Lawyer: Dead Space 3 Resource Exploit Might Be Theft

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I never got Meta Knight being OP. He has priority and speed but very little range and power, not that hard to deal with when playing as most characters.

But... the resources are available for free in game anyways. Despite the presence of the micro-transactions, there is absolutely nothing you have to pay real money for, as it's all available in the game. This exploit is as close to stealing as bug-spray is to the Heat Death of the Universe.

Does give more evidence for my argument of 'Laywers exist solely to kick shit up and ruin everything' though.

DVS BSTrD:
Remember back in the days when EA could release a game without causing lawsuits?

What's weird is it's not EA that's causing the lawsuit this time.

Kopikatsu:

Sidney Buit:

Kopikatsu:
Nope. Licensing agreements are a very simple concept, so it confuses me that so many people don't get it.

Mostly, it has to do with the human mind rejecting the concept and putting in one that actually makes sense.

If people selling videogames were forced to read off the licensing terms during each sale before taking money, then maybe I'd accept them. Until then, I purchased a videogame, then inside the game I found some licensing stuff that was irrelevant to me, since I can't return the game and thus am under no obligation to do anything not stipulated in the transaction (I gave them money, they gave me property on a disc).

Most EULAs have the stipulation that if you don't agree to it, then you can return the software to the store or manufacturer for a full refund. (This is required by law in most places)

You're only paying for what they're offering. If you don't accept that what they're offering is worth what they're asking for, then don't buy it or wait until the price goes down. -shrug-

Since you don't agree to them at the point of sale, a number of jurisdictions don't recognise their legality.

The most worrying part of this article is the "IP-Expert" who uses a real life metaphor to compare with a digital issue.
If I was her, I'd be more worried about my own career - exposure like this is more likely to ruin it, than give you work.

The way I see it is the central issue of intangible, virtual, property having value is not silly. We've been here for a long time, with people actually making millions selling things like virtual real estate and items in things like "Second Life", and the very idea of DLC and microtransactions to begin with. This is simply another facet of theft and piracy since it comes down to someone taking something for free that does not belong to them.

That said, this specific issue is in of itself a touchy one, especially if the developers state ahead of time that the game is designed to be beatable without paying for anything additional. For such a claim to have weight they would have to have a clearly stated model where the game requires you to pay X amount of additional money in microtransactions to succeed beyond a certain point. If the microtransactions are being billed simply as a conveinence or time saving device (whatever the case might be), then there isn't much of an arguement being made for exploiting a glitch (which is always debatable) since that typically takes time, time which would be saved by simply swiping your credit card which is the initial intent.

I don't see this being an issue until we get to the point where games start wearing a "pay to win" label proudly as opposed to trying to talk around the issue. Their own declarations of intent usually mean it's difficult to claim theft or really "breaking" the intended system if they always intended for success to be possible without paying them anything additional through microtransactions.

That's my thoughts on the subject at any rate.

To be honest I've been much more eager to see legal action taken against gold farmers and those who purchuse currency and such outside of the intended system in MMORPGs and screw up in game economies for other players for years on end. In such cases it can be argued that what they are doing is clearly against the stated intent of the game and it's developers, and truthfully it affects far more people due to the nature of online communities, than a couple of CEOs whose personal money mattresses might be a fraction of a milimeter less thick at the end of the day. Even so, that isn't likely to ever happen or else we probably would have seen it by now.

Xiado:
I never got Meta Knight being OP. He has priority and speed but very little range and power, not that hard to deal with when playing as most characters.

I'm not a big Smash player, but it's sort of like the issues with Ken, Ryu, and Sagat in Street Fighter. The amount of power their moves and stats give them is disproportionate to the difficulty of pulling those things off. Your basic fireball or "hyper" is a very versatile tool that can be used in a lot of differant ways even if it's not the strongest move in the game, ditto for the dragon punches, especially for the amount of effort it takes to pull off. Your basic down, forward, punch movement is incredibly easy to master and involves far less inputs and timing that the techniques needed by most characters to counter things done with it.

Once you get to a certain level of play, you begin to lose touch with how things are for most players, and how complicated some of the things your doing by reflex are, as well as how long it took to get into the mindset of
thinking a couple of moves ahead on exchanges and combos. You have to be pretty bloody good for any kind of a "tier" list to even remotely apply to you, as what can be done by each character in absolute terms in no way involves how easy that is to learn to pull off reliably.

