright infringement is an example of that.

As long as we're being pedantic... (1)

alexo (9335) | more than 9 years ago | (#12772351)


>>The first is not viewed as theft becasue the owner doesn't lose it
>
> That's like saying swearing isn't "viewed as" murder because nobody died.
> Copyright infringement isn't "viewed as" theft because it's a totally different
> thing. The only relation between copyright infringement and theft is that they
> both involve obtaining something that you shouldn't rightfully have.


Copyright infringement involves obtaining something that you shouldn't legally have.

"You are trying to kidnap what I have rightfully stolen!" -- Vizzini

Re:Stealing versus Copying (4, Interesting)

stienman (51024) | more than 9 years ago | (#12772593)

The key difference here is scarcity. Unless the MP3 copyright holder can control distribution, the MP3 loses any value.

Decades ago the USA was one of the first nations to disconnect money from gold. US currency is now just as intangible as the MP3's bits, and is becoming moreso as transactions go electronic.

The value is due to the scarcity perpetuated by the control the Federal Reserve has over the creation of paper and coin currency, and further by the government "backing" the currency with a guarantee - "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private."

It used to be that information was controlled simply by the fact that it was expensive to move it from place to place and process it. Now that information has become almost infinitely liquid, it has lost much of its value because it is no longer inherently difficult or expensive to deal with.

Just as currency no longer is backed by gold, information is no longer held back by cost.

This actually leads to stronger intellectual laws to provide the market with a crutch as we move forward. Obviously this will change over time, but if it were allowed to suddenly change too quickly the markets would suffer a minor collapse, instead of a slow fall that can be checked as people and businesses adjust.

The key difference here is that the MP3 is copied, not removed. The original owner didn't lose his copy of the file / song when the other person took it

The original owner and the purchasers did lose something, just not what some consider important.

A problem is that the sellers want to sell one copy to everyone, and remove any possibility of a secondary market. The buyers want to re-sell their property. This is being worked out by turning everything into a service, and the reason the market is going to a service economy is that the producers want it so badly. I suspect a middle ground will be found, but only after a consumer backlash/bubble.

-Adam

Re:Stealing versus Copying (1)

arose (644256) | more than 9 years ago | (#12773558)

Only if you think that the only value is money.

Re:Stealing versus Copying (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 9 years ago | (#12774378)

Decades ago the USA was one of the first nations to disconnect money from gold

Actually, the USA was one of the last to leave the gold standard. the UK left in 1931, the USA in 1971.

Yes, FDR made it illegal for Americans to own gold, but he did not remove the USA from the gold standard.

Note that the first country to abandon the Gold Standard was China, several thousand years ago. Of course, since then, they came back to it. and left it. and came back. and left....

Re:Stealing versus Copying (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 9 years ago | (#12776684)

Obviously this will change over time, but if it were allowed to suddenly change too quickly the markets would suffer a minor collapse, instead of a slow fall that can be checked as people and businesses adjust.

Presumably this change is going to come after the revolution ? Because it certainy won't happen while corporations - and their intrinsic need for draconian IP laws - are controlling the governments.

Re:Stealing versus Copying (1)

Grey Ninja (739021) | more than 9 years ago | (#12777203)

That's all nice and fine and all... but the problem isn't scarcity here. The original poster compared stealing an MP3 to stealing a virtual sword. Stealing an MP3 is impossible, as stealing an MP3 just involves making a digital copy. In the case reported in the original article, one man sold another man's very very expensive virtual sword. The case you mentioned is applicable for the MP3 case, but in this case, it's like one man stealing another's gold brick.

Re:Stealing versus Copying (1)

randalx (659791) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778107)

Scarcity is indeed a key point. The current record company's business model is based around the scarcity of the physical goods they produce (cds). Thus their business model cannot apply to a scarcity free digital product. DRM technology is just a method to try to create an artificial scarcity where there is none. Their business model should change NOT the technology.

Re:Stealing versus Copying (1)

brontus3927 (865730) | more than 9 years ago | (#12772783)

Another key difference is that most people don't "steal" mp3's. If you have mp3's in your shared folder of kazaa, you are in essence giving them away. The issue in that case isn't stealing music, it's of distributing it without paying royalties to the recording company. But hey, the recording companies never pay all the money actually owed to artists anyway, so if I give the RIAA a penny for every 100th download, I'm just playing by the same rules they are, right?

Sad, but . . (2, Insightful)

Leroy_Brown242 (683141) | more than 9 years ago | (#12770918)

It was only a matter of time before a gsamer escalated and arguement to reality, and took it too far.

This guy had to have other issues besides just gaming, if he was willing to kill a man.

Re:Sad, but . . (3, Funny)

RealityMogul (663835) | more than 9 years ago | (#12771723)

Obviously his other issue was playing too much GTA... err wait... I mean Doom. No wait, that's not it either.

What game is the root of all evil nowadays?

I'll call my congressman and ask him.

Re:Sad, but . . (1)

sommie (813451) | more than 9 years ago | (#12777875)

Obviously his other issue was playing too much GTA... err wait... I mean Doom. No wait, that's not it either.

