EntropiaLaw

EntropiaLaw

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I have made a site that will be dedicated to the legal aspects of Entropia.

As you all know in the past there has been a lot of situations where it was unclear what can be done, for instance when someone steals an item or PED from you.

And there is a lot of controversy regarding what the EULA/TOU says and whether you have any real rights to your property.

I am currently looking to write some articles on such situations that may have happened, so if you have some stories you would like to submit, please take a look at my site http://www.entropialaw.com/

It can be a dispute you have had with someone, or just link to a website that discusses virtual property laws, I would like to gather as much information as possible in one place for everyone to be able to make use of.

Update: We have written our first article about real legal action taken against another player relating to an in-game debt.
 
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N. Radioactive

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Nice idea. +Rep
 

nutter

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...And there is a lot of controversy regarding what the EULA/TOU says and whether you have any real rights to your property...
No controversy. It is simple. The virtual property / sevices are licenced to you for your non-exclusive use. Easy. All is owned by MA/FPC.
Even in the case of 'scamming'. The items /peds are owned by MA/FPC, so having those items move between avatars means that MA/FPC still owns them...therefore nothing 'illegal' has occured (however immoral we may believe it to be).
Yes, peds are a 'service' licenced to us by MA/FPC. A service that we use to engage in other services within the Entropia Universe.

The useage of the terms 'purchase', 'own' etc used by MA are simply used for ease of copy, not in the definate term.

You agree to this each time you log in.


I like the idea of exploring virtual property rights and concepts though, so good luck with the site :)
 
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Nirfu

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subscribed!

You being new on this forum raises some questions though?

There is sections here for discussions about these kind of matters but I can at the sam etime see the beauty of collecting this on another place instead of this "player-owned-forum-with-rules-that-doesn't-really-allow-you-to-discuss-certain-matters-freely". If you gonna discuss laws too on your site you should ad a forum part and then we are at the same place as this and othER forums...
 

Hellraizer

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Could be an old avatar that created a new account??
could also be someone fishing for potential lawsuits!

Had an accident..NO WIN, NO FEE etc etc lol :p
 

FallenAngel

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No controversy. It is simple. The virtual property / sevices are licenced to you for your non-exclusive use. Easy. All is owned by MA/FPC.
Even in the case of 'scamming'. The items /peds are owned by MA/FPC, so having those items move between avatars means that MA/FPC still owns them...therefore nothing 'illegal' has occured (however immoral we may believe it to be).
Yes, peds are a 'service' licenced to us by MA/FPC. A service that we use to engage in other services within the Entropia Universe.

The useage of the terms 'purchase', 'own' etc used by MA are simply used for ease of copy, not in the definate term.

You agree to this each time you log in.


I like the idea of exploring virtual property rights and concepts though, so good luck with the site :)
is it really that simple?

when i buy a movie on dvd i dont actually buy the movie, i buy a license to use, if you then steal the dvd, the owner of the movie doesnt go to the police to file a theft report, i do.

As far as i know click-through terms of use/contracts have dubious legal standing, and there is american case law on this subject.

if you make a contract saying you have the right to kill me, i sign it, you kill me, is it legal or murder? ;)
 

aridash

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is it really that simple?

when i buy a Imp Fap i dont actually buy the Imp Fap, i buy a license to use, if you then steal the Imp Fap, the owner (MA) doesnt go to the police to file a theft report, i do.
:thumbup: with a few corrections, i think you just demonstrated the point well.
 

nutter

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is it really that simple?

when i buy a movie on dvd i dont actually buy the movie, i buy a license to use, if you then steal the dvd, the owner of the movie doesnt go to the police to file a theft report, i do.

As far as i know click-through terms of use/contracts have dubious legal standing, and there is american case law on this subject.

if you make a contract saying you have the right to kill me, i sign it, you kill me, is it legal or murder? ;)
Point 1. You purchase the physical medium (a dvd) and a licence to use thae information contained on that medium. You can do as you please with the physical medium, smash it etc but there are terms and conditions attached to the media the medium contains such as no copying, etc for which breach of can result in a prosecution and are therefore bound by a contract/TOU/EULA dictated by the licencer to the licencee). If it is stolen, you claim for the cost of replacing said physical medium with the afforementioned licenced media on it.

