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Games Industry Gains Lobbyist

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the talking-us-up dept.

46

Gamasutra is reporting on a first: a paid lobbyist for the games industry. The Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association has hired Stuart Spencer to represent the industry's interests in Washington. From the article: "Spencer's experience as a lobbyist comes from his founding role in the Stanton Park Group, where he also served as principal and general counsel. While at Stanton Park, Spencer represented several technology and health care clients. Prior to that, Spencer was a staffer for Rep. Louise Slaughter from 1996 to 2003, where he eventually became the House member's chief of staff."

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46 comments

They don't need it, (2, Insightful)

the-amazing-blob (917722) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777483)

The general consumer needs a lobbyist. We, as a people, need our rights protected from the big businesses. We are defenseless against the industries.

Re:They don't need it, (2, Insightful)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777519)

Nah, as long as torches, pitchforks, and alcohol are still legal, we aren't defenseless.

We (and by 'we' I mean consumers) are just too lazy to do anything about it. Sure, you'll have your rare occasions where someone tries to do something, but that is the exception, rather than the rule.

Re:They don't need it, (1)

Raindance (680694) | more than 7 years ago | (#14778689)

I fear that's a bit simplistic. We live in a much different socio-political era than we did in 1776. Some ways of changing the system are no longer valid.

Also, I would suggest that it's more that systemic disempowerment makes americans lazy rather than the other way around. You may disagree with me- I'm not sure by your comment- but they're certainly part of a positive feedback loop.

Re:They don't need it, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14782289)

I think it has more to do with the mental decay of our society. An enormous majority of people has no idea they are getting the shaft when buying standard consumer electronics.

We are turning into mindless drones who will work forever and be fed weak entertainment. Though itll probably drag the schemers down with us into stupidity.

Re:They don't need it, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14777960)

Um, hello? Have you actually seen what kinds of crap companies like Rockstar have been dealing with lately from various governments? They not only need to start lobbying, but soon.

Re:They don't need it, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14781349)

"We, as a people, need our rights protected from the big businesses"

that's what the fucking government is suppose to be doing. ironic huh?

Re:They don't need it, (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 8 years ago | (#14787323)

Yeah, apparently they're called "representatives"

will this solve anything? (2, Insightful)

kevin.fowler (915964) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777491)

Is this guy going to be an anti-Jack Thompson with just as much of a crackpot sensationalist view... or is he going to actually relay his point in a sane manner?

Re:will this solve anything? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14777522)

or is he going to actually relay his point in a sane manner?

One cannot fight irrational people with rationality. You might try countering their arguments on logical points, only to find that they believe the cow is purple and they have therefore won the debate. Sadly neither the Republicans nor the Democrats have been acting rationally for the past few decades or so, so in order to make any headway, one must convince them that the cow is in actual fact neon green.

Re:will this solve anything? (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 7 years ago | (#14779531)


One cannot fight irrational people with rationality.


Actually, you can. In the case of that person in question (who claims to be a lawyer), a large number of people wrote to the Flordia Bar Association asking to review his license to practice law. His reaction only reinforced the accusations about his professional conduct.

Right now, he has the effectiveness of a standard internet troll. Winning the debate is now as easy as completely ignoring him, as other moderate and anti-game groups are beginning to distance themselves from that person in question (who claims to be a lawyer.)

A while ago, he was a threat when he tried to attack Penny Arcade. Now, he's just back to a standard troll - even the newspapers are beginning to recognise this as one made an update on an existing article stating that no video games were found in the search in spite of such a claim by you-know-who (a person whc claims to be a lawyer.)

One of his latest proposals was to write a violent video game - which was intended to be satirical for targetting police, and stuff, but ended up satirizing the behaviour of anti-video game activists.

Re:will this solve anything? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14777586)

The question is, do sane points of view have any noticeable effect on politicians?

Do gamers really need a lobbyist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14777511)

Should OSHA regulations be applied to parents' basements?

Re:Do gamers really need a lobbyist? (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777571)

Since when did the basement become a workplace? I would think at the very least the EPA should be poking around these basements. Those tall piles of dirty underwear can threaten mankind with environmental disasters that makes an asteroid impact look harmless.

