Virtual Crime

26 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2004

See all articles by Greg Lastowka

Greg Lastowka

Rutgers School of Law

Dan Hunter

King's College London - The Dickson Poon School of Law


Markets for virtual property in massively multiplayer online games have recently emerged. This essay explores the question of whether such markets for virtual world properties might someday provide a basis for real criminal prosecutions. The authors conclude that this is unlikely. This is not due to the intangibility of virtual assets, but instead due to the contractual arrangements which modify the legal rights of players, as well as the encoded and textual game rules which govern player-to-player interactions in virtual worlds.

Keywords: Property, rules, virtual worlds, games, cyberspace, cybercrime

JEL Classification: K49, K12

Suggested Citation

Lastowka, Greg and Hunter, Dan, Virtual Crime. Available at SSRN:

Greg Lastowka (Contact Author)

Rutgers School of Law ( email )

Newark, NJ
United States


Dan Hunter

King's College London - The Dickson Poon School of Law ( email )

Somerset House East Wing
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

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