Blurred Lines


There’s a joke that circulates around CZ Slack, that I hate everything EVE-related. While innacurate, as with many great inside jokes it has a kernel of truth. There’s a lot of stuff I don’t like, and I’m (probably too often) willing to voice my displeasure. For the most part, though, I actually like EVE and most of the people who play it. I am amused by dank memes, enjoy explosions, and politely tolerate roleplayers. I am, in other words, your average EVE player. There are, in fact, relatively few things I actually hate about EVE and its community.

“It blurs what is, to me, one of the most important boundaries in a digital world: the line between online and off.”

One of those things are, broadly speaking, serious comparisons to real-world things. I hate them. They’re almost always badly done, fail to account for a bunch of factors on both sides, are intellectually lazy, and/or are just outright stupid. I hate comparisons to the Art of War. I hate comparisons to historic conflicts. I hate it when people compare EVE politics to real politics. Needless to say, I hate doxxing. I hate the parts of our community that tolerate, and even encourage, such behavior. I hate it all. It blurs what is, to me, one of the most important boundaries in a digital world: the line between online and off.

I woke up this morning to an interesting article published by one of the best-known EVE-related news sites, which crossed that boundary in a bunch of ways. I’ll deal with the substance of it in passing real quick at the outset – it isn’t worth much more attention than that – but I think what’s really worth discussing is the culture & environment in which such things are not only welcome, but accepted and encouraged.

Law School in Six Paragraphs

Before we get to the meat of what I’d really like to talk about, let’s dispense with this poorly-reasoned “IWantIsk is illegal” bullshit. As has been correctly pointed out by a number of reddit posters, CCP owns the ISK, ships, POSes, moon goo, everything. All of it. Even the stuff we transfer to IWI bankers as “deposits.” CCP owns all of it. Not us, not IWantIsk – CCP. You can’t really gamble with shit you don’t own – it’s as simple as that. I’m not gonna give it much more credence than that, in part because I don’t think it’s worth it, and in part because I don’t feel like writing a legal treatise on virtual gaming. Full disclosure for the next paragraph, though – I’m an attorney IRL (not your attorney, nothing I write is legal advice, don’t act in reliance on it, there is no client-lawyer relationship here, etc etc etc.). If you don’t want to learn anything whatsoever about legal reasoning and one of the ways in which attorneys make their cases, skip down to the next heading and move on the far more interesting discussion of blurring the line between the real world and internet spaceships.

“…what makes a sandwich a sandwich, or what makes a certain behavior qualify as gambling?”

For those of you who are blessed with intellectual curiosity, however, let me tell you about my first day of law school. I sat down in a legal writing class and was confronted with the following question: “Is a taco, a sandwich?” There are many variations on this question, involving hot dogs, burritos, schawarma in a pita, or any other sort of meat-and-carb based food generally, but not always, eaten with one’s hands. It’s a staple of legal education, because it forces us to ask questions about the fundamental elements of a thing – what makes a sandwich a sandwich, or what makes a certain behavior qualify as gambling? 

It’s also important because one of the things we tend to do is look for comparisons – we call them hypotheticals – to test our rules and further define their precise contours. In the case of the taco, for example, you might (if you were a lazy thinker) argue that a taco is not a sandwich because it is comprised of only a single piece of carb – the taco shell – rather than two, as is the case with a sandwich. I would counter by asking you to apply that rule to the open-faced hot turkey sandwich. You might say that in that case, the hot turkey sandwich isn’t really a sandwich, because sandwiches are eaten with the hands. I’d then point out that you eat tacos with your hands, too, and we’re by now suitably pissed off. See why people hate lawyers? I get it, don’t worry. I won’t be offended if you tell me all your worst lawyer jokes. All the things you’re seeing in reddit comments about the article in question, by the way, are hypotheticals. Amusing what-ifs that expose the flaws in an argument. I particularly liked (though was not persuaded by) the tax liability one.


So, with that groundwork laid, let’s talk about gambling. I’m not going to get pedantic with arguments about the precise definition of gambling, though I do think the point raised by reddit posters that you probably can’t be guilty of gambling with stuff that isn’t really yours, and can’t be directly exchanged for money, is not in fact gambling, is interesting. No, I’m gonna make what we call policy arguments instead. They’re squishier, and trial lawyers tend to hate them because they’re the last bastion of a person with a losing case. I work at the intersection of law and policy, though. I don’t go to court – I talk to lawmakers and regulators more often in my practice. Policy arguments are my day-to-day life, and hypotheticals are what I use to make a lot of them. Let’s look at gambling, OK? I’ve got a game on my phone – Trials Frontier. It’s a small mobile version of a pretty cool PC/console game called Trials. It’s got a slot machine in it, which you spin each day for a chance to complete a task and then get a reward based on pulling the slot machine. Ah, you would say! Slot machines are gambling! You would be wrong, however, because I don’t actually risk anything to pull the lever.

