A small business IT named Ashley Mitchell, 29, can spend a long spell behind bars for something real did the virtual world. Mitchell said this week is guilty of the charge of stealing the equivalent of $ 12 million ($ 20 million) in Zynga Poker game credits, which can be accessed from Facebook.
Resident of the sleepy town of Paignton Devonshire, England, Mitchell is accused of breaking into thousands of accounts on social network and embezzled 400 billion – yes, billions – of chips to the game, which would be sold on the black market at a valuewell below the official listing. According to Mitchell, his goal was to gain the equivalent of £ 500 000 with its operation, but the authorities stopped him shortly after it has fattened their pockets with “only” £ 143 000.
The case is attracting attention by setting a precedent regarding the ownership of digital assets on the grounds of His Majesty. In his defense, Mitchell’s lawyers claim that, despite the theft, Zynga was not deprived of any merchandise.
“This case shows that aa regulation and protection of goods and virtual currencies is evolving rapidly, mainly thanks to booming sales of digital items in games. (…) This case is particularly interesting because it shows that the UK courts may recognize virtual property as a legal property that can be protected by the criminal code. If the court construed this way, even if the credits of a game are not real, they can be protected as the coins of the real world, “said the lawyer and written Purewall Jas, who runs a site called Gamer / Law at the site Develop .
In 2008, Mitchell was convicted in the British courts for breaking into the system for a town hall and changed their personal data.