Chinese Lawsuit Over Virtual Items Ends In Real World Victory

chinese mmo lawsuitWired’s Game | Life blog is reporting that a Chinese MMO player (surname Zhang) sued Shandra Interactive after they failed to return his in-game items… and won. The game company has been ordered to pay Zhang the equivalent of $680 for items originally taken as part of a police investigation into the sale of stolen virtual goods in World of Legend, a Chinese MMO. Shandra failed to return the items after the investigation ended and now must pay for the mistake. Zhang also plans to take Shandra to court over the $20,000 he claims to have spent on the game over the last five years.

So, there you have it. Virtual items have real world value in China. It’ll be interesting to see how this scenario plays out when it inevitably ends up in courts in other parts of the world. It’s typical to sign away all your rights by agreeing to a draconian EULA before playing any MMO, but with more and more MMOs dumping monthly subscription models in favor of free to play schemes that allow players to spend real world currency on in-game items, the question of who owns these virtual items becomes increasingly relevant. It’s one thing to pay $5.99 to flip a variable on a server and wield an Ethereal Dagger of Demon Flaying; it’s another thing entirely to not even really own it.

‘Superman,’ ‘Robin Hood’ lead list of new DVDs

Deseret News (Salt Lake City) November 30, 2006 | Chris Hicks Deseret Morning News A couple of “Superman” sets lead off this collection of newly released DVDs, which includes Disney’s “Robin Hood” and Streisand’s “A Star Is Born.” SUPERMAN RETURNS (Warner, 2006, PG-13, two discs, $34.99). This “sequel” of sorts to the first two Christopher Reeve “Superman” movies is a generally satisfying update, though it does falter a bit in its uneasy blend of modern and old-fashioned sensibilities. The ride is enjoyable enough, despite the feeling that the film never quite reaches its footing. here newly released dvds

The story has Superman/ Clark Kent returning to Smallville and Metropolis after a self- imposed exile of soul-searching, only to find Lex Luthor determined to take him down and, of course, to rule or destroy the world, whichever comes first.

Brandon Routh is quite good as both Superman and Clark, occasionally channeling Reeve’s mix of boyish innocence and tough- guy heroics. Most of the rest of the cast is also on target, particularly Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor.

But Kate Bosworth is all wrong as Lois, unsure of whether to go the semi-ditsy Margot Kidder route or just play it straight.

The result is uneven but still fun for fans who wondered if the series would ever be revived.

Extras: Widescreen, deleted scenes, featurettes; also in separate widescreen or full-frame single-disc editions, $28.98 SUPERMAN: THE THEATRICAL SERIALS COLLECTION (Warner, 1948/1950, b/ w, four discs, $39.98). Square-jawed Kirk Alyn isn’t bad as Clark Kent/Superman in the two theatrical serials — “Superman” (1948) and “Atom Man vs. Superman” (1950) — that brought the characters to live-action film for the first time.

And best of all is Noel Neill as Lois Lane, doing a particularly spunky interpretation here, which she would repeat a few years later for the TV series with George Reeves.

Campy, to be sure — they didn’t call these 15-chapter serials “cliffhangers” for nothing. But nostalgia buffs will find them to be great fun. Even if Alyn does turn into a literal cartoon for the flying scenes. No kidding.

Extras: Full frame, 30 chapters, featurettes ROBIN HOOD: MOST WANTED SPECIAL EDITION (Disney, 1973, G, $29.99). This isn’t really one of Disney’s nobler animated features – – it’s no classic. And when you compare it to some of the great “Robin Hood” live-action films, it pales in comparison.

But it’s an entertaining picture, and several notches above most animated films that dominate movie screens today.

The characters here are animals, with a lively voice cast that includes Phil Harris, Peter Ustinov, Terry-Thomas … and the particularly odd choice of using several actors known for Southern or Western American dialects: Andy Devine, Roger Miller, Pat Buttram and George Lindsey!

Extras: Widescreen, deleted scene/alternate ending, interactive games, b/w 1933 cartoon “Ye Olden Days” (with Goofy before he got that name; here he’s Dippy Dawg) A STAR IS BORN (Warner, 1976; R for language, sex, drugs; $19.97). Let’s say it up front: doing a ’70s rock-music update of this chestnut was a bad idea. But as bad movies go, this one has its enjoyable, albeit campy, moments. (Only enhanced by Barbra Streisand’s optional audio commentary.) Streisand and Kris Kristofferson star, and neither holds a candle to Janet Gaynor and Fredric March in the 1937 version, or to Judy Garland and James Mason in 1954. Those two films are classics; this one is too bloated and groggy, just like Kristofferson’s character.