“The legal issues with IWI are about as significant as the issues with the slot machine in Trials Frontier.”

More importantly, though, this isn’t the kind of thing the law was designed to prevent. Anti-gambling laws are designed to prevent the kinds of behaviors we associate with gambling – organized crime, violence, suppressive effects on economies as people piss away their incomes, unable to free themselves of the addictive nature of gambling. There’s also a moral component – some people consider gambling an activity for degenerates. So the real question is, are the kinds of activities we’re talking about here actually the kinds of things this law was intended to prevent? No, probably not. No one is going to lose their house because of IWI. No one is going to have their legs broken with a baseball bat. No one is going to feed revenue to organized crime because of IWI. The legal issues with IWI are about as significant as the issues with the slot machine in Trials Frontier.

It’s entirely possible (though, I think, unlikely) that there’s some reasonable interpretation of a broadly written law which lets IWI qualify as gambling. It is not, however, the kind of thing these laws are designed to target. Crying foul and accusing IWI and CCP of making criminals of us all is about as reasonable as calling the police because you don’t think your neighbor’s kids should be able to play outside alone. It might, under some reading of the laws, be technically correct. That doesn’t mean it’s right, it doesn’t mean the law would back you, and most of all, it definitely doesn’t change the level of pettiness displayed by your behavior.

The Thing I Actually Wanted to Talk About

Okay, I got a bit carried away. That took more time than anticipated, but upon reflection, I think it was worth it. As you can see, I will never be a great law professor. I sort of glossed over a ton of stuff, and oversimplified other things. Other lawyers (or the oh-so-useful armchair internet lawyers) will probably point out mistakes I made, or find areas in which to quibble, and that’s fine. That’s good, even. That’s how we get to good answers. The key point has been made far more eloquently, by that video than by any of the 900 words I just vomited onto this page. So let’s move on.

“I think some soul-searching is in order as to why we tolerate this sort of line-blurring in what is, for all but a very small handful of us, nothing more than a hobby.”

What I really wanted to talk about, was this blurring of lines. I think it’s fucked up. It feels like a concern-trolling version of the darkest timeline around here sometimes. We’re fighting over pixels, friends. Going after the company that’s made all this possible for enabling gambling that’s about as illegal as charity casino nights, or a prom with a Monaco theme, is bonkers. Going after other players, either verbally or, as some have threatened, physically, is bonkers. We used to laugh about Russians going to each other’s houses and cutting the power in the good old days. Now, doxxing and attacking people on a personal level are, if not widely tolerated, considered to even be acceptable. They are given tacit approval by some in our community. It saddens me greatly to see this, and I think some soul-searching is in order as to why we tolerate this sort of line-blurring in what is, for all but a very small handful of us, nothing more than a hobby.

So what’s the cause? It’s easy to blame CCP, I think. It’s also lazy. Sure, the “EVE is Real” meme was blown way out of proportion by CCP, and it fed into their marketing stuff for a long time, but I think it’s an easy out to lay the blame there. To lay the blame there relies, I think, on a fundamental distortion of what is meant by the phrase. EVE is real in that it feels substantial, it feels impactful. When we lose, we flinch. When we win, our heart skips a beat and the adrenaline rush is unbeatable. Those reactions are real, sure, but EVE itself, isn’t. The servers could blink off tomorrow and, while we’d be in search of a new hobby, none of our lives would in any appreciable way be worse for the absence of a particular set of pixels. Not from my perspective, at least.

And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Perspective. Seeing things from your perspective and from that of others. Taking time to gain some perspective. Understanding the way shit you do and say is viewed. These are the kinds of things that are key to social interaction, to community-building and relationship-building. The anonymity of the Internet makes it a lot easier to set them aside when it’s convenient but if, as we so willingly embrace, EVE is real, perhaps it’s time we started being a bit more real with ourselves about what we do and don’t tolerate amongst this community of hobbyists.  

Tags: ethics, I Want ISK, legal, Oh Takashawa

About the author

Oh Takashawa

Oh Takashawa enjoys smugness, spaceships, and burning unnecessary amounts of helium isotopes.

