If you've been following Hernandez vs IGE, you'll probably be a bit surprised to find that the Plaintiff (Hernandez) has dropped Hong Kong Internet Gaming Entertainment Limited (IGE) from the Defendants. USA IGE US LLC (the other IGE) remains on the docket.
The Plaintiff alleges that IGE is gold-farming, spawn-camping, devaluing gold, spamming chat, and generally screwing up the experience for everyone else.
The Plaintiff had to drop HK IGE LTD as a Defendant, as they were unable to serve process within 90 days. Serving process across international boundaries is subject to the Hague Service Convention, which was enacted to avoid the use of slower consular and diplomatic channels, but frequently takes a good deal longer than 90 days.
Additionally the Florida Economic Crimes Office is reported to have issued a subpoena for documents "pursuant to the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act in the course of an official investigation."
Copies of the documents and both excerpts and a fuller analysis are available at virtual worlds law blog Virtually Blind, who are providing excellent coverage of this case in depth.
"The subpoena is extensive, seeking detailed information about IGE's gold farming activity, business dealings in Florida, relationship with Affinity Media, and much more," said Benjamin Duranske, editor of Virtually Blind.
This subpoena is essentially the first shot in a US Government investigation that is treating virtual goods/services on a par with more tangible ones - so it's going to be extremely interesting to follow, whatever stripe of MMO or Virtual World you're involved in. It may set no precedents, but it will doubtless have flow-on effects in the virtual spaces you spend time in.
[via Virtually Blind]