It is an issue that divides the geek from the uber-geek, the casual player from the diehard fan, the regular joe from the power gamer: who owns the rights to your gold?
In a move that has surprised many in the online gaming community, BlackSnow Interactive has filed suit against Mythic Entertainment over the right to auction off gold pieces and user accounts for Mythic's Online RPG Dark Age of Camelot. BSI, a company set up to allow users of Massively Multiplayer Online RPGs (MMORPGs) to auction off gold pieces they had earned, as well as characters they had created and built up over time, filed the suit against Mythic Entertainment in response to Mythic's demands that the company cease auctions related to Dark Age of Camelot.
BSI's Director of Sales, Lee Caldwell had the following to say:
“What it comes down to is, does a MMORPG player have rights to his time, or does Mythic own that player’s time? It is unfair of Mythic to stop those who wish to sell their items, currency or even their own accounts, which were created with their own time. Mythic, in my opinion, and hopefully the court’s, does not have the copyright ownership to regulate what a player does with his or her own time or to determine how much that time is worth on the free market.“
Caldwell went on to say that:
“Mythic’s attempt to stifle competition in their own game makes it possible for only full-time gamers to succeed in the game and most MMORPG players can’t compete on that level. The person that plays just a few hours a week, can’t put in the time required to build their character or collect the items needed to join others in the online battles. No one has stood up to any of these software giants, until now.”
A case like this is unprecidented, and if it succeedes, could set the standard for future cases regarding ownership of in-game money and user accounts.
BSI has set up a donation fund for their legal fees on their website at CamelotExchange, a site where many of these transactions occur. You can find the site at www.camelotexchange.com.
Currently there is no statement on this issue at Mythic Entertainment's website.