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Video Games Not Protected Form of Speech

Hemos posted more than 12 years ago | from the looking-for-more-information dept.

Games 482

E-Rock writes "Video Games are lumped with child porn as unprotected forms of speech. "A federal judge said local governments can limit children's access to violent or sexually explicit video games, saying games are not constitutionally protected forms of speech." Story with limited details at Nando."

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YES, bUTT gOAT (-1)

trollercoaster (250101) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410817)

Your comment violated the "postercomment" compression filter. Try less whitespace and/or less repetition. Comment aborted.

Re:YES, bUTT gOAT (-1)

Luke SkyTroller (564295) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410846)

Yes, your comment violated their "postercomment" compression filter. Meanwhile the /. staff continues violating young boys.

Virtual video games? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3410824)

So, now that virtual child porn IS legal, what about virtual video games?

Re:Virtual video games? (-1)

Anonymous Cowrad (571322) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410866)

good god, yall

when i eat garlic toast my poop smells like garlic toast.

Re:Virtual video games? (-1)

trollercoaster (250101) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410897)


Okay Father, get back in your confessional.

Yep. No "speech" here (1)

Corby911 (250281) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410825)

Just like there's no "speech" in a picture. (If you think of a game as a interactive series of pictures)

Re:Yep. No "speech" here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3410894)

Just like there's no "speech" in a picture. (If you think of a game as a interactive series of pictures)

Are you kidding? A picture's worth a 1000 words!! :)

Re:Yep. No "speech" here (1)

Corby911 (250281) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410945)

Are you kidding? A picture's worth a 1000 words!! :)

Not according to pornography laws.

fucking computar (-1)

Anonymous Cowrad (571322) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410826)

god damn this thing!

frork!!!

hello (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3410828)

hello :)

text (0, Informative)

trollercoaster (250101) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410829)

St. Louis County's regulations on video games upheld
Copyright © 2002 AP Online

The Associated Press
ST. LOUIS (April 25, 2002 9:04 a.m. EDT) - A federal judge said local governments can limit children's access to violent or sexually explicit video games, saying games are not constitutionally protected forms of speech.

Senior U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh, in a ruling issued Friday, rejected a request by a video game industry group to throw out a St. Louis County ordinance regulating access to arcade and home video games.

The county must now decide whether to ask Limbaugh to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the Interactive Digital Software Association, county Counselor Patricia Redington said Monday.

The ordinance, passed in 2000, would require children under 17 to have parental consent before they can buy violent or sexually explicit video games or play similar arcade games. The council has suspended implementation of the ordinance until July 1.

The video game group called the ruling wrong on the facts and the law.

"The decision is clearly in conflict with virtually every other federal court decision on this and related issues," group President Doug Lowenstein said in a statement. "We're confident that our position will be sustained on appeal."

Limbaugh said he reviewed four different video games and found "no conveyance of ideas, expression, or anything else that could possibly amount to speech. The court finds that video games have more in common with board games and sports than they do with motion pictures."

Limbaugh said the county has a compelling interest in protecting the physical and emotional health of its children and assisting parents as guardians of their children's well-being.

St. Louis County modeled its ordinance after one in Indianapolis. That ordinance has been invalidated by a federal appeals court in Chicago.

Re:text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3410864)

A failed karma whoring!

first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3410831)

Booyah!

Re:first (-1)

Luke SkyTroller (564295) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410936)

Booyah is dying.

Not the end of the story (5, Funny)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410834)

In other news, MegaGameCorp announced today that their planned Christmas 2002 release of "Child Porn: The First Person Shooter" will be delayed indefinitely...

Videogames are violent? (2, Funny)

EReidJ (551124) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410902)

If videogames are too violent, then this isn't infringing my free speech rights. It's infringing my right to bear arms!

They'll pry this joystick out of my cold, dead hands!

Re:Not the end of the story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3410904)

There are way too many bad ways that pun could be read

Re:Not the end of the story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3410926)

Bad is subjective, you moral weakling.

Re:Not the end of the story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3410915)

Will that be single player only? Or do you have to play with other people?

...And what exactly will be shooting?

FP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3410838)

First Post!

which four? (1)

Guano_Jim (157555) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410843)

Which four games did the judge review? I can think of four games that obviously don't say much... Bolo, Tetris, Solitaire, and Tic-Tac-Toe.

Grim Fandango has some pro-Communism arguments sprinkled throughout. Does that not qualify as political speech?

