On the 40th anniversary of the development of Dungeons and Dragons, a Tory politician has called for treasure, weapons and other magical goods in online roleplaying games to be protected by real laws.
Mike Weatherley, who is David Cameron’s chief adviser on things IP, wants those who swipe valuable items in video games to get the same sentences as burglars
It is not clear where the move will leave chaotic evil Elvin thieves who do very else in the games. Weatherley has asked ministers to consider passing a law that would mean people “who steal online items in video games with a real-world monetary value receive the same sentences as criminals who steal real-world items of the same monetary value”.
It is the sort of thing that only a gamer would come up with and Weatherley, the MP for Hove, East Sussex is a Warcraft player himself.
He said that since players can spend serious amounts of real-world cash on items, even though they exist only online, they should be offered the same protection as victims of theft in the world of solid objects.
“If you’ve spent £500 building up your armed forces and someone takes them away online, I guess you can feel hard done-by and you want your £500 back,” he told Buzzfeed.
Weatherley said that it was important that people lose the perception from some people is that if you steal online it is less of a crime than if you steal physically.
It could equally cause a few problems. In 2008, a woman in Tokyo realised her virtual husband had divorced her without warning, and as revenge she used the man’s login information to delete his avatar. She effectively committed virtual murder although she was jailed for “illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data”.
A Dutch court has ruled that virtual goods are real goods and that if you steal them you have committed a real theft.