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Jul 10, 2006



"Just don't sell them."

Now, would that be "sell" in RMT "selling" or "sell" in virtual currency, or does it matter?

Most argue that theft in an MMO that occurs within the mechanics of the game (i.e. a "thief" character, or looting bodies) is not the same as legal "theft." I might be able to get a charge of "theft" from someone who illegally accessed my account and transferred all my stuff away, but not from the thug that ganked me in PvP.

In the same light, is trading my Versace-branded Mandalorian Armor for ingame credits "commerce," or participation in a game. (SWG doesn't cede IP ownership to the user, like SL and doesn't (overtly) support RMT.)

I'd assume that if ownership is treated more like "owning" boardwalk in a (albiet very long) game of Monopoly, then is the exchange of ingame currency for ingame property COMMERCE or simply the exchange of tokens as part of a game?

It might meet the economists definition of commerce, but will it meet the legal criteria? After all, we use the term "marriage" in MMO's, but nobody's suggesting THEY carry any real-world equivalent weight with them... I hope...


If it doesn't count as commerce, at which point would it? On an RMT-based world like Project Entropia or Second Life? What about Everquest II's servers participating in the Station Exchange? Would they be subject to commerce laws, but those on the RMT-prohibited servers be not?


So much for trademarks, and Scoble may have just mispoken - there is a lot of copyright infringement in Second Life.

BTW, as someone who's family has been served cease-and-desist for alledged "copyright and/or trademark" infringement (for displaying Disney characters hand painted on the walls of a children's care center) - let me tell you that those lawyers are quite quick to pounce on your unsuspecting arse!

Do we so quickly forget when Paramount first got on the web and was (so, so, stupidly) shutting down Star Trek fan sites as fast as they could find them?



Hey Randy -- Always cool to see you chiming in, even if it is to talk about us pouncing lawyers. :-)

Was your family part of that incident mentioned in David Bollier's book?

Chas -- Yeah, that whole question about what's in commerce and what's not is really interesting, probably even more interesting in light of some of the arguments in Julian's book.

Dan and I did talk about PvP and RMT, btw, in a law review article a while back -- just to say that the point is well taken.

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