Voyager should be an unprotected form of speech (0, Insightful)

Voyager Sucks Ass (570844) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410847)

So we could get those goatfuckers at Paramount to finally take that almighty shitfest off TV every night at 10/9 central.

Maybe if it were lumped in with child porn as unprotected speech, it would be less attractive to people as entertainment.

Well, most people. Not me, but most people.

Don't they do this already? (3, Interesting)

SplendidIsolatn (468434) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410848)

I know at my local stores, if you want to buy a 'M'ature game, you have to show ID if you appear under 17. There are games which, quite frankly, aren't appropriate for that crowd. It's just the same as buying adult magazines and stuff--they won't let you in/let you buy if you're not of age. What's the big deal here?

Re:Don't they do this already? (1)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410880)

It's not a First Amendment issue if the government isn't involved. Is the age restriction statuatory there, or is it simply store policy for non-governmental reasons?

File this under "duh" (0, Flamebait)

zaren (204877) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410849)

They're *entertainment*, not speech...

Unless someone comes out with a pro-[insert political agenda here] game, I'm gonna have a hard time swallowing that something like GTA3 or Final FantasyXXVVVIIII has some kind of constitutional protection...

-----
Is Darwin an evolutionary OS? [cafepress.com]

Re:File this under "duh" (0, Insightful)

Voyager Sucks Ass (570844) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410876)

I'm gonna have a hard time swallowing that something like GTA3 or Final FantasyXXVVVIIII has some kind of constitutional protection.

A hard time swallowing? Would you have a hard time swallowing Lieutenant Commander Data's 12-inch long cyber-cock? Seven of Nine doesn't have a problem with it.

Mutually exclusive? (2)

Macrobat (318224) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410883)

So, by that logic, if I tell a joke, it's entertainment and not speech?

Re:Mutually exclusive? (2)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410998)

If somebody finds it offensive, yes, you'd better watch out. Recall, for instance, that the US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, ruled that the standard for sexual harassment should be "reasonable woman", not "reasonable person", and that psychological harm is not required...

*sigh*

Re:File this under "duh" (2)

x24 (81159) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410910)

They're *entertainment*, not speech...
So, I guess movies, music, and a good deal of literature are not speech, either.

Re:File this under "duh" (1)

TRACK-YOUR-POSITION (553878) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410973)

Now, this is just a troll, but I like the choice of games you have there. How could a game that glorifies crime so incredibly explicitly (so explicit it's hard to call it explicit) NOT have a political agenda?

And Final Fantasy? Every final fantasy game I've played more than a third of the way through after I has a huge political agenda. IV and VI could be seen as distrust for large organizations (empires are evil, little parties of adventurers are good.) V and VII focused on environmental destruction. I've been told VIII is supposed to be a metaphor for Japanese foreign relations. I didn't play IX or X far enough to have any idea what their top secret subversive political agenda is...

some times i get so angry about this.... (5, Insightful)

sniepre (517796) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410855)

I hate seeing when a judge feels he has to play daddy for the civilians..... Guess what? The children under 17 already HAVE parents, and its THEIR jobs to see to the monitoring of their video games and television and reading habits. If the child *didn't* have parents to watch over them, i can assure you that most likely the child is seeing far worse things in their life than GTA3.

Yes, our government is supposed to protect us, its citizens.. But everyone i talk to agrees with me that micromanagement in a corporate environment sucks, isnt this just micromanagement from the government into a family unit?

Re:some times i get so angry about this.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3410890)

Family unit? Hahahahaha!

Re:some times i get so angry about this.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3410923)

Such a trendy way of thinking. Go back to coding your 31337 lunix pr0gz.

Re:some times i get so angry about this.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3410928)

It should surprise nobody that this decision came
from someone in the Limbaugh (as in "Rush") clan.
This, along with Ashcroft, makes me proud to be a Missourian.

Re:some times i get so angry about this.... (5, Insightful)

Anixamander (448308) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410983)

While I tend to think the judge ruled on the wrong grounds on this one, I personally have no problem with limiting the access of video games to minors. Everyone likes to trot out the argument that it is the parents' responsibility, but that only works to a certain degree. A parent cannot, and should not, be around their child 100% of the time. There should be times when the child can be with their friends without parental supervision. And when that happens, I see no problem if the parent gets a little assistance from retailers who won't sell overly violent video games, or porn, or beer or cigarettes to their children. The movie rating system seems to work well, and there is no reason the video game ratings should not work the same way. And just as with a movie, if the parent wants their child to be exposed to the video games, they can buy it for them. This is not an issue of asking retailers to do the parenting. It may be a little bit of assistance, but I see no reason why this is patently wrong.

