|According to a report from The Korea Times, a court has fined online Lineage gamers for the first time on charges of selling in-game cyber money for real cash.|
In a fast-track trial, the District Court of Busan ruled that two in-game items traders should pay $5,035 and $3,021 in fines for trading game items for real money.
“The two purchased numerous cyber game items used in Lineage between May and July of last year at ten percent below street prices through game item trading websites and made more than $20,142 in profit by reselling them,” said Judge Kim Jong-Soo in his ruling.
However, game experts stated that the ruling did not reflect the criteria on illegal money-for-item deals set by the Ministry of Culture in February of 2007. The Ministry said such deals made only in online gambling games such as poker were illegal prompting the two charged to request provincial court trials.
“We are victims of contradictory policies on gambling,” said one of the accused.
However, the Judge disagreed and said that the trades were illegal because the amount of money handled was huge enough to warrant the fines.
“We should abide by the court’s ruling but the decision will surely impact current game trading practices,” said Lee Young-Yeol, an official at the Ministry of Culture's Game Industry Unit.
The newspaper quoted figures from the Korea Game Development and Promotion Institute that business from in-game item deals in Korea had topped 835 million in 2006 and will exceed one billion dollars this year.