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The State of Video Game Regulation

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the rather-overstated,-to-state-the-obvious dept.

The Courts 154

Gamasutra is running an in-depth look at the regulation of video games in the US and other countries. They discuss the reasons for such legislation, such as child protection and intellectual property restrictions, as well as what gamers can expect to see in the coming years. "Fairfield also points out combinations of laws, which, when put together make for strange outcomes. The biggest of these, for video games, is the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. In short, gaining unauthorized access to someone's computer and doing $500 in damages opens you up for criminal charges. It's good for prosecuting hackers, but it makes for a strange fit with social networking websites and user-generated content. That fit was especially strange when prosecutors weren't quite sure how to approach the widely publicized case of Megan Meier. The 13-year-old Meier committed suicide after being deceived and bullied by another girl and her mother, Lori Drew. Unable to find a good way to approach the issue, prosecutors charged Drew under MySpace's End User License Agreement, effectively giving MySpace the power to dictate criminal law."

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man the last election sucked (-1, Flamebait)

Fanboy Fantasies (917592) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557825)

I had to choose between voting for a nigger or a republican.

Re:man the last election sucked (1)

gravos (912628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557875)

If you were to ask me personally, I'd say it was stupid and unconstitutional for the government to regulate the game video games business. It's the usual story of government trying to trample on our civil liberties and individual rights.

On the other hand, as somebody who feels that there are certain types of games minors definitely should not be playing, I wish we would see more self-regulation from the games and retail industry, or at least some serious attempts to keep games out of hands of minors without the ESRB.

Re:man the last election sucked (2, Interesting)

AlterRNow (1215236) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557909)

I guess parent used the wrong 'Reply' button.

Do you think these 'serious attempts to keep games out of hands of minors' should restrict a parents ability to buy games for their children? After all, age does not denote maturity ( which is also why I think the 'age of consent' is ridiculous' but that's another topic )

Re:man the last election sucked (4, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558213)

I know that if my teenage nephews wanted the most violent gory game on the planet I would have NO problem with buying it for them. Why? Because not only have they been playing games from the time their little fingers could grasp a controller (for which I still get bitched at for ruining my sisters "hallmark moment" because instead of mommy or daddy my oldest first words were MINE! because I dared to try to sneak in some eternal champions while he was napping after playing Barney) but more importantly from the time they were little I showed them how games were made. The "behind the scenes" as it were.

I used WAD editors(remember those?) to show them how levels were made, used Bryce and Paintshop Pro to show them how scene and character art was made, showed them how scripts controlled the enemy characters, etc. So now when the oldest plays a shooter(the youngest prefers MMOs) I hear dialog like this "Who designed this thing? Would you look at the draw in? And look at all the jagged seams! Do they think this is a PSOne? And who wrote the AI for this thing? Can't they see I have just mowed down a dozen of their buddies? DUCK YOU DUMMY!" so I don't think I have to worry about my boys mixing up fantasy and reality.

But of course these regulations are trying to fix with pointless laws a much deeper and more sinister problem we have in this country: abandoned kids. What I mean by abandoned isn't thrown out onto the street, no, in some ways this is much worse. I am talking about all those kids out there whose parents have simply used the TV(and now the game console) as an excuse to never interact with their children. Picking up my nephews from their friends houses I have seen it first hand. Houses without a single book or magazine so you know the child has never been read to, parents too busy with their own lives to even notice if the kid isn't there, kid allowed to stare at the screen for hours as long as they don't bother the parents, etc.

It is no wonder that kids like that might have trouble separating what they see and play from reality, hell they were raised by the tube. But all the regulations in the world isn't going to make those parents spend time with their kids. Frankly I don't know of anything that would. Maybe instead of ever more stupid regulations we could be pushing for more personal responsibility? Hell if I know. It is just so sad to see with your own eyes kids being raised by a television set.

Re:man the last election sucked (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26558399)

I don't know much about The State of Video Game Regulation, but here's my story:

I dropped a brown rope this morning the size of a small black child. At one point, I wasn't sure if I was taking a shit or if the shit was taking me. On that point, what's the deal with taking a shit? Shouldn't it be leaving a shit? I'm certainly not taking anything with me when I'm done.

But back on topic, The State of Video Game Regulation sucks ass.

Those who play games don't realize their loss. (2, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558611)

The biggest issue, it seems to me, is that people who spend a lot of time playing video games generally lack social skills. While everyone else was learning how to relate to the world, video game players were learning how to relate to video games.

Those who play games don't realize that they are socially backward because they are socially backward.

Re:Those who play games don't realize their loss. (3, Insightful)

Frigga's Ring (1044024) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558921)

Interesting statement. Have you considered, though, that some people are drawn to video games because they are socially awkward and not the other way around?

Re:Those who play games don't realize their loss. (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559551)

The biggest issue, it seems to me, is that people who spend a lot of time playing video games generally lack social skills. While everyone else was learning how to relate to the world, video game players were learning how to relate to video games.