Re:some times i get so angry about this.... (2, Insightful)

shawnmelliott (515892) | more than 12 years ago | (#3411000)

Although I'm not a censorship kind of guy you have to look at your argument. If they HAVE parents AND those parents agree that it is acceptable for them to play say GTA3 or Carmageddon or any other 1 of a 100 games then that parent will buy/rent the game for that minor anyway.

It's not legal for a minor to buy pornographic magazines but as far as I know there is nothing stopping that minor's father/mother from buying it for them for them to have in their own home.

So yes, there should be a reconsideration on what does and does not fall under protected speech but the Parental argument just as easily swings the other way

Re:some times i get so angry about this.... (0)

The Turd Report (527733) | more than 12 years ago | (#3411016)

So, should 14 year olds have unrestricted access to tobbacco and alchohol? After all, by your logic, their parents will just stop them, if they don't like it.

The point is that parents can't watch a kid 24/7. These laws are to keep people, like you, from selling my 10 year old a 5th of vodka, a carton of Camels, a copy of Hustler Barely Legal, and a copy of GTA3.

Re:some times i get so angry about this.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3411020)

Right. So we should have pornographic billboards all over this country? Why not? It's the parent's responsibility to make sure their children don't see them right?

If there was a videogame that had subliminal messages in it, you'd want it banned.

I think the problem here is just a shitload of /.ers that are under 18 that want to see a nude Lara Croft without their parents finding out.

This ruling is troubling, the original law wasn't (5, Interesting)

Mantrid (250133) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410858)

The original law that was to be simply limited underage children:

"The ordinance, passed in 2000, would require children under 17 to have parental consent before they can buy violent or sexually explicit video games or play similar arcade games. "
(from the article)

I don't see anything wrong with this; it's the same way with movies in many places.

The problem is, of course, that once video games aren't protected as free speech, that they can start cracking down on whatever they feel like cracking down on.

Better protect your copies of GTA3!

Re:This ruling is troubling, the original law wasn (2)

Steveftoth (78419) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410995)

Again, movies are not prohibited to minors by law, only theaters have that policy.

Under 18 rights (1)

Farmer Jimbo (515393) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410860)

Children under the age of 18 do not have full protection of rights under the constitution in the first place. If someone is going to argue that their violent or explicit videogame should be sold to minors without any restrictions, I don't think that's gonna fly if it goes to the supreme court level.

Let the whining begin! (-1)

The Turd Report (527733) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410863)

Ok, let's start bitching about how kids are being repressed because they can't play a fucking video game. Let's also watch as all the 18+ year old 'kids' start bitching about it restricts their rights as well. Ok? Begin!

Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3410869)

It's not a large step from stating that video games are not protected, to movies, and then plays, and possibly even books.

What about those 'interactive books'? Are they not protected?

Furthermore, what exactly is not protected, the media, or the source code?

This has sinister implications indeed.

i'd like to (0)

epodrevol (219315) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410870)

hear the free speech coming out of the judges mouth when I frag his ass for the bazillionth time in T2. Seriously, If you have no context (never in his life played a REAL video game - solitaire dont count), how can you properly judge anything?

Same with drugs cases, how many of these federal judges even know what drugs are like? They are soooo quick to issue thier version of the law of the land, and they have no experience in the field.

Waahh...Yes, call the Wahmbulance, im pissed off today.

We must march on Washington. (3, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410872)

They go too far.

We as Americans must demand unrestricted access to virtual crack hos getting blown up. Our Fore Fathers would be proud if they knew that little Jane and Jimmy American had the constitutionally protected right to mass gibs.

Re:We must march on Washington. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3411005)

Kenja, I must say I'm disappointed that your comment got "0, Troll", because I think it is "5, Pretty Damned Funny". :)

Oh well, /. at it's finest.

How is that possible? (5, Interesting)

seldolivaw (179178) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410874)

If (at least in some states) source code is free speech [advogato.org] , and games are just the result of that code, I don't see how this is going to hold up under appeal. IANAL (obviously).

Re:How is that possible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3410944)

UANAL. Yeah boyeee.

Re:How is that possible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3410999)

I sure do. And I enjoy it.

(It's only karma...)

A game may not be speech... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3410877)

But we ALSO have freedom of EXPRESSION, and a game is definitely a means of expression.