About time (1)

hunterx11 (778171) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777526)

It's both heartening and depressing to hear this. While this will be good for the games industry, it's sad that they have to buy into the system of corruption to avoid being the target of legislation. After all, there aren't any laws restricting children from seeing R-rated movies, yet politicians seem eager to jump on the anti-games bandwagon. Of course, the MPAA doesn't just lobby, they br^H^Hcontribute to campaigns.

Re:About time (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 8 years ago | (#14787353)

But this isn't the actual game industry that's got the man. It's the retailers, the stores, the guys wanting to make money off their backs.

Best Government money can buy! (3, Insightful)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777582)

I find it somewhat ironic that Capitalism is the cancer of Democracy.

Of the people, by the people, for the people.*

*replace people for money
or
*only for people with money

All forms of government fail because they all forget to factor in 1 key element. Human Nature.

Communism doesn't work because some people will realize that they don't have to work hard and still get the same benefits.
Democracy doesn't work because of greed.
Socalist governments don't work for the combined reasons of above.
Monarcy doesn't work because you are the victim to the whims of 1 person.

It seems like it's a lot like the prison system,

It's broken, it doesn't work, we need something better.
It's the best we have.

Re:Best Government money can buy! (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777741)

"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."
-- Winston Churchill

Re:Best Government money can buy! (1)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 7 years ago | (#14778856)

Democracy is extraordinarily effective, when it's compulsory. Most democracies are liberally lazy and enmeshed in enforced capitalism. Churchhill was wrong.

Re:Best Government money can buy! (1)

TonyXL (33244) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777854)

How about a constitutional republic (hey, that's actually what this country was founded aa). Unfortunately, we have sunk into a democracy (which James Madison called the most vile form of government.)

Under a CR, money wouldn't buy special favors, because Congress would be strictly constrained by Article I, Section 8 [cornell.edu] . So they couldn't make laws banning games, publishing copy protection workarounds, DMCA, etc.

Re:Best Government money can buy! (1)

nx (194271) | more than 8 years ago | (#14783322)

Madisons definition of democracy is no longer relevant - modern political science has many, many definitions of democracy. In its most wide sense it simply means that the ruling body's power is derived from its citizens, something which clearly includes the US. There is, however, something called 'constitutional rule' which is meant to limit government power. Furthermore, most western countries are referred to as liberal democracies, i.e. countries where the ruling body's power is derived from its citizens and where citizens have legal protection from the government, including freedom of speech, equality under the law, etc.

I do agree with you on the issue at hand; political donations should be strictly regulated. However, there are some opposing viewpoints on this. Some argue that a pluralistic system (e.g. in the US), where the government is impartial towards competing special interests groups, is a superior form of governing.

Re:Best Government money can buy! (1)

JackDW (904211) | more than 7 years ago | (#14778341)

I find it somewhat ironic that Capitalism is the cancer of Democracy.

Do you think so? I think that capitalism is how democracy works.

You have a choice about where you spend your money, and so does everyone else. This "free market" provides the essence of freedom, because economic power is not centralised - it is shared by you, and everyone else with money.

If you remove the money from democracy, you must replace it with another mechanism for decentralising economic power, or the result will be dictatorship. Unfortunately, no-one has come up with a substitute for money.

Of course, some constraints need to be applied to pure capitalism: if this was not done, then all the money would be in the hands of gangsters. One could argue that today's capitalism has become a bit like that: although MegaCorp isn't allowed to go around murdering people, it can buy politicians. But that's a problem with today's government, not capitalism itself.

Re:Best Government money can buy! (1)

Kuros_overkill (879102) | more than 7 years ago | (#14779167)

I think that capitalism is how democracy works.
Not true... In a TRUE democracy EVERYONE gets a vote.
With Capitalism, only the people with the most money get a vote.

Re:Best Government money can buy! (1)

illumin8 (148082) | more than 7 years ago | (#14778612)

I find it somewhat ironic that Capitalism is the cancer of Democracy. ...
All forms of government fail because they all forget to factor in 1 key element. Human Nature.