Those who play games don't realize that they are socially backward because they are socially backward.

As I parent and actually remembering my teenage years that's a good thing. Why? Because if they are at home watching TV or playing video games, I know exactly where they are, what they are doing, and what they aren't doing. During my teenage years those "not socially backward" kids as you would put them would be drinking, smoking, having sex, or sometimes partying. So I'd much rather my kids be "socially backward" in that respect. My wife and I don't drink or smoke, and we close and lock the door when we have sex. What other good example do we have to be to our kids?

My kids go to public school and get dragged to church by the wife. It's how I grew up. Why shouldn't that be enough outside the family socialization?

Re:Those who play games don't realize their loss. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26560161)

This gets modded insightful? It's generic BS with nothing to back it up. Google is your friend - look up gamers and social skills and you'll find that studies have shown that they're MORE well adapted.

Most games now require teamwork, adaptation to enemy tactics and compromise/cooperation between players. Just like the team sports of old that taught us how to deal with people. Get that chip off your shoulder and go learn something.

Re:man the last election sucked (1)

EchaniDrgn (1039374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559981)

I have no problem as a parent if another parent goes out an buys any game they desire for their child. I also don't have any problem with a parent getting their child alcohol or cigarettes. As far as I'm concerned it is the responsibility of the parent to determine what is OK for their child. Whether or not people parent "properly" is an argument that no one comes away satisfied from.

But what regulation I would like to see is keeping more hardcore games and movies from being sold to minors. I don't see how this infringes on the rights of a parent, and the protections it provides to minors are the same as those provided for other substances, Tobacco, Firearms, Alcohol, and R rated movies (if the theater wishes to enforce this one).

Again, if a parent wants to go out and buy the latest "blow up everything, kill everyone, and laugh about it" game then it's their choice, but I think that it should be something that is up to the parent, not the retailer.

Re:man the last election sucked (1)

The Moof (859402) | more than 5 years ago | (#26560151)

I know that if my teenage nephews wanted the most violent gory game on the planet I would have NO problem with buying it for them.

I have a problem with that. They're not your kids. If you feel so strongly about it, perhaps you could persuade your brother/sister on the argument of letting their kids play the games in question. I'm guessing that the parents have a problem with it and that's why the kids are coming to you.

Re:man the last election sucked (2, Funny)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557911)

They're not stamping on civil liberties or the individuals rights, they're trying to protect us from ourselves because we're too stupid to know better!
I'm off to play counter-strike and plant a bomb in a non-descript the middle eastern town...

Re:man the last election sucked (3, Insightful)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558119)

Well.. according to the article, there were 2 laws made, and both have been shutdown.. Then it also talks about a Ca state law that is being fought..From what I gather, the industry is regulating themselves anyway.. I don't see what the hub-bub is all about.. The Constitution seems to be working just fine in this area.

As to "protecting" children... That is the parents job.. period. If I was a parent today, it would be up to me to decide when I felt they could handle the internet.. or to decide if I felt they had enough of a grasp on the difference between fantasy and reality to handle some of these games... Personally, I feel that any parent that has kids that are under the age of 16 or so surfing the internet by themselves are pretty shitty parents.

There is no kid safe internet.. and if people want that, they will have to build a separate read only internet with "approved" content.. until then, just keep em off it.. problem solved.

Re:man the last election sucked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26558541)

I got an even better idea. BE A PARENT and BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR CHILD.

That's the problem with society today. We want everyone else to "make sure out child X". A good parent is involved with there child and knows whats going on, at least to the best of there ability.

No parent is perfect and there is no manual for being a good parent. That being said a good parent will know what there letting there kid see and do.

Take charge, Take control, Take care of your child and stop blaming society because your a lame loser parent.

Now I see the problem (1)

doublecuffs (914081) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557867)

I always wondered if there was any truth in the, "TV and computer games are bad for you" story until my son was born. When he was 3 and was told to turn off the TV, he had a paddy. He's grown out of that, but now he's 6 and plays on his PC and Nintendo DS, when he's told to finish and switch it off, he gets quite agressive and shouts and makes threats. Even he realizes later that it is ridiculous and unacceptable, but he is so disoriented from being immersed in the game (Lego Star Wars and Lego Indiana Jones if you must know) that he can't see reason at the time. I guess it's all part of learning and growing up.

Re:Now I see the problem (3, Interesting)

AlterRNow (1215236) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557877)

He would have probably had a paddy when you told him to stop playing with his toys regardless of what they were.

Hasn't anyone considered the possibility that the reason why children become aggressive when told to stop doing something they are enjoying, is because they were enjoying it?

Re:Now I see the problem (1)

doublecuffs (914081) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557901)

That's just it, he argues when told to stop reading and go to bed or to stop playing with other toys, but he doesn't have an agressive paddy like he does when he's been playing on his computer or DS. He really is disoriented by playing these games. However, I don't think that his loathing of brussel sprouts can be blamed on computer games.

