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MMOG pirates jailed for running illegal Priston Tale servers [updated]

Matt Warner

Jail sucks, jailed in China probably sucks a lot more. Going to jail over running illegal Priston Tale servers -- the irony and endless puns are hilarious. Five Chinese men were arrested earlier this month when they were busted for running illegal MMOG servers and were also found with defrauding Prison Tale with their own bootleg RMT services. RMT stands for real money trade, which is the activity of selling in-game commodities in exchange for real-world currency.

The five men are facing a stiff three million yuan (almost $400,000) civil lawsuit from Priston Tale's license holder, Shanghai Yetime Network Technology Co Ltd. The supposed mastermind behind the operation, 33 year-old Yan Shaodong, bought a Japanese version of the game back in 2006 raising the question if Yan actually believed, or was sold a legit license.

Yan recruited the others, ages between 17 and 32, to help with logistics, translation, server maintenance, and promotion. They were all paid for their pirate services, maybe in duped potions -- that would do the trick. Yan claims that Shanghai Yetime never sent a cease and desist letter, and that if they had, he would have complied with their demands and shut operations down. Uh-huh, right! Apparently, Yan's pirating endeavor earned 70,000 yuan total, but during court proceedings he proclaimed no profit was earned and that they were operating at a net loss. What I want to know is if those players who thought the servers were legit and who bought any items ever saw a refund after the illegal servers went dark? Yea, I didn't think so either. Take heed, if you ever take a trip to China, setting up your own illegal MMOG server and selling in-game items isn't the best plan. There's always farming gold...

[updated: Remind me not to make posts wee-early in the morning without having my coffee first!] :)

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