And cutscenes in games are like movies, so I don't see how those cannot be considered speech seprate from the game.

Bogus (2, Interesting)

genkael (102983) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410878)

This is just another example of how the US government is taking away basic freedoms from their citizens. At this point in our history, the average US citizen (naturalized or otherwise) have fewer freedoms and rights then under the British government prior to the Revolutionary War. We have more taxes, no real representation in Congress since the Senators and Representatives are bought and paid for by big bussiness. We can't bear arms in most cites, stories in the press are censored, our homes can be searched without a warrent under very weak excuses from the police, the state takes over federal control on a number of issues including gun control. It's only a matter of time before we can't cross the street without breaking the law.

Re:Bogus (2)

Darth Maul (19860) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410943)

Amen, brother! 'Course it's like the boiled frog. And the reason it keeps getting worse is because the people are not educated. People don't know their own country's history anymore. I'd bet most people think the cause of the Revolutionary War was those pesky Americans throwing tea overboard.

Re:Bogus (2)

ZaMoose (24734) | more than 12 years ago | (#3411025)

Wait, I thought that Starbucks invented all heated beverages,and they didn't exist back in 1900 when we declared independence from Canada, now did they?

There goes your theory, Mr. Smartypants!

Interactive movie? (1)

peachboy (313367) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410881)

IIRC, movies are a protected form of expression. If you think of a video game as an interactive movie (not a strech given the strong plotlines of many video games), would this not fall into the same or similar category? Games are, after all, works of fiction.

Why should games be any different from movies? (3, Insightful)

Mr. Neutron (3115) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410884)

In most places in the U.S., if you are under 17, you can't get into R-rated movies without an adult. If you are under 18, you can't buy a porn mag.

Why is that *any* different from restricting minors' access to certain video games? If society is going to allow freedom of expression in the content of games, it also has the responsibility of protecting vulnerable children from potentially harmful content. With freedom comes responsibility.

Parents, at home, they can let their kids play whatever games they want, or watch whatever movies, or look at whatever magazines. But in public space, there is a certain generally accepted level of protection for children that applies to all of these.

Re:Why should games be any different from movies? (2)

asparagus (29121) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410937)

Well, for starters, the movie age limit is a self-imposed restriction by the film companies/movie theatres themselves.

Used to be, local censorship boards would cut objectionable material out of the films before they would be allowed in theatres. Producers, understandably, didn't like this, so they inforced their own ratings system to keep the boards out.

So, this is different than movie theatres. However, the sale/rental of porn is limited by laws to adults. In that way, this is similar.

-Brett

Re:Why should games be any different from movies? (2)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410942)

n most places in the U.S., if you are under 17, you can't get into R-rated movies without an adult.

That's not by law, though. Movie theaters are recommended by the ratings board not to allow minors into the movie, and most theaters comply because they are afraid of the liability if they were sued by angry parents.

The ratings board is more of a lawsuit protection policy than it is a legal standards board...

Re:Why should games be any different from movies? (2)

Dimensio (311070) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410948)

While there are laws regarding pornography, there are no laws regarding R-rated movies. Theaters restrict minors from viewing R-rated movies without a parent or guardian present voluntarily, not under threat of legal action.

Re:Why should games be any different from movies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3410955)

There isn't a law preventing 16 year olds from getting in to R rated movies. At least, not in any major localities. That's the difference.

Re:Why should games be any different from movies? (2)

Ioldanach (88584) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410958)

Parents, at home, they can let their kids play whatever games they want, or watch whatever movies, or look at whatever magazines. But in public space, there is a certain generally accepted level of protection for children that applies to all of these.

Until your kid tells someone else they watched naked people doing weird stuff on the tv at home and child protective services comes along, slapping you with child endangerment. Doesn't even have to be that clear cut, CPS was called on a divorced friend of mine. Her kid saw pornos at daddy's house and came home with a filthy mouth. CPS came, inspected *THE MOTHER's* house, told her if she didn't shape up they'd take the kid away. Her house is impeccable. They then went to daddy's house. She called him ahead of time and warned him, but he didn't bother to put the videos away. They made him throw away the videos and secure all the weapons he had lying around, but he only got a slap on the wrist.

