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Is Virtual Rape a Crime? 690

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the because-/quit-is-so-hard-to-type dept.
cyberianpan writes "Wired is carrying commentary on the story that Brussels police have begun an investigation into a citizen's allegations of rape in Second Life. For reasons of civil liberty & clarity we'd like to confine criminal law to physical offenses rather than thought crimes but already threats, menace & conspiracy count as crimes. Could we see a situation where our laws extend?"
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Is Virtual Rape a Crime?

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  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ellem (147712) * <<moc.liamg> <ta> <25melle>> on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:34PM (#18990099) Homepage Journal
    virtual rape is not a crime.

    if you are being virtually raped you should log off.

    there. that's fixed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Scrameustache (459504)

      if you are being virtually raped you should log off.
      there. that's fixed.
      You've just equated it to a denial of service attack and you think that fixes anything?
      • Think about that. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by khasim (1285)

        You've just equated it to a denial of service attack and you think that fixes anything?

        Here, let's try an experiment.

        Compare being raped by someone from an hour with not being able to go to the pizza place on the corner for an hour. Damn. And you really wanted pizza.

        Maybe you should get a grip on reality.
        • by Scrameustache (459504) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:55PM (#18990549) Homepage Journal

          not being able to go to the pizza place
          ... without someone harassing you with obscenities.

          It ain't rape, but it ain't right.
          • by shaitand (626655) on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:03PM (#18990689) Journal
            These people aren't in public. This is HBO not PBS. If they have a problem with obscenities they shouldn't be there. That said, cyber 'rape' is no better or worse than having any asshole annoying your online.
          • by Trails (629752) on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:11PM (#18990827)
            I agree. "Virtual rape" can be part of a campaign of harassment and intimidation, but it's ridiculous to equate it to the real life crime. I bet those who've suffered the real thing wish they could have just pushed a button to escape their attacker.
            • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:19PM (#18990983) Homepage Journal
              Sentence them to Virtual time in a Virtual prison.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by MBGMorden (803437)
                You know, while at first I just thought "these people are idiots, this ain't a crime", your idea genuinely has merit :). If you commit a crime in the virtual world, there should be virtual authorities that can catch you and punish you within the confines of the virtual world. They'd have to search for you within the game though, and "physically" locate your toon and subdue you.

                It could actually make the game world more interesting IMHO :).
              • by mobby_6kl (668092) on Friday May 04, 2007 @02:07PM (#18991965)
                > Sentence them to Virtual time in a Virtual prison.

                With Virtual assrape!
            • by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:23PM (#18991061) Homepage Journal
              "I agree. "Virtual rape" can be part of a campaign of harassment and intimidation, but it's ridiculous to equate it to the real life crime. "

              But, the article brings up an interesting point, one that I didn't really know:

              "Our laws say that an adult subjecting a teenager or child to sexual words, images or suggestions on the internet is preying on their mental and emotional state in a sexual way. Even if you never try to meet the minor in person, and even if you never touch them or expose your naked self to them, it is a crime to attempt to engage sexually with a minor."

              If this is in fact, the case, then apparently sexual content in a virtual setting, already IS a crime...which to me is a slippery slope. It seems strange to me, that if you have not committed or tried to commit a physical crime...that just insinuating and talking about it online, can be a crime. To me that borders on thought crime.

              In the case of the quoted part about sexual 'preying' on minors, while disgusting...and I'm talking more about plain text, I'm not sure how it can be illegal? How could the person on the other end know it really was or was not a minor? If it was not a minor they were talking to (but, instead a cop), then what crime was commited since no minor was exposed to the content?

              To stretch it out further. Murder is a crime. Is it a crime to write about an explicit murder of a real person, and post it online, if in fact no threat to actually carry it out are given? What about other illegal activity...illegal sexual activity...is it against the law to write about it and publish it?

