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Old 05-28-2010, 03:45 PM   #1
Javen
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At what point is this fraud.

Im curious what the public might think of this, concerning possible fraud. At what point does it become a legal issue when i mud owner asks for donations, to upgrade the server.. collects over a thousand dollars in player donations then shortly after the mud is shutdown and taken offline.
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Old 05-28-2010, 05:51 PM   #2
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Re: At what point is this fraud.

In terms of legality, I have no idea. You'd probably want to go hire a lawyer for real answers, instead of polling public opinion. Legalities aside, are you prepared to spend your hard earned money and time worrying about it? Lawyers ain't cheap and time is something you'll never get back. I guess to me there's not much of a difference than if I donated clothes to a local charity, and the following day the charity closed its doors. Donator Beware. ;-)

How much did you happen to donate?
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Old 05-28-2010, 09:23 PM   #3
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Re: At what point is this fraud.

You'd probably have to prove that the MUD owners were misleading and intended to pocket the cash.

Out of curiosity, if this is in fact what happened, I'd let the community know about it so people will know better than to throw their cash to this person's games again.
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Old 05-29-2010, 03:35 AM   #4
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Re: At what point is this fraud.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Javen View Post
Im curious what the public might think of this, concerning possible fraud. At what point does it become a legal issue when i mud owner asks for donations, to upgrade the server.. collects over a thousand dollars in player donations then shortly after the mud is shutdown and taken offline.
Most MUDs that ask for any form of payment also have legal stipulations that go along with that to protect against disgruntled players. In the case of donations you have to understand that by virtue a donation is a gift. It is not claimable or redeemable for contractual value, hence "donate", therefor in almost all cases the legal recourse is limited at best as normally no merchandise or service is expected or guaranteed. Think of it as stock. You buy 1000 shares and the company goes belly up the next day. You can't really ask for a refund.
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Old 05-29-2010, 06:52 AM   #5
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Re: At what point is this fraud.

Reading this thread I thought The Seventh Son had done another disappearance act with all their new donations...
However they still seem to be there: The Seventh Sun - Age of Prosperity - Ancestry - The Ruination

PS. If it was a DB mud I say SUE 'EM!
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Old 05-30-2010, 10:41 PM   #6
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Re: At what point is this fraud.

I'm not a lawyer, but to my understanding, the rules with donations are...

... if you don't specify what the money is for when donating, then the site/company/individual should have a policy that specifies what the money is going towards (and that policy could say "anything I want" but probably says "costs of running and developing the mud" and might also say it can go towards wages for the staff running the mud.) - since you didn't specify, the money can be used for anything that the policy mentions and is reasonable. So they could probably buy a new home desktop computer, and count that under "costs of running the mud" if they do dev from home. But they couldn't buy their sister a pony with it.

If they don't have a policy on what the money will be spent on, I'm not sure what happens. I assume the money has to be spent on what they represented themselves as collecting for. So that would probably still mean the money goes towards running the mud.

Finally, if you donate money, you can specify what you want it spent on. So you could say "I want this spent on bandwidth costs" or "I want this spent on staff wages" - and they have to both spend it on what you specify, as well as keep financial records so that, later, it can be proven that they spent it on what you wanted. This generally annoys people, because it creates much more paperwork for them, and they probably already know where the money is most needed. If you specify that the donation should be spent on something, they are free to refuse the donation.

Now, if the mud closes down, they still have an obligation to spend the money on what they said they would. So they can use the money to pay bills that the mud may have incurred, such as ISP costs or remaining payments on the hardware. But they can't legally just pocket the money.

They may be able to legally close down and pocket the money if one of the things they can spend the money on is wages for themselves.

All that said, I'm not a lawyer.

Also, you're talking about hundreds of dollars. Which is a lot for donations and home-run muds, but is really not very significant in terms of "real world" wages. Dealing with something like this in court is going to cost significantly more. Considering the amount of work that goes into building a mud that is good enough to convince players to donate hundreds of dollars... that's a huge amount of work. The hundreds of dollars that they might be pocketing would, essentially, just be a tip.

If it bothers you, maybe send an email asking what they plan to do with the donations. You might get a very reasonable answer.
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Old 05-31-2010, 05:27 PM   #7
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Re: At what point is this fraud.

Im sorry i should have referred to this question as a hypothetical situation, I found Silvarilion post to be the most relevant and informative because that information is exactly what i was curious about.
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Old 06-05-2010, 06:10 PM   #8
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Re: At what point is this fraud.

Isn't it the case though that a mud owner cannot make a profit off the donations to the mud per the licensing agreement? They can use donations to defray operating costs. But then in that case they COULD claim was covering money previously spent. As someone else said - Would not be worth the effort to pursue. However out of this comes another question, have games like WOW etc actually helped on those muds that accept donations?

At one point we did a sort of study and noticed tht most players played around 6 months before they donated now it seems to be shorter..
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Old 06-05-2010, 07:45 PM   #9
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Re: At what point is this fraud.

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Isn't it the case though that a mud owner cannot make a profit off the donations to the mud per the licensing agreement?
Depends on the mud and the licence.
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Old 06-05-2010, 09:58 PM   #10
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Re: At what point is this fraud.

Most muds i know who accept donations do so though paypal....

anyone who you susppected of running this sort of scam could be reported to paypal
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Old 06-21-2010, 02:48 AM   #11
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Re: At what point is this fraud.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dasy2k1 View Post
Most muds i know who accept donations do so though paypal....

anyone who you susppected of running this sort of scam could be reported to paypal
PayPal will fine them the equal amount of what they accepted and deduct what they took if possible, particularly if paid with a credit card.

So, for instance, if they accepted 250, they'd end up 500 in the hole.
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Old 06-29-2010, 01:18 PM   #12
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Re: At what point is this fraud.

DikuMUD Group has said in the past it is ok if you accept donations, you just can't sell the source code or charge directly for your services.
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