For most players, at a typical level of play, a character like Metaknight is overwhelming because he's so bloody easy to use compared to what works to counter him (even if the people doing it don't realize it) as a result he pretty much stomps all over tons of players. It's right up there with almost everyone playing a shoto (or sagat) online, or at least when a new Street Fighter game goes online and the population hasn't reduced itself down to a more dedicated base of serious players.

I've oftentimes felt that fighting gamers/brawlers need to be better balanced with more consideration for number of inputs to power of a given move, combo, etc. To be honest I've always felt a lot of the problem with fighting games, and part of what holds them back from being taken more seriously in a competitive sense is that too many of them involve "newbie" characters designed to be very easily playable and a bit of an equalizer for that reason, either that or involve moves and movesets that have been grandfathered in because "they have always been that way" rather than being balanced more against the realities of the game.... and this is coming from someone who pretty much blows chips at fighting games. I'm just saying I understand, and even empathize with the problem. Not every issue I speak on nessicarly benefits me or my personal level/style of play.

I've played very, very, little of the whole "smash" thing but from what little I've tinkered with and seen, yeah, Metaknight probably needs to go, or be rebalanced. But then again as you might guess, I feel the same way about a few extremely iconic Street Fighter characters as well, which many would call heresy. Your basic fireballs should be there in Street Fighter for example, but should require a more complicated set of inputs and more mastery to use than they do now given their power level (in terms of versatility, as opposed to raw damage).

Damn right!
You evil bastard consumers how dare you not be hustled by EA, theft is what that is, terrorism even!

I guess all those trainers and cheats are theft also. you know, spawning a crystal in your singleplayer starcraft campaing is stealing definatelly.

Most EULAs have the stipulation that if you don't agree to it, then you can return the software to the store or manufacturer for a full refund. (This is required by law in most places)

Wait... ill stop laughing..... now ill tell you that you woudl be laughed out of the store if you ever tried returning a game on such grounds.

...and this is why I generally believe 'IP experts' to be unpleasant and bad sports.

The publisher of the game just said it's OK, as it's basically farming. Why does some unknown IP expert have to voice her opinion on this one? Slow business? An acquired perception of what is right and what is legally exploitable?

That would be pretty low.

Is it still called theft when they tell you you can do it?

Can you imagine a world without lawyers?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWTp0BnNq00

The english criminal law legal definition of theft is

"Dishonestly appropriating property belonging to another with an intention to permanently deprive"

As far as I can see there is to much of a gap between the resources of which you use to buy guns with since the resources are free and the items which you can get naturally using said resources without paying for them through microtransactions.

This would be closer to fraud in my mind then theft but even debating legal issues in something as benign as this is pointless to begin with

Interesting that bakeries are mentioned because this reminds me of the case of the begger and the baker.
A baker has a beggar arrested for enjoying the smell of a baker's shop, demanding that he should pay for it. The judge agreed - but not the way the baker expects - ordering the beggar hold his few coins up to the baker's ear and shake them. The sound of the money for the smell of the bread.

For the record, according to german law neither the Dead Space situation nor the bakery example wouldn't fit the definition of theft. Once, "theft" only applies to things, not hypothetical damages caused by not buying some in-game items. Second, it's not theft if you've been given the change money willingly, if mistakenly.

I tell you, that lawyers are the bane of any society.

Sure, they occasionally help keep the laws on the books, but more often then not, they take and twist the law however it pleases them to allow them to sue more people for money.

At least EA is not thinking about doing this.

I don't even play Dead Space and I find this fucking ridiculous. Someone's looking to be disbarred faster than old Jack Thompson.

If you go into a baker's to buy a bun and they give you the wrong change and you walk away knowing you have been given more change than you handed over in the first place, that's theft,

Not necessarily. While it's a nice thought that in this situation only the baker is capable of error, it's equally as likely that you accidentally give the baker more money than you thought you did, in which case, would taking the "excess" money be theft on the behalf of the baker?

A more accurate analogy would be: I once walked out of the bakery, and the baker didn't charge me for the exercise I got walking around his shop, am I a criminal?