  • Mike Dawe

    2 things . . .
    1) is a taco a sandwich or was that ever decided?
    2) Thanks. I really wish I could make fanfest if only to see people reminded that, while Eve is a ‘Game’ the Gamers are real and a lot of them are fun folks to sit down, have a beer with, and shoot the breeze about our common passion for a game/hobby/lifestyle/addiction.

    • OhTakashawa

      One of the key points of the exercise is that the law isn’t ever really settled, when it comes to controversial topics like the sandwich issue, or things you see in the news. Some arguments will win sometimes and lose other days. The point of the thing is the process that helps us arrive at the best answer by breaking things down to their basic elements and directly confronting the sticking points.

      As to the second point, yeah. I’ve been to two FFs and 2 EVE Vegas, and a ton of local meets in my area, plus meets in places where I’ve happened to be on vacation. It’s all about people, for me. Nothing else would keep a single game interesting going on 9 years now.

      • Absence of Substance

        Re: Law – yeah, please give me a one handed lawyer… 😉

    • Viktor Fel

      We’ll always have the Heart Bar at EVE Vegas.

  • ssfs

    entirely too many I’s

    • Absence of Substance

      True. The “look at me I’m a lawyer”, appeal to authority/self aggrandisement is very off putting and detracts from the argument as a whole. In all fairness though the author did advise us to skip that section. In hind sight I wish I did…

      I don’t care much for the legal argument here or at the mittani dot com.

      Or for lawyers and hypothetical legalese clap trap in general 😉

      The TMC writ I viewed as propaganda and not a serious legal advice.

      Similarly although I agree with the no doxxing/separation of fantasy EVE life vs RL I think the authors argument regarding this was tenuous at best.

      As a whole this writ is also propaganda – as such a credible stance against doxxing was missed.

      • Fearlesslittletoaster

        That is not appeal to authority or self aggrandizement. That is a statement of credentials. It is highly different, and confusing the two makes you sound more than a little dim. At least understand the terms you are using please.

        From the wikipedia page, “An argument from authority may be fallacious if used to infer that the conclusion is certainly correct, if the cited authority is stating a contentious or controversial position, if they are speaking about issues unrelated to their expertise or if they are not a true expert at all.”

        • Absence of Substance

          Well blimey if that Wikipedia quote does not describe the exact thing I was talking about…

          Then again, I may be more than a little dim and don’t know what I am talking about…

          • Fearlesslittletoaster

            It does if his being a lawyer adds nothing to his viewpoint then yes. Does being a lawyer make somebody more or less qualified to offer a legal opinion? Does somebody being a lawyer make their opinion on a contentious topic more or less valid?

            You remain dim, or an above average troll. Which is it?

          • Absence of Substance

            By the OP’s own admission he was not offering legal advice, but really stating an opinion (non legal), that EVE is a game and please let us play it as such.

            The – its a game, relax and please don’t dox – opinion and sentiment I share.

            The look at me I’m a lawyer bit – well that detracts from that -comes across as self serving aggrandisement and or counter propaganda against that “other” site. That diminishes the true message.

            My comment and sentiment, dim as it is deemed stands.

          • Fearlesslittletoaster

            Fair enough. I can agree to disagree here. My opinion is that the lack of legal merit in the TMC article, something that a lawyer would have unique and valuable insight on, is in and of itself a damning argument against that article.

            I say this because the TMC article presents itself as a well researched piece with factual underpinnings, but it leaves out so much context, case law, and precedent that it provides the reader with a misleading picture of reality, namely that any day now the police will be kicking down the doors of the I Want Isk crew and dragging them off to prison. As this article makes clear there is far more to the problem than that, but this is never even touched on at The Mittani. Hence why I find the opinion of a lawyer valuable here.

            That being said, I’m happy to admit that people can come to differing opinions without anyone being an ignorant fool. Apparently you put some genuine thought into yours and that’s all I can really hope for.

            And before you accuse me of being biased, I was an editor for TMC until last month, I’ve been a goon since 2009, and I still am a writer at TMC. I just try, as best as anyone can, to read everything on any site as if I was not affiliated with any other organization and take things on their merits. I did not like the latest piece on TMC, and I feel this article is very effective in pointing out a huge hole there.

  • Liner Xiandra

    Amen. You could do a follow up article on the whole ~~bending the knee~~ thing as well.

    • OhTakashawa

      I’ve got some thoughts rumbling around, we’ll see how things play out. Glad you enjoyed it!