Re:Now I see the problem (1)

AlterRNow (1215236) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557975)

Maybe video games induce some sort of adrenaline rush which he doesn't know how to control ( hence why he realises it was wrong later ) that other toys do not?

I'm not saying I'm right and I'm definately not saying that that is a reason why we should stop children playing video games. After all, if he doesn't learn how to control his aggression now, he will find it harder to control when he is older.

Oh, and thank you for not reading my initial reply as a personal slating, I know how easy it is to misinterpret the "tone" of text.

Re:Now I see the problem (1)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558557)

Maybe he enjoys the DS or computer more, elevating it from argument/backchat to full on tantrum. The reaction is proportional to the enjoyment of said item.

Re:Now I see the problem (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558799)

Tool. All kids get like that when they don't get their way. Its normal. I got similarly upset when I had to stop play with toy trucks or whatever.

I really wish people had to get a license before they have children.

Re:Now I see the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26559175)

I get similarly upset when I have to stop playing with toy trucks or whatever.

Fixed that for you.

Re:Now I see the problem (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26560097)

Try giving him some warning time. Explain to him that it's almost time for X, so you have 10 minutes left on your DS. Remind him at 5 and 2 minutes. That should be enough for him to wind down and get unimmersed. This works well enough on my GF's daughter, she's 7 next month.

Of course, this has nothing to do with video games and would be the same for any activity a child enjoys.

Obtaining digital items through extortion (3, Informative)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557895)

There was a case in the Netherlands where kids obtained some items in Runescape through extortion of another kid. This is also punishable just like "normal" theft according to the judge (if you can call theft normal).

Link to article in Dutch: http://www.parool.nl/parool/nl/7/Misdaad/article/detail/38458/2008/10/21/Rechter-straft-jongens-voor-afpersen-in-computerspel.dhtml [parool.nl]

Re:Obtaining digital items through extortion (3, Informative)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557905)

I should probably add that the kids didn't do this in the game, but outside the game with actual contact between the kids (they were in the same school)... although the items were only digital.

Re:Obtaining digital items through extortion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26557951)

maybe it's not on the theft per se, that could be accepted in a digital world. it's more for the coercion part and physical harassment.

Re:Obtaining digital items through extortion (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559489)

And with regard to the legal quips in the article synopsis above....while I think what Lori Drew did was dispicable....I certainly hope her legal team is making an appeal on the conviction.

I really am troubled by the prosecution stretching one law so badly to make up for the fact that there was NO real law on the books against what she did.

In the past, the person was let go. Yes, that sucks, but, if there is no law, there is no crime. Usually a law gets passed to prevent/punish it next time.

Stretching an unrelated 'law' like this sets terrible precedents for future prosecutions of other 'crimes' that are really non-crimes. Does one really deserve jail time for breaking a websites user agreement? That's essentially what this precedent says....Lori Drew wasn't convicted of anything concerning the death of the girl...only breaking this agreement and stretching it to tie in with hacker laws.

Re:Obtaining digital items through extortion (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26560079)

I don't understand how one can say, "No laws apply". There are laws against stalking, and laws against libel/slander of other individuals. The mom might only spend a year in jail for these minor crimes, but that's still better than nothing.

Also there's vigilante justice.

If my daughter was killed by a bunch of bullies that's bad enough, but another parent? Who should know better than to gang-up on an underage teen??? I'm afraid I'd suffer a case of "temporary insanity" against said parent.

Re:Obtaining digital items through extortion (1)

Colourspace (563895) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558489)

This is also punishable just like "normal" theft according to the judge (if you can call theft normal).

"This is also punishable just like theft in meatspace, according to the judge" Fix'd

Re:Obtaining digital items through extortion (1)

scientus (1357317) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559599)

these kids need to grow up.

everything is owned by the game makers, this isnt theft

it may be harassment but not theft

Remember, it's only inevitable (4, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557897)

when you accept it as such.

I don't see why they should regulate video games any more than they regulate the content of books.

Re:Remember, it's only inevitable (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557997)

I don't see why they should regulate video games any more than they regulate the content of books.

Do you think they should regulate movies any more than they regulate the content of books?

Re:Remember, it's only inevitable (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558439)

Do you think they should regulate movies any more than they regulate the content of books?

No, I don't.

Re:Remember, it's only inevitable (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558485)

I don't see why they should regulate video games any more than they regulate the content of books.

Do you think they should regulate movies any more than they regulate the content of books?

No, I don't.


Would you be interested in a copy of Mein Kampf: The Game?

Re:Remember, it's only inevitable (2, Insightful)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558727)

Personally no, though I respect your right to distributed it.

Re:Remember, it's only inevitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26558929)

no, because it would be terribly dull...just like the book.

Re:Remember, it's only inevitable (1)

Oktober Sunset (838224) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558937)

How the fuck would you make a game out of Mein Kampf? Or did you just choose that cos it is 'teh eeevil hitler book' without actually considering the stupidity of the statement. Will you follow up with US declaration of independence : the video game, Das Kapital: the video game, the rights of man: hte video game, a brief history of time: the video game, photoshop for dummies: the video game.

