If someone breaks into your house and steals your game console, you call the police, but what if someone breaks into Vana'diel and steals all your gil? When a 'friend' of former Blaine Wisconsin resident Geoff Luurs got hold of his username and password and then wiped his mage Sot's character clean, he went to the local authorities for justice. After determining his items were worth $US 3800 by looking them up on popular virtual goods vendor IGE, he went to the Blaine authorities with his complaint. They immediately went to the alleged perpetrator's house and shot him dead.
No, of course they didn't. Explaining that virtual goods have no real monetary value, they refused to do anything. This completely makes sense to me. What doesn't is the reaction garnered from educators across the country.
"What happened here is somebody stole almost $US 4,000 and got away cold," said Joshua Fairfield, an associate professor of law at Washington and Lee University in Virginia.
Perhaps not so surprising, considering Fairfield is a gamer himself. He suggests that the amount of money stolen is the reason for the inaction on the part of police.
"This is just a matter of zeros," Fairfield said. "The first time IBM loses $US 10 million, we're going to see some police action."
Me? I doubt that IBM is in the business of stockpiling virtual weapons, but I've been wrong in the past.
While countries like China and Korea already have laws in place that make virtual theft a crime, the United States has no such laws, and I for one am glad. If the government acknowledges these items have value, them that value can be taxed. If you argue that his stuff was worth $US 3800, where is the government's cut? I don't think this is a box we need to be opening. What do you think?
When a virtual crook struck this gamer, he called real cops [TwinCities.com via Wired Blogs]