Timeline: Key cases & statutes

The cases and statues have been key to shaping our curent understanding of virtual worlds, computer games and social media can be summarised as follows:

1982 Atari v. North American Philips Consumer Elecs., 672 F.2d 607. (infringement)

1982 Williams Electronics v. Artic International, 685 F.2d 870 (3d Cir. 1982) (play as co-authorship)

1983 Apple v. Franklin, 714 F.2d 1240 (3d Cir. 1983) (copyright in code)

1996 National Basketball Association v. Motorola, 105 F.3d 841 (2d Cir. 1996) (play as authorship)

2002 Blacksnow Interactive

2002 Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition 535 U.S. 234, 122 S.Ct. 1389 (2002) (virtual child porn)

2003 Hongchen vs Beijing Arctic Ice Technology Co Ltd – theft of virtual goods

2003 Kremen vs. Cohen (property in domain names)

2003 Intel v. Hamidi (trespass on chattels)

2003 Taiwan – clarifies Criminal Code making it illegal to steal virtual items (possibly illegal before the clarification also)

2005 Sony Station Exchange Launched

2005 Marvel vs NC Soft

2006 Kopp v Vivendi (game guide)

2006 Bragg v Linden

2006 Korean Game Industry Protection act

2007 Korea bans gains from ‘abnormal play’

2007 Eros LLC v. Volkov Catteneo

2007 WoW v. Peons for Hire

2007 Hernandez v. Internet Gaming Entertainment ltd (anti-gold farming class action)

2007 Korea applies 10% VAT to virtual currency sales – but only to a limit (akin to prize fighting?)

2007 Linden bans ‘gambling’

2008 Habbo & RuneScape item thefts in Holland (theft under 312 Dutch Criminal Code)

2008 Linden ‘bans’ banking

2008 Blizzard vs WoW Glider

2008 Blizzard v. In Game Dollar LLC

2009 Bank ‘theft’ in EvE online

2009 China ‘bans’ the use of virtual currency outside game

2009 Korean supreme court clarifies Game Industry Protection act – in case of players selling virtual currency

2010 Stern v. Sony (disability / accommodation)

2010 Blizzard vs WoW Glider (9th C  decision)

2011 Zinga poker chips case

2011 Meguerian et al v. Apple Inc. allowing children to purchase in-game items

2012 Dutch Supreme court decide on the 2008 RuneScape theft case

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