March 1st, 2008 by Benjamin Duranske
Virtually Blind periodically runs “quicklinks” — items that are not long enough for a full story, but are worth a click. Here’s today’s, slightly less quick than usual.
- First, it is old news, but I’d not seen this courts-and-virtual-property story until a reader sent it in. Apparently, way back in December, 2003 a Chinese court “ordered an online video game company to return hard-won virtual property, including a make-believe stockpile of bio-chemical weapons, to a player whose game account was looted by a hacker.” China’s courts aren’t known for giving stare decisis the same weight western judicial systems do, so it may be more of a blip than anything else, but it’s interesting nonetheless. [Update: The reader who sent this in, Matt Nolin, has a short post about this up now. Thanks for the heads-up on this, Matt.]
- Today, of course, the debate rages on. Most recently, someone known only as avatar ‘Arthur Burma’ threatened yet another Second Life “bank” (BNT Financial, managed by ‘IntLibber Brautigan’) with a class action lawsuit (via an in-world notecard written in sufficiently advanced legalese and with just enough reserve to make me think a lawyer might have had something to do with it). The text of the notecard is available at Your2ndPlace.com. The core claim is that “BNT misrepresented the condition of the institution and perpetrated a ponzi scheme by taking deposits while restricting access to accounts and ignoring requests for records and adjustments.” I have no idea if the claim has merit (I’ve not looked into this bank in particular) but there’s no procedural reason people could not bring a class action suit based on a loss of real money to BNT.
- Finally, there’s a new academic paper up at SSRN on criminal law as applied to actions in games and virtual worlds. It’s by Orin Kerr at George Washington University Law School, and it adds significantly to the growing body of literature on virtual law. I’d have cited it in Virtual Law: Navigating The Legal Landscape of Virtual Worlds (which is slated for publication April, 2008) but just finished final edits. It encourages a fairly hands-off approach which will resonate with game designers. I disagree with some of Kerr’s conclusions (particularly to the extent he lumps pure games and social virtual worlds with real economies together) but it is a thought-provoking piece and well worth reading.
[Edited March 2, 2008 to add link to Matt Nolin's blog.]
Related Posts on Virtually Blind
- Quicklinks: Breaking The “Magic Circle,” Wired on Global Gaming Crackdown, Guardian Unlimited on Virtual Drugs, and a Legal Outpost in “There”: "Virtually Blind periodically runs “quicklinks” — items that are not..." (0 comments)
- Chinese Game Company Sued by U.S. Shareholders After Restricting Gold Farming: "Giant Interactive Group Inc. ("Giant"), an online game developer in..." (5 comments)
- Commentary: Ginko Wrapup – No AVIX, IPO, or Funds: "[Editor's Note, August 5, 2007: VB is providing ongoing coverage of..." (74 comments)
2 Responses to “Quicklinks: Old News from China, Criminal Law Paper, and Second Life Banking Class Action Threat”
Leave a Reply
Notes on Comments: Your first comment must be manually approved, but after it is you'll be able to post freely with the same name and email. You can use some HTML (<a> <b> <i> <blockquote> etc.) but know that VB's spam blocker holds posts with five or more <a> links. VB supports gravatars. Got a gravatar? Use the associated email and it'll show with your comment. Need one? Set it up for free here.