On the other hand, it does get a genuine boost when Streisand sings. And that’s probably enough for her fans.

Extras: Widescreen, deleted scenes, audio commentary (by Streisand), wardrobe tests MOLLY: AN AMERICAN GIRL ON THE HOME FRONT (Warner, 2006, $19.97). The two earlier made-for-TV “American Girl” movies are rather tepid affairs (“Samantha,” “Felicity”), but this one gets a major lift from captivating period trappings and, especially, the heartfelt, jubilant central performance by young Maya Ritter as “Molly.” Growing up in 1944 Americana-ville, the awkward, bespectacled Molly has to watch her father go off to war even as teachers and neighbors are grieving over lost loved ones. And then she’s resentful that she has to give up half her bedroom to a displaced English girl. website newly released dvds

You know she’ll come around, of course, just as there’s little doubt that she’ll win the “Miss Victory” starring role in the school pageant. But Ritter makes getting there most enjoyable with a completely endearing performance. Molly Ringwald as her stoic mother and David Aaron Baker as her loving father are also notable.

Extras: Widescreen, featurette FIRESTORM: LAST STAND AT YELLOWSTONE (A&E, 2006, not rated, $19.95). This gritty “what-if” drama, about firefighters trying to contain runaway wildfires in Yellowstone National Park, feels in many ways like a throwback to those ’70s disaster pictures by Irwin Allen … minus the all-star cast … and with weaker special effects.

Sincere performances (led by Richard Burgi, Scott Foley and Tanya Allen) help it overcome soap-opera trappings, and most of the film’s emphasis is on efforts to contain fires rather than jealousies and renewed romances. All to the good.

Chris Hicks Deseret Morning News

Windows XP Pre-Sales Start.

Client Server News September 10, 2001 Microsoft started letting consumers to place orders for Windows XP Thursday, and details have drifted out of Redmond of a new “Family License” that will let home and SOHO users buy multiple XP upgrades at a discount.

Some retailers started booking orders almost from the moment XP was RTM’d. Some, like Amazon, briefly tried to start pre-selling more than a month ago – but Microsoft pulled the plug on such shenanigans. Now of course Microsoft wants to book all the orders it can get so it can brag of a zillion or so copies being sold the first day the stuff becomes official availability.

Pre-booked sales aren’t supposed to be in end-users’ hands until the official launch date of October 25. Some retailers are promising to ship on October 24 with one-day delivery so their customers can be first on the block with the new OS. Some folks, after all, just gotta be that way. website about promotional codes for amazon

Microsoft Thursday also said it’s working on a program to pre-test computer systems before they’re upgraded to XP. A similar pre-test kit has been available for computers being upgraded to Win2K.

Several reviewers faulted Redmond for not having such a routine, leaving upgraders to discover whether they could upgrade only after they bought an upgrade and tried to install it. The XP Upgrade Advisor, as Microsoft is calling the thing, will be available in the next couple of weeks, Microsoft said.

Meanwhile, details have started leaking out of some last-minute post-RTM changes that Microsoft’s made to XP, including in-line upgrades that are already finished and a new Family License.

The Family License will offer a discount of 8%-12% off multiple copies of XP after the first copy, which has to be bought at regular prices or come preloaded on a PC. Redmond’s reportedly still working out the exact packaging details of the license, something that it’s never offered before to home and small end-users. There’s also going to be a $125 upgrade from XP Home to XP Professional that’s yet to be announced. go to web site about promotional codes for amazon

On the product side there’s been a small change in XP’s anti-piracy product activation scheme, which Microsoft’s already loosened up once to appease critics. It’s gone and hooked the product activation routine on new PCs to the BIOS. That means users won’t have to re- activate if they change different pieces of hardware in their system.

Microsoft’s already got updates to the Windows Messenger, Movie Maker and a few other components that ship with XP. Those updates will all be distributed via the Windows update web site once XP is generally available. It’s too late to tinker with the RTM’d code.

Amazon, by the way, is booking XP orders at Microsoft’s full list price of $200 for the Home Edition and $300 for XP Professional, with upgrades at $100 and $200 respectively.

Other retailers, however, have already begun cutting prices or offering promotional bundles to XP purchasers. Discounter Costco is asking $190 and $280 for the full versions, $95 and $185 for upgrades.

CompUSA, both online and at stores, is asking the full price but it’s got an XP Professional bundle that includes a free T-shirt, free overnight delivery, a $100 mail-in rebate on memory, hard drive and networking purchases, a free 90-minute Windows XP class, a free installation coupon for Windows XP and any other upgrades purchased at the same time plus a free companion airline ticket. My, my. – SZ