Re:Remember, it's only inevitable (4, Funny)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559125)

photoshop for dummies: the video game.

They did that a long time ago. It was called Mario Paint.

Re:Remember, it's only inevitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26559083)

It was called Bioshock.

Re:Remember, it's only inevitable (1)

Cowmonaut (989226) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559503)

Way to invoke Godwin's Law. By the way, do you think certain subjects should just be censored? Personally I'd rather everyone read Mein Kampf at a certain age so they can see how twisted and evil Hitler actually was. The crazy bastards that'd agree with it are going to anyways even if they know it or not.

Re:Remember, it's only inevitable (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559141)

I thought so. We disagree on that.

The way I see it, innocence protects somewhat from all but the most detailed descriptions in a book. A movie most of the times describes in almost perfect detail anything it depicts.

As I see it, games should have exactly the same laws (for those kind of things) as movies.

For reference, my opinion about books (pure text) is that they should have no control at all and that any problem with their free distribution, even a minimal one, should be treated as a serious attack on freedom of speech.

Re:Remember, it's only inevitable (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26560157)

The way I see it, innocence protects somewhat from all but the most detailed descriptions in a book. A movie most of the times describes in almost perfect detail anything it depicts.

As I see it, games should have exactly the same laws (for those kind of things) as movies.

Who are you trying to protect?

Re:Remember, it's only inevitable (5, Insightful)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558015)

There is a slight difference that puts games more in line with films - graphics and the removal of the need for an imagination.

Give someone a book containing a sexual or violent scene and they require some imagination to make an image of it. For some people the same words can provoke lesser or greater images. For games and films you get it laid out in front of you with full colour and everything, so there's less ambiguity to the detail.

Books tend to self-regulate based on vocabulary as well - put complex words in your books and you're not likely to get many kids reading them, but put it in a film and it's accessible to loads of people who wouldn't have read a text version. Lord of the Rings is a great example - how many pre-teen kids would manage to read LotR and how many like the film? There's nothing terrible in LotR for sexual/violent content (there's violence, but nothing excessively described) but it still aims itself at an audience based on the vocabulary it uses.

Granted you still get books that are sexual or violent to greater and lesser degrees, but they've never been regulated and since most books are probably PG on content but for older readers based on vocabulary then there'd be a backlash from those used to books not being regulated/age rated.

Re:Remember, it's only inevitable (2, Insightful)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558191)

> There's nothing terrible in LotR for sexual/violent content (there's violence, but nothing excessively described) but it still aims itself at an audience based on the vocabulary it uses.

No terrible violent content? People get stabbed to death with swords, shot with arrows, set on fire, drowned, etc. I don't have a problem with these things, but let's not pretend that LotR is not very violent.

Re:Remember, it's only inevitable (2, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558309)

I don't see how you can equate a simple statement like "Ozgnikt stabbed Frumbumnìr" with a moving image showing blood spurting everywhere and shit and giblets all falling out.

Now if it was Sven Hassel and not Tolkien it would be closer. But still different.

Re:Remember, it's only inevitable (1)

dyefade (735994) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558411)

Poor FrumbumnÃr, I knew him well.

Re:Remember, it's only inevitable (2, Interesting)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558423)

> I don't see how you can equate a simple statement like "Ozgnikt stabbed FrumbumnÃr" with a moving image showing blood spurting everywhere and shit and giblets all falling out.

I didn't. I just said that the books contained a lot of violence. I never in any way suggested that the violence in LotR was the same as people stabbing eachother in a moving picture 'showing blood spurting everywhere and shit and giblets all falling out', although now I feel the need to point out that IMHO books can do a better job describing pain and agony (and possibly the joy this brings to the one inflicting the pain and agony...) than movies, provided the reader has at least some imagination.

Re:Remember, it's only inevitable (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26558869)

I don't see how you can equate a simple statement like "Ozgnikt stabbed FrumbumnÃr" with a moving image showing blood spurting everywhere and shit and giblets all falling out.

Ironically, you used words to describe precisely that moving image.

Re:Remember, it's only inevitable (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559019)

Yes, the latter describes the full consequences of just how bad this violence really would be if you did it for real, whilst the former trivialises it, and glosses over the effects, making it easy for readers to forget the harmful consequences of actual violence.

I never understood why it is that more detailed scenes are seen as worse. My suspicion is simply because people find it "disgusting". They don't want to see it - and they think you shouldn't see it too.

Re:Remember, it's only inevitable (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558493)

I didn't say there was no violent content, I said that nothing was terribly violent in that there's violence but nothing is excessively described. As other people pointed out, there's a difference between "X stabbed Y" and an animation of it complete with images of how to do it and the blood, guts, etc involved. That's probably the main difference between film/games and books.

Re:Remember, it's only inevitable (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558861)

Sorry, but what you said was:

No terrible violent content? People get stabbed to death with swords, shot with arrows, set on fire, drowned, etc. I don't have a problem with these things, but let's not pretend that LotR is not very violent.