    • Manfred Hideous

      I’ve seen that (bending the knee in reference to CCP) around but what the hell is it?

  • EVE players are retarded

    The cause is, because it works. And it works because EVE players on the whole a one of the most gullible, easily led, easily fooled, sheep-like, retarded players of any game ever. Highly educated in whatever field they are educated in sure, but just retarded on the whole.

    Goons do the SAME shit every single time, every single year, over and over and over and over and over again. And dumb eve players and the even more retarded, easily-influenced, easily-starstruck CCP employees fall for it every single time, every single year, over and over.

    To be honest, there are a few who can see what they do, but they end up being Cassandras, ignored and dismissed by the mass of sheeple and eve commentariat.

    While everyone is jumping on this gambling shit the goons have already moved on and are looking for the next weak spot, and the next shit to throw at the wall.

    • OhTakashawa

      Thanks for adding so productively to the discussion.

      • EVE players are retarded

        Yea and what have you done? Oh, the 1000th post hand-wringing, pearl-clutching post about the doxxing thing and how awwwwwful it all is and how something simply musssst be done.

        On one hand I dislike goons for what they do but, on the other hand, if you and the rest of the idiots playing this game are stupid enough to allow them, then you get exactly the game your deserve and GOOD LUCK TO MITTENS.

        • Liner Xiandra

          Are you suggesting that fighting the CFC using ingame mechanics will put a stop this out-of-game bullshit?

          Otherwise im not following your logic on this matter, and / or how we are allowing them.

        • Fearlesslittletoaster

          Now granted this post is terribly un-artful trolling, but I will give it a serious answer for any reader who managed to make it this far into the comments.

          Actually much of the trouble the Imperium is having now can be directly attributed to a huge and self created image crisis. Articles such as this one, which coherently argue a point that raises questions about the character of the group in game, serve to undermine their legitimacy and make people more inclined to attack them.

          The problems is things like this never have an immediate impact. Instead they work to change the perceptions of the community over a long period of time, each compounding the last, until something gives. Think of it like an earthquake; the stress can build in a fault for centuries before anything happens on the surface.

          If you consider the change in perceptions of the Imperium between 2014 and now you will see they are quite different. A part of that can be laid at the feet of the behavior of Mittens et all, but without writers and media outlets to amplify and refine the message this probably would have never happened.

  • Rob Kaichin

    I find it interesting how the people who obsess over the legality of a group, and the legal bounds of certain, somewhat despicable behaviours, tend to be united on one side of the game.

    • Absence of Substance

      You may need to clarify – I’m not 100% sure what you mean, and which groups you refer to.

      • Rob Kaichin

        Check out ‘Et tu Lemba’, and the comments of the author and his alliance mate.

        • Absence of Substance

          Had a look and can’t make hide nor hair of it. Yes I am daft.

          Are Crossing Zebra’s attacking Goons? Vice versa? Are you referring to other groups.

          Please say what it is you want to say in a way that actually says it – not some vague innuendo. Also would be much appreciated if you spell it out/dumb it down so that idiots like me can understand it.

          • Rob Kaichin

            Ah okay.

            So, Viktor, author of that piece, and Digi, the alliance mate, have a very specific attitude to dealing with people in Eve. That is ‘if it isn’t illegal, it’s a-ok with me, and you should accept that and start doing it too’.

            This leads to various entirely repulsive behaivours such as putting people’s lives in danger by naming them and outing them as gay, when they live in a (politely put) particularly homophobic area of their country.

            Both players are part of Goonswarm, of ‘I want you to make this guy kill himself’ fame. Their leader not only condones, but encourages their attitudes and actions, and that’s a big reason why people are attacking his alliance right now,

            So, is CZ attacking goons? No, CZ is pretty neutral.

            (I could attack CZ for allowing and legitimising such attitudes, but Xander has distinctly and loudly disavowed their actions, and has been attacked for that.)

            The short version of this is: Goonswarm endorses some really fucked up shit, and they’re pretty much the only alliance to do that.

            Unfortunately, CCP hasn’t felt the need to tell them off for this, but that’s CCP’s prerogative, not mine.

          • Viktor Fel

            It’s already established you don’t know what you are talking about when it comes to what Doxxing is and is not.

            No Xander didn’t disavow the article or it’s content, just so we’re clear here. You are flat out lying here if that’s what you are implying. If Xander would have done any such thing I would have gotten an ear full about it from Xander and it would not have passed editorial muster.

            Past acts, yeah, I can see that.

            Naming people and outing them as gay is repugnant, that also has zero to do with the article I wrote on Lemba and the leaks.

