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Brittany Alston

English 101
Professor Bolton
October 22, 2014

Just a Video Game or Just a Plain Thieves?

The article that I read, Should Gamers Be Prosecuted for Virtual Stealing, is to explore
emerging technologies and their transformative effects on society and public policy. In this
particular article, a teenager was convicted of stealing something that doesnt actually exist. I
agree with Alex Weiss on the topic that gamers shouldnt be prosecuted for stealing done
during game-playing. According to the Associated Press, the defendants attorney argued that
the stolen amulet and shield were neither tangible nor material and, unlike for example
electricity, had no economic value. The court disagreed, ruling that the time the 13-year old
victim spent in the game trying to earn the objects gave them value. Weiss disagrees with the
decision made by the court and I agree with him about the significance of this ruling. The ruling
of the court was very unfair because it gives the game too much value, takes away from the
significance of games being escape routes, and this creates confusion amongst the real world
versus the game world.
The ruling of the court most definitely gives this game too much value. These video
games are fictional and not real. I would understand if there was a law stating this or something
along the lines of why the teenager should be convicted. The teenager didnt break any law
thereof. It seems as though the court is adding to the matter in order to make its conviction
and that is very unfair to the teenager. The court states that The time the 13-year old victim
spent in the game trying to earn objects gave them value (727). I partially agree with this point
but, more importantly this is absolutely not a law and I feel that the court is creating a crime. I
could understand the reasoning for this but its just absolutely ridiculous to go as far as
convicting the teenager. When a person signs on to these games or play them, it shouldnt be
anyone elses fault as to what happens during the playing of these games and they most
definitely should not be punished. Unless there is strict policy against theft or anything along
the lines of this, the ruling is indeed unfair and I wholeheartedly disagree with the courts
decision and fully agree with Weiss reasoning. Yes, this was theft partially but in the game
world, it is all part of the fun. There should not be any reasoning for mixing the two worlds
what so ever.
In addition to these games having too much value, I agree that games are used as
escape routes. Most people play games to get away from their daily or stressful routines and it

should be that and only that. The court is definitely making it a lot more than what it actually is
by convicting this teenager. We put too much importance on video games by making it as major
as an issue in the court room. Weiss states that Video games are not work or investments for
which people should be compensated; they are escapism (727). I totally agree with this
statement because this is the exact truth. People play video games during their free time and
use them to escape reality. The games are being giving way too much time consumption than
what it really should be given. Weiss also states that These projects may seem foolish to those
outside of the gaming world, but they represent a great deal to their creators. And these hopes
and dreams can be destroyed rapidly by another player who just wants to be a jerk. Thats the
whole point, actually (728). While some people go on these MMO games to invest money, or
for other reasons, some go just to entertain the childish mind that they may have. Going on
these games just to destroy the foundation of someone elses empire is clearly the object of
some of these games so again, this conviction is very unfair.
Finally, this ruling simply creates a mix-up in the real world and the game world. Gamers
should simply have all of its possessions as well as its rules be thereof in the game world. Courts
should not make rulings against such an act where rules against it were never actually written
out or made clear to gamers prior to playing these games. It is very unfair to punish someone
who acts on something that they have no knowledge of. Furthermore, penalizing someone for
participating in an act that is committed through the cyber world. It would be a different
scenario if there was something against this act or a law that clearly states that this particular
action should not be taken. Weiss states that WOW has a very strict policy against scamming,
thievery, and even harsh language; violators can be banned, and victims lost goods are
refunded (729). This statement is a prime example of where I would agree with the courts
decision if this were the case but this is not. This would then be a reason as to why the teenager
should be convicted because there are strict rules against this particular act. The rules are
actually written out and the court would be able to use this as evidence in its ruling rather than
use a game with no written out acts against stealing. Here as, if the teenager was convicted
under these terms then I would then agree but once again, this is not the case.
In conclusion, I totally agree with Weiss on each and every stand point of his essay. The
game life should be just that and nothing more. There should not be a mix-up between the real
world and the game world. The ruling of the court in this situation was very unfair and the
teenager should not have been convicted. Gamers should keep the game world in the game
world and the real world should be just that. Weiss states The real and virtual laws conflict,
and it seems unfair to penalize the teenager for this. Reportedly, the player also beat up his
victim, for which he should, of course, be punishedand putting monetary value on time spent
immersed in a virtual world seems dangerous (729). We should not give the game world that
much more significance than it should have.

Works Cited
Weiss, Alex. Should Gamers Be Prosecuted for Virtual Stealing? The Norton Field Guide to
Writing with Readings and Handbook. 3rd ed. Ed. Richard Bullock, Maureen Daly Goggin, and
Francine Weinburg. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2013. (726-729). Print.