That was in reply to someone who said:

There's nothing terrible in LotR for sexual/violent content (there's violence, but nothing excessively described)

I'm not even sure what you're trying to say any more. Are you?

Re:Remember, it's only inevitable (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559263)

I've got more of an idea of what I said than you, given that the first quote (which you attribute to me) wasn't me and the second quote (which you attribute to someone else) was me ;)

Re:Remember, it's only inevitable (2, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558605)

Books tend to self-regulate based on vocabulary as well - put complex words in your books and you're not likely to get many kids reading them, but put it in a film and it's accessible to loads of people who wouldn't have read a text version. Lord of the Rings is a great example - how many pre-teen kids would manage to read LotR and how many like the film?

Considering the project was begun by a professor of literature and mythology for the entertainment of his children, your example is not very good.

Good literature is challenging and expands the mind. Hollywood productions do the opposite. They overstimulate the external senses and close the mind. LotR: The Movie was a disservice to humanity, not unlike the rest of what comes out of Hollywood.

Re:Remember, it's only inevitable (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558993)

Books tend to self-regulate based on vocabulary as well - put complex words in your books and you're not likely to get many kids reading them, but put it in a film and it's accessible to loads of people who wouldn't have read a text version.

But I see no correlation between complex vocabulary, and having adult themes. One could have a book that was unsuitable for children, whilst still being something they can read. And conversely:

Lord of the Rings is a great example

I'm not sure how - as you acknowledge yourself, it's an example of where few young kids would read it, even though the content is considered fine.

Whilst I take your point on a possible difference between text and images, I'm not sure this fully explains desire to censor. Consider the many attempts to censor the Internet - these plans typically do not exempt textual content on the Internet.

(Having said that, there are those who do want to censor written material - here in the UK, every so often they attempt to prosecute written material under the Obscene Publications Act, but there's never been a successful prosecution for written material in 50 years of the current Act. But they keep trying, and one day they might succeed - there's a new one coming to trial shortly, in fact, the "Girls Aloud" story.)

Re:Remember, it's only inevitable (1)

GravityStar (1209738) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559605)

I thoroughly enjoyed the sex and violence in "The Ninja" when I was 9-10.

I read it again when I was 11. That time the librarian did question me on why I was loaning that 500-page book.

Anyway, I have a pretty good imagination.

+1 Brilliant!!! (1)

Klootzak (824076) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558095)

Bringing accountability to Government means actually saying what you think [slashdot.org] , not just accepting that you have no voice...
Incidentally - the Internet & Web is the most effective tool for "having a voice" that the Human Race has ever had, why do you think China comes down so hard on it?

Don't just let Governments (or other people in power) pull the wool over your eyes with crap because it makes their jobs easier... Speak out!! (within legal boundaries)

Remember people, we live in Democracies (well, alot of us do!), you don't just have to bend over and take it unless EVERYONE AGREES you should, and most of the time people JUST AREN'T AWARE/INFORMED of what's happening.

Re:+1 Brilliant!!! (3, Insightful)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558199)

> Remember people, we live in democracies (well, alot of us do!), you don't just have to bend over and take it unless THE MAJORITY AGREES

Fixed that for you.

Re:+1 Brilliant!!! (1)

Klootzak (824076) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558235)

Oops, thanks!! +1 for you too! ;)

Re:+1 Brilliant!!! (4, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558257)

you don't just have to bend over and take it unless THE MAJORITY AGREES

And usually that only happens in prisons.

And some greek islands, if we trust some old travel books.

myspace legal guides .flv (5, Funny)

retech (1228598) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557935)

Yeah, having myspace set legal precedent is a great idea. Since they do such a good job with things like css, (d)html, javascript and the like. I'm sure they'd do incredibly well in the judicial system.

Before you freak out, please read this post as sarcastic.

Re:myspace legal guides .flv (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26560307)

Yeah, I'm not a fan of the way the Drew / Mayer case played out. OTOH, the summary slips in one important fact that seems to have escaped media attention previously: The law they used is predicated on $500 of damage being done.

That doesn't make it right, but it is worth paying attention to the details. Those who say "every web site can write criminal law now" are -- albeit perhaps unintentionally -- exagerating. MyEvilWebSite.com can say "you must write a thank-you note to the webmaster every time you access our site" in their EULA, but that doesn't mean that merely accessing their site without writing a thank-you note to the webmaster is criminal. It means that accessing their site without writing a thank-you note to teh webmaster and causing $500 of damage in the process is criminal.

I for one. (4, Funny)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557953)

Believe that we should start executing people for breaking their EULAs.

It's the next logical step towards a beautiful future.

The Subject Is Video Games (1)

pcgabe (712924) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557955)

But the topic is MySpace. That's quite the tangent, unless there's a MySpace video game. Wait, there ISN'T, is there?

Can you *imagine* what the MySpace game would be like?
 
