Hotline Miami 2, the forthcoming sequel to the excellent indie game Hotline Miami (note: I wrote that in bold, underline and italics to show how much I mean it), has been denied classification in Australia (another victim of the relatively restrictive local age rating system there). So its developer instead just told Australian fans to pirate the… Continue reading Can you pirate your own video game?
I couldn’t resist blogging quickly about this intriguing story, courtesy of The Guardian: a British MP wrote a formal question to the British government asking them to ensure that in-game theft be treated the same as real world theft. Answer: nope (ish), but it does raise a real question which judges are already addressing…
The Dutch Supreme Court will be invited later this year to conclude that the theft of virtual goods from Runescape constitutes theft under Dutch criminal law; indications to date suggest that it may conclude that theft of virtual currency/goods IS criminal theft. To my knowledge, this is only the second time that a Western court has… Continue reading The second virtual goods crime: is Runescape theft, theft?
Last week a hacker faced a substantial prison sentence after pleading guilty to stealing approxmately $12 million worth of Zynga chips, a virtual currency used in its poker game. This is big stuff (more on that below). I spoke with Develop about this fascinating development – here’s their article: “An IT businessman is facing a… Continue reading The first virtual currency crime: hacker jailed after $12m Zynga theft
Take-Two, the US-based games publisher, can proceed with a lawsuit against some of its former key executives regarding alleged illegally backdated stock options, following a Manhattan federal judgment yesterday. Reuters reports that former Chief Executives Ryan Brant and Kelly Sumner and former Chief Financial Officers Larry Muller and James David will now have to defend claims… Continue reading Take-Two sues former executives in stock backdating lawsuit
I just read a paper by Leslie Garfield, a Professor of Law at Pace University in the USA, about whether intentional infliction of emotional distress over the internet (e.g. cyber-bullying) should be criminalised. This has got me thinking – should griefing be criminalised too? Follow us at http://www.twitter.com/gamerlaw or subscribe to our weekly email newsletter… Continue reading Should Griefing Be Criminalised?
The background: Details here. A group of Runescape players mount a phishing scam, obtain other players’ accounts, strip those accounts of gold and loot. Presumably they make an in-game or real-world profit. Then the UK Police (specifically the Central Police e-crimes unit) swoop in. They arrest a caution an individual in Avon and Somerset “on… Continue reading Runescape, the Computer Misuse Act and theft
The legal action brought by aggrieved shareholders in Midway Games against Midway directors over the collapse of the company has concluded with a victory for the Midway directors. This case shows once again the dangerous fallout that can emerge from the collapse of any business. Read on… The background is that certain shareholders in Midway… Continue reading Commentary: Midway directors not guilty of fraud
A couple of more interesting Eve-related stories (as recently reported, Eve is an interesting place for games lawyers). Yet more theft in Eve First up, Massively reports that CCP Games have announced, breaches of the rules governing their Volunteer Program. The Volunteer Program consists of gamers who give of their time to help out CCP and fellow… Continue reading Commentary: More Eve shenanigans
A high-profile case of insider trading was uncovered yesterday in the MMO Eve Online (thanks to Massively for writing about this first). Some background: two of Eve’s most impressive features are that, firstly, by and large it has an (almost) completely unregulated economy which is effectively run by and for players in a kind of… Continue reading Commentary: EVE player tries to corner market, doesn’t work