Monday, March 19, 2007

Virtual property banned on eBay

eBay is now delisting all auctions for 'virtual artifacts' from the site.

First reported on Slashdot, game currency, items, and accounts/characters are being actively delisted from eBay. However SecondLife was spared in from this delisting.

The rationale behind this ban was as Mr. Hani Durzy, speaking for eBay, explained due to the 'legal complexities' surrounding virtual property.

Mr Duzy pointed out:

"The seller must be the owner of the underlying intellectual property, or authorized to distribute it by the intellectual property owner."

"For the overall health of the marketplace" the company felt that the proper course of action, after considerable contemplation, was to ban the sale of these items outright.

There are a few conflicting points to bring out here:

First most if not all MMOGs encourage users to exchange virtual properties, do transactions within the game environments. Where's the legal complexity/ intellectural property rights issue here?

Second, some games encourage real money transactions (RMT), these games shouldn't be even considered in the ban.

Last, by banning virtual properties in eBay is just to shift the economy of transacting virtual properties to other independent sites like IGE. Virtual transactions will still continue to thrive.

To eBay, this would be a huge lost in revenue.

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