Legend of Mir 2, a popular online multiplayer game by Shanda, has seen an influx of advanced weapons. Wang Yihui, a former manager of Shanghai Shanda Network Development Co Ltd, and Tang Ming and Jin Ke, natives of Jinhua City, Zhejiang Province have been arrested for selling these advanced virtual weapons online. The charge? Copyright infringement.

The supply of different weapons and other objects in online games is very carefully controlled. Only players who have advanced and earned the necessary skills are entitled to these things. Wang was in charge of the game database that controls Legend of Mir 2, providing the two other men with excess weapons. Tang and Jin sold the weapons to other game players.

These weapons can be legally traded in the game; unskilled players can become more competitive immediately. Unskilled players are willing to pay other players within the game for advanced weapons. According to prosecutors, the three men have earned more than two million yuan ($250,000) by this practice of "virtual gun-running."

"Because top-grade game weapons are very rare and precious for devoted players, they are valuable in the virtual world. We decided to make use of my position to produce a group of the weapons to get money," Wang told the court.

The company noticed the problem when it discovered that far too many advanced weapons were circulating in the game.

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(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission from Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction.)