Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Virtual Real-Estate Lawsuit

I've never had an inkling to play Second Life, but right now a lawsuit is going on that has interesting ramifications for online players.

It's not a long read, go ahead and read the article linked above. I'll wait.

Back? Ok.

I don't know enough about Second Life to really come to grips with this lawsuit, but what is scary is neither do 99% of the United States Judicial Branch. To them, this may set a precedent where, if you can sue over a bad virtual land deal, why can't you sue for other things? Here the "foot in the door" so to speak is the use of real-world money. I am not sure it is so much of a leap from there to adjudicate that time spent is just as tangible and valuable. After all, who hasn't heard the phrase "Time is Money" repeated ad nauseum? It is also a common argument among many of the Catass variety that their character and items are THEIRS, not the MMO company's, because they put the time and effort into playing/collecting them.

So if this goes through, will a player be able to sue another player who kills his game character? If an item trade doesn't turn out well, can it be dragged into court? If you kick a clueless, talentless player out of your adventuring group, can he sue you for wrongful dismissal?

As the article references, some other nations have already passed laws about the player's rights to his virtual property.

I don't agree with this practice.

I believe (when it comes to most MMOs) that all you are paying for is access to the game. What you are buying is the ability to play. Inherent in that agreement is that the game world is configured a certain way by the game company, and it is subject to change without notice. If you don't like it, your only recourse is to stop playing and stop paying. This is why most MMO companies only charge for the access fee (and even prohibit the sale of in game property for real-life money, or at least wash their hands of it with a "caveat emptor"). When you start accepting money for additional in-game favors or property, you open yourself up to a whole new slough of... well, the above situation.

Personally, I think anybody who would drop real money for in-game property is the very proverbial fool who is soon parted from said money. Man up, Nancy. You just had an object lesson in being less of a nitwit. Suck it up and stop being stupid. Go buy yourself something real with that money, or (gasp) invest it or save it for retirement. Don't buy something that could stop completely existing because somebody flips a virtual switch or accidentally kicks out a power cord.

What the hell is wrong with these people, anyway?

1 comment:

Self-Appointed EQ Curmudgeon said...

This is what happens when ADULTS get into playing games.

I can understand the anger that would incite one to invest in a lawyer and give another person some REAL LIFE grief over grief caused in a game.

A real life law suit though? I dunno... I prefer the real life meeting in a dark alley where the griefer ends up bleeding, beaten, and hopefully getting raped by drunken, shizophrenic, homeless guys.