What game is the root of all evil nowadays?

I'll call my congressman and ask him.


It's Katamari, it's obviously a terrorist training tool.

Re:Sad, but . . (1)

Formula420 (836234) | more than 9 years ago | (#12779372)

Here is something you can't understand..... How he could just kill a man! OK, I have been playing too much GTA!

God, not again (4, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778226)

It was a piece of virtual property, yes, but it was worth (and actually sold for) nearly $1000. By Chinese standards that's more than a family can save in a year.

The fact that it's just bits on a hard drive is irrelevant. Let's say that you wrote a novel on your laptop. Then let's say I copy it off your laptop (e.g., while you're in a meeting at work), put my name on it, and sell the rights to it for some $50,000. (So the monetary value is sorta in the same proportion to what you earn, as that virtual sword was for the Chinese guy.)

Wouldn't you think: "WTF? It was _mine_, not his! Who the fuck gives him the right to take and sell _my_ stuff?"

Now say you came to talk to me about it, and I basically told you "fuck off, sucks to be you, the money is mine now." Because that's what happened between those two people.

Now maybe you'd just gnash your teeth, decide to just hate me now and avoid the christmas rush, and control yourself enough to not commit manslaughter. But then realize that a lot of people don't have _that_ kind of self-control. People get into a homicidal rage for a lot less money every day.

And anyway, the fact remains, virtual or not, Person A took something owned by Person B, sold it, and pocketed the money. A lot of money. Very _real_ money. It wasn't over virtual property, it was over _real_ _money_. Period.

Now I can see how two-bit hack journalists would love to hammer on the "man killed over virtual sword in a game" idiocy. That's the kind of a crap sensationalist headline that sells subscriptions. Whereas "man killed over a shitload of real money" doesn't quite have the same edge.

But seeing the number of responses that treat it like some continuation of an in-game feud, completely ignoring the amount of _real_ _money_ involved, gets depressing at times.

WTF (4, Insightful)

rokzy (687636) | more than 9 years ago | (#12770919)

>The idea of property has become more intangible.

er, no thanks.

this is about someone who killed someone else. the reason isn't too relevant and certainly doesn't demand redefining property.

Re:WTF (4, Insightful)

mausmalone (594185) | more than 9 years ago | (#12771236)

People would think that stealing an album in a shop is immoral, but stealing an mp3 isn't.
Yeah... I'm glad someone tried to associate this with a murder case. Sonofa...

Downloading a copyrighted mp3 isn't stealing. Stealing necessitates depriving someone else of property. Downloading a copyrighted mp3 is copyright infringement.

And, no, copyright infringement isn't stealing. Copyright infringement is copyright infringement. That's why there's different laws for it... and why it has its own name and stuff.

Re:WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12772721)

>>Stealing necessitates depriving someone else of property.

If you take an mp3 file and use it when you normally would have to pay for the music, you are depriving someone else of property. You take the music; the music companies don't get your money.

It might not be fair, but taking something for free that would otherwise put money (which is property) in someone's pocket is stealing. By your own definition.

Re:WTF (3, Insightful)

cluke (30394) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778249)

Well, there was an album I was going to buy, but I borrowed it from a friend and listened to it until I was sick of it, then gave it back. That deprived the record company of money. Am I a thief?

Re:WTF (2, Informative)

ureshii_akuma (745410) | more than 9 years ago | (#12779392)

Well, there was an album I was going to buy, but I borrowed it from a friend and listened to it until I was sick of it, then gave it back. That deprived the record company of money. Am I a thief? Only in the minds of RIAA execs, where they feel sales and profits are guranteed to them by law. I am sure they would love to implant chips into everyone's brains where you can only hear their music if you pay a fee. On second thought, that might not be so bad - it'll prevent us from hearing oh-so-much-crap. In the real world, however, you neither deprived anyone of their property (without their consent) nor made a copy of material without being the copyright holder.

Re:WTF (1)

Alizarin Erythrosin (457981) | more than 9 years ago | (#12772785)

Funny, every time I try to pose this exact argument or make this point in some kind of article about the RIAA/MPAA, I get lambasted.

Kudos :-)

Exactly (1)

jgoemat (565882) | more than 9 years ago | (#12777397)

If you tape a song from a friend, that's copyright infringement (or is it? I think it may be legal, as long as you loan the CD to the friend to make the copy and don't make the copy yourself then give it to them). Stealing the CD from them is theft as they no longer have the CD.

So what is this case? The "property" is virtual, but by selling it he deprived the rightful owner of the use of that object.

Re:Exactly (1)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 9 years ago | (#12786639)

I hate to burst anybody's bubble here, but you've got it all wrong. The ToS of 99% of online games say you do not own anything. The game, the service, and all digital content therein is owned by the company itself. It may have been a loss to this guy to lose his prized sword, but he merely lost something he didn't own in the first place. This is a plain case of murder and it has nothing to do with the game itself.

