Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Part 9: If you laughed at what I said about what Square-Enix should do before...

... this is really going to knock your socks off.

I'm picking this up from the last post because of two comments about one of my major points about all this. Back to Robonosto again (at http://robonosto.blogspot.com/2009/01/tears-of-clown.html):

"Of course, this doesn't stop idiots with no sense of proportion from riding SE's dick any chance they get. That SE should even pursue damages in court for duping in a video game to keep players "honest" is simply a farcical notion. Acting like SE is some poor besieged entity in a game rife with whining entitled players---most of whom, at the end of the day, despite crying about "intolerable" low drop rates in an endgame activity they voluntarily entered into, still waste their money on FFXI--is also a joke. SE and the "player community," you deserve one another."

(He does get credit for being an equal-opportunity flame-thrower, though. :) )

But I'm not doing this to ride Square-Enix' dick. I'm doing this because this bullshit has to stop, or there's no more FFXI. But that's not the point I wanted to pursue.

Let's add BinaryBeer to the equation (at http://binarybeer.wordpress.com/2009/01/27/lolstarcade-2/):

Responding to my comment of:

"Again, see the comment about fraud on the last post. The players committed an RMT-like fraud experience against Square-Enix — they should be lucky they aren’t being hauled off to court. Any of these people who is allowed to play again should thank their lucky stars that someone at Square-Enix dropped the ball, and be prepared to be heaped with more scorn (from all side) than I am. "

He at least had something to say this time:


im not sure if you are too young to understand this or not, but.. heres the thing about ANY big multi Million company:

they don’t give a shit about you"

Congratulations, shit-head. You got it COMPLETELY back-asswards.

I don't care if Square-Enix gives a shit about me other than my $12.95 a month, except that I expect and demand they police this game, with an iron fist as and when necessary.

And I expect them to condemn all parties who support and harbor the cheating garbage.

As Robonosto later claims:

"At the end of the day, SE can merely point to your monthly credit card statements, cheater or not, and simply say, "monthly fee." Money is the prime mover, although SE sometimes seems not to act like it is. "

Oh, so we're just supposed to let the assholes cheat because the game can't survive otherwise?

Please... You know my stand on this already. If there are so few legitimate players that the game requires cheating to survive and the cheaters to continue for the game to continue, it's time to shut down the game. Period.

But, again, that's not the point...

The two of you (and a whole lot of other people) LOL at the concept of Square-Enix suing cheating players. Let me make things perfectly clear:


Got it? Good.

I had a nice cathartic walk today. Thought about a couple things. Came to three conclusions:

1) Why Square-Enix isn't suing the living fuck out of RMT is beyond any sense of my personal comprehension.

Fine, have local legal offices in China and Thailand and Japan and the US and the EU. I'm coming, more and more, to the same conclusion about FFXI that I do about the anime industry (and why the latter will definitely die and the former might):

If you don't have the resources to properly prosecute violations of the law, you do not have the resources to continue.

What RMT is doing is, without the consent of Square-Enix, buying and selling trademarked proprietary property of Square-Enix -- if you don't believe me, read the all-caps again -- for real-life currency. That is fraud. That is the denial of the right of being the sole arbiter of who gets how much of what proprietary property.

The money damages which can be taken against RMT (as applicable under the laws of the state of California for American players, and other relevant local jurisdictions for other players) are known -- these are transactions with trails and the amount of money damage against Square-Enix (and applicable punitive damages, plus fees, plus a restraining order to keep the RMT players off the game for good) would be a good start to finally _end_ RMT and not just nip it.

2) The ONLY thing which prevents Square-Enix from pursuing civil damages against basically all cheaters (including the Salvage-dupers) is if and only if the money amount of damages cannot be determined.

Again, Square-Enix is the sole arbiter of how their proprietary property is used, vis-a-vis gameplay. Once the player decides to take an action which illegally abrogates that right of Square-Enix, the player has committed fraud and could well be sued for legal damages...

... if but only if the amount of damages for a violation could actually be determinable. This is different from my situation (that I could not sue them because they did me no real money damage) in that there is damage, there is clear fraud against the company and its use of trademarked property. Given that, if a money damage could be assigned to the theft and fraud of these items, then sue the lot of them.

Wait... I said not only "fraud" there, but "theft" too.

3) They really aren't going to like this one... It could even be a criminal charge.

Again, American players are governed under California law. California Penal Code section 484 (from http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/):

"484. (a) Every person who shall feloniously steal, take, carry, lead, or drive away the personal property of another, or who shall fraudulently appropriate property which has been entrusted to him or her, or who shall knowingly and designedly, by any false or fraudulent representation or pretense, defraud any other person of money, labor or real or personal property, or who causes or procures others to report falsely of his or her wealth or mercantile characterand by thus imposing upon any person, obtains credit and thereby fraudulently gets or obtains possession of money, or property or obtains the labor or service of another, is guilty of theft. In determining the value of the property obtained, for the purposes of this section, the reasonable and fair market value shall be the test,and in determining the value of services received the contract price shall be the test. If there be no contract price, the reasonable and going wage for the service rendered shall govern."

If Square-Enix could determine a "reasonable and going" rate for the duplicated items, it could call for the arrest of all the (American) duping players under this section of the law under which American players are playing -- California law.

Again, that could be a very large if... No dispute there, but perhaps the ever-loving Fear of God needs to be put into a player-base which has acted for far too long (and to the grave detriment of the game with respect to gaining credibility and new players) with absolute impunity.

If that rate of the items exceeds $400, that's "grand theft", and a year in the pokey is possible. (S. 489 (b))

If it doesn't, it's petty theft: $1,000 fine and/or 6 months in jail... (S. 490)

This does not preclude the possibility that there might be a more specific computer proprietary data theft law, with much stiffer penalties. But, again, YOU OWN NOTHING YOU PLAY WITH (YOUR CHARACTER OR WHAT IS ON IT). If you take an action which allows you to gain items you are not entitled to, you are committing theft under California law.

Let's see that get laughed off.

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