              I dunno...I'm having a hard time with something done in a 'virtual' world...where no physical activity has been commited or even threatened, can be criminal. Not pleasant? Sure...but, a prosecutable offense? I don't think so.

              • by Cadallin (863437) on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:33PM (#18991255)
                Happens all the time though. Plenty of "Pedophiles" set up dates with "Teenage Girls" and end up meeting FBI agents and going to jail. On the intent to have sex with someone who didn't exist in the first place, and was just a persona of an above the of age of consent FBI agent. Stew on that for a while. "Terrorism" and "Think of the Children!" are a very, very effective Denial of Service on our civil liberties.
                • Almost entrapment (Score:4, Insightful)

                  by phorm (591458) on Friday May 04, 2007 @06:16PM (#18995945) Journal
                  I think that these sort of cases border very strongly on entrapment. By bordering, I mean that if the person has already gone to the trouble of cybering a (to them) 12-year-old, often replete with webcam pictures and/or nasty photos, it might not quite cross that very thin line. This would mean that the officer misrepresented his/her identity, however if they have not acted lasciviously or asked for nude photos, then the actual point at which the perp arrives is just the pick-up and crime(s) have already been committed. However, I believe that the chances are in favour that somewhere in there the officer crossed the line into enticement/entrapment.

                  As far as the underage person not actually existing, well it's still a crime to fully plan out a murder, it doesn't depend on successful execution, and you don't have to actually get to the point of killing somebody before they can stop and arrest you. Sometimes these cases too get muddled, but it's the same concept.Many people might lead this into thought-crime, but as soon as you start putting the idea "out there" it's no longer a thought but a plan. The real hard part comes on discrimination between an off-remark like "somebody should toss him off the bridge in concrete boots" VS actually planning to pick somebody up and attach them weighted on the bottom of a lake

                  To throw a similar-context analogy, if somebody plants a bomb that doesn't work (or the parts turn out to be fake), then that person is still guilty of having tried to commit the act as to his knowledge he was going to blow something up, knowingly committing an illegal act. By the same count, the people in question are in their own minds are in fact committing an illegal act, it's only circumstances beyond their knowledge that prevented it... not much different from pulling the trigger on somebody without realizing the gun was out-of-ammo.

                  Again, the big line is what crosses into entrapment, and whether authorities have in their own actions encourage the illegal act. Entrapment at times often seems to be a case of "were the authorities aiding and abetting"... and would the crime or a similar crime ever have occurred without their involvement.

                  Now in this case, it's not an issue of entrapment but rather more one of intent and damage done. Would a reasonable person have suffered harm in this event, and does it equate to a similar crime in the physical world. In this case, no, as virtual rape is in no way a comparable violation to real rape. Depending on how often it happens, the real-world equivalent law might fall more under harassment or stalking (if the player persisted in attempting to engage the "victim" despite obvious unwillingness).
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by PhilipMckrack (311145)
                I am pretty sure the terms of service for Second Life are you must be an adult to create a character. There is a Teen Second Life for teens to use. Unless someone falsified their age somewhere this shouldn't be an issue.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by l3prador (700532)
                The key difference between engaging sexually with a minor and rape is that the former is a crime of communication, whereas the latter is a crime of physical action. In the first case, the crime is being committed simply over a different medium of communication, namely the internet, just as stealing money from an online bank is a real crime being committed over a different medium. However, physical rape cannot be committed over the internet anymore than vehicular manslaughter, because the medium has no cap
            • by clark0r (925569) on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:52PM (#18991643) Homepage
              Yes, you're right. This is clearly an insult to victims of FIRST LIFE (ie, real life) rape. 'VIRTUAL RAPE' is just another term coined by 'SHITTY LAWERS' who need to make more money. Nobody felt violated and physically hurt by this action. If anybody else think otherwise, they should get a REAL LIFE and stop being so bloody stupid. I dare anybody with an IQ higher that 60 to challenge me on this.
          • by Omestes (471991) <omestes@@@gmail...com> on Friday May 04, 2007 @02:45PM (#18992615) Homepage Journal
            Then its the Pizza place's responsibility to deal with him, or your responsibility to go to a different pizza place.