::shudder::

Re:The Subject Is Video Games (4, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558007)

Can you *imagine* what the MySpace game would be like?

I don't remember the final score, but Dante wrote a detailed review.

Re:The Subject Is Video Games (1)

pcgabe (712924) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558107)

I don't remember the final score, but Dante wrote a detailed review.

Thanshin wins the thread.

Re:The Subject Is Video Games (1)

ewrong (1053160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558031)

Can you *imagine* what the MySpace game would be like?

I guess you'd have to create your own levels - so you'd be playing against a back drop of crappy animated gifs and every single text element would be a different garish colour, size and font.

Re:The Subject Is Video Games (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558729)

Can you *imagine* what the MySpace game would be like?

I thought there was - don't they call it "Second Life"?

Re:The Subject Is Video Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26559323)

I rated this thread hence the anonymity.

I imagine it would be an MMORPG, the various classes would be Pedophile, Lascivious Tween, Parent of Lascivious Tween trying to catch Lascivious Tween in compromising situation, Parent of a different Lascivious Tween trying to get other Lascivious Tween to commit suicide, Chris Hansen and CNN reporter.

Re:The Subject Is Video Games (1)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559511)

But the topic is MySpace. That's quite the tangent, unless there's a MySpace video game. Wait, there ISN'T, is there?

Can you *imagine* what the MySpace game would be like? ::shudder::

Myspace is a video game. You don't think it's real do you?

If you don't want your kids to play these games... (5, Insightful)

Brad_McBad (1423863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557965)

... Don't buy them for them, and turn on the content rating system, to stop them from borrowing them from friends. Both the XBox and PS3 have these features. Older consoles don't, I admit. But it's a trivial issue. Nonetheless

Most kids are bright enough to tell fiction from reality, and the ones who aren't are likely to get into trouble anyway.

I hesitate to say it, but George Carlin was right - "Wait, the kid who eats too many marbles doesn't get to grow up to have kids of his own? Good. Fuck 'em."

Re:If you don't want your kids to play these games (2, Informative)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558047)

Most kids are bright enough to tell fiction from reality, and the ones who aren't are likely to get into trouble anyway.

Exactly. The ones who have problems with video games are the ones who have problems anyway. I played 18 rated games in my early teens and I worked out okay because I knew that there was a difference between reality and fiction. If you don't know that then films, books and even childhood "role playing" games like "Cowboys and Indians" can have pretty much the same effect and cause you to think it is acceptable to do things you shouldn't.

Re:If you don't want your kids to play these games (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558537)

The danger is not so much as the child not knowing the difference between fictional and real. But the fact at young ages kids get emotionally connected. Even non-violent games, they get very angry when they loose candy land (a game of chance). But with Video games the child really gets emotionally connected the game, and normally really connects himself with the characters, and when he plays outside of the game he usually plays the video game that he is connected to. Leading them to do dangerous activities, No they probably wont go shooting people, but kicking, punching, finding a stick and using it as a sword. For most games these activities do almost no damage. Thus kids think they are relativity safe to act out in play. Also video games love to extend a persons ability to jump and survive jumps thus making kids more willing to jump of higher areas and hurting themselves.
No just targeting video games is unfair a lot of TV shows even ones targets kids like PowerRangers do the same thing, however video games adds that extra element of emotional connection.

We love to see the extram stories of people killing others. But the real danger is Billy smacking Joey with a baseball bat breaking an arm, pretending (and knowing that he was pretending) to be a video game character with a sword.

Re:If you don't want your kids to play these games (3, Insightful)

Brad_McBad (1423863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558623)

What you've just written is a monument to the mollycoddling that Western (but particularly middle class American) children get put through. It's utterly ridiculous. Little boys have run around with sticks, knocked each other over, fallen out of trees, and got busted nicking candy from the store since time immemorial, these things are an important part of establishing identity and social boundaries.

If a kid breaks another kids arm when playing with a baseball bat, he's learnt a damn hard lesson and won't do it again. If it's his arm that gets broken he'll learn to stay away from similar situations.

Adults often try to rationalise this behaviour as "he was playing halo, and he just hit his friend with a bat. It's the game's fault", when it ain't. He was being a kid.

Re:If you don't want your kids to play these games (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26560147)

I never hesitate to say that George Carlin was right. He was always right.

Re:If you don't want your kids to play these games (2, Insightful)

Brad_McBad (1423863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26560225)

Yeah, IRL, me either. Just don't want to get modded down for being seen to slap down someone's kids...

Boo the Dictator (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26558003)

Boo the Dictator Bush at several events while dodging Sheeple, Cronies and Zombie Service agents. Victory at the end of each round is celebrated with a pitcher of ice cold beer, a big fat blunt and a porn magazine.

Rated "E" for Everyone as everyone should know IT IS JUST A FUCKING GAME FOR CHRIST SAKE!

Brought to you by Trollcom.