Point 2. As the game / servers are based in Sweden, not America I would argue that any persuant would have to attempt to carry a case through the Swedish courts as per the TOU, EULA etc... As such any 'crime' allegedly commited in Entropia Universe would be deemed to have happened in Sweden. (refer to the Gary McKinnon hacking case for a precident)

Point 3. Irrelevant to the Entropia Universe. The act of killing is, in most if not all countries illegal. There is nothing within EU that one could do that would be deemed illegal in any country.

But, Im just an armchair lawyer and my points are based on nothing but common sense, a small understanding of criminal and common law as applicable to the UK, and having read thoroughly the TOU, EULA etc.

As for the ImpFap example. If someone 'steals' the impfap, no RL crime has been commited as the owner 'MA' still has the said item.
Hence MA/FPC stance on not legally having to do anything about scammers (although morally they should and do on occasion). This is why MA would not file a theft report. They still have the item!. All that has happened is the licence has changed hands.

Feel free to debate the point :)
 
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FallenAngel

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Point 1. You purchase the physical medium (a dvd) and a licence to use thae information contained on that medium. You can do as you please with the physical medium, smash it etc but there are terms and conditions attached to the media the medium contains such as no copying, etc for which breach of can result in a prosecution and are therefore bound by a contract/TOU/EULA dictated by the licencer to the licencee). If it is stolen, you claim for the cost of replacing said physical medium with the afforementioned licenced media on it.

Point 2. As the game / servers are based in Sweden, not America I would argue that any persuant would have to attempt to carry a case through the Swedish courts as per the TOU, EULA etc... As such any 'crime' allegedly commited in Entropia Universe would be deemed to have happened in Sweden. (refer to the Gary McKinnon hacking case for a precident)

Point 3. Irrelevant to the Entropia Universe. The act of killing is, in most if not all countries illegal. There is nothing within EU that one could do that would be deemed illegal in any country.

But, Im just an armchair lawyer and my points are based on nothing but common sense, a small understanding of criminal and common law as applicable to the UK, and having read thoroughly the TOU, EULA etc.

Feel free to debate the point :)
my legal opinions are armchair based too! :p
it is just my understanding based on common sense that MA's idea of a contract isnt necesarily a legally binding contract.

about point two, i know that MA is based in sweden and not the USA, it is just my understanding that modern legal systems take a dim view of one sided "forced" contracts.

and about point three, that is my point, MA can say what they want in their contract, i can agree to anything, but only a judge judges if this is legal, and not MA.
murder is a extreme example, that everyone understands is illegal, which is why i used it :)
 

Thantos

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FallenAngel is correct, nutter is wrong. My information is based off of investigating these types of crimes and assisting in the prosecution of them. Of course, this depends on which country you live in. In the US, FallenAngel is correct. I won't speak for any other country's laws.

P.S. nutter may be correct in his country.
 

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aridash

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FallenAngel is correct, nutter is wrong.
i dont really see how you can say that when they are both saying essentially the same thing (which i was trying to hightlight before).
 

Thantos

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i dont really see how you can say that when they are both saying essentially the same thing (which i was trying to hightlight before).
I must have read it wrong then. :scratch2: I thought nutter said we could steal/scam stuff from each other and it is not against the law. FallenAngel said it was against the law.
 

nutter

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I must have read it wrong then. :scratch2: I thought nutter said we could steal/scam stuff from each other and it is not against the law. FallenAngel said it was against the law.
I actually said that within the Entropia Universe, nothing can be stolen, as all items belong to MA/FPC and as such only the licence to use that service moves from one avatar to another.

