Should Video Gamers Be Prosecuted for Virtual Theft>

Decent Essays
Elizabeth Shreve
September 20, 2015
Eng 111 4-5:15
Professor Roof
Paper 1
Prosecution in the Virtual World

Many online gamers will pay for virtual items with real money. Some people want laws in effect for the real world to protect their rights to their belongings. Theft in the virtual world occurs quite often. In an article titled, “Should Gamers be Prosecuted for Virtual Stealing?” the author Alex Weiss calls out a young teenage boy who is being prosecuted for stealing in a video game. It seems to be a legal blunder that is very straight forward, but becomes a heated debate. It begins with the argument should we prosecute a gamer for stealing via the virtual world? Alex Weiss is correct in saying that prosecution for virtual
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If this were to become legal, it would someday bring people to “sue” their co-worker for too much talking or some other non-existent crime. If some choose to spend their time unproductively, would they not expect to be compensated for such types of loses?

While some people see turning to the law for in-game crimes, they fail to realize that video games have their own ways of punishment, so the actual physical prosecution should not be necessary. Weiss observes how games like World of Warcraft will strictly punish their gamers for theft, scamming, and vulgar language. He says, “Violators can be banned and victims’ lost goods are refunded.” Weiss then goes on to point out how in
EVE will actually encourage players to have a behavior of piracy to give them a sense of pride. (729) There are many different games with different styles of engagement and how the game is to be played. To have a universal punishment for these crimes seems unfair and unfit. In spirit video gamers build their video games from the start of nothing, laying out the rules and all the abilities of the game. The chances of being able to steal in the virtual world without hacking is nearly impossible.

Physical prosecution for virtual theft may be providing justice for the theft committed yet providing injustice on a law abiding citizen. Video games make it very easy to steal in, so what will happen when a non-criminal citizen takes the opportunity to do so
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