Crime, virtually

Hot news of the day is this little snippet:

A Dutch court has convicted two youths of theft for stealing virtual items in a computer game and sentenced them to community service.

(Courtesy of News 24, which puts me in mind of a news crew following Jack Bauer round all the time)

It’s a pretty landmark case where….. “the culprits, 15 and 14 years old, coerced a 13-year-old boy into transferring a ‘virtual amulet and a virtual mask’ from the online adventure game RuneScape to their game accounts.” – meaning, in effect, that they’ve been convicted of stealing something that doesn’t actually exist. Note that they weren’t convicted of the coercion, but of the theft itself.

I can see where this is heading; soon, we’ll see folks accused of virtual rape if one Second Life character propositions another or even a Virtual Murder case carried out on behalf of Bad Guy Number Three in Gears of War 2.

All of which begs the question……

If someone leaves leaves spam on your blog, is it vandalism, and can we prosecute? Please?

UPDATE: Virtual Murder!

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