UK Politician Calls for Real Life Sentences for Virtual Item Thieves

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Cartographer:

I would truly love to live in a world where replacing an item was all it took to make theft okay, where the only negative consequence of stealing could be undone by simply returning or replacing the item. I don't 'cus this ain't.

Further, no cost to themselves? Doing so undermines any sort of economic model that may be in existence. There is no such thing as free, even in a digital world; the content had to be created originally, it took time and effort that needed to be paid for.

Yes, but by the time that content has been bought and paid for, that work is done. Replacing the missing content is no more work than changing an entry in a database. So I don't see why it really isn't just as simple as I said (and ok, there's no such thing as zero cost, but it's certainly pretty much marginal).

Similarly, what kind of digital content can you think of for which replacing it doesn't negate all the negative consequences? I mean, sure, between the time it was taken and the time you can get it replaced there is a time when you don't have it and might need it; and of course there's potential emotional distress and time taken in organising the replacement, but essentially it still boils down to what I said, which is that there needs to be a legal framework for the providers of digital content to be required to minimise those issues.

As for the Guardian piece, I thought it was ok - relatively light-hearted as befits a blog piece rather than a formal news article but it covered the main points well enough. It sounds like you have some kind of more general animosity towards the paper that's making you react a bit strongly, to be honest.

So, Nanny, does that mean RL murder sentences for PVP griefers?

Oh boy. This is going to be a fun thread.

SacremPyrobolum:
Christ, just wait till they tell him about EVE.

/thread

Cowabungaa:

SacremPyrobolum:
Christ, just wait till they tell him about EVE.

Thing is, isn't it pretty much sanctioned in EVE? As in, that's pretty much part of the game, acknowledged by CCP, and people actually find that alluring as a unique aspect of that player-run universe. From what I gathered anyway.

Yes, yes, yes, and yes, with the only exceptions being people that early on or even late in, not actually realizing what kind of game EVE actually is.

JoJo:
Ugh, I can understand the sentiment but it would be a minefield to enforce. I mean, what about online games where you're legitimately allowed to kill other players and take their stuff, would that then also be against the law or only if the offending 'thief' hacks the game? How about exploits?

This being one of the big questions. If it's only applicable to account theft, then there isn't much of an issue, but then the issue changes to, how do you actually assess the value of the items in question and the account stolen?

Doug:

I think the MP is just refering to people who hack accounts or steal items outside of the game's systems. And for paided for items, I think its not a bad idea. It's not clear from here if he does JUST mean that though.

It's actually clear enough to reasonably assume he means general item theft. If it's not, it's his botched wording.
The argument for paid items actually brings up another issue I'll be talking about in a moment.

josemlopes:
I think he is strictly talking about hacking and stuff like that, not exactly stealing the stuff inside the game like in EVE or other MMOs. For example, beating the shit out of the enemy and taking some ships/content (idk, I dont play EVE) would be cool but hacking the account of the owner of those ships/content and sending over to the thief would be a crime.

Here's a bit of a scenario involving a friend's personal experience in EVE, as well as me being on Teamspeak as this is happening.

Said friend has another friend who was in a Corporation(think Guild), with the corp talking about booting him because they were merging with another corp, with the new corp requiring a certain amount of skillpoints(think "training" that gradually happens, but at a roughly fixed rate and 15-20 million skillpoints can take a year for a new player who doesn't know about ways to boost the training speed and accumulation of skillpoints). Also at this point they start treating him like shit for no real reason, so, he decides to leave, while taking a few presents for himself.
This person, and my friend, proceeded to steal(rough estimates, would have to ask them again the exact ships/items) a Archon(Amarrian Carrier Capital Ship), 2 Tengu(Caldari Strategic Cruiser), 1 Proteus(Gallente Strategic Cruiser), along with some Starbase Modules, and whatever shiny Modules(different from Starbase Modules, basically items to customize the ship, with "Shiny" being very valuable Deadspace, Faction or Officer items, which can value hundreds of millions to billions in the in game currency) were fitted to the ships, with the only reasons he didn't steal more being that he didn't have the skills to fly most of the stuff, and most of the people started logging on as the theft was happening so he decided to get my friend and GTFO.

It has some sense since its stuff that even though virtual do have a real life price to it but it would be really hard to work with it and the best option seems to simply put better security measures and means of punishing the thief by banning the IP, user, etc..., since its virtual the item can probably be tracked and delivered back? Again, I dont know.

