Boy Convicted Of Theft For Stealing Virtual Items Within Video Game

videoWell, if the stock market is regarded as real in the eyes of the law, why not an invisible amulet? Via the Chronicle Herald:

The amulet and mask were a 13-year-old boy’s virtual possessions in an online fantasy game. In the real world, he was beaten and threaten with a knife to give them up.

The Dutch Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the theft conviction of a youth who stole another boy’s possessions in the popular online fantasy game RuneScape. Judges ordered the offender to perform 144 hours of community service.

Only a handful of such cases have been heard in the world, and they have reached varying conclusions about the legal status of “virtual goods” — and whether stealing them is real-world theft.

The suspect’s lawyer had argued the amulet and mask “were neither tangible nor material and, unlike for example electricity, had no economic value.” But the Netherlands’ highest court said the virtual objects had an intrinsic value to the 13-year-old gamer because of “the time and energy he invested” in winning them while playing the game.

18 Comments on "Boy Convicted Of Theft For Stealing Virtual Items Within Video Game"

  1. Holy shit, I remember now that Runescape was popular with kids a few years behind me when I was in high school.  This was at least 10 years ago.  It’s still going…

  2. AbolishTheNWO | Feb 1, 2012 at 4:11 pm |

    Thought crimes are next. But hey, since the banks make virtual money and credit in exchange for real assets, why the fuck not? I would have been a smartass and replied that I would serve 144 virtual hours of community service and told the judge that in my virtual thoughts he is kissing my ass right now!

    • If you think virtual assets are worthless, please donate all your credit to the needy.

      • Botou Gits19 | Feb 2, 2012 at 2:10 am |

        Virtual assets are worthless in that they can be duplicated indefinitely. Credit is the same thing. The problems with credit is that usury can exist, or is allowed, grudgingly, to exist.

        Worthiness is adolescent barbaric honor.

        Barbaric honor can also be quite aggressive thieving. Excessive accumulation of things. Money, Gold, Amulets (God they suck in Skyrim), and masks.

  3. Easypointz | Feb 1, 2012 at 4:29 pm |

    Truth is, these virtual items have real value, because they can be sold for real money. As an MMORPG gamer will tell you, they do take a large amount of time and luck to obtain, and can then be sold using pay pal or other means for real money.

  4. Um, hello, people. The real crime here is that a teenager assaulted and threatened another teenager with a deadly weapon.

  5. he beat up some kid and threatened him with a knife and they basically punished him for stealing pixels…? wtf

  6. Redacted | Feb 1, 2012 at 6:41 pm |


    $16,500 worth of virtual goods stolen in MMO Eve Online 

    Virtual Ponzi scheme! (the article says $170,000 worth, but take that with a grain of salt) 

    Of course, the difference here is that neither robberies I posted ever went into the real world. Nobody was threatened with a knife. Also, ISK does actually have real value. It can be bought with real money through CCP, and isk can be used ingame to buy month long blocks of subscription time.

    • Anarchy Pony | Feb 2, 2012 at 12:24 am |

      That whole EVE conspiracy blows my friggin’ mind. My free trial never made it seem that awesome.

  7. cynicalcentaur | Feb 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm |

    Why apply a virtual theft charge, when assault and menacing with a weapon might be considered instead. The real world behavior of the suspect were used to coerce an action inside the game.
    The suspect valued the game items or he wouldn’t have coerced the victim to give them up.

  8. justagirl | Feb 1, 2012 at 7:22 pm |

    wow they must be brothers.  :/

  9. He should do 144 CPU hours of virtual community service!

  10. Just when I thought I had heard it all, along comes a story like this. Why would you assault someone for virtual items in a video game? I mean other than the fact that you have no real life of your own.

  11. DeepCough | Feb 2, 2012 at 12:37 am |

    Shit, imagine if this happened during a game of “Dark Souls.”

  12. This is the biggest human idiocy I ever heard.The Dutch Supreme Court should be examined!!!

  13. Lets not forget the games which actually Allow players to steal each others items which makes the game More fun, *cough* Ultima Online *cough*  On the otherhand, maybe I should puke too since someone actually got arrested for stealing a virtual item. 

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