(Capthca - "no brainer", it's always nice when the cosmos agrees with you =p )

Pfffffffhahahahahahahaha

Lawyer: check.
IP expert: check (maybe).
Clueless about how bloody games work: triple check.

Togusa09:
The important part isn't the lawyers opinions of or knowledge of games, it's whether her interpretation of the applicable laws are correct.

I can understand the argument too, at least for DLC. Games are software, and since software is licenced rather than sold, if you are using features or content that you aren't granted by that license, your breaching the license, which could be ruled as a form of theft.

I think a discussion to do with valuation of digital assets, and what causes that value could be interesting, especially with the advent of trading systems like steam. At the moment trading is only for assets in multiplayer gamese, where items seem to have a more real value than in single. But what happens if items from a single player game are introduced? I think it'd probably cause massive devaluation of all assets from the given game due to their abundance and ease of aquisition, just like flooding a market with money. I think Yanis Varoufakis and valve would probably do a better job of working out such issues though.

However, if a large company believes that it stands to gain money from something, or need a scapecoat to blame the failings of an outdated business model on, and sees people getting around paying them for it, they will pursue whatever legal avenues they can find. We're better off having someone point this out early on, rather than the first thing we heare being one day getting a letter saying that because their game glitched, they will be sued thousands of dollars.

Isn't it a paradox to claim, considering that game software is licensed & supposedly not owned, that anything within the game can even legally be "stolen" as you don't own any of it in the first place? If the publisher still owns the game even after you purchase it, would that not invalidate any argument of ownership or possession of anything therein?

As you have stated Mr. Carter, this isn't stealing in the slightest. Rather, it is taking advantage of the idiocy of another individual/exploiting a broken system. Granted, there are definitely moral conflicts when doing these things, but there is nothing illegal about doing these things.

Perhaps the lawyer is using the wrong imagery. Allow me to post mine

- Think of the game as a car. Other cars give you the basic amneties for free (AC, gearbox, seats, etc...). DS3 is the car that says it'll give you AC after 50 miles....or you could pay an extra $10 and get the AC right here an now. Now you find a button that activates the AC right here and now.

The car is still yours, the AC is still in the car. You haven't gone out and stolen the AC from the dealership.

Its not thievery if its on the damn disc.

Zombie_Moogle:

Isn't it a paradox to claim, considering that game software is licensed & supposedly not owned, that anything within the game can even legally be "stolen" as you don't own any of it in the first place? If the publisher still owns the game even after you purchase it, would that not invalidate any argument of ownership or possession of anything therein?

No really. I think the 'theft' would be classed as any breach of the license that deprives the ip holder of income. Take shareware software for instance. Shareware is generally limited use software with either a locked feature set, or limited usage time. By cracking it, or resetting the system clock to get around a time limitation, you're breaching the initial shareware license.

Togusa09:

Zombie_Moogle:

Isn't it a paradox to claim, considering that game software is licensed & supposedly not owned, that anything within the game can even legally be "stolen" as you don't own any of it in the first place? If the publisher still owns the game even after you purchase it, would that not invalidate any argument of ownership or possession of anything therein?

No really. I think the 'theft' would be classed as any breach of the license that deprives the ip holder of income. Take shareware software for instance. Shareware is generally limited use software with either a locked feature set, or limited usage time. By cracking it, or resetting the system clock to get around a time limitation, you're breaching the initial shareware license.

I suppose my point is that theft implies taking something from someone else. That person no longer has that thing

But licensing (as opposed to sale) shoots that in the foot as the licensee never owns a thing. "Possession is nine tenths of the law" kind of deal.

I'm just thinking out loud here

Additional thought: Insurance companies already had laws passed making it illegal not to buy their product; who's to say someone else (eg: game publishers) won't try to as well? What if EA wrote it into there EULA that you were required to buy the sequel of a game when it came out? They already tried forcing players to work as QA testers for free, lest their accounts be shut down, so why not?

SomebodyNowhere:
for some reason I now want to see a Dead Space/issac clark version of the Lex Luthor took 40 cakes meme made out of this

TO /TG/!

its only a matter of time.

but seriously though, if farming a resource in a game that has a system in place where you don't need to buy said resource to play the game is stealing, then I am filing a lawsuit on this lawyer for stealing air,and suggest that said lawyer cease and desist at once.