What's wrong with you people? (1)

DreadPiratePizz (803402) | more than 9 years ago | (#12785141)

Downloading a copyrighted mp3 isn't stealing. Stealing necessitates depriving someone else of property. Downloading a copyrighted mp3 is copyright infringement.

You get a haircut and don't pay the barber, you've stolen from him. You get your house painted and don't pay? You've stolen. Stealing is taking something, a physical object OR A SERVICE or anythign else of value without paying for it. Taking things without paying for them is stealing, therefore, downloading an Mp3 that would otherwise cost money to buy, IS STEALING.

Re:WTF (1)

siriuskase (679431) | more than 9 years ago | (#12790374)

I don't want to appear to be defending the murderer, but he in effect was swindled out of $1000, the real world value that was established in a real auction. The auction sets up an equivalence in real money. But, he acquired his sword in a virtual world. Should that matter? Is it any less real than the crimes committed by Enron?

Using a writing program to create a book and using a gaming program to create a sword seem to be similar acts that would introduce copyright into the mess, but unless swords can be duplicated as easily as books or song files, the analogy isn't relevent. Stealing a virtual sword would be more like "real" theft and less like copyright infringement. How easy is it to duplicate a sword?

So a man was murdered for stealing an object with an established real world value of $1000. The murderer certainly belongs in jail, but I don't think it should have anything to do with the realness of the sword since it has real value established by legitimate auction.

Re:WTF (1)

Mythrix (779875) | more than 9 years ago | (#12771726)

It has something to do with property because the guy actually tried to bring the case to court first, but didn't get any help because there were no laws for virtual property.

Re:WTF (1)

reidbold (55120) | more than 9 years ago | (#12772084)

So the court said it has nothing to do with property. Further assurance that virtual property isn't property.

Re:WTF (1)

Mythrix (779875) | more than 9 years ago | (#12772424)

Well, yeah. I just wanted to point out that the article was in some way connected to property. I didn't mean to state if virtual property is property or not.

Re:WTF (1)

siriuskase (679431) | more than 9 years ago | (#12790016)

This isn't so much about a murder (which we all certainly agree is a crime), but about the killer's motive, whether he was reacting to a crime himself. Some killings are more justifiable than others, but I doubt the "realness" of this property should matter in this case.

Service Property (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12770924)


The problem I have with this concept is that it doesn't have any firm basis, as far as I can tell. Manufacturing creates real value in the economy by mining raw materials or farming and providing for essential needs. Entertainment is completely tenuous and everyone can drop it as soon as money gets tight or as fashion dictates. It just seems that service economies could hit bigger highs but much more massive recessions, but I am not an economist and this is all just my impression of the whole thing.

Queue the Law and Order sound (3, Insightful)

yotto (590067) | more than 9 years ago | (#12770971)

How did a murder morph into a moral arguement on if digital "property" is as good as solid property? Dude's dead. Someone murdered him. That someone should get serious time or death for it.

Re:Queue the Law and Order sound (1)

supersocialist (884820) | more than 9 years ago | (#12771195)

It's a shame this happened after Jerry Orbach died, because I just can't take that new guy.

Re:Queue the Law and Order sound (1)

flink (18449) | more than 9 years ago | (#12774136)

Especially since he played a heroin-addicted gangster on the Sopranos. It's kinda hard to picture him as a straight-shooting detective.

Re:Queue the Law and Order sound (1)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 9 years ago | (#12771240)

The article doesn't flow very well (I think it might be a translation of a Chinese story) but I think the connection is that the convicted murderer used theft of his valuable (if virtual) property as a justification for his actions.

I have no idea what difference this would make in China in a murder case.

Kiiling over a game item (1)

alexo (9335) | more than 9 years ago | (#12772885)

> Dude's dead. Someone murdered him. That someone should get serious time or death for it.

Big deal, just create a new character and log back in [wikipedia.org] ...

In other realms (3, Insightful)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#12770979)

Neighbours shoot each other over fence posts , Wives kill husbands for working too much ,People kill each other over football games ,people kill themselves over exams ...
people some times take things far too seriously , so lets just hope people realise this and don't call for the banning of games due to the lunatic fringe who can't grasp reality

Re:In other realms (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 9 years ago | (#12773394)

Neighbours shoot each other over fence posts

I'm going to have to stop looking at my neighbors from the comfort of my fence post.

Re:In other realms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12776039)

Wives kill husbands for working too much
I never did get that one. I mean, what... you're going to get more quality time that way?

Dupe (1, Informative)

soliptic (665417) | more than 9 years ago | (#12770985)

Re:Dupe (1)

bryanp (160522) | more than 9 years ago | (#12771089)

Not a dupe. The original story reported the crime and the arrest. This is reporting on the sentencing.

It's a shame they didn't leave the death penalty as an option. He certainly deserves it.

Re:Dupe (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#12771348)

The guy is obviously mentally ill , he does not deserve to be murderd by the state.

Re:Dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12781409)

Are you honestly SO FUCKING STUPID that you cannot tell the difference between a DUPE and a FOLLOWUP?

Fucktard.