            There is not, and SHOULD NOT, be a right to not be offended. It is not the governments job to let us live in some mythical 50's utopia. The woman (? it is second life, one can't be sure) could have logged off, and complained to Linden Labs, like any responsible person. Next I can call the cops on murder because some idiot rogue kills me in WoW? No one was hurt, no law was broken.

            Sure, if the guy told her he would REALLY rape her, then I can see this. But a little unconsensual pixel grinding is rather harmless.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by metlin (258108)
            Exactly.

            It's not right, but it's not a crime -- after all, virtual killing (i.e. games) isn't a crime.
        • Re:Think about that. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Seumas (6865) on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:13PM (#18990875)
          Virtual rape is a crime as much as stealing a car in GTA is a felony and as much as killing an MMORPG character in PVE is a murder.

          Seriously, are we all suddenly a bunch of pussies? If someone starts calling us names online, we can't have the sense to block them on our messenger of email or forums or wherever else they're bothering us? Are we that fucking mushy and pudgy and brainless and spineless that all we can do is sit there and take the supposed "abuse" until some heroic legislator shows up on a white horse to save us from this life-changing and horrifying crime?

          Here, let's try another experiment:

          Someone writes "I am inserting my penis into your unwilling vagina" to you via instant messenger and you click "block this person" and never hear from them again.

          Or . . .

          Someone lures you into a private room at a party and then forcibly rapes and violates you. You try to cover yourself enough to escape the party afterward, go home and sit in a shower and bleed while inspecting the bruises that were left on your body and then when you go back to your group of friends, you feel compelled to pretend that nothing ever happened and even be civil to that person around them, because you somehow feel guilty for what they did to you and you spend the rest of your life being affected by the physical attack and it impacts your every thought and action - especially with the opposite sex - for the next forty years.

          Yes, I can see how the two are alike.
          • by gfxguy (98788) on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:26PM (#18991121)
            Seriously, are we all suddenly a bunch of pussies?

            Yes.

            Do you read the news and see what people are whining and complaing about?

            So... yes, it certainly seems that way.
          • by fatphil (181876) on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:55PM (#18991737) Homepage
            My god. If I changed my .sig to "I'm inserting my virtual penis into your unwilling virtual vagina", would I become the worlds most prolific serial virtual rapist? That would be virtually awesome!
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by It'sYerMam (762418)
            In fact, I think many of the actual problems in developing countries (when I say actual problems I do not mean, for example, drug abuse, but anti-social behaviour - which could possibly stem from the former) are caused by a two-horned problem: many people today are either pussies or dicks. Not to get to "Team America" about it, but if people weren't dicks - i.e. were, in the most honest sense of the word, nice, life would be a whole lot more pleasant. If the root cause of people's dickishness were found, an
    • Re:No (Score:5, Funny)

      by neoform (551705) <djneoform@gmail.com> on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:44PM (#18990317) Homepage
      "if you are being virtually raped you should [jack] off."
    • Re:No (Score:5, Informative)

      by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:48PM (#18990405) Homepage Journal
      Heck, this appears to be talking about SecondLife, you don't even have to log off. All you have to do (assuming it's your own land) is simply ban the guy from your land. It's like 2 clicks, it certainly would be faster than spewing out 2000 words of blog post about it. People online are dicks, don't let them get to you. That is the rule of the internet.
    • Re:No (Score:4, Insightful)

      by digitalderbs (718388) on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:26PM (#18991113)
      There is indeed a key difference. Here's another perspective :

      Rape in real life is motivated by a desire to seek power or vent anger [nih.gov]. The user's ability to log-off enpowers "the victim," and not the rapist. Further, chat filters (I'm assuming they exist in SL) can prevent it from being a good medium for venting anger. The fact that the "victim" is empowered makes this a very different situation. (other than the fact that it's in a virtual world)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by quantax (12175)
      This is definitely what anti-rape campaigners want to see more of: frivolous application of the word rape to situations where it doesn't apply at all, further marginalizing real claims of rape. Score one for women's rights online!

