Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the EU

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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby halabar » Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:17 pm

Shoju wrote:I completely disagree.

When you start blurring the lines like this, its a problem.


Look at a different scenario. SecondLife. A virtual world, that has people buying and selling virtual goods, with real and in-world money.

I think you're letting your distaste for goldsellers/goldbuyers and what impact they have on WoW cloud the discussion of virtual goods in general. Beyond the "rich guy can buy the best gear and didn't 'earn' it" argument, and the impact of goldsellers usually selling stolen gold, there's a broader discussion of what constitutes "ownership" in a virtual environment, and that really is the crux of what can and cannot be sold.

Once Blizz allows for selling gold in D3 (which is coming), then the only thing left that's not sellable is the characters themselves. A good lawyer can probably make the case that if items, commodities, and gold can be sold, then the characters should also be sellable.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Shoju » Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:44 pm

halabar wrote:
Shoju wrote:I completely disagree.

When you start blurring the lines like this, its a problem.


Look at a different scenario. SecondLife. A virtual world, that has people buying and selling virtual goods, with real and in-world money.

I think you're letting your distaste for goldsellers/goldbuyers and what impact they have on WoW cloud the discussion of virtual goods in general. Beyond the "rich guy can buy the best gear and didn't 'earn' it" argument, and the impact of goldsellers usually selling stolen gold, there's a broader discussion of what constitutes "ownership" in a virtual environment, and that really is the crux of what can and cannot be sold.

Once Blizz allows for selling gold in D3 (which is coming), then the only thing left that's not sellable is the characters themselves. A good lawyer can probably make the case that if items, commodities, and gold can be sold, then the characters should also be sellable.



No, I'm not letting my distaste cloud my judgement. I think that Second Life is part of the problem as well.

Sorry, paying real money for "in game" stuff, is just not kosher with me.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Fivelives » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:00 pm

Maybe a better analogy than a gym membership would be a timeshare ownership?

Shoju, we've been paying real money for virtual goods for a long time. Ever since the first digital download service started - I think it was Direct2Drive?

Even before that, we had entire industries built on think tanks where a group of talented individuals would get together and be paid for their ideas. How is that any different than someone being paid for virtual goods? Just because it can give one person an advantage over another doesn't necessarily make it a bad thing. I'm sure you've heard the saying "Time is money" - well, what do you value your time at?

It seems to me that you're mostly upset because your time is automatically valued below the time of "rich people."
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby halabar » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:07 pm

Shoju wrote:No, I'm not letting my distaste cloud my judgement. I think that Second Life is part of the problem as well.

Sorry, paying real money for "in game" stuff, is just not kosher with me.


So even in Second Life, where artists sell virtual artwork? and you can pay to attend virtual performances?

But honest question.. is it that you don't see merit in paying for virtual goods, or because of the "ills" of goldsellers and the like? I'm assuming the former, in which case, do you buy music from iTunes? because that's basically the same thing. Not to mention any apps on your phone or tablet, or software on your computer that didn't have a retail box.

A better example might be the new wave of messaging apps where you get the app for free, and then you buy various icons that you can use in your messages. So what's so different about buying those, and a pretty pony in-game?
Last edited by halabar on Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Shoju » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:12 pm

I'm not talking about digital downloads.
I'm not talking about think tanks.

I'm talking virtual goods in a video game.

I don't know why you guys are trying to push it past that. I'm not saying that its valued below the time of rich people. That is a fairly bold statement when you know very little of my economic portfolio.

I'm talking about pixels in a VIDEO GAME

That is the problem.

@hal. If I can end up with something that is... "mine" outside of the video game for the "virtual artwork, or performance" then I wouldn't have a problem with it. But we are talking about items WITHIN A GAME I really, truly, do not know how I can make it ANY CLEARER
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby halabar » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:46 pm

Shoju wrote:@hal. If I can end up with something that is... "mine" outside of the video game for the "virtual artwork, or performance" then I wouldn't have a problem with it. But we are talking about items WITHIN A GAME I really, truly, do not know how I can make it ANY CLEARER


Blue text is key. What defines ownership?

Per your statement, the extra artwork my wife buys for her messaging app is similar. She can't use them outside of the app, and if they shut off their servers, it's all gone. Much like the pixel ponies.

As long as the virtual goods are confined to the servers of that one provider, you can't really say you own them. But that hasn't stopped trade in them.

(I'll also add here that I'm not debating whether I like the idea or not, it's about the legal aspects of "owning" virtual goods, and being able to sell them).
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Shoju » Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:54 pm

It depends on the language of the contract set forth at the beginning.

In this case, Blizzard has made it clear from at least the time when I started playing, so I would assume in vanilla as well, you don't own it. You have never owned it. It has never been yours to sell.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby halabar » Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:40 pm

Shoju wrote:It depends on the language of the contract set forth at the beginning.

In this case, Blizzard has made it clear from at least the time when I started playing, so I would assume in vanilla as well, you don't own it. You have never owned it. It has never been yours to sell.


Correct, and there's no US ruling or law to challenge that. yet.

You could probably make the case that since players don't "create" anything in WoW (or most MMOs) that all the artwork and assets belong to Blizz. But Blizz has opened the can of worms with the RMAH, since there are considerable amounts of money changing hands.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Skye1013 » Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:18 pm

@hal: There are some key differences between things like Second Life, iTunes and WoW though. I don't have any issues with people buying/selling vanity items... it's when you get power upgrades that it becomes an issue for me, since not everyone has the same economic standing in order to fairly compete for those upgrades. D3 this is less of an issue since the setup is completely different, as in you aren't competing with guilds for world first or whatever... it's all about getting "the best" gear, which then makes the game obsolete upon doing so. This is not the case in WoW, where they create a new content patch and reset the competitions every so often.