Notion of Ownership? (1, Troll)

th3space (531154) | more than 9 years ago | (#12771024)

"The idea of property has become more intangible."

My people had no idea what ownership was until the White Man came over and started tricking us into things that we now regret. Further, we know not of this 'internet' or 'virtual property' that you speak of. We smoke'um Peace Pipe.


note: I am of legitimate Cherokee descent, and feel safe in making fun of my heritage.

Re:Notion of Ownership? (1)

TeleoMan (529859) | more than 9 years ago | (#12771435)

And that's why your people traded Manhattan for a few tons of trinkets? Huh?

Re:Notion of Ownership? (0, Redundant)

rlbond86 (874974) | more than 9 years ago | (#12771508)

I don't get it.

Re:Notion of Ownership? (2, Funny)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 9 years ago | (#12773827)

...We smoke'um Peace Pipe.

You insensitive clod! My grandmother died of lung cancer. No I will sue you and your casino owning relatives for introducing tobacco to the europeans.

Re:Notion of Ownership? (1)

th3space (531154) | more than 9 years ago | (#12785384)

That was...ummm...the Aztecs...or something. ;)

who needs a plea bargain? (3, Funny)

supersocialist (884820) | more than 9 years ago | (#12771230)

I imagine killing a man over an imaginary object makes the insanity plea a little easier.

Re:who needs a plea bargain? (1)

wormbin (537051) | more than 9 years ago | (#12771783)

I imagine killing a man over an imaginary object makes the insanity plea a little easier.

I'm not so sure. Money is an imaginary object especially when there is no gold to back it up. (US currency since 1970) Imaginary things that can be traded for real things are not a strange concept to most people and I'm sure the prosecuting attorney would mention this.

Robert.

Re:who needs a plea bargain? (1)

syrinx (106469) | more than 9 years ago | (#12772150)

Why is gold less imaginary than pieces of paper (or bits in a bank computer)?

(Seriously, I've been wondering this. Is it because the supply of gold is fixed? Or what?)

Re:who needs a plea bargain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12772429)

Yes, the supply is fixed. Money could (and actually is) be printed at will while you can't just create a ton of gold. Look what has happened to US dollar in last few years, then look what has happened to price of gold and finally look what has happened to dollar supply and gold supply.

Re:who needs a plea bargain? (1)

iibagod (887140) | more than 9 years ago | (#12772948)

Gold has longer standing as something of 'value'. For centuries it has been held as one of if not the most valuable substance to possess. Entire civilizations were decimated in order to steal their gold. The European Presence in the Americas was mainly due to gold.

Now, thousands of years ago, gold had very little intrisic value. It has plenty of applications in today's technology, but as a soft metal that would dent easily, gold had little value in military applications or for nearly anything else. The only thing it had was that it looked pretty and was hard to find.

When governments moved to a currency system, they used precious metals as the standard (gold, silver, and copper coins are the most well known). These were obviously valuable in and of themselves since you could just melt down the metal and create what you wanted from it, or simply re-use it as currency. Once the currency migrated to a paper system, the only way to get the populace to accept the new money as real was to tie them to the previous standard of value, ie gold. You could go to a bank and exchange your paper money for hard metal 'real' money. The paper was simply a check drawn off of the banks' reserves.

Now that paper money is established as having value, the gold standard is slowly going away. Since the entire world acknowledges the dollar as having value, it no longer needs to be tied to a gold backing. It has value in and of itself.

It's the same thing with the electronic migration. Those bits in your bank's computer have no value whatsoever. Just like those bits of mint paper with dead presidents in your wallet have no value whatsoever. The only thing that gives it value is that everyone agrees that it is valuable. Which is the same reason gold held its value. We all agree to assign value to it.

So, to answer your question, Gold has no more value than paper or even little bits of information in a bank's computer. It just has a longer history as a valuable commodity, and is held by many people to be harder to steal than bits from your bank account.


Although, if I had a closet full of gold bars, I would probably feel less safe than if I had my money at the bank.

Re:who needs a plea bargain? (1)

syrinx (106469) | more than 9 years ago | (#12773403)

The only thing that gives it value is that everyone agrees that it is valuable.

Yeah, that's what I was getting at. It seemed to me that that was the same reason gold is valuable (in fact, that's basically the definition of "valuable"), so I wasn't sure why a lot of people are so enamoured with the gold standard.

Re:who needs a plea bargain? (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 9 years ago | (#12775190)

Why is gold less imaginary than pieces of paper (or bits in a bank computer)?

Because it has real (not abstract) value. People WANT it for its own sake. (Yeah, yeah. Some people want money for its own sake. This should be viewed as insanity.) People want money because it can be traded for other items. People want gold because, well, they want gold. It's pretty. It's malleable. It can be stretched into incredibly thin wires. It is corrosion resistant. It serves practical and aesthetic purposes.

Money is an intellectual contruction which abstracts value in order to empower economic growth. A dollar bill is useless without an economic structure to fit into. Gold, on the other hand, has intrinsic useful qualities.