Re:Why should games be any different from movies? (1)

Chris Carollo (251937) | more than 12 years ago | (#3411010)

Until your kid tells someone else they watched naked people doing weird stuff on the tv at home and child protective services comes along, slapping you with child endangerment. Doesn't even have to be that clear cut, CPS was called on a divorced friend of mine. Her kid saw pornos at daddy's house and came home with a filthy mouth. CPS came, inspected *THE MOTHER's* house, told her if she didn't shape up they'd take the kid away. Her house is impeccable. They then went to daddy's house. She called him ahead of time and warned him, but he didn't bother to put the videos away. They made him throw away the videos and secure all the weapons he had lying around, but he only got a slap on the wrist.

Your problem is clearly then that CPS are morons, not that the kids were watching porn. I mean, if you accept that kids watching porn is bad, is there any issue here beyond the difference in treatment between the mother and father?

One Very Important Thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3410997)

Just for the record, the last time i checked, the whole "you must be 17 to enter an R rated movie" was not law. The last time i checked, it was a VOLUNTARY form of tactful self-censorship carried out by the MPAA, a private organisation, and compliance with the rating age limits is simply something a theatre must do before the MPAA will sell them film reels to show.

There is a vast, vast difference between one entity that creates and distributes films (the MPAA) instituting policies on who may be sold their films, and the government instituting laws saying that certain films may not be shown to certain people regardless of who made them or other factors..

This does not, however, have any bearing on the fact that in most jurisdictions there are age restrictions on who can buy pornography, so your point still holds. But the MPAA's rating system does not support what you are saying.

Now that the show is over and we have jointly exercised our constitutional rights we would like to leave you with one very important thought. Sometime in the future you may have the opportunity to serve as a juror in a censorship case, or a so called "Obscenity" case. It would be wise to remember that the same people who would stop you from listening to Boards of Canada may be back next year to complain about a book, or even a TV program. If you could be told what you can see or read, then it follows that you could be told what to say or think. Defend your constitutionaly protected rights. No one else will do it for you. Thank You. --Boards of Canada

Simple question (2, Flamebait)

Darth Maul (19860) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410885)

Why can't parents, and not the government, keep their children from violent and explicit games? And why can't we have a few more judges that have some common sense?

Every day you see more and more proof that the left is gaining more and more ground in this country. Things like this where government protection seems to be the only solution, so we slowly learn to accept more and more governmental control.

Yeah, I know, T(H)GSB, but oh well. This is important to me.

Re:Simple question (1)

Bob The Cowboy (308954) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410982)

Yeah, I know, T(H)GSB, but oh well. This is important to me.


I think its quite obvious this was a failure. As far as I can tell, nothing was lost from discussions in the past few days. Not to mention the number of people who "aren't posting" sure are doing a lot of posting.

Way to go guys.

Bill

Re:Simple question (1)

seann (307009) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410988)

Your actualy doing the gay black out thing blah?

Do you not have a life? "People are going to not post here. It's a fad. So now I am not going to. Bahh bahh. I'm a sheep."

Re:Simple question (3, Insightful)

prizog (42097) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410991)

Um. "the left"? I don't think it's censorship is a uniquely left-wing (or uniquely right-wing) phenomenon. Sure, lots of Democrats support these laws, but plenty of Republicans do too. And it's been a long time since the Democrats have represented the left anyway.

Interesting facts (1, Interesting)

unicron (20286) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410887)

I have a friend that runs a videogaming site [rpmgames.com] and repeated some interesting facts he heard about violence in video gaming, especially in the way it pertains to children. *The average video gamer is 28 years old *Last year(2001) only 9% of all videogames sold carried the M rating. Pretty sad information like this exists and people still want to point the finger at everything in world except their bad parenting.

In case it gets /. 'ed (1)

gambit3 (463693) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410892)

More Info... (1)

keep_it_simple_stupi (562690) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410895)

Here [arentfox.com] is more information (in a PDF file) about a similar case. As far as I'm concerned, what's the problem restricting kids from this type of content? If the parents think its cool, let them sign a waiver.

Simple problem, simple solution.

Re:More Info... (1)

Anonnymous Coward (557983) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410913)

Because if it can be withheld from kids because it's not speech, it can be withheld from grown-ups, too.

Four Different Games? (2, Funny)

BlackFoliage (210832) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410896)

Limbaugh said he reviewed four different video games and found "no conveyance of ideas, expression, or anything else that could possibly amount to speech. The court finds that video games have more in common with board games and sports than they do with motion pictures."

Wow! Four games and he's got the whole thing figured out? Imagine if someone claimed they had read four books and understood the complete posibility of literary expression. How did this guy graduate from high school, much less law school?