In game value of these items varies greatly, with the only thing I am able to properly put a price tag on in ISK(EVE Currency), being the Archon, with one of the cheapest available being worth 1.3 billion ISK, according to EVE Central, a out of game market checker basically. With the common method of comparing the "real world" value of the items to the in game item PLEX(Pilot License Extension), which is pretty much the only item you can buy with real world money, only from CCP(you can buy it from people in game with real world money, but the EULA and CCP heavily forbid this, and if caught, you WILL be banned). The value of a PLEX at the moment being around the 783 million ISK mark if sold properly on the in game market. If we converted Dollars to ISK based on the average $20 value(not counting the current sale CCP is having on PLEX, or buying them in bulk), the Archon would be valued around $35. However, valuing the items like this has a massive flaw which I will explain in a moment.

Weaver:
I'll concede that if someone hacks your account and takes your shit there should be a penalty. My thoughts on that are though:

1) I don't think stealing a $10 mount should get you time in the slammer. I'm thinking community service or the like. I really don't think, unless the case is extremely high profile stealing tens of thousands in items from people, the punishment should be the same as someone who robs a store at gunpoint.

2) Hacking is already illegal.

3) If a corporation in EvE gets infiltrated and looses like 30,000 PLEX that should be fine. It's part of the game.
(Note I don't play EvE, so if this isn't possible I'm sorry!)

More or less agree with your post, though the whole buying mounts thing has an issue that I'll likely explain at the bottom, just wanted to clarify, yes, it's totally possible for a person to infiltrate a corp and jack 30,000 PLEX, though anyone storing PLEX like that, most of the community will agree, they were openly asking for it.
Also 30k PLEX would be $600,000 if bought at the individual price. Just a fun figure for you. :P

exobook:

And for those EVE players in this situation I would be talking about something like the Genolution 'Auroral' AU-79, an in-game item only available from the 10th anniversary collection, paid for in a real store.

Not totally correct. The item is only ORIGINALLY available in store, buying the Second Decade Collector's Edition.
However, the item can be sold on the in game market for ISK(around 1.5 billion at the time of this writing). This raises another issue, which, again, I'll explain at the end.

...which I'm already at actually. Also the points I'm about to make appear to have already been covered, but I'll just hammer it in anyway.

One of the big issues with this whole entire thing is, how do you value these items, and how do they gain this value?
Using EVE entirely as an example, but it's actually the perfect example here.
PLEX inherently has no real life monetary value. While the item itself can be traded on the market for in game money, it cannot be traded for a dollar amount and only has a value set by the players, with no actual real equivalent.
If I've played EVE for years, amassed a giant fortune of ships, items, ISK, ect, but have not spent a single cent on the game itself, not for PLEX to sell for ISK and get these items, not for a regular subscription, but have solely funded everything by my efforts in game, what value do these things have? I didn't spend a damn thing on any of it. Does this mean what I have has no value? Why? How is it different from the idiot that buys a shit ton of PLEX and spends it on an officer fit navy raven? IF you say because he spent real money on it, well, here's a counter.

For the Genolution implant example above, somewhat similar to PLEX in a way, someone had to spend real money on the Collector's Edition for that item to "exist" in the game. If someone say, destroyed the ship of someone who had that in their cargo(because reasons), by the reasoning of Mike over here, that person committed destruction of property, not including the ship in this because too big a variable.
What happens if that very item is sold on the in game market? I buy it? With in game money?
Does it retain the value? If yes, why? If not, why? Assuming not, why? I have the item, and someone at some point paid money for it. Does it no longer have value because I didn't pay real money for it, and all of the money I've earned in game to pay for it with, doesn't matter?

The core of the argument here is, none of this stuff has any goddamn value to it. It's all CCP funny munny.
Actually selling in game items for real money is absolutely prohibited by the EULA. You agree, that none of this crap has any monetary value when you accept that EULA.
You have no way to actually assess the value of these items, and if you do, you're setting a value for digital bullshit that the creators agree has no real world monetary value. If it did, everyone on this killmail is guilty of some kind of crime, somewhere.

And don't even get started on the CFC and Burn Jita.

The defense rests.

Nurb:
So, Nanny, does that mean RL murder sentences for PVP griefers?

The way things are going, I wouldn't be surprised anymore.

For a bit of fun, go to http://www.eve-kill.net/?a=home and look up all of the various destroyed ships. For every 780 million ISK destroyed, add $20.

When you feel like you've added enough, count the people that were involved, and think of the possible charges.

Flatfrog:

-snip-

I was trying to explain the concept of artificial scarcity as it applies to this issue. Maybe I didn't do a fantastic job.

And so soon after they decided not to pursue indiviudal pirates! Is this guy slow or what?

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