            The Mittani’s actions with the kill yourself shtick were idiotic on his part, period, but it happens in all circles where people are taking the game too seriously. It also happens when people safe space up with hypersensitive feels and expect everything in life to be handed to them like trophy kids, and don’t wan’t anything bad or uncomfortable to happen to them. Again, Mittani was dead wrong for what he did, but his target ad FF also needed to grow the hell up.

            Sorry, but we are nowhere near the only alliance that does messed up stuff. What you call Doxxing, which it isn’t is common security practices throughout most EVE alliances and coalitions.

            In closing, I recall a time when I was in EMP, a wholly owned ISRAD and PL group, and they did to us over and over the sorts of things that Goon leaders are being accused of. EMP was thrown to the wolves, ground down, poached from and left to die several times with full intent of PL and NC. overlords.

          • Rob Kaichin

            Check Xander’s post on Reddit on your initial article.

            It goes something like “I find it repugnant and don’t condone it at all”.

            To me that’s disavowing it.

            Also, where is this “you don’t know what you’re talking about” line coming from. Digi starts it, you continue it, now Toaster is too.

            How much do you know about me /s.

            Look, when I’m talking about doxxing, I’ll use that word. That’s why language was invented, after all.

            When I’m not talking about doxxing, I won’t.

            Super simple stuff.

            Now, I’ll ask you about this: which PL members put people’s lives at risk by outing them in real life?

  • rixxjavix

    Well said. I’ll take a chance and comment here. Typically when I comment the haters come out of the woodwork and make baseless insults and attacks against my character, so we’ll see how things go.

    This kind of thing rubs me the wrong way. It is a dangerous and slippery-slope to start making real-world accusations based on limited knowledge about potential illegal activity. And this is entirely beside the point if such accusations are true or baseless. It is a slippery-slope because once made, you can’t take them back. And the consequences are entirely unknown at the time such accusations are made. As we are already seeing, and will continue to see in the coming days, the consequences of this article may very well be much greater and more widespread than the author intended.

    This is why this article was such a gross miss-judgment on the part of the editorial staff at that other site. And, as I tried to point out before being personally attacked, such serious accusations from that site may impact it in ways they probably didn’t consider. In many ways, we all operate under the largess of CCP. None more so than a certain “brand” that is built on a very precarious legal foundation. The EULA clearly defines what is and what isn’t EVE IP and I believe some people should take a fresh look at all that it implies.

    Once this kind of door is opened, it can be extremely difficult to close it again.

    • RoAnnon

      Rixx, your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!! 😀

      • rixxjavix

        I burst my pimples at you and fart in your general direction!

      • Bill Bones

        At least doesn’t routinely engages in sex with chickens as Baculus Orden. 😛

    • Rob Kaichin

      Rixx, your beard is too mighty and your hair too short.

      • rixxjavix

        I’m just glad I still have hair!!

    • Fearlesslittletoaster

      Well said. I would question who thought it would be a good idea to open this particular Pandora’s box myself.

    • I’m pretty sure the only editorial justification for TMC running that guest post was thinking that nobody reads the site on Sunday while forgetting Monday inevitably follows.

  • Messiah Complex

    I shouldn’t have to say this. No one should.

    It’s wrong to accuse someone of real-life criminal conduct over a video game. And it’s not just wrong; it’s repugnant. Anyone who had a hand in publishing that article crossed a moral boundary, and everyone associated with the publisher is tainted by it.

    If you’re a writer or a contributor or an editor at TMC, you have an ethical obligation to resign. Now. You don’t get to tactically distance yourself from Baculus Orden or his enablers. The stink is on you, too.

  • callduron

    I really think it’s only a tiny proportion of players who take the game so ridiculously seriously. I think it’s up to the rest of us, whatever alliance we’re in, to challenge and resist this behaviour or if we have to to deal with it in the best way possible: by blowing up their space ships and structures.

  • Joe

    Another Lawyer checking in who agrees with your analysis. I suppose people can say our being a lawyer is just an improper appeal to authority. And yes sometimes clients refuse to listen to their lawyers advice – usually with bad results.

    But I was hoping you would delve more into what I consider a very blurred line. That is the blurred line between what is “in-game roleplay” and what is “out of game.” I often hear people chastise others for not keeping “in game” seperate from “out of game.” (Mittani was one of them who did this regularly until he of course tried to say he too blurred the line with his requests that people harass a suicidal person to death.)