      However, if people want to take this seriously, I suggest that they take the virtual rapist who stuck his virtual penis in her virtual vagina and put him on virtual trial where he can perhaps be virtually convicted and go to virtual prison. Maybe at that point people would real
  • Stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by x_MeRLiN_x (935994) * on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:34PM (#18990111) Homepage
    I don't even understand how you could ask yourself the question. Of course it isn't.

    As someone who spends a lot of time online, I'm usually the one pointing out that despite the fact a conversation takes place over the internet, human emotion is still involed. One shouldn't assume that their actions have no social consequences.

    However, in the realms of RPG, one should come to expect that there are people who seek to disrupt the experience for everyone else and move on.

    I also disagree with the suggestion that threats are unjustly illegal.
  • Lame (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geek (5680) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:36PM (#18990133) Homepage
    Rape is literally penetration. If there is none, it's battery, harassment or assault. So no, there is no online rape.
    • Re:Lame (Score:5, Funny)

      by Profane MuthaFucka (574406) * <busheatskok@gmail.com> on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:57PM (#18990597) Homepage Journal
      Let's see. virtual rape is all 1's and 0's. Has anybody examined the bits to see if any of the 1's were stuck through the middle of any of the 0's? I can forsee a day when a judge has redefined the bit '1' as male because it looks like a big cock, and a '0' could be a cunt hole.

    • Re:Lame (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Goaway (82658) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:59PM (#18990643) Homepage
      rape
      n.

            1. The crime of forcing another person to submit to sex acts, especially sexual intercourse.
            2. The act of seizing and carrying off by force; abduction.
            3. Abusive or improper treatment; violation: a rape of justice.
  • by Lurker2288 (995635) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:36PM (#18990149)
    Was she virtually asking for it?

    Don't flame me, I know it's awful.
  • Laughable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reason58 (775044) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:37PM (#18990157)
    Does winning a match of CounterStrike make you a mass murderer?

    Everything about TFA is ridiculous.
  • Sure (Score:5, Funny)

    by peipas (809350) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:37PM (#18990169)
    You could get sent to virtual prison.
  • Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nacturation (646836) <nacturation@ g m a i l . c om> on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:38PM (#18990173) Journal
    If there's any trauma, it's because someone has over-personified their online avatar. Imagine someone totally into those "choose your own adventure" books and really identifies with the character. Someone takes their book and where it says "A large woman shoves a sandwich in your pocket and sends you on your way" and they cross out and replace a few words so it now says "A large woman shoves a large stick in your ass and sends you on your way". Is that sodomy?

    At any rate, online "crimes" in a game should not be dealt with in real life. There should be an in-game mechanism just like there's an in-life mechanism. Have an in-game jail or just simply ban the offender -- this should be decided by the community.
     
    • At any rate, online "crimes" in a game should not be dealt with in real life. There should be an in-game mechanism just like there's an in-life mechanism. Have an in-game jail or just simply ban the offender -- this should be decided by the community.

      Hmm. What about other media besides online games? If I write a book where you are a main character, and you get raped, does that mean I should only be punished in a book? And is the punishment based on using your likeness without permission, or is it based o

    • by Hemogoblin (982564) on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:27PM (#18991127)
      This may take awhile but I'll get to the point.

      In one particular MUD I used to play, if you died there were painful consequences such as huge xp loss and loss of all your equipment. As a result, you really wanted to avoid dying and it made the game very exciting. In addition, players could PvP freely. Since you could keep all the equipment of any character you killed, it made pure PvP a very profitable exercise.

