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Old 11-14-2007, 10:16 AM   #1
KaVir
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Dutch police arrest online thief

Here's an interesting one: Dutch police arrest teenage online furniture thief - Yahoo! News UK

"Dutch police have made their first arrest of an online thief...the teenager was accused of stealing 4,000 euros (2,833 pounds) worth of virtual furniture by hacking into the accounts of other users."

And: Dutch teen swipes furniture from virtual hotel | The Register

"police say the suspects will be charged with "hacking and burglary"".

The hacking (cracking) I can understand...but a burglary charge?
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Old 11-14-2007, 11:02 AM   #2
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Re: Dutch police arrest online thief

Wow. Burglary? REALLY? I could understand hacking. I could understand petty theft. But I've always understood burglary to require a physical intrusion (rather than a virtual one). Interesting.
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Old 11-14-2007, 11:35 AM   #3
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Re: Dutch police arrest online thief

I know the concept of virtual ownership has been discussed before, but how does this fit in:

You have money in a bank account. It is nothing more than a database entry. If somebody hacks into that database and transfers some of your money into his own account, would that not also be burglary?

Technically, you own that money, eventhough it is virtual only (but can be converted into something real).
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Old 11-14-2007, 11:51 AM   #4
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Re: Dutch police arrest online thief

Quote:
Originally Posted by bridgette View Post
I know the concept of virtual ownership has been discussed before, but how does this fit in:

You have money in a bank account. It is nothing more than a database entry. If somebody hacks into that database and transfers some of your money into his own account, would that not also be burglary?

Technically, you own that money, eventhough it is virtual only (but can be converted into something real).
It's not really burglary. At least, to my understanding, burglary involves a physical entrance into a building or vehicle.

Hacking is hacking. Illegal transfer of funds would be grand theft or petty theft, depending on the amount. I don't see how a virtual crime like this counts as burglary.
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Old 11-14-2007, 11:57 AM   #5
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Re: Dutch police arrest online thief

I guess you are right. Here are some definitions:


entering a building unlawfully with intent to commit a felony or to steal valuable property
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn
Burglary - also called breaking and entering - is a crime related to theft or another crime. It typically involves someone breaking into a house, business, boat, or motor vehicle with an intent to commit a crime. ...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burglary
Interesting they should choose to charge the kid with burglary then, indeed...
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Old 11-15-2007, 01:55 AM   #6
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Re: Dutch police arrest online thief

Perhaps it's a miss translation. I know in Korean there are some Korean words that have many different English meanings, perhaps that is the case here. For example, I watched a movie with my wife that was good but sad. When I asked her what she thought about it, she said, "It was funny." because in Korean funny and enjoyable are the same word.
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Old 10-23-2008, 08:24 PM   #7
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Re: Dutch police arrest online thief

Don't know if this is the same case since it concerns different objects and the above link wouldn't open. It looks like it's a different case though.
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Old 10-23-2008, 11:32 PM   #8
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Re: Dutch police arrest online thief

Quote:
Originally Posted by KaVir View Post
The hacking (cracking) I can understand...but a burglary charge?
I googled up a Dutch source FOK.nl / Nieuws / Tiener opgepakt wegens diefstal op Habbo / FOK!frontpage and it speaks of theft, not burglary. So I'd say it's a translation error.
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Old 10-24-2008, 04:25 AM   #9
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Re: Dutch police arrest online thief

Quote:
Originally Posted by scandum View Post
I googled up a Dutch source FOK.nl / Nieuws / Tiener opgepakt wegens diefstal op Habbo / FOK!frontpage and it speaks of theft, not burglary. So I'd say it's a translation error.
It still is pretty odd. For example does this mean the players own the "virtual objects"? Playing a thief class ingame could have an entirely different meaning .

What if the online world closes down or the game owner decide to ban some player? Then surely the player cant access his objects. Should the game owner then return the SQL entries that define the objects?

Could cases like this make game designers decrease the level of interaction?
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Old 10-24-2008, 04:45 PM   #10
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Re: Dutch police arrest online thief

What happend in the recent case is that two 15 year old guys beat up and threatened a kid into handing over his virtual goodies.

From a theoretical viewpoint nothing has real value, instead the value of the object is a matter of supply and demand. So in that regard it is in fact theft.

In game theft through a steal skill isn't really theft, it's comparable to someone winning a poker game and taking someone elses money.

Quote:
Could cases like this make game designers decrease the level of interaction?
No, but the end user license will become more important I think. If two games are comparable in what they offer, but game B has better money back guarantees that'd be a good selling point, like a refund if you get banned or a game error causes a loss of virtual assets.
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Old 10-24-2008, 05:50 PM   #11
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Re: Dutch police arrest online thief

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeran View Post
Could cases like this make game designers decrease the level of interaction?
Cases like this are worrying to industry people for a whole lot of reasons. If virtual goods are deemed to be property then as a game designer you can't go changing that property by nerfing items or taking it away by banning players for fear of legal action.

Scandum your analogy about losing winnings at poker is an unfortunate one that leads to another worrying scenario, namely that virtual goods can be seen as the proceeds of gambling. For example, if the Sword of Doom is a rare drop from the Orc King and I can sell that Sword of Doom on ebay for $10 it may be that we have an online game of chance with a cash reward, and that's illegal in the US.

Most service agreements for games which sell virtual goods make it clear that the real world value of these goods can change. They may also stipulate that you aren't purchasing anything tangible, rather the right to use the service in a particular way (while making it clear that the service can change at any time!). For a lot of years game companies tried to fight against RMTs, possibly because they were concerned about the legal impllications, but in recent years they have tolerated them and in some cases embraced them (SOE being the major example).

It's a complex area and in many cases the law is unclear as it applies to virtual worlds and virtual property, but hopefully we can arrive at a regulatory framework that protects the rights of purchasers of virtual assets while still allowing companies to do business.
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Old 10-25-2008, 06:36 PM   #12
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Re: Dutch police arrest online thief

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orrin View Post
Scandum your analogy about losing winnings at poker is an unfortunate one that leads to another worrying scenario, namely that virtual goods can be seen as the proceeds of gambling. For example, if the Sword of Doom is a rare drop from the Orc King and I can sell that Sword of Doom on ebay for $10 it may be that we have an online game of chance with a cash reward, and that's illegal in the US.
That's because a mud addiction is in large part comparable to a gambling addiction, and it also shows why pay for perk business models are so extremely succesful.

I think it's a matter of time till a free quality pay for perks MMORPG opens its doors, and after that it won't be too long till the first legal restrictions are applied to the business model.
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