Teen Arrested for Virtual Burglary

Dutch police have arrested a 17-year-old gamer for ... stealing virtual furniture from the online community and game Habbo Hotel:

The game, which has individual communities in 31 countries and a yearly turnover of £3 million, allows players to create virtual characters, or Habbos. These characters can take their own rooms in the hotel, which they can then decorate with their own furniture.

The furniture is purchased with special Habbo credits but the credits are paid for with real money.

The teenager had hacked into the accounts of other Habbo community members and taken their furniture and put it in his own room.

The 17-year-old has been charged with hacking and burglary.


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What people don't understand is that they are using real money to buy this stuff. They have to really be into this, and that guy knows what he is doing.
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This article has been going around framed as the kid getting arrested for virtual theft. However, he apparently committed a real-world crime: hacking.

I wonder if he is REALLY being charged with burglary for the virtual furniture, and I wonder if there would have been any charges at all if he had done it without hacking the accounts.

What's next? Charging people with murder in Warcraft for PvP?

Also, if there can be a charge of burlary for taking the virtual furniture, that implies it has real world value. Couldn't the company running the virtual world then be sued should they ever lose the server data or even for shutting the service down and going out of business?

If I store my furniture in a rent-a-garage, they can't just bulldoze the whole thing without letting me get my stuff first.
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