Why is so hard for people to read TFA? (2, Insightful)

aarggh (806617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558009)

"effectively giving MySpace the power to dictate criminal law." is a load of rubbish, people need to read TFA before making statements like that. Lori was prosecuted for using a fake account to ILLEGALLY HARASS and VICTIMISE A MINOR!

The prosecution used the available and existing laws to ensure some sort of punishment for this crime as it generally fell into a non-existing law area. No laws were changed, no laws were trampled on. Unless people sign terms of agreement anywhere, AND intend to mis-represent themselves AND harass and victimise minors to the point of physical/mental harm or death, they have NOTHING to fear.

Period!

But if they do have that intention, they deserve everything they get.

Re:Why is so hard for people to read TFA? (2, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558289)

But wasn't the "using a fake account" the key part? That's a violation of the ToS, which is (or was before this case) a purely civil matter.

That wasn't the key issue (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558517)

The key issue here was that she did this in order to commit the crime of inflicting severe emotional distress on another. The first amendment has never protected people who want to do that. What really got Drew was the fact that she broke the ToS in a serious way in order to commit another crime.

Re:Why is so hard for people to read TFA? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559229)

Also, it is pretty clear that the enforcement of the TOS was highly selective (i.e., the only time they investigate whether a user provided accurate information is when they are facing a negative public relations event).

Re:Why is so hard for people to read TFA? (1)

grimJester (890090) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558369)

Unless people sign terms of agreement anywhere, AND intend to mis-represent themselves AND harass and victimise minors to the point of physical/mental harm or death, they have NOTHING to fear.

No. If people sign terms of service anywhere AND break them in any way causing a minimum of $500 damages they have to fear criminal charges for unauthorized access.

intend to mis-represent themselves -> Not limited to that. More generally, break a ToS.
victimise minors to the point of physical/mental harm or death -> Not limited to that. More generally, cause a minimum of $500 damages.

Re:Minimum of $500 damages (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558697)

1 Copy of a Hanson's "mmBop" song, or the billable hour when the lawyer laughed and spat coffee all over a brief?

Re:Why is so hard for people to read TFA? (1)

Roane (1075393) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558451)

She was charged under 18 U.S.C. 1030a2C; it prohibits exceeding authorized access to a computer to get information. One pertinent question is whether violating TOS, a contract between yourself and a corporation, constitutes unauthorized access. If it does, then it's a crime through CFAA. This is troublesome because few people read (or are capable of fully understanding) most TOS and because they frequently include "we can change this whenever we like". She wasn't charged for harassing the girl though a philosophical sense of justice demands that that was the crime committed. When activity falls into "a non-existing law area", it's not a crime. It may be later deemed a crime, but in America, you can't apply it retroactively.

Re:Why is so hard for people to read TFA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26559091)

The prosecution used the available and existing laws to ensure some sort of punishment for this crime as it generally fell into a non-existing law area. No laws were changed, no laws were trampled on.

A (bad) precedent was set. Clearly you don't understand how jurisprudence works in a common law system, but it's a big deal! It's almost the same as a new bill being signed into law. In fact, unless congress passes a law that supersedes it, most judges are wont to rule against an established precedent.

Re:Why is so hard for people to read TFA? (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559115)

"effectively giving MySpace the power to dictate criminal law." is a load of rubbish, people need to read TFA before making statements like that.

You mean TFA that says:

Unable to find a good way to approach the issue, prosecutors charged Drew under MySpace's End User License Agreement, effectively giving MySpace the power to dictate criminal law.

?

(I thought it was pretty obvious that TFS was quoting from TFA...)

But what crime was she charged for, specifically? The other reply claims it was "exceeding authorized access to a computer to get information", as opposed to using a fake account to harrass someone? (I could understand if impersonating a minor for the purpose of harrassment could be considered illegal - but the point is, that would be true whether or not it was in the TOS, and whether or not it was online if fact - it's got nothing to do with computers, just as harrassing someone over the phone shouldn't result you in being charged with hacking into the phone system...)

Solution is simple (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26558033)

Seriously, the solution is simple. Just do it like they do in NZ. Exactly the same system for video games as for movies. Effectively it just becomes the following:

R18 - Sexual content / Drugs / Extreme violence - GTA
R16 - High levels of violence - UT
M - Medium level violence, alcohol, etc - Baldur's Gate
G - Everyone - Tetris

It's illegal to supply anything with an R rating to someone under the R rating age, even if you're their parent. Nice and simple, and you never have problems with people claiming they didn't know what their kids were playing.

Re:Solution is simple (1)

f33dback (1458941) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558153)

Shame we never got Manhunt, despite it being about as ballsy as a SAW film. And yeah, I have no idea how other countries have so many problems when the way we do it works out well for us. Plus alot of chains here actually ID, which means if a kid is too young for a game, then they have to get someone older to buy it for them, which means if it for some reason comes back and bites them in the ass the older person gets done with supplying to a minor.

Re:Solution is simple (1)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558227)

Dude, that sucks. Why should the government dictate what games parents are allowed to give to their children? I played many games that would be considered R16/R18 when I was younger than 16, and many of my friends did the same, and none of us became crazy drunken women-beating drug-dealing axe-murderers.

