Press Release of the Week: When Nerds Attack

I'm sure there's an interesting discussion to be had here about whether real-world laws apply to virtual worlds and e-commerce, but that conversation will have to be presided over by someone more mature than me. Because when I read about this lawsuit, it made me want to throw on my red sleeveless Alpha Beta tee shirt, chug beer from a trophy and scream "Neeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrds!"

It seems that Marc Bragg -- known in the online world of Second Life as "Marc Woebegone," a guy who can benchpress 250 pounds, who totally has a girlfriend, and who can use his mother's car whenever the hell he wants to -- bought some virtual land with three hundred real dollars. Only he got the land through some kind of "exploit" in the game, and so the game moderators took back the land but didn't refund his money. According to the suit, they also kicked him out of the virtual world and "stole" $2,000 worth of his virtual posessions, which included his virtual dignity and virtual self-respect.

Mr. Bragg wants to make clear, though, that he doesn't really care about the money:

The amount of money involved hardly warrants the time and effort the lawsuit will require. It is more about the fundamental importance of players' rights and requiring the creators of these virtual economic universes to respect real world laws and real world peoples' rights in these virtual worlds.

Bragg added that he has a picture of his girlfriend in his wallet if we want to see it. She lives in Canada, but they met at summer camp several years. Also, they've totally done it "like one million times."

No comments: