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As reported by Wired, WoW Insider and Massively. As far as I know, this is the first time a prosecutor's office in the United States has investigated gold farming. The subpoena can be found here.
greglas on Dec 21, 2007 in greglas | Permalink
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The amended complaint is also available on the same website and is also a good read.
Dec 21, 2007 at 20:54
I've heard of IGE and seen their site, and I understand that their work selling in-game currency (or items or characters, leveling, etc.) is a violation of the TOS for all the games they've invaded. So on the one hand, it seems like an easy prosecution: "you have massively violated the TOS under which you are in the game" - but I'm ignorant enough about law to not know how the legal system will penalize them. Can someone lay out some possible/likely scenarios, please? And are these US companies or off-shore entities, and how do things change accordingly? -Thanks!
Dec 22, 2007 at 15:38
has a EULA or TOS for a MMO ever been tested in court?
Dec 22, 2007 at 21:46
I kind of hope the cops succeed on this one. Its just not fair on a *competitive* playing field that one can obtain advantage by credit card. Especially for younger players who already have to cajole parents for the subscription fee (And said parents only reluctantly due to the anti-mmo propaganda in the press).
MMOs are fantasy worlds. If the userbase and the Dungeon masters say "Please leave the kids alone to play", then it'd be nice if the loot companies would respect that.
Dec 23, 2007 at 08:01
Well if it's going to be a 'competitive playing field' let's restrict everyone to the same amount of time online hmmm?
Dec 23, 2007 at 10:27
JuJutsu -- the difference is that everyone I know has access to the same 24 hours in a day, 365 days a year. Ain't nobody can play more than 24 hours between Monday midnight and Tuesday midnight.
If you give a higher priority to playing a game than do I, then -- all other things being equal -- you will do better... and should. If I play the game less, I will do more of other things than you; work and earn money, spend time with family, scrimshaw the Simpsons... whatever. Time-spent, especially time spent in leisure activities, is a zero-sum game.
Not so for money. If the MMO were a game where the point was to invest and earn RL money in some way, then, yeah... money = points of a kind. But money (other than the subscription fee) isn't inside the magic circle.
Andy Havens |
Dec 23, 2007 at 11:02
a few notes/replies...
The AG subpoena is not the same as the Hernandez suit, but has relevance to it because both the AG's subpoena and the Hernandez suit invoke the Florida statute prohibiting unfair and deceptive trade practices.
Tripp -- you might read Julian's book (Play Money) if you haven't already. It's a good primer to these issues.
thoreau -- the Bragg v. Linden suit was about enforcement of a EULA provision. There's also a case called Blizzard v. BNTED. And, of course, there are plenty of cases about software EULAs and TOUs.
We've talked about RMT and legal policy before here, many many times. The interesting thing about this is that a state prosecutor is now taking an interest in the topic.
Dec 23, 2007 at 11:43
Seems that there are two different actions taking place. 1) the class action by Hernandez and company. 2) The Florida Attorney General's criminal investigation and subpeona for information. Link to the AG's subpeona: http://www.igeclassaction.com/complaint/subpoena.pdf
IGE will surely tie these issues up in court for as long as they can with appeals and such. The potential amount of money they are dealing with is staggering, and you can bet your (insert body part here) that they will fight tooth and nail to stay in business.
Dec 24, 2007 at 11:45
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