Online auction house eBay is finally implementing their own policies, and “delisting” any attempt to sell in-game items and currency that does not have the specific permission of the copyright holder, i.e. the game publisher.
While I’m not usually a big fan of copyright enforcement when it gets in the way of consumer fair use, this is a special case. Gold farmers and their customers don’t contribute to a game — they destroy it, cheating in a way that ruins the enjoyment for other users.
The issue of who owns virtual property is an important and complex one, and I’d hate to see game companies abusing copyright law to control intellectual property created by users. But that’s not what is happening here.
I also dislike it when eBay bans auctions to satisfy the wishes of some corporation — for instance, when I couldn’t sell my Japanese Dreamcast on eBay. My Dreamcast was a block of atoms that I had purchased fair and square. I owned it, and I had the right to sell it.
But when a region-locked console gets sold by a consumer, no one is hurt, not even the console manufacturer enforcing the policy. Gold farming hurts everyone.