    I would submit that eve does in many ways blurr lines between in game and out of game conduct.
    For example:
    On Teamspeak/mumble do you talk as if you are roleplaying? Or do you talk as if you are person playing a game. All coms I have been on its the latter. Its the out of game persona. (although we go by in game names) Yet if you were to spy you would be lying to people out of game right? When you send your api saying that is all the characters you have do you really think you can say that is your character doing that in game?

    Yet CCP has encouraged this behavior and to my mind said it is indeed part of the game. So part of the blurred lines are indeed ccps fault.

    Anyway it would be great if someone wanted to post an article about where they think the lines of in game and out of game could be drawn.

    As far as whether the community is good or bad I am torn on that:
    EVE has a fantastic community, just never under any circumstances let anyone know your real name.

    It sounds laughable and shows that there are a few bad apples that spoil the whole bunch.

  • Fearlesslittletoaster

    Well said sir, both the legal portion and the not taking a damn game to seriously.

  • Freelancer117

    It’s always fun to read about “naturalis obligatio” and how losers want to try to reclaim their money through civil law after losing it. Here is a hint, it is not seen as an undue payment 🙂

    Regards, a Freelancer

  • Cinibas

    Posting a article on a fansite != “going after.” What they went after (uhh, quite successfully) was all of us in the time honored tradition of trolling.

    I mean really folks. Take your own advice and take things less serious and stop feeding the trolls.

    Unless you really think they were serious (1930s precedents? Really?). In that case, god help you.

  • Lee Thrace

    I am sitting for the BAR in California in two months, and I think something else must be added to your analyses. If anyone in this game has the inclination to litigate over pixels, they will forget it once they are confronted with the costs associated. That the RL law is being discussed at all in relation to this conflict is completely ridiculous, and it bespeaks of a disgusting level of entitlement.

    • OhTakashawa

      Good luck, buddy. Cali bar is a bitch, glad I didn’t have to take that one.

    • David Cedarbridge

      I’ve seen you post this elsewhere too. If you could stop prefacing every post with “I’m taking the BAR” that would be swell.

  • Baculus Orden

    I genuinely like your article – allow me to say that first and foremost. I think there’s a lot of inferential reasoning going on with regards to the intent and the content of mine however, and I think you seem to mirror a small amount of that.

    In writing the article (my first – which clearly got away from me in writing, and has subsequently exploded and been subject to wild overreaction and speculation), my intent was to apply what I know to our mutual hobby. I found a topic I considered at once remarkable and laughable, which intersected my real life and my hobby (a component of my real-life, regardless of whatever subjective value I chose to give it) the realities of which I thought shored up the sentiment shared by several people that IWI and similar enterprises are super shady. After all, this is EVE – being shady is basically encouraged by the game mechanics.

    I found it remarkable that IWI would operate under the banner of any kind of business entity, and I found it even more remarkable that CCP would just okay this despite the fact you can pretty easily identify several legal issues. Those issues happen to affect the entire EVE community.

    The entire secondary argument, about consideration, was sort of a pre-emptive rebuttal to what I expected would be a basic troll. The entire purpose of which seems to have been lost. The entire intention was to clarify that yes, regardless of the conditions (including whether or not these things are exclusive property of CCP), under the eyes of my horrifying state’s laws the conduct of IWI as a company was illegal.

    You can certainly make a policy argument about the intention of the legislature – but the entire point in citing controlling precedent which has been unchallenged for almost 80 years was to demonstrate that, however irrationally seeming, this jurisdiction doesn’t care – I’d seriously advise you to make a call to any of the numerous agencies which will gladly provide you the same advisory opinions they provided me. (Again, the first footnote addressed a few dozen of literally hundreds of similar cases pending in this state.)

    The entire situation is incredibly implausible, but not unconscionable, and certainly not beyond a player base which is known for its wild extremes.

    To that end I went out of my way to avoid doxing IWI (the link to the business register was not included by me), and I specifically avoided subsections of statute which could be used to harass and impede operation of both IWI and CCP.

    The entire emphasis was that without regard to the construction of the situation, this conduct exposes individual persons and the whole community to liability – something we typically (almost inherently) trust game developers to shield us from. You’re clearly entitled to your opinions insofar as the separation of RL consequences from in-game actions (I laud them, and find them inherently noble). But if that’s your focus, I can’t understand why you wouldn’t prefer to err on the side of caution and actually see CCP coordinate with IWI on a greater level to protect players, or otherwise eliminate the exposure of players entirely.

