Dutch court convicts teens for stealing pixels
Your +5 magic amulet or your life
A pair of Dutch teenagers have been convicted of theft for stealing virtual items from a classmate.
Leeuwarden district court sentenced the boys, aged 14 and 15 to community service for punching, kicking, and threatening their 13-year-old victim with a knife until he agreed to transfer a virtual amulet and mask from the game Runescape to their own accounts.
Radio Netherlands reports the attacks occurred in September 2007. Apparently, the issue wasn't the assault on the lad, but on whether virtual items should be considered tangible goods that can be stolen.
The prosecutor argued because the items have value to the owner, they should be considered real and tangible. He also noted Runescape objects can be sold for money in the real world.
As with many online games, Runescape's Terms and Conditions specifically forbids exchanging game items for real-life money or benefits, although this doesn't stop many from making such trades on sites like eBay.
A lawyer representing the culprits argued that legally, the items don't exist and therefore can't be stolen, RNW reports.
The court rejected the defense's argument, stating that "these virtual goods are goods, so this is theft," in a summary of its ruling. It cited an earlier decision that electricity can be considered a material object for the purpose of criminal law and that stealing electricity is theft. The same principle can be applied to virtual objects in this case, it ruled.
The 15-year-old was sentenced to 200 hours service, while the 14-year-old got 160 hours. ®
"I imagine you'd probably think differently if someone made a complete copy of all your personal information, HDD contents etc for their own enjoyment, and possibly profit? How about your ISP copying all your online actions and selling that - after all, it's to help you have a better online experience!"
I would feal up set BUT it is not steeling it is a diffrent offence I do not nkow what but it is nt stealing
Just for the FreeTards
Ok, let me get this straight...it's ok for someone to make a digital copy of music on the internet and then transfer that for yourself and then listen to it over and over again and never pay anyone, right?
So by that reasoning, it should be ok if I make a digial copy of your bank card and transfer your money to me so I can spend it over and over again. That's alright now, innit? And what's best; I never have to pay for it!
By the by...the judge should have had the older kids locked in stocks and let the younger one kick them in the 'nads a few times (in addition t their time for theft).
The intent of intellectual property rights law is to render a non-rivalrous good (such as an image of an audio CD, or a copy of a digital photograph) excludable. Non-rivalrous goods are those for which possession by one person does not prevent possession by another (rivalrous goods tend to be tangible, e.g. a car or a hamburger). Non-excludable goods are those by which there is no mechanism to prevent those who have not paid for them enjoying them. Non-rivalrous, non-excludable goods (AKA public goods) tend to be things like a beautiful sunset or a free concert in a park (the park itself is non-rivalrous and non-excludable, up to a point). The purpose of IPR is to assign a more-or-less temporary monopoly on a non-rivalrous good in an attempt to make it worthwhile for content providers to continue making new content.
If the artefact in the RPG was non-rivalrous, then (other than the assault and battery) the perpetrators would have been guilty of copyright infringement, which is usually treated as a tort (although in some jurisdictions it is liable to criminal sanction). But since the original owner relinquished his ownership of the artefact and could not subsequently enjoy it, it was rivalrous, and thus the perpetrators' actions constituted theft with violence, i.e. robbery.