-BlackFoliage

Leisure Suit Larry (3, Interesting)

smack_attack (171144) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410899)

What about games that are porn? Am I the only person who actually enjoyed playing this series? It was risque, witty and very entertaining. Amazing that something so forward thinking hasn't been bothered to be duplicated with current game technology.

Re:Leisure Suit Larry (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3410977)

As a boy, I used to masturbate to the Leisure Suit Larry games. Now I masturbate to the Sims Hot Date.

Good and bad... (1, Troll)

Nijika (525558) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410900)

Since parents can't seem to parent these days, I tend to agree just as long as they let me play any damn violent deathgame I want once I'm at the age of majority.

Whats the news here? (2)

ProfMoriarty (518631) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410906)

I guess I may be denser than some, but what is the news here?

We have a LOCAL LAW (important part) that states that children We have a judge that says that the law is OK.

These must be the same people that say that certain movie titles are not appropriate for children So again ... I fail to see what the problem is here.

Re:Whats the news here? (1)

ProfMoriarty (518631) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410952)

Damnit ... hate the damn < symbols ... rrrr ...

Ok ... my post was this ...

I guess I may be denser than some, but what is the news here?

We have a LOCAL LAW (important part) that states that children < 17 cannot play certain titles of video games.

We have a judge that says that the law is OK.

These must be the same people that say that certain movie titles are not appropriate for children < 17.

So again ... I fail to see what the problem is here.

What is the point of this story? (2, Insightful)

jweatherley (457715) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410907)

HEMOS: A federal judge said local governments can limit children's access to violent or sexually explicit video games

I'm not American so forgive me if I'm wrong but isn't children's access to violent or sexually explicit videos/books/sex shows/whore houses already limited over there as in the rest of the world and further more isn't this regarded as a good thing?

why is anyone surprised? (2, Insightful)

Innominate Recreant (557409) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410909)

The state, local and federal governments already restrict children's access to other forms of entertainment - movies with an 'R' or 'NC-17' rating, for example (please save all rants about the MPAA for another discussion).

What those who might protest are forgetting is that until someone reaches the age of majority in the US, his/her rights - particularly "Constitutional" rights - are severely limited. Most rights that children have are those given to them by their parents.

they have time for this?! (2, Insightful)

gleam_mn (226101) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410912)

Limbaugh said the county has a compelling interest in protecting the physical and emotional health of its children and assisting parents as guardians of their children's well-being.

If the county has the time and manpower to help parents "protect the physical and emotional health" of their children by worrying about what video games they play then the county needs to have it's budget cut. Most counties can't keep the potholes in their streets filled or balance their budgets and yet these guys want to help folks raise their kids... nope, sorry guys, I don't think so!

Welcome to the club. (2, Insightful)

Computer! (412422) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410914)

How is this any different than restricting access to other forms of entertainment based on age?

Movies, music, magazines, etc. have been suffering the same way for years. This is not a troll: I am all for age-restriction of content. If I want my kids to see something, they'll see it, because I'll buy it and give it to them. Otherwise, I prefer that inappropriate speech be a little harder for them to access.

Congratulations (1, Redundant)

Have Blue (616) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410918)

You have now lumped child porn in with all other forms of porn as well as non-porn NC-17 movies. Thank you for painting as detailed and accurate a picture of the issue as the decision this story is complaining about.

Depends on Game (1)

AConnection (106831) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410920)

The judge says he reviewed four games (what a HUGE sample) and found them to be closer to board games not movies/stories, therefore justifying his judgement. I think he has a point with some games, but what about games like Myst, any RPG, even to some degree some of the First Person Shooters have a plot. As a parent, I would like to know what my children are doing, playing, and watching, but that is my responsibility, not societies as a whole.

What happened to taking responsibility for ourselves. Sometimes it seems that we are expecting more and more for our institutions to take care of us.

Crap (1)

MMBKG (469171) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410930)

There goes another freedom. All I can do is watch the USA's basic ideas go down the crapper one by one before I pack up and move to Canada or Japan.

protected speach and limited access (2)

bogado (25959) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410932)

Limiting access to minors is one thing, while protecting free speach is other. It is very diferent, if you say that videogames are not protected by the freedom of speach, then one could censor a videogame, base in the fact that it has porn or violence. Censorship means that you can get the game even thougth you an adult.

If you limit the access of some videogames to children, would be just like a playboy magazine or alcoholic drinks, that can only be sold to an adult. One could argue that this is also bad, but it is certainly better then the above option. And if you are a father that don't agree with this, you can aways buy the game for your kid.

