[MUD-Dev] Blacksnow revisted

Paul Schwanz paul.schwanz at east.sun.com
Thu Apr 11 11:24:29 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

From: Matt Mihaly <the_logos at achaea.com>
> On Sat, 6 Apr 2002, Kylotan wrote:

>> Just to throw in another angle into this debate... perhaps the
>> player's -character- has ownership of in-game items, but the
>> player does not. Ownership is not transitive, as the players do
>> not own the character as such. [1] Characters are entitled and
>> encouraged to trade items. Players are, of course, necessary to
>> facilitate the process. But players themselves could be forbidden
>> (by game rules and/or EULA, whatever) to arrange for the trade of
>> goods directly.

> Ownership is a legal concept, and property cannot own other
> property. Characters can't own anything, because they have no
> legal standing to do so.

Yet surely a virtual world may have its own virtual legal concepts.

In this virtual world, virtual persons are understood to virtually
own virtual items in accordance with virtual laws.

I agree that it is ridiculous to use the word virtual that many
times in a single sentence.  Of course, I'd be happy to just say
that characters own the items if I thought that people would
understand it to mean the same thing.

Characters can be viewed from (at least) two different perspectives.
They are real characters (but virtual persons) from the perspective
of the real world and real persons from the perspective of the
virtual world.  Players (and even game designers) may tend to
conflate these two perspectives which seems to lead to confusion
about who owns what.

In the real world, the characters don't own anything.  They cannot
for the reasons you point out.  In the real world, in this case,
Mythic owns both the characters and the items as outlined in the
EULA.  But the argument that players own the items because they
*seem* to own them when playing the game is not an argument from the
real world perspective, but from the virtual world perspective.
>From that perspective, it seems clear to me that the simple answer
is that the character owns the item and not the player.


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