      Now, people would form groups of "randomers" and walk around the world randomly killing characters. Some people would be assholes by killing people that didn't have any equipment, were clearly newbies, or just wanted to kill monsters. The randomers found it exciting and were having fun, but obviously the player on the receiving end did not enjoy it. The randomers would try to excuse their behaviour by saying "its just a game, I can be an asshole," which is wrong.

      Everyone personifies their character to a degree. They spend hours playing them, leveling them, and imagining their surroundings as they do quests. Its like how you suspend disbelief as you read a good book or watch a movie. So, when these high-level randomers come around and your character dies and you lose a lot of hard earned progress, it hits you pretty hard emotionally. I would compare it to the "virtual rape" the article talks about, since the randomer has complete power over you and he's taking pleasure in your "rape". Even though its just a game, you can't argue that this is a moral thing to do.

      One obvious solution is to not get so connected with your character. This, in my opinion, is a poor solution because the connection is what makes the game interesting. As an aside, I found that the loss of this connection is what turns someone into a randomer.

      A better solution is to educate the player so they are not so easy prey and can use in-game mechanisms to avoid the problems. Using the MUD as an example, the player needs to realize that they can be attacked anywhere at any time and should be on the lookout. Once you're an informed and experienced player, you'll rarely get randomed. Another example: "In Second Life, flying penises may appear during your press conference, do not be alarmed." In real life, it would be like knowing not to walk around seedy streets at night wearing skimpy clothes.

      Griefers, rapists, and jerks will be ever present in games and real life. You won't be able to avoid them all, but if you're smart you won't be burnt so often.

      And if there are any griefers reading this, please stop being jerks. It ruins the game for everyone else.
  • F*ck you! (Score:5, Funny)

    by SpeedyDX (1014595) <speedyphoenix@NOSPAM.gmail.com> on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:38PM (#18990183)
    "Hey! What the hell are you doing to my character>!?!?!"

    "You said you'd f*ck me! It's in the chat logs! It's consensual! You have nothing on me!! HAHAHAHAHAHA"
  • by danbert8 (1024253) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:39PM (#18990203)
    Teabagging after a good round of pwnage will be illegal now.
  • by Aladrin (926209) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:40PM (#18990221)
    This is not a court case. It's not a first-hand account. It's not an outraged person.

    It's a blog.

    Not even a blog by someone it happened to. Just a blog trying to gain attention.

    Rape in online games is almost impossible to pull off. You have to Get the person to stand still for it, not report you, and not log off. Even assuming that you are camping the Sword of Killing and you've been sitting there for 5 hours, it's hard to believe you'd let something happen that scars your very soul to get it.

    That's what rape is. A scar that's so deep it marks your soul.

    No, what they're really talking about is simply harassment. Calling it rape is an insult to anyone who has ever been raped. Someone saying naughty words to you in a video game, or even having their character make nasty gestures, is NOT on the same level as rape.
    • by Remus Shepherd (32833) <remus@panix.com> on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:52PM (#18990471) Homepage
      Rape in online games is almost impossible to pull off. You have to Get the person to stand still for it, not report you, and not log off.

      Eh...in Second Life it's a little different. Users can create customized animations that can be very detailed and last a long time, and their environment is a working physics simulation. You can use that physics to harass others -- knocking people into orbit is a common form of griefing on SL. Or you can trick someone into accepting and running your animation -- all it takes is for them to click on an object you control once. If they do that, you gain the ability to make their avatar do anything you want, as if you installed a rootkit on their avatar. So 'standing still' isn't a problem. You can be tricked into cooperating.

      As the article mentions, 'logging off' isn't always an answer, especially if you're doing business on SL. Logging off then means closing up shop, and that's a bad solution.