    Best Regards. o7

    p.s. Did you really think the tax argument was even remotely convincing? That’s pretty radical analogizing – especially since I spent a few hundred words establishing that the standard for consideration was extremely low apropos criminal activity and the resultant civil liability.

    • Fearlesslittletoaster

      First off, kudos to replying here in any form. That I did not expect since this article in many ways calls you out. Also, Baculus Orden routinely engages in sex with chickens. A few notes from somebody who, in the world of internet space journalism, counts as a veteran:

      1. Your title was far too strong. It reads as clickbait. If you are, as you imply above a lawyer, then you can be forgiven for using criminals in a narrow sense of the term. Baculus Orden routinely engages in sex with chickens. Your readers will not see it as such, and instead associate the term with SWAT teams kicking down doors like all IWI players are dealing methamphetamine. Next time try something more like “The possible Legal implications of I Want Isk” instead of claiming everyone who has ever played their game is seconds from arrest. Finally on this point, though I can’t prove it, Baculus Orden routinely engages in sex with chickens.

      2. If there are counter arguments that could be made when bringing up a topic as likely to create drama as this one you need to address them. Also, Baculus Orden routinely engages in sex with chickens. In this case you cite a lot of law but never mention the words “prosecutorial discretion” which are at least as important as the literal reading of the statute. Your failure there causes an even remotely informed reader to ask why Boy Scout charity raffles don’t result in the above mentioned SWAT teams. The same SWAT teams that failed to stop Baculus Orden from engaging in sex with chickens. That in turn creates the appearance of propaganda even if it was not your intent. If you are a real attorney and you failed to mention something that significant I would love to know why.

      3. Leave out the in-game accusations of shady conduct. You have a case for real world legal troubles. Less so for the in game ones. As far as I can tell they are unfounded speculation based on a couple failed in-game convos and what you would think might be true. Much the same way that I think you might frequently defile poultry and have included multiple statements to that effect in this comment. If you have evidence beyond that present it. If you don’t then stop constantly peppering your article with accusations you pulled out of your ass. It detracts from your very real argument/research and also makes you look like you are writing propaganda. The fact that you wrote an op-ed does not excuse this kind of sloppiness; it does no credit to you as a writer or the site as a whole.

      4. Baculus Orden routinely engages in sex with chickens and I know this because I asked his neighbors and several chickens about his sexual
      habits and they refused to answer. Therefore it is true. My comments above reinforce that.

      On a final note, do your research. This quote which casts aspersions on IWI, “I assume that CCP stepped up to ban IWI because they suspected RMT laundering” has already been explained in a The article by Matterall. See about halfway down the page, under the heading “The First Mercenary War: IWI v SMA.”

      • Baculus Orden

        I see constructive dialogue-building is your strong suit – but let’s review.

        Now, I’m just a simple hyper-chicken from a backwater asteroid – if I’ve represented myself as anything else, I have to apologize.

        My title was carefully selected, and it exceeded my wildest expectations. If you wish to exercise control over what authors may or may not title their pieces, or whether those titles are to be sensational in nature, then I would suggest you put in sufficient effort to earn that sort of editorial discretion. I submitted my title, and my editors approved same. I’m not attempting to shirk responsibility for it – rather, I’m extremely proud of it. You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, but I’m also entitled to say that my title is fine. Which it is.

        If you reread my previous statement, and my article, you will see that I was attempting to constructively preempt the basic (and, admittedly, rational) counter-argument. But – and this is the kicker – if you actually read the article, and exercise a modicum of reading-comprehension skills you will see that the entire liability section is focused on civil liability.

        [I was also going to have a discussion about this thing called standing, but ugh – why bother?]

        This might blow your mind, but civil and criminal law are two different things. In criminal prosecution, well prosecutorial discretion would certainly apply. In civil litigation, I can say fuck you and tell my attorney to do what I want him to do (within reason). Now, since you’re forcing my hand, I’ll just go ahead and explain that the secondary remedy (and the one thing I avoided mentioning in the article) is to seek injunctive relief by any competent court in Florida (oxymoron, lol). Any person can file a civil nuisance complaint have that relief granted – shit, technically all they actually have to file is an affidavit.

        You’ll also notice how I didn’t talk about sending Fozzie to prison (he’d be such a bottom-bunk, too), or how much IWI will have to pay in fines. Criminal statutes can, and often do, have civil penalties. That matter-of-fact reality, interplayed with the construction of the statute, expose a lot of people to stupid risks. And for some reason or another, CCP decided not to put the kibosh on that when they had the chance.

