China protects virtual property

Courts in the Guangdong province of China have upheld a ruling against Yan Yifan, a 20 ear-old man accused of stealing passwords for a Chinese MMORPG and entering into the accounts to steal online currency and equipment that has only a virtual existence.

Yan received a $620 USD fine as it was considered by the judge that the actions amounted to theft of goods that had real value to players. There had been considerable time and effort spent on the creation of the goods. Yan would steal gold and items and sell them on one of the many virtual good sites.

It is clear that passwords and accounts have certain level of protection, but I am curious if a UK court would return a similar ruling. Should virtual property receive protection?

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