The article seem to indicate that this is case for this law.

articles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3410933)

So playboy is really protected because of the articles??! :)

My $0.02.... (2)

blankmange (571591) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410939)

I guess I don't understand the reason why this was in front of a US judge to begin with; we are talking about restricting access of questionable material to children, not adults. If this is the case, then I really don't understand. These are children; they are supposed to have restricted access to violence and nudity. The video game group that filed this suit should be ashamed of themselves. The ordinance didn't ban the questionable video games, just limited access to them. I have to agree that it is a shame that we expect the law/government to pick where parents are failing, but this is the corner we have painted ourselves into....

Re:My $0.02.... (1)

MMBKG (469171) | more than 12 years ago | (#3411013)

These are children; they are supposed to have restricted access to violence and nudity.
Should we even be limiting them from such naughty things called LIFE? Nudity is not bad, it's the Puritan ethic America was built on that makes it so. As for violence, it depends on the kid. I don't like violence, but it's real, and it happens. Don't Disneyfy your child's world. IMHO

Are we for this or against it? (3, Insightful)

brogdon (65526) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410941)

Usually when something even remotely 1st Ammendment-related gets posted on slashdot, it's pretty obvious which way we, the masses, are supposed to feel (usually righteously idignant, which is fun).

On this one I'm not so sure though. Are we supposed to think that video games are a legitimate form of self-expression? Because that seems like a bit of a stretch for me. I don't ever recall seeing a video game that was seriously being used to get a point across in artistic or political fashion (Okay, maybe the one where you were a Palestinian fighting Jews with rocks, but that's still only one).

I don't know how to feel on this, which makes me uneasy. Where's JonKatz? If he'd attach a little rant here somewhere I could just take the opposite position and feel fine with myself.

Wow. What timing. (2)

LittleGuy (267282) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410961)

the Pong Channel [slashdot.org] will have to come with child-lockout capabilities.

What about the Supreme Court? (2)

M-G (44998) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410962)

Since the Supreme Court refused to hear Indianapolis's appeal on their video game law, where a lower court said that video games did fall under the First Amendment, how does Judge Limbaugh think he has a leg to stand on?

a strange outcome (2)

tps12 (105590) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410963)

I have to say, I'm baffled.

Since the origins of this country, Free Speech has been one of our most treasured amendments. Over the course of the years, we have seen these non-alienable rights slowly eroded by the politics of the times. Sadly, what is lost cannot always be regained. The Prohibition was the exception that proved the rule.

But are we now crossing the final line? Who is to say what the difference is between a console game and a web-based game? From there, a short leap from web game to web news site (anything come to mind?), and from that point it isn't hard to imagine the end of what was once the only Free Press in the civilized world.

In the past we have learned to treasure even that speech which is most offensive, including pornography, slander, Nazism, lynchings, and shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theatre.

I wonder if this ruling will be remembered in times to come as the beginning of the proverbial end.

What's the big deal here? (2, Interesting)

Quixadhal (45024) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410965)

The ordinance, passed in 2000, would require children under 17 to have parental consent before they can buy violent or sexually explicit video games or play similar arcade games. The council has suspended implementation of the ordinance until July 1.

Hmmm... doesn't say anything about limiting what you can depict, nor about limiting sales, nor about what you can do with it... It just says minors can't purchase it without concent. Now where have we seen that before?

Cigarettes?
Alcohol?
Firearms?
Porn videos?

Ok, so Little Johnny has to get his big brother to buy a copy of GTA4 (now with force-feedback hookers!)... annoying, but not any kind of threat to freedom that hasn't already been accepted for years.

Make up your minds people. Either children are NOT treated differently, in which case they can do all the bad things adults can do, but also have to pay all the penalties we do... or they ARE, in which case they get "protected" from things "we" think are "bad".

The judge saw the wrong games... (3, Insightful)

Steveftoth (78419) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410968)

---Begin Quote
Limbaugh said he reviewed four different video games and found "no conveyance of ideas, expression, or anything else that could possibly amount to speech. The court finds that video games have more in common with board games and sports than they do with motion pictures."
---End quote

This guy didn't try and play and of the final fantasy games. All those games push a fairly similar agenda of machine == bad and protect the earth. Or MGS, if you don't think that killing is wrong after playing MGS, then you didn't watch the cut scenes ( that games lives in contridiction, because it preaches that violence and killing are wrong, but the only way to beat it is to be involved with killing people ).