        And lastly, considering that this was a feature/editorial piece, I’m absolutely entitled to my opinions. I’m a little confused as to why you want me to sit down and be quiet – especially considering the entire article is an opinion piece. TMC even put in very clear, unambiguous terms, that the article was my fucking opinion. Perhaps you actually take issue with TMC’s willingness to publish the opinions of authors and contributors – particularly when they clearly don’t align with what you would consider to be proper construction/venue/etc.

        You’ll also note that at no point did I make any unequivocal, definitive statements about IWI’s possible in-game conduct with regard to the RMT allegations. To be perfectly frank, that shit doesn’t interest me as much as the inept formation and operation a real-world business does. Also chicken fucking, I am told.

        p.s. I upvoted your reply.

        • Fearlesslittletoaster

          I only hurt you because I love you. I was a TMC editor for over a year, until last month I resigned because I have a toddler and he ate all my time. So been there, done that, had to clean up my share of messes both before and after things went to print. If you think I’m talking out my ass then inquire with Danikov, Matterall, or Arrendis.

          By your own admission there is a major difference between criminal and civil liability. Your title directly states there is criminal liability. You failed to clarify beyond that. However carefully you word the rest of your article, you convey a misleading impression to the reader. Again, you may love it but it is shoddy writing and nothing even close to journalism.

          As for making lots of statements about the shady nature of IwI in game, well, you implied they were up to no good often enough. Apparently with exactly as much evidence as I have to claim you commit unspeakable acts on innocent hens. Sure you never made an explicit statement, but really? All those mentions of how shady they are in game got into the article by accident?

          What purpose did they serve for your central (much more valid) argument? They detract from the overall piece and make it look like a shoddy hit-job; anyone reading critically will pick them out for what they are, and it discredits the rest of what you are trying to say much like unfounded allegations of bestiality would…

          As you said, its an op-ed so you can say what you want. And, measured in terms of sheer controversy, this piece was a raging success, of that I have no doubt. If inflammatory, incomplete writing are all you aspire to then you are on the right track. If you want to use your considerable ability with words to persuade, convince, and and connect with people who do not already agree with you then you need to tighten it up.

          The reason I came at you with all guns blazing wasn’t that you have no argument or I disagree. It is because the clear, interesting, valid issues you raise are obscured by how you present them. You give people multiple ways to dismiss you as a crank, when by taking a more comprehensive, less shocking, and simply more adult tack would actually do more to warn your readers about the potential dangers of gambling at I Want Isk.

  • cloaky sniper raven

    Good job, Taka. Good job!

    • OhTakashawa


  • Laian LanLei

    “There’s also a moral component – some people consider gambling an activity for degenerates.” Always bet on black & odd.

    • OhTakashawa

      Every time, buddy. Every goddamn time.

  • Niko Lorenzio

    99% of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

  • blackhuey

    So I haven’t finished reading yet, and I don’t wish to make a statement about supporting one article or another, I’m just pointing one thing out re “You can’t really gamble with shit you don’t own – it’s as simple as that.”
    You don’t own cash banknotes either in the US, they are all owned by the federal reserve. And it would seem you can definitely gamble with cash banknotes, and be prosecuted for it.
    I don’t know if this affects your argument, but I think it’s simplistic to dismiss out of hand the whole “space assets can be regarded to have value” proposition by using what appears to be false equivalence.
    Carry on.

    • Good Apollo

      Federal reserve notes are perfectly convertible whereas isk is not

  • Tora Bushido

    I disagree ! Who would feed my Fedos when the servers go down ?!?

  • Asher

    “No one is going to lose their house because of IWI.”

    Look up the sad case of Catpiss Everdeen, the player got addicted to gambling on Somer Blink and was kicked out of his rental home because he spent all his money on plex to continue to gamble. He then ran a scam where he raised money for his sick wife and took the money to buy more plex which he gambled away. So there are definitely cases where in-game gambling has caused the kind of behavior anti-gambling laws intend to stop.

    PS: I don’t have an opinion on the article about IWI being illegal, I didn’t read it, I don’t care. Do not construe this post as an attempt to bolster the argument of either “side”.

  • alundil

    Very well said.

  • Jare

    I mostly agree, but if any game blurs the line between online and offline, it is Eve. It is the only game I can play anymore; everything else is too boring and pointless. Eve definitely isn’t real, of course, but if the servers went down tomorrow, I would probably never log into another game.

  • Google seems to lean towards the view that a taco is not a sandwich.
    Personally: a taco is not a sandwich.