Re:Solution is simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26558581)

Note to self: Never ever have children in the dictatorship of NZ, where the state decides how it wants to raise you children.

Re:Solution is simple (1)

RayMarron (657336) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559275)

No kidding! I currently play UT with my daughter, who is 11. It's about capture the flag & beating dad (litte punk!), not about the violence. In NZ, I guess I'd go to jail for bonding with my daughter.

Re:Solution is simple (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559021)

Wow, that's a great solution, let the government be your kid's nanny so you don't have to be concerned about ever making decisions for them.

Re:Solution is simple (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26560209)

I don't follow. What problem is this rating system intended to solve? Can you demonstrate that there is a problem to begin with?

The question is more... (1)

Kindaian (577374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558103)

Why are needed "new" laws for "online"?

The current laws for "offline" would work as well, so why???

Re:The question is more... (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558531)

Because a) the law makers don't understand the Internet and think it is somehow a completely different entity where existing rules don't fit*, b) they want to look like they're doing something and c) a good proportion of the general populace are in the same boat on point a) and demand or fall for point b).

.

* This is the same for parents who treat the Internet as some big nasty that'll cause their children to become drug-addicted psychopaths who get molested when the real-world rules of "avoid the bad bits" and "don't give personal details to strangers" would solve most of the problems, just like they would in the non-Internet world.

New medium, new fear (5, Informative)

sam_v1.35b (1296319) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558123)

Different societies have different value systems, and so different countries regulate different media in different ways.

What's important is that games get treated fairly against other media and regulated for what they are, not what scared, ignorant people worry they might be. The problem is that governments and legislators don't yet "get" games, and so fear and ignorance reign supreme.

As an example, in Australia, the government has a Classification Board that rates books, TV, movies and games. The Board is supposed to represent the values of the community and it generally does a pretty good job. Very few movies are refused classification (eg: banned).

Not so with video games. Games are regularly refused classification in Australia, largely because the highest classification for games is MA15+ - so if a game is considered only suitable for adults, then it can't be classified.

Yes, this is ludicrous and there's been a huge response from the local industry [abc.net.au] and a lot of local gamers. You can read more about it here [wikipedia.org] if you are interested.

The point I'm trying to make, though, is that games are not treated on the same level as other forms of media in Australia, because they're poorly understood by government as a medium - mainly because the people in government didn't grow up playing games. I'd bet there are similar issues to varying degrees in other countries.

Give it a decade or so and things will be different. Until then, we're going to have to keep putting up with emotive comments and costly ineffective legislation from politicians looking for cheap popularity amongst their ignorant and fearful dull-eyed constituents.

And yet... (0)

onceuponatime (821046) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558379)

They are definately able to find a link between pornography and paediatricians!! Funny that, violence on TV (Big business) and in games doesn't lead to crimes but porn does. Who would have thought...

Re:And yet... (1)

mrclisdue (1321513) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558499)

They are definately able to find a link between pornography and paediatricians!!

Funny that, violence on TV (Big business) and in games doesn't lead to crimes but porn does. Who would have thought...

Being a child's physician is a crime? Who knew? That sure explains a lot.

$500? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26558565)

$5000, not $500

DRM Anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26558595)

In short, gaining unauthorized access to someone's computer and doing $500 in damages opens you up for criminal charges. Aggresive DRM anyone? I figure disabling my dvd drives and putting difficult to remove malware on my computer without informing me is punishable by some prison time.

go away gov't (1)

Robocoastie (777066) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559077)

frackin gov't. When will people get it through their heads that gov't is NOT the answer, it's the PROBLEM. Leave us alone like the founders intended.

WTF? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559499)

Fairfield also points out combinations of laws, which, when put together make for strange outcomes. The biggest of these, for video games, is the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. In short, gaining unauthorized access to someone's computer and doing $500 in damages opens you up for criminal charges.

Sony rooted my PC, resulting in loss of hours of my time, well over $500 worth. Why aren't any of Sony's executives in prison?

It's good for prosecuting hackers

And another slashdot story asks about hackable digital converters. When I was a teenager I'd take $10 transistor radios and modify them to be guitar fuzzboxes, and I'd sell them for $50. This can be prosecuted now?

If "hacking" now means only "criminally breaking into computers" than what do we call what was traditionally called hacking? Someone who writes quick and dirty but useable code used to ba a hacker, what do we call him now?

That fit was especially strange when prosecutors weren't quite sure how to approach the widely publicized case of Megan Meier. The 13-year-old Meier committed suicide after being deceived and bullied by another girl and her mother, Lori Drew. Unable to find a good way to approach the issue, prosecutors charged Drew under MySpace's End User License Agreement, effectively giving MySpace the power to dictate criminal law."

Except that Drew was found not guilty of hacking myspace.

Does anybody know a good nerd site I can move to? Because the lack of nerds here lately is unsettling.

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