Re:who needs a plea bargain? (1)

YOU LIKEWISE FAIL IT (651184) | more than 9 years ago | (#12776812)

While gold is certainly useful, these uses aren't really attractive to most consumers of money ( who have little use for soft, ductile metal ). So while I agree to a point, if you want the currency to be centered around something that is intrinsicly valuable and limited in supply, you'd need to skulk around a little more to find a good candidate. I can't think of one that works well off the top of my head.

Re:who needs a plea bargain? (1)

KillShill (877105) | more than 9 years ago | (#12776917)

you should try the lazy-brain defense.

clearly you missed the part where the item WAS NOT imaginary.

it exists, in the game and people can interact with it.

i think the word you are looking for is intangible or non-physical.

Not News (0, Redundant)

TJ_Phazerhacki (520002) | more than 9 years ago | (#12771525)

The REAL story here, not a couple of week old dupe, is that the man was found Giluty, and sentenced to Life in prison. Let's not water down something like this with an argument over "virtual" property.

This guy CLEARLY had other problems - lets not tie it into games. We get enough bad press as it is.

Comparisons to "theft" of music and video (1)

Red Moose (31712) | more than 9 years ago | (#12771581)

So where is the line drawn and who gets to draw it?

Imagine killing someone for stealing virtual property - simply some bytes of code.

Now imagine imprisoning someone for stealing virtual property - bytes of code in the form of music or video. Or fining them hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars for something that "doesn't exist".

Would MGM demand the death penalty for copying some movies? Why not? Would it be okay for them to "fine" people by using the police for non-criminal acts? Sure. So how about this guy or anyone of us: why couldn't this guy get the police to get his virtual property back, or at the very least, for the guy to be arrested and imprisoned, just as Warner would insist.

Move the Trial To TX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12771765)

All murder trials should take place in Texas. Everyone knows, if you killl someone in Texas, Texas will kill you back.

I can only imagine the online chat for this... (2, Insightful)

jasonmicron (807603) | more than 9 years ago | (#12771797)

I can only imagine the online chat for this...

OMG U stole my LEWTS!

No I didn't, you never gave me the full amount

I am going to PWN U

*BANG BANG*

the problem... (3, Funny)

ultramk (470198) | more than 9 years ago | (#12771961)

what pisses me off about all the coverage of this that I've read...

I can't find ANYONE who'll say what the stats are on the damn sword. This is obviously the most critical bit of information about the story, and no one will report it.

1h? 2h? +9 for ogres? What?? GAH!

Obviously, there are some circumstances where such a killing would be perfectly understandable. Without the stats, how will we ever know?

m-

Re:the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12777593)

Probably a vorpal blade.

Virtual Property Value and Labor Costs (4, Informative)

borkus (179118) | more than 9 years ago | (#12772027)

Interestingly, "virtual" property seems to only be traded between someone in an economy with low wages to someone in an economy with high wages.

The value of the theft was about $850-900 USD. Guessing that you have to play for 40 hours to acquire the weapon, that makes the "wage" about $22 an hour (before taxes). For a buyer in a major American market (LA, New York Chicago) that could be easily be below his hourly earings; I imagine that Japan would be similar. For someone in China - even a major city like Shanghai - that is a significant sum of money. Average household income in Shanghai is less than $1,500 USD (11,718 Yuan in 2000 [unescap.org] ). 40, 80 or even 160 hours of play for over a half year's income would be an incredible opportunity.

So the game item has no value. However, the difference in labor costs creates a value in the time spent to produce the item [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Virtual Property Value and Labor Costs (1)

popo (107611) | more than 9 years ago | (#12776055)


Yes and no. The Labor Theory of Value is an economic term and not a legal one. If a man takes twice as long as another man to produce an identical item. (And let's say those items are exactly identical down to a molecular level for the sake of argument). Both items are usually (yes, there are rare exceptions as with some works of art) worth the same amount.

Theoretically a gamer could acquire that item quickly -- or never at all.

Markets determine prices. Not labor. Its sale price on eBay is a good metric.

Re:Virtual Property Value and Labor Costs (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 9 years ago | (#12777483)

labor is good when used to determine production points and marginal cost, but not value of the final result.

Mod Parent Up (1)

patio11 (857072) | more than 9 years ago | (#12776462)

"Its just a game, sad people would kill over this" -- Look, its grand larceny, a stupid thing to kill over but it happens every bloody day. Somebody jacked a friend to the tune of what would be in the US $40,000. The friend killed him in a fit of rage. If it were even physically possible to remove $40,000 from someone in the US (short of, say, divorce), people would get killed over that, too. Heck, sneakers and drug deals end up in violence all the time at far smaller absolute dollar amounts than $900...

Re:Mod Parent Up (1)

KillShill (877105) | more than 9 years ago | (#12776943)

they are 13 years old and have no sense of the big picture or reality.

wait 10 years till they grow up.

in the meantime, ignore them. they know nothing.

and on the small chance that you are in your 20's with the mentality and maturity of a teenager... that's just pathetic.

Re:Mod Parent Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12777744)

The victim was 26. The killer was 41.