Scamming via paypal or other forms of online scamming / theft are indeed illegal, however within the Entropia Universe, the players 'own' nothing and therefore can have nothing 'stolen'.

Once again, I am going by the letter of the EULA/TOU along with a smattering of common sense. If you don't 'own' something, you cannot have something 'stolen' and conversely cannot 'steal' anything.

The law (in whichever country one happens to reside) has nothing to do with it. I am yet to hear of ANY player having successfully recouped 'items' or 'peds' through application of the 'law' of any RL country. MA/FPC own all items, copyrights etc etc and only licence the players to use the service and the services therin contained. Nothing is 'sold'. Nothing transfers 'ownership' other than the licence to use a service.

I fail to see what the law has to do with anything?

To prove this point, I am willing to put myself forward as the plaintiff in a court action. You will need to give me an item of value, then prosecute me through whichever court you feel you have the best chance of winning the case in, for the 'theft' of the said item. I will use the TOU, EULA etc to form my defence.

If the prosecution are successful in convicting me of theft, we will have set a precident for the community. If I succesfully defend the action, we will have established the validity of the TOU/EULA. Either way we win and this whole debate regarding contracts, ownership, applicable law etc etc is sorted.

After the case, I will return the item to you with no prejudice either way.

Anyone feel strongly enough that they can win the case?



There has been arrests made in relation to virtual item theft....although the arrests were made for the theft of login details (ergo identity theft) rather than the 'theft' of items (Habbo hotel theft...).
Other prosecutions relating to theft of virtual items have had other components to the prosecution including assault so not strictly in the realm of 'theft' of a virtual item.


Just food for thought :)
 
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Thantos

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I actually said that within the Entropia Universe, nothing can be stolen, as all items belong to MA/FPC and as such only the licence to use that service moves from one avatar to another.

Scamming via paypal or other forms of online scamming / theft are indeed illegal, however within the Entropia Universe, the players 'own' nothing and therefore can have nothing 'stolen'.

Once again, I am going by the letter of the EULA/TOU along with a smattering of common sense. If you don't 'own' something, you cannot have something 'stolen' and conversely cannot 'steal' anything.

The law (in whichever country one happens to reside) has nothing to do with it. I am yet to hear of ANY player having successfully recouped 'items' or 'peds' through application of the 'law' of any RL country. MA/FPC own all items, copyrights etc etc and only licence the players to use the service and the services therin contained. Nothing is 'sold'. Nothing transfers 'ownership' other than the licence to use a service.

I fail to see what the law has to do with anything?
In your country, if I scam you out of something, what law would I break?

Let's try this for more clarity. If I download music from a peer to peer music software system, can I be arrested? Have you ever heard of this happening? Your arguement says it can't happen because nothing is "sold". I really didn't receive anything tangeable when I downloaded the ones and zeros so how could I violate any law? Also, which country would I be arrested in? The country where I was downloading from, or the country where the p2p "server" resided? And, I didn't even click on accepting a EULA or TOA.

BTW, it took me all of 15 seconds to find a case where China does have precedents for valuing virtual items.
http://www.playnoevil.com/serendipity/index.php?/archives/1051-Virtual-Item-Theft-Ring-Busted.html
 
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Mary Jane

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Awesome idea +rep
 

aridash

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maybe there is a slight difference between FallenAngel/Nutter, but the underlying point is that its all owned by MA, so theft is not technically possible. "Scamming" would have to be demonstrated to have taken place by going through MA's logs etc and so you'd go through their process before resorting to local/Swedish law (more likly than not your local law would require you exhust the companies process). So, the EULA is the authority in the first instance which brings it back to the original point made by Nutter, though FallenAngel is quite right questioning the validity of the EULA. long and short, its very ambigous and would be different from instance to instance as the ownership is not with the avatar but the percieved value is...

Let's try this for more clarity. If I download music from a peer to peer music software system, can I be arrested? Have you ever heard of this happening? Your arguement says it can't happen because nothing is "sold".
thats irrelevant as this is covered specificaly by copyright law which is a whole other issue.
 
