One would have thought the lawsuit filed last May by Florida resident and WoW player Antonio Hernandez against gold farming juggernaut IGE would have disappeared long before now, but it's still alive and well. Despite IGE's claims that their U.S. operation is no longer involved in the virtual gold business, Hernandez's attorney C. Richard Newsome believes the pertinent issues still need to be addressed.
"The real significance of this case is, 'What are the rights of the [virtual world]community members when they go online?'"
Newsome argues that players entering the game agree that they "may not sell items for 'real' money or otherwise exchange items for value outside of the [virtual world] ." The only problem here is that the same agreement recognises that the player has no ownership or property rights in the game.
IGE's attorney seem to be familiar with the agreement, having argued in court papers that players don't have the right to even bring forth this lawsuit. It's sort of like a person trying to sue a thief who swiped the lawnmower he sometimes borrows from his neighbour. Still, they are ready to fight if need be.
"The stakes are high and our intention is to address [the lawsuit]in court," Miller said.
So where is Blizzard in all of this?
"We believe that shutting down gold farming and real-money transfer is in the interest of all World of Warcraft players and that a victory in this case would have a positive long-term effect on the online gaming industry as a whole," said Paul Sams, Blizzard Entertainment's chief operating officer
Um, shouldn't you guys be the ones doing this? I mean, Hernandez doesn't have a legal leg to stand on. Supporting him is great and all, but perhaps you could do more to keep this sort of thing from happening instead of just standing behind Antonio and nodding encouragingly? That would be great.
We'll keep you posted in case anything ever comes of this whole mess.
Video game fan asks court to ban real sloth and greed from World of Warcraft [South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com]