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Jan 14, 2010



US courts can use domestic decisions from foreign countries as suggestive precedent. Foreign decisions aren't binding on US courts in the absence of international agreements to which the US is a signatory and which the US has, later, ratified as domestic law.

US judges have, traditionally, been very reluctant to use foreign decisions as anything other than additional justifications for decisions made on other grounds. I wouldn't be worried about this decision crossing over to the US based simply on foreign precedent. Should the issue appear in the US courts, the holding may be similar--bordering on identical--but it would be the result of domestic US law, rather than international influence.


Ted, the headline here is perhaps a bit misleading: RMT has not been legalized, actually. What happened, I take it, was that a court struck down a particular criminal conviction for RMTing.

I'm not completely clear on the facts, but it seems this ruling concerns the application of a particular criminal statute. As a matter of statutory interpretation, there is little here in the way of precedent that could be applied outside of Korea.

I'm curious to hear from Unggi, though. I take it that the criminal prohibition is not Article 350, so exactly what was it? The text suggests that it was an anti-gambling law.

P.s. W/r/t to U.S. constitutional law, relying on foreign precedent is something of a political football: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4506232.


Not a lawyer, but from what I understood, it's as greglas indicated. This DECRIMINALIZES RMT, but doesn't suggest that there's a RIGHT to RMT.

A business could still prohibit RMT in its game and still ban people practicing it, denying them their purchased goods. They just can't turn them over to the authorities for any kind of criminal prosecution.


@Greglas - I disagree. If game companies can't punish people for RMT, that pretty much is the de facto equivalent of legalizing it.

It seems like the Supreme Court hasn't thought about the measures a game company can do when they release their next expansion:

Step 1: Make the gold drop rate ridiculously high.
Step 2: Make all new items no-transfer.
Step 3: Oops, no more RMT.

Or simpler, they could put in game mechanics that when a RMT is detected, something like, "The Gods deem that you need to make a tribute to them." and then severely cripple the character until they pay back the money.

Essentially, all the Korean Supreme Court has effectively decided is that MMOs in their country should be less money-centric. Why is it a Court's decision for what kinds of games its people play?

My questions:
1. How is it ethical / legal for a government to legislate the rules of a game? Could South Korea say that "You aren't allowed to sell Monopoly board games with a Free Parking space?"
2. Is gambling legal in South Korea? Legalizing RMT in games is always a huge loophole for in-game, unregulated gambling.
3. Does the South Korean Supreme Court think that they can win a software arms race with legislation?


This is a great starting point for future discussions, albeit a bit brief. Pixels and Policy took the opportunity to conduct some analysis and ask further questions about how this decision impacts the industry.

Specifically: Will this effect how South Korean developers like NCSoft do business in the United States? Will they be obligated to change the EULA/TOS of American users?

Would love your thoughts: http://www.pixelsandpolicy.com/pixels_and_policy/2010/01/south-korean.html


Why is it a Court's decision for what kinds of games its people play?

every go to Atlantic City?
everyday they have and do..

and LOTTO is a key GOV. game.


A business could still prohibit RMT in its game and still ban people practicing it, denying them their purchased goods

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