      The good solutions are reporting it to Linden and getting a (hopefully) swift response, or using common sense and anti-griefer tools to protect yourself. I think this is all going to boil down to 'should we protect people with bad judgement online?' And I think the correct answer is, 'If they're adults, then No.'
      • by zCyl (14362) on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:17PM (#18990933)

        Users can create customized animations that can be very detailed and last a long time, and their environment is a working physics simulation. You can use that physics to harass others

        If you play Calvinball, it's not a crime when Calvin wins.

        As the article mentions, 'logging off' isn't always an answer, especially if you're doing business on SL.

        I have a crazy idea... Why not let SL set its own rules for punishments and consequences inside of SL? If players (and they are players) want the ability to undo damage caused by others, then that could be integrated into the game. If not, don't try to base your livelihood on your status in an unpredictable game.
  • by rbanzai (596355) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:41PM (#18990239)
    This kind of "crime" should be covered under the TOS of the service. The only time this should get escalated is if it meets the criteria of real world criminal code covering harassment via electronic means, such as phone calls, email, etc.

    This should not ever be considered an analogue to real world rape. That would be a mockery of the real world crime.
  • by garbletext (669861) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:41PM (#18990249)
    One thing that I learned from the Duke Lacrosse case is that in most US jurisdictions, and possibly elsewhere, Rape is legally defined as including penile penetration. Thus when the accuser changed her story and said that she thought she might only have been penetrated by an object, the DA was forced to drop the rape charges to sexual assault. Online, penetration with anything is impossible, although abuse and assault have much broader definitions which certainly could include online speech and actions.
  • by Remus Shepherd (32833) <remus@panix.com> on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:41PM (#18990253) Homepage
    If being raped in Second Life is a crime, then we need to invent new punishments for what happened to me on Furrymuck.
  • by Cr0w T. Trollbot (848674) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:42PM (#18990275)
    "Today the FBI announced the largest ever nationwide mass arrest, as over 12 million World of Warcraft players were arrested for "Virtual Murder." Said FBI Virtual Crimes Section Chief Leonard Scarp: "These people have slain untold numbers of Night Elves, Dwarfs, Griffins, and Dragons, via such horrible means as decapitation, death by fire, and vile necromancy. Each and every one of them is a hard-core virtual murderer." A giant internment camp is being built in the Nevada desert to house the criminals while they await trial."

    "In other news, ScuttleMonkey Industries reported that their profits were at an all-time high thanks to continued graft payments from the creators of Second Life to continue greenlighting stories about their company on Slashdot..."

    Crow T. Trollbot

  • ...there should be virtual punishment.

    And that is all.

    TLF
  • by lopati (74873) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:45PM (#18990343) Homepage
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bigbigbison (104532)
      I'm glad someone online has a memory. "A Rape in Cyberspace" is nearly 15 years old and pretty much on the syllabus for every class that mentions the internet. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Rape_in_Cyberspace [wikipedia.org]

      Whether or not this event was legally a rape, the person may feel victimized just the same.

      I rather than ask whether or not this is a crime perhaps we should ask what kind of person would think it would be fun to harass someone online.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by griffjon (14945)
      This piece is known in the academic world as "A Rape in Cyberspace" (http://loki.stockton.edu/~kinsellt/stuff/dibbelr a peincyberspace.html) - if you can filter out the early-90s cyberhype hipness of the piece, it does have some good thoughts which are sadly again relevant. Saying that you can solve virtual rape by logging off is just the updated digital version of a former Tx gubernatorial candidate's suggestion that you should just lay back and enjoy it. Your avatar is your creation and possession, and t
  • by Ckwop (707653) * <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:45PM (#18990351) Homepage

    So... when I play Counterstrike it's virtual murder? What about when I over-power a base in Red Alert 3? Can I be taken to the Haugue and tried for war crimes on the charge of "unprovoked attack on a virtual state?"

    To equate virtual rape to rape that takes place in the real-world only serves to cheapen the ordeal of real women are who subjected to this awful crime.