Album vs. mp3 (4, Funny)

NetCynicism (792366) | more than 9 years ago | (#12772608)

People would think that stealing an album in a shop is immoral, but stealing an mp3 isn't.

That's because stealing an album in a shop is immoral, but stealing an mp3 isn't. An album is a physical good; if I steal it from you you can no longer use it. An mp3 is what economists call a non-rival good; if I 'steal' it from you you may never notice and have not been harmed in any way, unless of course you believe in Marx's labor theory of value.

That last gives rise to my personal IP motto - 'intellectual property is Communism.'

Re:Album vs. mp3 (1)

KillShill (877105) | more than 9 years ago | (#12776979)

well marx didn't realize how much labor a computer can do... like copying bits.

it can copy tons of gigabytes every day on even the slowest computer.

so that digital representation of music you try to sell people for 1 dollar, in effect is worth less than 1 penny by using the theory of labor.

clearly, someone is overcharging by 1 million percent.

pants (2, Funny)

Flunitrazepam (664690) | more than 9 years ago | (#12772853)

"My son was only 26 when he died. He was sleeping when Qiu broke into his home. He was barely able to put his pants on before Qiu stabbed him," said his father, Zhu Huimin.

Well, thank god I sleep with my pants ON

Re:pants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12780650)

Sounds like an epithet to me:

"He died with his pants on."

Re:pants (1)

Wybaar (762692) | more than 9 years ago | (#12780658)

You know, if someone broke into my place with a sword while I was sleeping, putting on my pants wouldn't be my first, second, or even third priority. My first priority would be to avoid getting impaled on the sword. My second would be to find something with which to defend myself. My third priority would be to get some help, say by running out into a public place.

Besides, if someone broke in with a sword while I was sleeping, I think I might need to change my underwear before putting on my pants.

Re:pants (1)

Flunitrazepam (664690) | more than 9 years ago | (#12781106)

you are wise beyond your years

but in soviet china, pants put on you

the point is all being missed (1)

StupidStan (773027) | more than 9 years ago | (#12772855)

this whole thing doesnt matter why he did it, this is clearly a case of a person who is not stable whatsoever. It was just a matter of what made this person snap and kill someone. This happens every day, all over the world, it is irrelevant that it happened over a video game. SOMEONE GOT KILLED, IT DOES NOT MATTER WHY. No stable person could do something like this, especially over a peice of property, virtual or not...

Other Interesting Details (4, Funny)

popo (107611) | more than 9 years ago | (#12772913)


The article failed to mention that Qiu Chengwei scored a +5 critical hit when he stabbed Mr. Zhu in the chest.

It should also be mentioned that while Mr. Zhu's death was of course due to stabbing -- other factors included his low armor class and a failed saving throw.

Rumours are currently spreading that Mr. Chengwei was wearing +3 boots of stealth when he broke into Mr. Zhu's apartment giving him a distinct melee advantage.

Friggin' gamers... (1, Insightful)

facelessnumber (613859) | more than 9 years ago | (#12774457)

An extreme example of what happens when otherwise intelligent adults can't put away the trappings of childhood.

Psychological maturity is inhibited. You get a baby in an adult body, who has a tantrum over a trivial problem that only a child should have, (except that a very grown-up sum of money was involved) reacting in a manner that rational human beings reserve for only the most severe of situations.

And it wasn't even about the money! This dude wanted his toy sword back and not even a shitload of money was good enough to spare the life of this other sad, stunted individual.

I know that playing video games with every free moment of one's time doesn't inflict this degree of insanity on all gamers, and I know that playing GTA doesn't make kids think it's okay to shoot people and blow shit up, but it happens to some degree at least to a hell of a lot of people. I am a geek. Most of my friends are geeks. Many of them are gamers, and not ONE of them who spends a significant amount of each day devoted to a pointless virtual world would I consider to be a psychologically-complete, well-adjusted adult. Good, smart, valuable people - yes. Socially fucked-up? You betcha. And these are just people who miss work occasionally to play Everquest or stay home all weekend for Ultima Online. These are not the disturbingly growing number of vegetables who are sick enough to sell characters, armor and swords on Ebay. These guys sometimes ignore reality for a game, but many people try to make reality a part of the game. How else is it not cheating when you buy in-game items?

Playing games is a normal part of growing up, and a healthy stage of life. Every mammal I can think of does this when they're young. It builds character. It's essential. Lion cubs and wolf-pups stop doing this once they have to provide for themselves, though. The only animals who play games throughout their lives are domesticated ones. Would your tail-wagging, yapping dog ever be able to take down prey and feed itself on a regular basis if it had to live in the wild? My nine year old cat who still acts the way a cub does in the real world certainly wouldn't.

Slashdot is surely the wrong soundingboard with which to convey these opinions, but I had to vent.

Gamers, think of your dignity. This is how you look to me and a lot of other people.