Second Life: it's all vanity items. There are no levels, stats, bosses, dungeons, etc. It is purely a roleplaying world where you can edit your avatar as many times as you want for free. If you have the know-how, you can create any clothing you want. I'm not sure what (if any) costs there are to "owning" land to build things, but if you use your know-how to create clothing, sell that clothing, then use the in-game money that is acquired to purchase the land, then you still don't have any need to inject your own RL money into the game. Of course, someone at some point HAD to do so, since there aren't mobs for you to grind gold from (or dailies to do or whatever.)

iTunes: theoretically you could burn a cd with the music/movies/whatever you purchase from iTunes, though it might require a 3rd party program to do so (making the legality come into qestion.)

And yes, this post is discussing more of whether this should happen vs whether it's legal (since it IS legal to sell your account... but it's also legal for Blizzard to ban the account if you do so, thereby creating an inherent risk.)
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby rodos » Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:35 pm

halabar wrote:
Shoju wrote:It depends on the language of the contract set forth at the beginning.

In this case, Blizzard has made it clear from at least the time when I started playing, so I would assume in vanilla as well, you don't own it. You have never owned it. It has never been yours to sell.


Correct, and there's no US ruling or law to challenge that. yet.

You could probably make the case that since players don't "create" anything in WoW (or most MMOs) that all the artwork and assets belong to Blizz. But Blizz has opened the can of worms with the RMAH, since there are considerable amounts of money changing hands.

I think that in D3 or WoW you don't own anything, and are paying for the right to use an item in the game. I also think Blizzard (and other games companies) will fight very hard to keep it this way.

If the US government decided that sparkle ponies and hellion crossbows were items with real intrinsic value, then Blizzard would be in all kinds of a mess because their only value is in their scarcity and Blizzard have complete controll over that scarcity. Having items drop in Diablo would be like issuing shares, or at the very least like running a slot machine. All their source code, procedures, customer service, etc. would need to have 3rd-party audits to ensure fairness. Attack Speed nerfs could only happen with approval from the SEC or FTC, as they would affect the value of players' "portfolio".
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby halabar » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:39 pm

Skye1013 wrote:@hal: There are some key differences between things like Second Life, iTunes and WoW though. I don't have any issues with people buying/selling vanity items... it's when you get power upgrades that it becomes an issue for me.....And yes, this post is discussing more of whether this should happen vs whether it's legal (since it IS legal to sell your account... but it's also legal for Blizzard to ban the account if you do so, thereby creating an inherent risk.)


The first issue is still is it possible to own virtual goods that exist only in a virtual environment (and moreso when you can't transfer them out of that environment).

And at present you could argue that is is illegal to sell your WoW account, since the Blizz EULA forbids it, and there is no law contradicting that. On the flip side, Blizz has legalized the selling of virtual goods between players for real-world funds. I think that's a first.

Don't get caught up in the "is it fair" issue.. ownership of the goods is the first and key question.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby halabar » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:42 pm

rodos wrote:If the US government decided that sparkle ponies and hellion crossbows were items with real intrinsic value, then Blizzard would be in all kinds of a mess because their only value is in their scarcity and Blizzard have complete controll over that scarcity. Having items drop in Diablo would be like issuing shares, or at the very least like running a slot machine. All their source code, procedures, customer service, etc. would need to have 3rd-party audits to ensure fairness. Attack Speed nerfs could only happen with approval from the SEC or FTC, as they would affect the value of players' "portfolio".


And since they have formally authorized the trade between players, I wonder when the first legal cases are going to arise. Second Life was too artsy-fartsy to raise the issue (as far as I can recall). You need some nerd-rage to make a legal case.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Skye1013 » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:45 pm

And a lot of that comes down to those agreements:
The Second Life Terms of Service provide that users retain copyright for any content they create, and the server and client provide simple digital rights management functions.

I don't know if that can be interpreted as "owning" it though.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby halabar » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:49 pm

Skye1013 wrote:And a lot of that comes down to those agreements:
The Second Life Terms of Service provide that users retain copyright for any content they create, and the server and client provide simple digital rights management functions.

I don't know if that can be interpreted as "owning" it though.


Copyright would qualify for that for items that were created (some of that artwork would be useless outside of the Second Life environment, but the "player" still owns it). Copyright is actually key, since you would have artists selling copies of their work in game, and that would prevent duplication and resale.

That would not apply, however, to pixel ponies or hellicon bows.
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Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

Postby Fivelives » Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:51 pm

Shoju, would you be as upset if there was a way to get the power upgrades without paying for them? Take League of Legends as an example - there's absolutely nothing available for real cash that isn't available for people willing to put in the time it takes to "earn" it. So in essence, there is a direct corrolation between time and money. It becomes less a matter of "wow, that jerk just bought all the best stuff so that there's no chance for me to compete" and more a matter of "how much in real currency am I willing to realistically value my time and effort at?"

And yes, it's neither here nor there. The question isn't about in-game items being sold for real currency, it's about games themselves being sold for real currency even though there is absolutely nothing physical changing hands, and it's being sold second-hand. It's a holdover from a piracy scare, back when the only form of DRM was pretty much just a check to see if the disk was in the drive when the program booted up. The question now becomes: does a company still own their product even after they've "sold" it to one person, thus preventing that person from re-selling it, simply because it's virtual? Is it fair for Valve to tell people, for instance, that they can't sell their digital copy of Portal, when I can buy the orange box for the Xbox 360 on traditional disk-based media then resell it at any Gamestop?

My answer, and apparently the answer of the European court system, is "no. It's not fair, so we're going to change that." The sale of accounts is completely secondary to the argument, although it seems to me to be a far more interesting topic that's open to a broader interpretation than just a yes or no answer.
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