The concept of ownership established in the real world doesn't always equate with 'reality' in the virtual. When someone robs a person in real life, we don't just hope that they will be punished for this, we expect it. We demand it. Theft runs counter to law. But within the virtual, what if theft of another's property falls within game mechanics? If something is a crime in the eyes of players but doesn't violate the EULA, and the crime is committed fully within permitted game mechanics in the virtual space -- the game world equivalent of 'law' -- can it even be called "crime" at all? An article at The West Georgian titled "A Nerdy Commentary on Governments, Games, and Property", written by Jacob Lovell, explores this interplay between real world concepts of ownership and the virtual world's crimes.
To do so, Lovell looks back on what stands -- to this day -- as one of the most significant ways people pushed the boundaries of what's permissible in an MMO: the Guiding Hand Social Club's (GHSC) defining act of espionage in EVE Online from 2005. Most EVE players are quite familiar with the event, when the GHSC took a contract to bring down their 'client's' rival corporation, Ubiqua Seraph. Operatives in the Guiding Hand Social Club spent roughly one year infiltrating the target corporation, until the codeword 'Nicole' was called out. At that moment, operatives at all levels within the target corporation raided its assets. The heist coincided with an assassination of the Ubiqua Seraph CEO, by her own trusted lieutenant... also a GHSC operative who led her into the trap, followed by some excellent PR spin.