    It's a fucking game, ladies and gentlemen. If you had to behave responsibly and legally, it wouldn't be much fun now would it?

    Simon

  • Moronic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaleGlass (1068434) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:45PM (#18990353) Homepage
    A rape can be simulated in SL just fine, but it's stupid to compare it to the real thing. It's most definitely a reason to ban somebody, but for a lawsuit?

    In SL, people can make your avatar execute an animation if you give consent. Things that involve animating both avatars, such as a hug for instance, are initiated by one of them, and the other must click "ok" to accept the offer.

    Of course they could make it be misleading by presenting it as something harmless and then make the actual thing be nasty, but you can always teleport away, and reset all animations in progress (it's an option in the tools menu). It's not really possible to do something to somebody that they'd be unable to stop.

  • Virus (Score:4, Funny)

    by 15Bit (940730) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:46PM (#18990359)
    Maybe she's pissed off cos she caught a nasty virus from the encounter.
  • by Adult film producer (866485) <van@i2pmail.org> on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:56PM (#18990565)
    while playing Quake.. over and over and over again.
  • by eddy (18759) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:58PM (#18990601) Homepage Journal
    If there is such a thing (and there is not), then I'm going to warn you Hollywood; each and every time I pay to watch a movie, I feel virtually raped.
  • by Herkum01 (592704) on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:09PM (#18990799)
    I have to put away my Virtual Wizard Hat now?
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:10PM (#18990807) Journal
    May be using virtual laws supported by virtual evidence, heard by a virtual judge ...
  • Times change (Score:3, Insightful)

    by scottennis (225462) on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:12PM (#18990849) Homepage
    It's a shitty thing to do to someone. But it's not a crime.

    What is and isn't a crime changes based on the norms of acceptable behavior in a society. Consider the U.S.:

    Slavery used to not be a crime, now it is.

    Sodomy between consenting adults used to be a crime, now it isn't. (In most states)

    IANAL, but my guess is that virtual rape is not a crime . . . yet.

    Will it be a crime tomorrow? That is the real interesting question to arise from this article.
  • by rlp (11898) on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:12PM (#18990859)
    Furry A: Give me all your virtual money!
    Furry B: No!
    Furry A: Then I pull a virtual gun.
    Furry B: Then I pull a bigger virtual gun.
    Furry A: Then I pull the biggest virtual gun in the virtual world.
    Furry B: OK, here you go.
  • by ohtani (154270) on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:19PM (#18990973) Homepage
    Unlike reality, Second Life allows you to, for example: log off, teleport, take a screen shot of the incident to report it to admins (as opposed to "his word against yours" type situations), DENY an animation script if you believe said person is being abusive (mind you it may say it's a "hug" script and turn out to be something else).

    This didn't happen in real life. This needs to be delt with on an administrative level. The most said person should be charged with is harassment if it continues after admins have banned him.
  • by Lord Bitman (95493) on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:24PM (#18991063) Homepage
    I was raped in Second Life by a gang of thugs dressed up as Ham!
    I asked them to stop, but all they said was: "HAM HAM HAM? HAM! HAM HAM HAM HAM!"
    I tried to teleport elsewhere, but I glitched and couldn't move.. all that ham.. I was trapped in HAM!
    Eventually they left... but the damage was done. I couldn't sleep for weeks afterwards... I still have flashbacks... /me rapes the reader
  • by nanosquid (1074949) on Friday May 04, 2007 @02:35PM (#18992449)
    There is no way you can get "raped" in Second Life, not even virtually. People can't hold or imprison you against your will; you can always teleport out with no consequence to your avatar. People can't even remove your clothes; you always have to undress yourself. You don't "lose your investment in your avatar" or anything else, and you don't need to change your identity.

    So, if you don't want to have sex in Second Life, just keep your clothes on. If nudity offends you, stay out of areas where people run around nude. Simple enough?
  • quickie commentary (Score:4, Insightful)

    by British (51765) <british1500@gmail.com> on Friday May 04, 2007 @02:45PM (#18992607) Homepage Journal
    Gotta love the world we live in.

