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Posts with tag congress

Congressional report says you 'may' owe taxes on your WoW income

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If you're a World of Warcraft or Diablo 3 player, the federal government would like to have a word with you. Congress's U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), at the request of Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), just wrote and filed a 23-page report on the tax implications of earning gold in MMORPGs. Seriously.

The report, titled "Virtual Economies and Currencies," focuses on buying, using, and selling virtual currencies like WoW gold. The key takeaway for World of Warcraft players is that the in-game economy is a "closed-flow system" -- because you can't exchange your gold for U.S. dollars, you don't need to worry about claiming those 26 gold pieces from completing a quest on your 2013 income taxes. If, however, you decide to sell your accumulated WoW items through a third-party exchange (Don't do it! It's against the Terms of Service and could get you hacked!), then you "may have earned taxable income from the sale of these virtual goods."

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Economy, Gold Capped, Diablo 3

Majority Leader Eric Cantor incorrectly cites WoW study as using $1.2M in federal funds, actual cost is $5k from NC State [UPDATED]

Majority Leader Eric Cantor incorrectly cites WoW study as using federal funds, actual cost is $5k in private funds  DNP
Earlier this week U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R - Virginia) called out, amongst other things, the wasteful government spending by a World of Warcraft study conducted by North Carolina State University's Gains Through Gaming Lab. The study he was citing, as published on his own blog:

Pay to Play Video Games: The National Science Foundation spent $1.2 million paying seniors to play "World of Warcraft" to study the impact it had on their brain.

Majority Leader Cantor is focusing on this as part of federal spending from the National Science Foundation (NSF) that could be cut instead of the bipartisan sequester that will be taking place later this year, unless Washington is able to avert it.

After publishing a story on the World of Warcraft tie-in, we were contacted by Jason Allaire (who we previously interviewed on the study), Associate Professor at North Carolina State University, and co-director of the lab where the study took place. He had the following to say:

The funding for the WoW study ($5K) came from NC-State as part of a pilot research funding program. The results of the WoW study were published last year ... so for some reason that paper got equated with our NSF grant. We do in fact have $1.2 million dollar grant from NSF that examines what aspects or mechanisms are responsible for improvements in cognition due to playing digital games and funds our development of a game based on these findings. This NSF grant is still on going.

Allaire follows up with:

The NSF study has absolutely nothing to do with WoW.

So just when exactly did the WoW study start and how is it funded?

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Filed under: News items

The Lawbringer: The odd future of bill S. 978

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Mathew McCurley takes you through the world running parallel to the games we love and enjoy, full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

The machinima and streaming communities built around World of Warcraft are filled with some of the most talented and creative people in gaming, from awesome musicians to dedicated streamcasters. The first time I ever got to experience the WoW beta back in 2004, I was watching someone stream footage of their human warlock messing up mobs in (if I remember correctly) Westfall. Streaming is beneficial to gaming, MMOs, and e-sports because of video games' competitive nature and spectator-oriented design.

You've probably heard of Senate bill S.978 already, most likely from many video game blogs and news outlets or YouTube campaigns fighting against the passage of this bill. Bill S.978 aims to institute a "10 strikes" policy, making the unauthorized streaming of content a felony, resulting in potential jail time. The main purpose of the bill is to strengthen the law and punishments available to organizations such as the MPAA and other content conglomerates to stop illegal streaming of millions upon millions of dollars in stolen entertainment. As is the way of things, gamers might be caught in the crossfire.

Some of you fine readers sent me a few messages on Twitter asking me to weigh in on the 10 strikes streaming bill and maybe give a basic analysis of the thing, so I shall oblige. Lawbringer this week is all about the odd future of bill S. 978 and what it could mean for MMOs and WoW.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

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