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UK Politician wants in-game thieves to be prosecuted

Conservative MP, Mike Weatherley, has called for in-game thieves to be prosecuted like real criminals. The UK politician is a World of Warcraft player himself and understands that in-game items can be traded for substantial amounts of real world cash. As a result, he has called upon parliament to consider prosecuting account hackers and in-game scammers like real world criminals.

This isn't completely out of the realm of possibility, game hackers have been arrested and jailed in other countries before. Last year we reported on a Chinese group that specialized in stealing WoW accounts and selling them off for profit. In addition, just last week we reported that a League of Legends hacker has been jailed for hacking in to Riot servers and selling premium hack services, earning him $1000 a day.


Weatherly requested that the UK Justice Minister accelerate legislation to give gamers the same amount of legal protection over digital items as you would have in the real world. However, he did add that only serious or repeat offenders should be targeted rather than just anyone found guilty of committing a minor indiscretion.

Right now, digital items are a legal grey area but the fact is that these items can still be worth a lot of money, they can also take a long time to acquire.

Discuss on our Facebook page, HERE.

KitGuru Says: Having your account stolen or hijacked isn't fun but should someone be put in jail for selling off your in-game items or account? What do you guys think? Should digital thieves be treated the same as real world thieves?

Source: Engadget

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  1. Absolutely, just because these items aren’t real doesn’t mean the money isn’t genuine. It’s equivolent to larceny, and should be treated as the theft of money. It also involved the criminal acquisition of personal data which is also illegal.

  2. Exactly , like my Eve online accounts, their in the value of up to 25.000$ this day today, got 5 accounts thats 10 years old, i would be seriously pissed my self.

  3. If someone with a job gets paid for their time and effort, this also extends to the time and effort someone spends on a game. While it is fun, you also spend time and effort getting certain things for your particular account. Why should there be specific circumstances where it is permissible to steal items from another person? Just because they are digital does not mean the value negates. Entire games are considered “Digital” as well and stealing THOSE would be considered piracy.

  4. o.O mind giving out 1 then? lol

  5. Umm buying Items with real money from a third party other then the game is against 90% of game’s TOS so this politician is breaking the rules lol. Also in game money is fake , so in order to be cheated and stolen from again you’ll have to use third party which is still against the TOS. I don’t understand this article and how it fails to mention this.

  6. Lol, you buy alot of things that are not physical and consumable … such as going to the Cinema or buying music online .. It is a hobby like many others and if people wish to spend their hard earned on their hobby then let them do it, whatever makes them happy. To them, spending a few quid on a game they love to escape with after a long day of work is the equivalent, if not cheaper, to buying a pint or 2 down the pub or or something recreational …

  7. Psssst! Those items belong to the company running the game, not you. Pretty much every EULA I’ve read mentions that all ingame items, currency, characters and anything else belong to the company. You get to rent them for . However, prosecution for stealing the accounts themselves or stealing your personal/financial information for financial gain is something I would definitely support.

  8. Yes actually i do mind 😉 , i didn’t spend 10 years training them up to give them away 🙂

  9. Absolutely prosecute people for these crimes. I’ve seen a lot of instances where people have had accounts stolen with a major loss of both time and money. With most games operating as free to play with cash shops, a lot of people are trying to steal accounts from people who spend a fair amount in cash shops. Ok some game companies do take limited action against account theft, but not so much when it comes to items and the action is usually limited to a ban. I say prosecute anyone who does this (the bigger the loss to the person the crime is committed against, the harsher the sentence in my opinion).

  10. Absolutely. A crime it’s a crime, even if it’s in real world or over the digital world. Stealing and abusing people it’s a crime so should be punished. I hope this legislative and legal stuff will come to eastern europe too, cuz here everybody scam and steal accounts for games and not only.

  11. I point you towards TF2 hats, CSGO skins etc, where they can be sold on the steam marketplace for hundreds of pounds.

  12. In some situations yes, but not always.
    Well… just this “only serious or repeat offenders should be targeted rather than just anyone found guilty of committing a minor indiscretion”

  13. That doesn’t really refute my point because in order to sell those you’d need to hijack the account they are on which would be stealing for personal or financial gain.

  14. Don’t think you read the article tbh. It mentions how he is more specifically talking about account theft and scams in game. He talks about the equivalent to real world money as a representation of value and ownership, doesn’t mention selling to third parties. He wants to protect people who spend 10 months grinding for an item who then get duped into giving it/it being taken through nefarious means. Its the criminals who are selling illegally, don’t think they care about the terms and conditions.

  15. Scenario: someone buys a really rare csgo knife. Cost over £200. Account gets hijacked and the hacker trades the knife. That theif has just stolen an expensive item.

  16. And…that’s exactly what I just said? To steal the item you need to steal the account. Also, steam doesn’t let players sell items for real money, anything sold is done via the steam wallet which cannot be converted to real money so in essence the item itself stays the possession of the developer, the access rights are what is transferred.

  17. losing a fake item in game is not stealing sorry, and fake gold it’s still not stealing. If he loses anything else outside the game it’s his own fault, but being hacked it’s no big deal , ya it sucks but you can get you account fixed with all your stuff that went missing in a day or 2. It’s the gaming company’s job to stop the thefts not the law. We don’t need more law on the internet.

  18. Maybe a little late. But Very often a person who “steals” an ingame item if it’s a “let me try it and i’ll give it back tomorrow” Or however it happened doesn’t really matter. It’s stolen to earn real $$$. So let’s say The person who it gets stolen from just wanted to keep it, or possibly trade it for another item ingame, while the thief is selling it for real money. Then why shouldn’t it be counted as theft?

    So basically The one committing an acctual EULA “Crime” in the first place isn’t the original owner of the item, since it was stolen from him/her by another. Who then probably selling it for real money. Which means it’s both an EULA offence, probably also for stealing it which in some games IS an offence as well. And then Selling it which is another offence. While the Original owner is a Victim of crime both EULA and real type of theft.

    I myself praise the idea making this illegal and possible to prosecute the offender.

    They who are saying differently are most likely they who cheat, scam, steal themselves. Just my own view of it.