    Police investigate "rape" on in a freaking computer game.

    Police investigate/arrest someone for making a Counterstrike(another freaking computer game) map.

    So, to avoid getting arrested, may I recommend going out for a nice walk on the VTech campus?

    No, wait, depending on the timing, that suggestion would get you killed.

    I'm going to go hide in a cave.

  • by N3wsByt3 (758224) <Newsbyte@fr[ ]ethelp.org ['een' in gap]> on Saturday May 05, 2007 @07:39AM (#19000611) Homepage Journal
    "There is no question that forced online sexual activity -- whether through text, animation, malicious scripts or other means -- is real;"

    No, it isn't; it's virtual. There is no such thing as 'forced online sexual activity' since you can't be forced to be or to remain online. Calling this 'rape' is an insult to all real rape-victims. At any moment of that so called 'online rape' you can decide to ban the culprit or even go offline, thereby ending the 'rape'; I would like to see that oportunity to real rape-victims. If this is deemed to be equal to rape, then I guess when I kill someone in a second-life-like world, I can be prosecuted for murder too. Meh.

    "Our laws say that an adult subjecting a teenager or child to sexual words, images or suggestions on the internet is preying on their mental and emotional state in a sexual way. Even if you never try to meet the minor in person, and even if you never touch them or expose your naked self to them, it is a crime to attempt to engage sexually with a minor. If it is a criminal offense to sexually abuse a child on the internet, how can we say it is not possible to rape an adult online?"

    Well, she has a point there, but only because those laws too aren't really all that logical to begin with. The reason why it is deemed illegal is because it is deemed the adult IS preying on them, not because of the images or words themselves. If it were, then it wouldn't matter whether or not an adult send them, would it? I mean, some people seem to be unaware of how teenagers themselves talk about sex in chatrooms; and it's not that they do not engages in 'sexual words, images and or suggestions'. Sometimes I think I'm living on another planet where prudes think their wishes are real. So, logically, it is untainable that the words or images themselves are harmful, otherwise kids would go in prison for saying sexual things to eachother too (mind you, the USA makes a valiant try in doing so). What is the difference between two 14 years olds sending 'dirty pics' to eachother and one 14 year old and one adult pretending to be a 14y old showing exactly the same pics? Certainly not the pics, which are supposedly doing the damage.

    So there is definitely something illogical about this, because, if it's the fact that the other party is an adult, then how can it harm if it isn't noticed he's an adult? The only thing that makes sense is the preying/forcing itself...but then we come back to the first paragraph, and the fact that being forced online or forced in real life is a totally different thing.

    "That's not to say I dismiss the trauma a person suffers after being raped online."

    Huh? I must be on another planet again. Is the writer from the USA, mayhaps? It's at most a nuisance; ban him or complain to the moderators, and that's that. For gods' sake, if you're traumatised by something that virtually happend to your avatar online, there is something wrong with you to begin with.

    "A virtual rape is by definition sudden, explicit and often devastating. If you've never immersed yourself in online life, you might not realize the emotional availability it takes to be a regular member of an internet community. The psychological aspects of relating are magnified because the physical aspects are (mostly) removed."

    And here we come to the crux of the matter: people complaining about 'rape' online have a borderline syndrome, where they are unable to see a distinction anymore between their real selves and their online avatars. They have effectively substituted real life for Second Life, and that's why they think rape in Second Life is equal to rape in real life. It's rather pathetic. The only reason why a person would think it is 'devastating' is because he/she can't differentiate anymore between her real life and her avatar. People should get a grip; getting 'raped' or 'killed' online is annoying at most, but it's not happening to you; *you* have not been raped or murdered.

    "But in a game, you don't want to lose the long-term investment you've made

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson

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