Protecting virtual private property in China

Xinhua reports that a group of lawyers from Sichuan have called on the government to legislate to protect virtual private property. This has come two weeks after a 24-year-old online game player named Li Hongchen, won the country's first virtual properties dispute case. Apparently, the Beijing Chaoyang District People's Court ordered Arctic Ice Technology Development Company, the maker of the game 'Hongyue' (Red Moon) to return game winnings, including virtual biochemical weapons, to Li who protested after the items were stolen by a hacker in February.

David Carr on the libetarian blog Samizdata comments:

"Who would have imagined even a few short years ago that property law precedents would be set in China?!!

All shock and awe aside, I wonder if it is a precedent that will followed elsewhere, especially in the West? It just might. I noticed some time ago that laws relating to technology in general, and the internet in particular, are taking on a very global hue.

If that Court in Beijing manages to start a global ball rolling then I foresee very interesting implications for the future of 'cyber' wealth."

The Samizdata post is here; a CNet story about the case is here; there's a TechNewsWorld story about it here; Xinhua's piece is here.

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