The precedent heard 'round the world
Yesterday in Amsterdam, the court of justice in that country convicted two teens of stealing virtual items from a younger teen by coercion, and sentenced them to a total of 360 hours of community service.
The Leeuwarden District Court says 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.
"These virtual goods are goods (under Dutch law), so this is theft," the court said Tuesday in a summary of its ruling.
The dangerous thing about this case is the lack of further information. For example, how exactly was the younger teen coerced into giving up his items? Often in-game it's said that anyone stupid enough to give their items to a scammer deserves to lose the items and the loser is generally powerless. Has it grown so bad now that these sorts of things are punishable by real world law?
Of course, if the two older teens just threatened to beat the snot out of the younger one in real life, I can see that being theft.
For more information (what little there is), please check here.