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When Is a Con Not a Con? 441

From the journals, here's some food for thought: Does a "crime" committed in an alternate world have any ramifications in the "real" world? Case in point is this article from the Gamers With Jobs site outlining the exploits of one Dentara Rask, a character in CCP's Eve Online massively multiplayer online world. According to the the article, Dentara Rask ran a Ponzi scheme within the game, amassing a large amount of on-line wealth (700 billion ISK), and then bragging about it. The question is posed: since a Ponzi scheme in real life is a punishable criminal offense, what about when it happens in a MMORPG? Assuming there are no rules within the game environment to prevent this, how would you go about punishing someone in the real world for something they did in an artificial one? And can they be punished?
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When Is a Con Not a Con?

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  • by Big Nothing ( 229456 ) <> on Monday September 04, 2006 @11:07AM (#16037827)
    If crimes committed in a game could be punished in real life, I'd be serving life sentence for mass-murder.

  • by Ours ( 596171 ) on Monday September 04, 2006 @11:23AM (#16037933)
    Damn right. Next thing they'll talk about puting in prison people who shoot each other in the game. Hey, murder is illegal isn't? Then why would a virtual scam be any different?
  • I confess! (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 04, 2006 @11:26AM (#16037957)
    I am guilty of killing some friends in CS a few years ago... I can't live with this pain anymore.
  • by ArsonSmith ( 13997 ) on Monday September 04, 2006 @11:38AM (#16038032) Journal
    I would, but someone stole my bike. I was going to exchange my game currency for real money and buy a new bike, but now someone ripped off that too.
  • by MrNaz ( 730548 ) * on Monday September 04, 2006 @11:56AM (#16038133) Homepage
    A mage threw a fireball that was created in his hands from thin air. He is currently serving time on back to back offences against the first and second laws of thermodynamics.

    In related news, a druid violated the law of conservation of mass by morphing into a 300lb bear and gryphon rider violated the laws of gravity by actually making some big fat retarded looking rat with no hair fly. These two individuals remain at large, and should be regarded as dangerous. If you see them please call the "I'm an idiot for applying the rules of reality to necessarily fictional games" hotline.

    Down with in-game violators of the law!
  • by Dun Malg ( 230075 ) on Monday September 04, 2006 @12:11PM (#16038240) Homepage
    HOWEVER, these items in online games have MASSIVE intrinisic value based on labor.
    Marxist claptrap. The labor theory of value is a load of horseshit concocted by political philosophers with no appreciation for the reality of economics. A thing has no value beyond what someone is willing to pay for it. You could spend 400 hours making carefully formed and wrapped sewage popsicles, but they aren't worth $5000. Besides, the labor theory of value requires an outside authority to set the value of your labor, and in this case, CCP has already declared (via TOS) that your work is not exchangeable for money and therefore is worth nothing.
  • by russ1337 ( 938915 ) on Monday September 04, 2006 @02:06PM (#16038890)
    'If you can convince some idiot to give you their chips if you promise to give them more chips later.....
    You raise a good point. If someone falls for a dumb arse scam in the virtual world, does that make them likley to fall for one in the real world? - probably. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.... Probably unfair: The people that lost the money should really take responsibility for their stupidity - and not try to sue their way out of shame.. YOU FELL FOR A SCAM, GET OVER IT!!!

    BTW, If any of the people that lost money in EVE are reading this and want to get their money back, they can send $50 US Dollars and I'll get them their in-game credits back, plus their real money back with interest! Or, I if you really want, I can hook you up with a Nigerian prince friend of mine who has money locked in a foreign account. We just need $100,000 to get it out... perhaps you can help? We need your in-game skills.....

Recent investments will yield a slight profit.