Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Will He Get a Virtual Lawyer?

I'll admit that I'm not really familiar with the whole "virtual world" thing that some of the networking sites promote. I guess it shows my age that conversing with strangers in print via USENET or web forums seems perfectly reasonable, while creating visual virtual realms for avatars to inhabit and interact in just seems weird. "You damn kids!," as we old folks say.

That being said, it was only a matter of time before real people got prosecuted in real courts for malfeasance committed in these virtual realms against virtual others. As the BBC reports, a case in Holland involves grand theft furniture:

A Dutch teenager has been arrested for allegedly stealing virtual furniture from 'rooms' in Habbo Hotel, a 3D social networking website.

The 17-year-old is accused of stealing 4,000 euros (£2,840) worth of virtual furniture, bought with real money.
I know stupidity isn't a defense to crimes (of, if only it was . . .), but I'm having a hard time mustering a lot of sympathy for people who spend real money on virtual stuff. Where's Carlin when you need him?

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