Re:Friggin' gamers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12775504)

dolphins play, and even so do chimps, Infact it has been said that these animals have sex just for fun. Just like us. and guess what, they are considered to be the more intelligent of species

Re:Friggin' gamers... (1)

facelessnumber (613859) | more than 9 years ago | (#12775776)

Certainly. I don't argue that adults shouldn't play. I do things purely for my own amusement. It's when it defines your life that it goes too far. 30 year olds who play video games for a few hours a week aren't abnormal or unhealthy based solely on that. But 30 year olds who play video games for a few hours a day and have been doing so for most of their lives... They tend to be abnormal and unhealthy. At least mildly. They lack the maturity and social skills that can only come from doing something besides that. It ain't just video games either. Dumb jocks who make baseball or basketball the whole point of living will inevitably become, well, dumb jocks. And maturity social skills are certainly the hallmarks of every dumb jock I've ever met.

Re:Friggin' gamers... (1)

Grey Ninja (739021) | more than 9 years ago | (#12777245)

I find it amusing that someone who seems to have a great deal of immature social skills (I mean, christ sake's, you are posting on Slashdot and flaming gamers)... is commenting on the immature social abilities of gamers.

Re:Friggin' gamers... (1)

facelessnumber (613859) | more than 9 years ago | (#12777407)

Heh. Well what good would it do if I flamed gamers on a board where everyone agreed with me?

Re:Friggin' gamers... (1)

Grey Ninja (739021) | more than 9 years ago | (#12777766)

Well, what I really mean... is that I am sure someone with your sophisticated social skills can go out and talk to REAL friends. =P No need to hang out with us social rejects.

Re:Friggin' gamers... (1)

facelessnumber (613859) | more than 9 years ago | (#12779124)

Not sophistacated, but somewhat balanced. Somewhat unbalanced too. I said I'm a geek; I still spend too much time in front of a computer and sometimes have IM conversations with people in the same room. I have nine-hour marathon sessions in front of a PC too, forsaking sleep, friends, food... But usually at the end of it I have benefitted in some way other than gaining levels and magical items.

I really seem to have touched a nerve with this post. No surprise. Let me just clarify that I think it's completely okay to play video games as an adult, and it's unlikely that it will warp your sense of reality. But if you take it beyond a certain point then you are a sad, pathetic, often unstable person. I've seen it happen and probably everyone here has seen it also. If the place where you happened to see it was reflected in the glare of your monitor at 3am on a Friday night, where you'd been playing since you woke up, and you're not in high school, then I'm sorry if I have offended you by saying you should try doing something productive instead.

But as for kids, and people who spend no more time playing games than the average "normal person" spends watching television, I'm not talking about you. I'm talking about extreme cases, the worst of which we just read about in this article. And if you sell or especially buy virtual items for a game on Ebay then I'm probably talking about you too.

Re:Friggin' gamer kids... (1)

MrCopilot (871878) | more than 9 years ago | (#12777391)

From the geek/gamer/engineer parental viewpoint:

Two 15 yr old male geek Gamers. One 8 yr old girl gamer.

Psychological maturity is inhibited. You get a baby in an adult body,

No way, very bright, very lazy, but mature beyond their age.

Good, smart, valuable people - yes.

Absolutely.

Socially fucked-up? You betcha.

Hmmm, all three different. None fscked up, but not especially graceful either.

These guys sometimes ignore reality for a game, but many people try to make reality a part of the game.

Funny thing about reality, it has a way of reminding you that it's around. Failing the exam, Being Fired, losing your significant other, MURDER Conviction/Life or Death Sentence. (Do you get a Gameboy on deathrow?)

The great thing about being a parent is helping them learn these lessons EARLY when its painless. When I do X, I get Y. Way better then to say don't do X! They leave go off to college (if your lucky) MMORPG all night every night, because you're not there saying don't do X. Drop out end up back home playing games in the garage 18 of the wrong hours of the day. Whoa. Whoa Whoa.\Tangent.

Um.. Early. yeah when its relatively painless. But they still learn the lesson. They don't wanna lose that next girlfriend. Or Fail that Exam. (has to be mid term or final though)

Playing games is a normal part of growing up, and a healthy stage of life. Every mammal I can think of does this when they're young. It builds character. It's essential.

Spot on, with ya so far.

Lion cubs and wolf-pups stop doing this once they have to provide for themselves, though.

BullShit Have you ever watched Animal Planet or Wild kingdom? You know the suge Lion gets a small animal and fscks with it for a half hour. Play, pure and simple. Different play then when they were cubs, you might say more mature play. The opportunities don't present themselves as often, but when they do "whaddin that huntin/fishin/campin trip fun?".

Parental tip: Buy ALL games/software for your children and play every game you buy for at least 20 minutes (I average, umm, a little longer) with your child. Talk with your kids about their games. Look, I know you don't give a damn how to kill 42 zombies in under 6 minutes. They, however, just spent 4 hours doing it over and over again. They obviously do care quite a bit. These two things: Play & Listen have taught me more about my kids than all their report cards and quite a bit about the gaming industry. It might help that I let my Atari 800XL rot my brain as a youth and here I sit before a keyboard.

Slashdot is surely the wrong soundingboard with which to convey these opinions, but I had to vent.

If not here, where? Meet me at the coffeehouse?

