d3 auction houseThere are some games where in-game items can be worth a fortune and can even run into the tens of thousands of dollars, which is why it is understandable that some gamers are very protective of their gaming accounts, especially when it has taken them hours, or even months, to farm for a particular item.

However careless gamers sometimes have their accounts hacked, after which they discover that all of their items have been stolen and sold or transferred to another character. It’s basically theft but in the virtual world, but apparently Mike Weatherly, chief advisor to David Cameron on intellectual property, wants it to be treated like an actual crime.

According to Weatherly, he is asking for ministers to consider new laws in which it would see “people who steal online items in video games with a real-world monetary value receive the same sentences as criminals who steal real-world items of the same monetary value.” Why the interest in protecting in-game items all of a sudden?

Well it turns out that Weatherly is something of a gamer and has played MMORPGs like World of Warcraft where farming for gear can take players days. “If you’ve spent £500 on building up your armed forces and someone takes them away online, I guess you can feel hard done-by and you want your £500 back,” he said. “People shouldn’t be doing it.”

It’s an interesting proposal but as to whether it will get passed remains to be seen, but what do you guys think? Should stealing items in a game be punishable by crimes that apply to real-world theft?

Filed in Gaming. Read more about legal.

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