Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Online game theft, real-world conviction

01 February 2012, 11:00

The Hague - The amulet and mask were a 13-year-old boy's virtual possessions in an online fantasy game. In the real world, he was beaten and threatened with a knife to give them up.

The Dutch Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the theft conviction of a youth who stole another boy's possessions in the popular online fantasy game RuneScape. Judges ordered the offender to perform 144 hours of community service.

Only a handful of such cases have been heard in the world, and they have reached varying conclusions about the legal status of "virtual goods" - and whether stealing them is real-world theft.

The suspect's lawyer had argued the amulet and mask "were neither tangible nor material and, unlike for example electricity, had no economic value".

But the Netherlands' highest court said the virtual objects had an intrinsic value to the 13-year-old gamer because of "the time and energy he invested" in winning them while playing the game.

The court did not release the offender's name, only his year of birth - 1992. It said he and another youth beat and kicked the boy and threatened him with a knife until he logged into RuneScape and dropped the objects in 2007.

One of the thieves, who was also playing the game, was then able to pick up the items, making them his virtual property.

Both were convicted by a lower court in 2009, but only one of them had appealed to the Supreme Court.

- AP

Join in the conversation on News24 Kenya’s Facebook page.

Get the latest news by following us on Twitter


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
WATCH: Kaka Sungura arrested in t...

Was Kaka Sungura arrested in town?

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Confused Jubilee afraid of me, Ki...

The Jubilee Party is afraid of me, Evans Kidero says. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Sonko ready for Peter Kenneth bat...

Nairobi Senator Mike Mbuvi Sonko says that he is ready to take on Peter Kenneth in Nairobi Gubernatorial nominations come 2017. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Uhuru wants change in Constitutio...

The Jubilee Coalition is planning to change the Constitution and add President Uhuru Kenyatta another term, Kalonzo Musyoka claims. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
CORD to stop Jubilee efforts to r...

The CORD Coalition will not allow plans to remove Kenya from the Rome Statutes take place, it has said. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
How long will it take Kenya to le...

Kenya is looking to leave the ICC. But what is the process behind the exit? Read more...