Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Young offender sentence for stealing virtual property

Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad recently reported that two boys aged 14 and 15 years were sentenced to 200 and 160 hours of community service respectively by a court in Leeuwarden. They had harrassed and beaten a schoolmate until he transferred items to them that he had acquired in the online game "Runescape".

This is a unique verdict that virtual goods are considered as property as described in article 310 of the Dutch penal code.

Only in November last year the Dutch police had been dealing with a case where a suspect had stolen virtual furniture worth some 4,000 EUR from the "Habbo Hotel", an internet hang-out for teenagers. The online money required to buy the furniture has to be bought for real money. Back then the case was not prosecuted.
Read more (in Dutch) at NRC Handelsblad or Webwereld.nl.

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