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Thantos

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maybe there is a slight difference between FallenAngel/Nutter, but the underlying point is that its all owned by MA, so theft is not technically possible. "Scamming" would have to be demonstrated to have taken place by going through MA's logs etc and so you'd go through their process before resorting to local/Swedish law (more likly than not your local law would require you exhust the companies process).



thats irrelevant as this is covered specificaly by copyright law which is a whole other issue.
Then why does MA make you get a police report and have the police contact them before they start to investigate? :scratch2:

Also, do you think Neverdie or Deathifier would have no legal recourse if MA decided to delete their land areas?

BTW, speaking of the copyright laws, do you think the record companies made the laws or the government?
 

nutter

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In your country, if I scam you out of something, what law would I break?

Let's try this for more clarity. If I download music from a peer to peer music software system, can I be arrested? Have you ever heard of this happening? Your arguement says it can't happen because nothing is "sold". I really didn't receive anything tangeable when I downloaded the ones and zeros so how could I violate any law? Also, which country would I be arrested in? The country where I was downloading from, or the country where the p2p "server" resided? And, I didn't even click on accepting a EULA or TOA.

BTW, it took me all of 15 seconds to find a case where China does have precedents for valuing virtual items.
http://www.playnoevil.com/serendipity/index.php?/archives/1051-Virtual-Item-Theft-Ring-Busted.html
As I have tried to explain, RL scamming is different to EU scamming. In RL the scam is often an act against which there are laws and statutes. In EU, scamming is simply the transfer of a licence to use a service from one avatar to another. Yes, there may well be a 'loss of ability to use licences(peds or items for example). This is why MA have always had a 'all trades are final' stance, along with a very lax attitude towards scammers.

If you download music peer to peer you are breaking the EULA/TOU/Licence/international copyright for that digital medium and as such have commited theft from the licencer IF the copyright law exists in your country. You have a tangable item (albeit 1 and 0's as you put it) that you have not paid for. In EU the items belong to MA, cannot be removed from MA, reside on MA servers, and according to the EULA/TOU belong to MA in all aspects including design, idea copyright etc and the licence to use it simply transfers from one avatar to another without breaking the EULA/TOU/etc etc. All one has paid for in EU is licences to use services. These can be exchanged with other players for other licences to use services.

As for your '15 second' search
I assume you did not read the main part of the article...

The gang, led by suspects Jin and Yi based in Anshan and Changchun, two cities of Northeast China's Liaoning and Jilin provinces, are suspected of stealing millions of QQ IDs and on-line game accounts and properties using a virus called Cockhorse since May 2005, according to police with south China's booming city of Shenzhen.
I would venture that the prosecution was for the theft of the login details using a virus, rather than for the transfer of a virtual item between avatars, although there was virtual items 'stolen' and RL money obtained.

Without further details on this particualr case or a copy of the TOU/EULA for that particular game and the others mentioned I could not speculate further on that matter.
 

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Then why does MA make you get a police report and have the police contact them before they start to investigate? :scratch2:
to demonstrate you have a genuine and substantial claim, and thats their chosen process. they dont have to ask for that though, they could just have support deal with every single spurious scamming claim and refer it to local/international law enforcement to follow up. i think we know how that would end, with nothing from MA being taken seriously. We all have legal recourse if we wish to pursue it, but if MA deleted a LA the "owner" would have to challenge the EULA to show they had a right of ownership.


BTW, speaking of the copyright laws, do you think the record companies made the laws or the government?
the record companies (in the US at least... heard of the Micky Mouse Law? lets leave that, eh?)

is this discussion exactly the purpose of the OP forum :laugh:
 

Thantos

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As for your '15 second' search
I assume you did not read the main part of the article...



I would venture that the prosecution was for the theft of the login details using a virus, rather than for the transfer of a virtual item between avatars, although there was virtual items 'stolen' and RL money obtained.

