How does/will the law deal with digital assets?

I heard that one of the player ran in game banks in Eve Online (I prefer WoW myself) went under because it’s “CEO” embezzled money and RWT (just for the non-gamers out there; real world trading, the act of selling in game items for real money) it. Source

This got me wondering, are there any laws that would lead to this Ricdic guy being prosecuted? Since its an MMO presumably they would have his credit card details or some other way of tracking him down…

While we’re on the subject, can Blizzard et al prosecute goldfarmers and sellers? Or are MMO devs just stuck banning the accounts of people who break their TOS?

The industry standard is that online game property is owned by the provider, not the customer. There is no legal recourse, only what the provider will offer in restoration as a matter of customer service.

Blizzard might have legal recourse against anyone that profits from a violation of their user agreement. They have successfully sued an American developer who wrote and sold a “bot” for playing the game automatically due to how it violated some aspect of the user agreement. Unfortunately, the Chinese government are likely not very cooperative in bringing the gold sellers to justice.

Check out this link to see that Blizzard did win a lawsuit against the makers of a software tool that allowed players to violate the TOS:

I’ve not heard a good legal justification to go after individual goldfarmers in WoW. I suspect they could only be banned.

BTW, I’ve heard it said a few times that the CEO in the incident in EvE Online only got in trouble over the RWT. If he had just embezzled the money, that would have been in in-game event, and the makers of Eve would not have gone after him for it.

Just so people know:

China cracks down on virtual cash

China cracks down on virtual economy

FWIW, cheating and scamming people is perfectly legal in EVE Online. It’s just part of the fun.

So the only real-world legal issue is whether the RWT was a violation of EVE’s user policy, which would be a civil matter between them and the player. And EVE would have a rather difficult time proving that any damages were incurred.