If he was only playing MK4, SFXXXSuperCapcomMarvelFighterTurboMegaAlphaSpecial Edition aand racing games then yeah, I can see his point. But even shoot em up games like Time Crisis or Slient Scope have anti-terrorist agendas. Just like many (crappy) HollyWood movies.

I feel that most games released today resemble the HollyWood schlock rather then the artistic projects that get produced. More like Scorpion King rather then say Pi. For every artistic game like MYST, there are a hundred shoot-em-up death game 2000 knock offs.

The guy only saw 4 games, I bet that if you showed certain movies to a judge who had never seen movies before you could get the same verdict, that movies have no artistic merit as well.

This is foolishness (2)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410969)

Movies and fictional novels are protected forms of speech. I have played computer games that have affected me deeply.

Deus Ex is an example of what I consider a game with a message.

I hope there will be more games like Deus Ex in the future. This is a new medium, and our legal system must recognize it. I'm not so worried about the speech that will be lost today, but I am worried about what video games will be like a decade from now.

A decade from now we could have real art being created with video games. Think of the messages that creators could use video games to send. People would have the choice of playing state of the art, edgy games. And of course they would have the choice of playing crap -- just like in any medium.

Or a decade from now we could have a giant conglomorate like Disney pushing out mediocracy on a traquilized public. Vanilla mediocracy without any ideas that hadn't been approved by a dozen focus groups and six lawyers.

Paintings are protected speech. Sculpture is protected speech. Books are protected speech. Movies are protected speech. Games deserve the same. We will regret it later if the protection is not extended.

Nothing to worry about (1)

beleg777 (551987) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410985)

"St. Louis County modeled its ordinance after one in Indianapolis. That ordinance has been invalidated by a federal appeals court in Chicago." The way the courts work, this almost gaurantees that this thing will get smashed in appeal.

What 4 games I wonder? (1)

lukegalea1234 (250067) | more than 12 years ago | (#3410989)

"no conveyance of ideas, expression, or anything else that could possibly amount to speech. The court finds that video games have more in common with board games and sports than they do with motion pictures."

I wonder what four games he examined. Of coarse not every game amounts to speech or expression.. but either did the movie Titanic or most other hollywood drivel, yet somehow they are protected.

What makes video games special: (1)

Damek (515688) | more than 12 years ago | (#3411002)

Limbaugh said he reviewed four different video games and found "no conveyance of ideas, expression, or anything else that could possibly amount to speech. The court finds that video games have more in common with board games and sports than they do with motion pictures."


OK, first, I disagree with his sampling methods. Only four? Far too few. There is also no mention of what types of games he played. Did he try Grim Fandango? Or just Quake 3 Arena?

Second, why are movies always the only thing video games are compared with? What about cartoons? Comic strips? Hell, I've read books worse than some video games.

"Conveyance of ideas" and "expression" seems to be gravely misunderstood by this judge. As someone else here already pointed out, images can convey ideas. Photography and paintings are forms of expression that are definitely first amendment protected, unless I am sorely mistaken.

Video games can seem daft and mindless, but they are still a form of creative expression by those who make them. At the very least, for the graphic art included in most modern games. I've been playing Darkened Skye recently, and despite its endless platform jumping at some points, the art makes me catch my breath at times, and what little dialogue there is is very funny at times. It may be little more than a pulp fantasy at times, but it's certainly more entertaining, with more intelligent ideas and thems, than the Doom novels. I hope books are still considered speech...

Um, you guys just don't understand.... (2, Insightful)

xRizen (319121) | more than 12 years ago | (#3411022)

"... local governments can limit children's access... "

Keywords: Limit, Children

Because, you know, adults can buy child porn.

Video games aren't leaving the realm of protected speech. They aren't banning them. They're saying children shouldn't have access to it, like porn, guns, alcohol, tobacco, and many other things 95%+ of America says children shouldn't have access to. And to be honest, I've played some games that I don't think children should play.

Possibly missing the point (2)

blankmange (571591) | more than 12 years ago | (#3411026)

I think, at least from reading the majority of the posts here, that we may be missing the point. The point isn't that the judge didn't rule that games are a form of free speech, but that he did this in the case of children, and he made the statement to that effect. Granted, I am going to jump up and down, wail, and gnash my teeth at the thought of someone threatening my 1st amendment rights, but this is not what is going on here. RTFA, guys!!
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