Supreme Court of the Netherlands on Theft in Virtual Worlds

Greg Lastowka points to a very interesting new decision of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands on whether a theft of virtual goods in a virtual world game can be a subject of a real-world theft prosecution. Here’s the Google Translate version of the summary of the decision:

Virtual amulet and mask in the online game Runescape can be regarded as ‘good’ in the sense of Art. Sr and 310 are susceptible to theft. Suspect and co-defendant forced the victim to violence and threats of violence to login to his account in the online game Runescape and virtual objects to leave (dropping) in the virtual game environment. The suspect was then the virtual amulet and mask to transfer to his own Runescape account, making the victim the power to dispose of these objects is lost. These virtual objects, which the actual victim and exclusive sovereignty had had for him, suspect and his accomplice a real value. In light of the intent of the legislature to the disposal of the holder of a ‘good’ protection, and the earlier case as including non-physical objects can fall, the Supreme Court held that the virtual nature of the objects itself does not preclude the state to be regarded as good in the sense of art. Sr. 310. The mere fact that an object also has properties of ‘data’ in the sense of Art. 80quinquies Sr. does not mean that this object has therefore not as good in the sense of art. 310 Sr can be considered. In borderline cases where non-physical characteristics of both a business ‘good’ as ‘data’ show, the legal interpretation depending on the circumstances of the case and their valuation by the court. The complaint that the removal of the virtual property of another is precisely one of the goals of the game Runescape is bounce up to it that the rules do not provide the suspect and his accomplice followed method of removal.

For the full decision as translated by Google, go here and scroll down a bit.

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