Because stealing air is bad.

TheCaptain:
For the record, according to german law neither the Dead Space situation nor the bakery example wouldn't fit the definition of theft. Once, "theft" only applies to things, not hypothetical damages caused by not buying some in-game items. Second, it's not theft if you've been given the change money willingly, if mistakenly.

true.

Woman in the UK recently found out that for two years she had been transferring her paycheck into a complete strangers account, something of $40,000.

The person that was receiving it found out, but wont return it because the money was in some form willingly given to them by the lady.

dick move? yes, but legal under at least the UK's laws.

Where do we go to on-mass shame this guy so that he will never ever be allowed to work on a consumer/business case for as long as he lives? Somewhere where we can get him as much bad attention by his peers as possible?

My fear is that he'll convince some authority that they are within their rights to punish someone over in game not-theft without the game makers or publishers even being consulted with. Law makers are increasingly seeing games as an area where they must 'intervene' even if nothing is wrong and no one wants them to.

I think a lot of the people reacting hysterically here need to re-read exactly what was said here:

"So, arguably if you go into this game knowing you are supposed to be paying for these weapons and you notice a glitch allows you to accumulate them without paying, that's theft as well," she said. "But it is arguable because it's a new area."

At no point is it said that this is actually legally theft. Ms Ludlum is merely speculating based on UK law as it stands and making a theoretical application to a potentially interesting legal area. As she says, this is a new area of law, and surely it's necessary, and even wise to speculate as to how it interacts with the law as is?

She is correct that it could be considered as theft (if people really care enough I can provide the names of the cases that have provided the law on this issue), although it depends very much on whether the courts consider that resources in Dead Space come under one of the definitions of property that can be stolen. The fact that EA have said that they are alright with people using the glitch doesn't technically make any difference within the law. If the glitch abuse is held by the courts to be assumption of control of the property of another, then EA's consent doesn't matter.

What does matter is the intent of the individual. The analogy that was used to teach me that issue was this:
'Somebody goes into a shop with the intention of stealing items. They take things from the shelves and put them in their basket, but change their mind and put them back before leaving'
This is still legally theft: by placing the items in their basket with the intention of stealing them (even though the shopkeeper implicitly consents to customers taking items off the shelves), they had assumed control of another's property with dishonest intent. So, in the Dead Space case, if you were to unknowingly use the glitch, then that would be fine, but deliberate abuse may be a different matter.

Ultimately, this is speculation. This is, as she says, a new area of law and there are no explicit judgements from the courts on the matter. Until a case like this is actually decided, all that can be said about how UK law would view this sort of glitch abuse is speculation.

So all this lawyer is doing is her job, to consider how the courts may rule on an issue, and look at possible ways that the law could work. To condemn her for that is, in my opinion, a very short-sighted response to what should be a very interesting debate.

Rellik San:

Kopikatsu:

Most EULAs have the stipulation that if you don't agree to it, then you can return the software to the store or manufacturer for a full refund. (This is required by law in most places)

Tell that to physical stores that sell PC games, given they all insist you can't return a PC Game for any reason, not even if your brand new disk is so heavily scratched the game won't install or run properly (yeah I've had that nugget before now).

(I'm aware under legal obligation, they have too. But unless you walk in with the law in print copy, chances are they won't even dignify you).

Actually I think it's "if the EULA changes," then you can get a refund like with cell phone contracts...if one little thing changes and you find out within like a week or month...forget which, then you can leave or get a new contract.

And I think "cheating" & farming resources is fine. People do it all the time in other games & APPARENTLY EA knew about it. I think it's bullsh** to save face & be like, "heyy we're not so bad after all...the DLC was just icing for lazy people." I sincerely think it was a miss-step, but I'm glad it's being left in the game.

P.S. I love having my 3 scavenger bots, deploying at a sweet spot, restarting the. Doing it again with the other 2 :) I was never gonna buy the DLC packs, but to be honest even without the farming, you do get a fair amount of resources, but scavenging a couple extra times is really nice for some of those new toys you wanna get

Xdeser2:
Honestly...Fuck this guy

He dosent know a single damn thing about Games, so why ask his opinion?

He probably sent his opinion to get his name in the media. Nobody asked him. It's self advertising. And it worked.

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