Gamers, think of your dignity. This is how you look to me and a lot of other people.

Dig? Ni? Tee? What do I care how I look to you. You don't even know me. Is it possible to judge me from the games I play or the hours I spend on my prefferred entertainment? Hey man this is /. Judge me by my spelling erors!

Libertarian or Republican?

Re:Friggin' gamer kids... (1)

facelessnumber (613859) | more than 9 years ago | (#12779395)

Hey, no need to bring out your probably well-practiced defense against people who say you're a bad parent for letting your kids play video games. I agree with everything you said, and if I was talking about kids you'd have a very strong point.

I don't think you're a bad parent because you let 15 year olds and an 8 year old spend a lot of time gaming. Even when you let it interfere with life a little so that it teaches them something. It's completely normal and positive that you play video games with your own kids under your own roof. They're kids. That's what games are for.

If nothing changes in the next 10-15 years though, and your boys are 30, still live with you and don't have careers, still play vide games for five to fifteen hours a day, maybe selling characters and items to support their addiction, then that becomes sick and pathetic.

Libertarian or Republican?

Neither... Both... Sometimes a Democrat or a Green too. My opinions don't come from a list that the group I'm comfortable with gave me. I vote all over the spectrum, and I think for myself when I can.

Re:Friggin' gamer kids... (1)

MrCopilot (871878) | more than 9 years ago | (#12782028)

Hey, no need to bring out your probably well-practiced defense

Not a defense, just an opinion from a my perspective. Hmm never had to practice.. Although it took about an hour and half to compose this post between the 3 kids. What you say is a likely scenario, if left to their own devices (Ha,no pun intended). My job, and every parents job, is to help them understand Cause and Effect.

If nothing changes in the next 10-15 years though, and your boys are 30, still live with you and don't have careers, still play vide games for five to fifteen hours a day, maybe selling characters and items to support their addiction, then that becomes sick and pathetic.

That's the snag. Which lessons do you let them learn to prevent this decidedly unfavorable result?

Libertarian or Republican? Neither... Both... Sometimes a Democrat or a Green too

I knew I should have put Independent. Bet you are registered though as a REP. for the primaries. Good reasons for that. I am a Democrat. That means (to me) I listen to all sides and I weigh the merits. I do give more weight to the poor rather than the rich, small biz versus corp, environment over economy. My personal motto though: A good idea is a good idea no matter what its source.

Re:Friggin' gamers... (1)

bVork (772426) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778073)

So, what activities do YOU do to have fun?

Information is not property. (1)

soupdevil (587476) | more than 9 years ago | (#12775368)

Making information hard to copy does not make it property. Laws control the right to copy or transmit information, but information cannot be owned.

Re:Information is not property. (2)

patio11 (857072) | more than 9 years ago | (#12776642)

Property rights are, fundamentally, the right to exclude. If you own something, you can exclude others from its use, if you can exclude others from something's use you own it. Laws which control the right to copy or transmit information, which is a prerequisite for using it, do indeed confer ownership over the information under any rational interpretation of "ownership" which is not a quasi-spiritual "Information must be free!" hacker aesthetic.

Totally miss the point! (1)

zhangyong (791280) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778326)

It's about some young guy so addicted [slashdot.org] to the bloody online games that ends up killing people in the real world. What's wrong with the virtual property right stuff? It's a mindset problem. Even it is not valued for £480, he would probably do the same thing. Of course, as taweili [slashdot.org] pointed out, there may also be economic reason that caused this kind of tragedy. If that so, there could also be an organized crime based on that, then whom we can blame for?!

Property is Theft (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12785835)

If the killer could have copied the virtual sword his friend "stole", he probably wouldn't have killed the guy. Having backups makes such thefts less damaging, so probably will reduce the violence associated with propery transfers. People get violent upon property loss, which is less necessary with virtual items. But of course no mass media corporation is going to use an event like this to evaluate our disporportionate value of property over human life. Even when the theft and murder are committed in Communist China.

Re:Property is Theft (1)

eluusive (642298) | more than 9 years ago | (#12787584)

But of course no mass media corporation is going to use an event like this to evaluate our disporportionate value of property over human life.
Amen brothah! People are increasingly more and more just numbers. Look at this page: news.com [com.com] I was reading this article and it seemed fine until I got down to this part:
"We do question the rationale of a transaction which reduces Sun's cash hoard by 40 percent and does nothing to reignite revenue growth or profitability," Prudential analyst Steve Fortuna said in a report Thursday. "We would rather have seen the company buy back a billion shares and fire 10,000 people."
I'd like to stick a boot up Steve Fortuna's arse.

Re:Property is Theft (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12788115)

Fortuna probably owns the boots. The banks are the worst corporations of all: at the root of all evil, they're pursued by the worst people who desire money the most. 10,000 people is nothing to a bank - until the banker is one of them, and mountains are literally moved to suit them.

I'm proud of "virtual" property.... (1)

SauroNlord (707570) | more than 9 years ago | (#12786643)

What about being the largest supplier of information services and application needs?
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