Without further details on this particualr case or a copy of the TOU/EULA for that particular game and the others mentioned I could not speculate further on that matter.
You can "venture" all you want, but read the whole thing first please.

There have been several virtual property-related cases in China.

In July 2005, six schoolchildren who stole virtual properties from online war game rivals were found guilty by a local court in central China's Henan Province, but escaped criminal punishment because they were under-age.

In December 2003, the Chinese mainland's first virtual-property case came before judges in Chaoyang District in Beijing. The court recognized the plaintiff's virtual holdings as a sort of intangible property, ordered the defendant return it and pay the plaintiff 1,560 yuan (200 U.S. dollars) in compensation.
 

nutter

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Then why does MA make you get a police report and have the police contact them before they start to investigate? :scratch2:

Also, do you think Neverdie or Deathifier would have no legal recourse if MA decided to delete their land areas?

BTW, speaking of the copyright laws, do you think the record companies made the laws or the government?
Ill address your points in bullet point fashion if I may (makes it easier for me :) )

Point 1. I would venture that MA ask for one to file a police report in order to establish whether any applicable RL law has actually been broken (for example RL threats or violence to extort virtual items) or something along those lines.

Point 2. Neverdie or Deathifier would indeed have no recourse if MA decided to change/delete/expand/ terraform their land areas. Look what happened to Quetesh in VU10. Along with other LA's (atrax beach for example...which is no longer a beach) many of which have been altered. MA can do as they please.

Point 3. Governments / courts make laws as you well know.
Copyright can be either civil or criminal in its application. Most commonly copyright is dealt with under civil proceedings. I.e. the copyright owner may take action to prevent the infringement (such as an injunction), or claim damages for lost income/royalties/etc.
Cases such as large scale counterfeiting would typically be dealt with by the police under criminal proceedings.

I hope this clarifies things:)

You can "venture" all you want, but read the whole thing first please.

There have been several virtual property-related cases in China.

In July 2005, six schoolchildren who stole virtual properties from online war game rivals were found guilty by a local court in central China's Henan Province, but escaped criminal punishment because they were under-age.

In December 2003, the Chinese mainland's first virtual-property case came before judges in Chaoyang District in Beijing. The court recognized the plaintiff's virtual holdings as a sort of intangible property, ordered the defendant return it and pay the plaintiff 1,560 yuan (200 U.S. dollars) in compensation.
As I stated previously, without further information on those cases it is impossible to be certain exactly what these people were prosecuted for.
The journalist has ommited information he felt not relevant to the article about the 'theft' of virtual items (things such as RL assault or identity theft) and as such the article is not a reliable source of precident.

If you could find further details I would be happy to comment on them.

Another that make interesting reading on the matter...

http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2006/08/7605.ars


But, the argument is mute I feel. All items belong to MA/FPC and they can and will do as they please with them.
 
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Thantos

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Ill address your points in bullet point fashion if I may (makes it easier for me :) )

Point 1. I would venture that MA ask for one to file a police report in order to establish whether any applicable RL law has actually been broken (for example RL threats or violence to extort virtual items) or something along those lines.
According to you, no law has been broken, so how can I call the police? They do not investigate civil complaints, only criminal complaints.
 

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As for the ImpFap example. If someone 'steals' the impfap, no RL crime has been commited as the owner 'MA' still has the said item...
Just using Nutter's example... not picking on Nutter...

I never understood the part about it being "stealing". In order for someone else to get an item the item must either be traded PVP or dropped on the ground. In both cases, there are reminders prior to finishing the action that the user must click to complete it. Based on that, I could argue that the user willingly dropped or traded said item. Therefore, how is it a theft? :scratch2:

Scam perhaps... theft... no.

More individual responsibility IRL and in virtual life would lead to a lot of out of work lawyers (which I do not see as a bad thing).
 

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It is all country dependant, some have more evolved ''cyber'' laws or cases.
So based on that fact, the website is potentially interesting, and also pretty complex to do so I geuss, unless the only law enforced is the swedish one.
 
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