Feeds

Dutch court convicts teens for stealing pixels

Your +5 magic amulet or your life

SANS - Survey on application security programs

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. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
APPLE FAILS to ditch class action suit over ebook PRICE-FIX fiasco
Do not pass go, do cough (up to) $840m in damages
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.