Video Game Law Blog

May 22, 2006

A gamer has sued Second-Life publisher, Linden Lab, after his online game account was shut down. The gamer claims this resulted in the lost of $3,200 in virtual property. He is now demanding $8,000 in damages.  Linden Labs says it shut down the account after the gamer participated in a suspicious auction where he purchased several plots of land at very low prices. 

This move follows Blizzard's announcement last month that it had banned 5,400 World of Warcraft players and suspended a further 10,700 for participating in activities that violate the game's Terms of Use, including using third-party programs to farm gold and items. 

These cases raise an interesting issue for video game lawyers  to what extent can online gaming companies be held liable for damage or destruction caused to online players or their virtual property? The answer to this question will depend (at least in part) on whether the publishers' licence agreements and online terms of use agreements adequately deal with potential liability issues such as cheating, hacking, viruses and service interruptions.
Linden Lab coverage here (Joystiq)