p2p news / p2pnet: China has ratified a guilty verdict and fined a man said to have stolen and sold RPG IDs and online equipment, says state news agency Xinhua.
“As more people log on to online worlds, or virtual worlds, to interact, play and socialize, there are growing calls for virtual property to be defined and bound by laws that will protect it from theft and plagiarism,” it says.
“A man in Guangzhou, the capital of South China’s Guangdong Province, was found guilty of online theft last week, becoming the first person to be punished by the courts for stealing virtual property in the province.”
In 2004, Yan Yifan, 20, started work as a temp with NetEase.com, which was, “celebrating the second anniversary of “Dahua Xiyou II,” inspired by an ancient Chinese fairy tale Journey to the West.
“During this time Yan gained more than 30 players’ personal information and counterfeited their identity cards (ID cards),” says Xinhua. “Saying that all the players’ passwords had been stolen, Yan faxed the counterfeit ID cards to NetEase and changed all of their passwords.
“Taking the new passwords, Yan sold the players’ game IDs and pieces of their game equipment to other players, making a profit of more than 4,000 yuan (500 U.S. dollars).”
Yan was last year fined 5,000 yuan ($617) but appeal to another court, claiming “virtual property should not be protected by laws”.
However, the court ruled, “online game players have spent time, energy and money to gain the game’s equipment, imparting value and use value to the virtual goods” and moreover, “Yan gained money from selling the equipment to the other players.”
Xinhua- More attention paid to virtual property protection, April 3, 2006