Back to ducks… it has been argued that virtual items (including gold pieces, credits etc) might look so much like property that they would be considered to be property. Certainly they are used as if they were.
When it comes to money the EC has provided a handy definition of exactly what it considers e-money to be and hence what organizations it feels it has to regulate, but what if people even worse that eBayers start to utilise virtual goods to move value around the world?
In the snappily titled Directive 2000/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 September 2000 on the taking up, pursuit of and prudential supervision of the business of electronic money institutions Official Journal L 275 , 27/10/2000 P. 0039 – 0043 (.pdf). The EU defines e-money as:
- 3. For the purposes of this Directive:
(b) "electronic money" shall mean monetary value as represented by a claim on the issuer which is:
(i) stored on an electronic device;
(ii) issued on receipt of funds of an amount not less in value than the monetary value issued;
(iii) accepted as means of payment by undertakings other than the issuer.
In the UK this Directive is starting to hit mobile operators as premium rate SMS messaging, a neat micro-payment solution, looks like it is going to fall under the directive. This means premium SMS providers look like they we be considered to be just like banks, which slams them into whole set of regulation. Regulation that has recently become even more complex as paranoia about terrorist money laundering increases.
Looking at the wording of the directive your virtual gold piece of light sabre seems like it falls outside the e-money definition – others may disagree with this of course. However, virtual items might provide a neat way of moving value around the world for fair means of foul - which could get all kinds of people interested in virtual worlds.