Legal Question in Technology Law in California

Legally donating?

I play World of Warcraft online, but

I play on a private server, meaning

that it isn't ran by the company that

made the game. They get past a

legal issue of making money off of

someone else's invention by saying

that if you donate money to the

server that you will get an in-game

item. After much hassle I cannot

get my item, other people have received theirs so I know its not a

scam, but they keep saying that I

donated for the item, I didn't buy it

so if they don't feel like giving me

my item its tough shit (their words

not mine.) I understand that I was

donating to the server, but I wsa

donating FOR my item. I would

attach the terms and conditions but

''DO NOT include any HTML tags -

they will be automatically removed

by the system.'' sounds like its a

bad idea

Asked on 1/30/09, 8:44 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Johm Smith tom's

Re: Legally donating?

I would need to know more about the location of the server before I could suggest any help. Mr. Hoffman has explained the site operator's position, but whether you have any options requires more information.

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Answered on 2/01/09, 2:40 pm
Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

Re: Legally donating?

Four points:

1. The service you use does not "get past the legal issues" by doing what you describe. Unless it has licensed the game from whoever owns the rights, its actions are illegal.

2. An exchange of money for goods or services is a purchase, not a donation. Charities sometimes give donors tokens of appreciation (like a pair of $25 dollar sports tickets to someone who donated $500 to a college), but they don't give anything else in exchange for the money.

3. Since you were to receive both the premium and the service in exchange for your money, the entire transaction was a purchase -- primarily of access to the game that this server is illegally hosting.

4. The people you're dealing with don't care about the rights of whoever owns the game, so why do you expect them to care about yours?

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Answered on 1/30/09, 9:04 pm

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