Monday, February 13, 2012

Legal Eagles

I've been working on a massive two-part post regarding sovereignty mechanics over the last couple of days and should have that ready for you shortly. In the meantime, a legal drama and one of the better scams to have caught the public eye over the past year has been playing itself out over the Eve-O forums over the weekend and absolutely deserves your attention.

Evidently, an 82 million SP character named 'jenspg' had his account hacked by some as yet unnamed ne'er-do-wells. Bad. But these hackers weren't any ordinary old hackers. No sir, these hackers had vision! Knowing full well that an 82mil character would fetch a pretty penny on the open market, they set about fencing their ill-gotten gain to prospective buyers on the Eve-O Character Bazaar forums. Starting bid: 10bil. And that's when things got interesting.

See, it seems that character eventually did get sold. The buyer was a pilot by the name of  'Dalas Lt' who was first in line with the bidding and the ultimate victor, if you can call him that... For the low low price of only 13.5bil, Dalas was now the proud owner of what he thought was gonna be his ticket outta the space slums. The transfer was set to take place 6 hours from the original time of purchase. 6 hours came and went. No transfer. It didn't take long for Dalas to figure out he'd been had, but being a trusting fellow he gave the nefarious seller the benefit of the doubt and spotted him 24 hours before filing his petition. Public acknowledgement of the duping was followed by petition in short order. And if this were just some guy trying to get a leg up in the game, that be the end of the story. But no, friends, this gets much, MUCH better.

Enter GM Nova, Senior GM, on his white horse to save the day! Right? Right...? Negative:

          #14 Posted: 2012.02.11 15:42
Dalas Lt wrote:
      "Petitioned.Hope this guy gets a ban."

GM Nova:
      "The account was hacked into and the character set up for sale.

Incidentally, the ISK you, Dalas Lt used to pay for the character was supplied to you by the very same hackers who hacked jenspg.

Ironic isn't it?"
GM Nova
Senior Game Master
EVE Online Customer Support

In the Customer Service industry, we call that "WTFPWND".
Almost immediately the inter-webs were set ablaze with cheers of victory, praise and adulation heaped upon Nova's shoulders for putting the RMT'er in his place. Dalas was incensed, having first been duped by his own financiers and then humiliated in front of his peers by the guy he was counting on to bail him out of his error in judgment. Unfortunately for Dalas, he doesn't have a leg to stand on. Let alone ambulate.

In the American legal system, there are a series of doctrines taught to all 1L students regarding equity and remedy. The above is a clear-cut case of what is broadly referred to as the "Clean Hands" doctrine, which states that "he seeking equity must do equity." Put another, less ancient Roman way, "He who seeks equity must do so with 'clean hands.'" In law this is understood to mean that a plaintiff will not be awarded an equitable decision if he is found to also have done wrong in some related way. Applied to this case, we come to the legal conclusion that "RMT'er no get unlawfully (with respect to the EULA) obtained currency refunded. Complaint department now closed. Please come again!"

Dupe scammed out of 13.5bils?! Dupe paid scam-er with ISK purchased from scam-er? GM pwnge?! Delicious tears?!?! Surely Dalas knew when to leave well enough alone...

Nope. After receiving his absolutely brilliant reponse from Nova, he knew just what to do. No, not suffer silently and retreat. Disingenuously plead your innocence before lobbing some vague threat at Nova regarding CCP Internal Affairs AND THEN retreat! Yeah, that should do it. Oh wai.....enter "Equitable Estoppel" - your second legal definition of the day.

In American Civil law, once the courts determine that a fact has been established to be true, "Equitable Estoppel" is applied and the defendant is prevented further from arguing the veracity of the issue. GM Nova and CCP have evidence of Dalas' RMT, hence the torsal-rectal separation on the forums. And because it is provable, this case is closed like banks on Christmas. 

Well done, Nova. A brilliant riposte and deft legal argument, all in one glorious post. 
<Slow Clap>

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