Actually capitalism works simply because of human nature. Humans in a capitalist system realize that the potential to make a greater amount of money or collect a greater amount of resources than their fellow humans exists, and this motivates them to work harder and produce more. How does this not work?

Are you complaining about all the luxuries of modern life and technology that capitalism has brought you? Because I can pretty much guarantee you that the Internet would have never been created in a communist country. There's no real incentive in a communist country to invent anything because you can't make any money off of it. Why should someone invent a personal computer to better all humanity when they won't make a single penny of the sale of it. Capitalism exists to motivate us to work, simply through human nature.

You should read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand if you want to understand more about the true nature of collectivism and capitalism.

Re:Best Government money can buy! (1)

Allen Varney (449382) | more than 7 years ago | (#14778775)

All forms of government fail because they all forget to factor in 1 key element. Human Nature. [...] Actually capitalism works simply because of human nature. Capitalism, believe it or not, isn't a form of government. It's an economic system. Economic systems, believe it or not, aren't forms of government. They just take over governments.

Re:Best Government money can buy! (1)

illumin8 (148082) | more than 7 years ago | (#14778855)

Capitalism, believe it or not, isn't a form of government. It's an economic system. Economic systems, believe it or not, aren't forms of government. They just take over governments.

I know this, although grandparent poster doesn't seem to. Notice how I called it a "system", not a government. Capitalism is the economic system that the US is based on.

*chuckle* (1)

BitterAndDrunk (799378) | more than 7 years ago | (#14779241)

There's better places to look for comparisons between collectivism and capitalism. Ayn Rand was at best a propagandist and a writer of schlock.

I always giggle a bit when I see Ayn Rand cited as a source for the failure of communism and/or the support of capitalism. She wrote fiction. And not particularly good fiction either; one dimensional morality tales that at heart were relatively boring.

Re:Best Government money can buy! (1)

coolcold (805170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14781045)

There's no real incentive in a communist country to invent anything because you can't make any money off of it. Why should someone invent a personal computer to better all humanity when they won't make a single penny of the sale of it. Capitalism exists to motivate us to work, simply through human nature.

You will be surprised what education (read brain washing) could make you do. Try look up on communism in china especially ones in rural area.

Re:Best Government money can buy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14778639)

Who are you going to listen to as a legislator? The guy who bugs you once every 4 years or the guy who does it all the time and pays you cash for your new yacht?

Re:Best Government money can buy! (1)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 7 years ago | (#14780528)

All forms of government fail because they all forget to factor in 1 key element. Human Nature.

Actually lots of people understood the untrustworthiness of human nature, like this guy:

"What is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary." -James Madison (from Federalist No. 51)

Re:Best Government money can buy! (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 8 years ago | (#14782545)

"Democracy doesn't work because of greed."

replace Democracy with Capitalism, noob.

Democracy has nothing to do with greed.

Democracy fails because of one thing: "None of us is as dumb as all of us."
every single democratic decision is DOOMED to fail.

it always develops into a two-party system because people quickly figure out that they can form an Oligopoly of political power just by agreeing to focus their efforts on a few key issues at a time. And then the entire other 50% HAS no choice but to directly oppose the behemoth that is the stupid people in a large group.

take a look at the democratic and republican parties. right now they've devolved to the point where they're more concerned about preserving their political control of issues than actually dealing with them.

example: abortion.

the vast majority of americans believe that abortion is mean, and that women should have the right to choose. (by vast I mean over 60%)

simply put, that's the majority view.

now, the republicans say they work for family values and want to take measures to discourage abortion. that's vague enough to gain favor with the people without actually opposing their views.

the democrats claim that they are fighting for less government involvement and the woman's right to choose. clearly what the public is ready to accept.

now, the actual PROBLEM is that women are having abortions, for some reason. note that nobody out of these two parties has ANY plan to stop whatever is causing this problem.

instead, they CREATE an artificial controversy, making it look like you have to join one of these two sides and duke it out or your side (whichever one that is) will lose.

Thus, the two parties abuse this issue at the same time to leech voters. and the end result is that people have a real hard time deciding, and the voter turnout gets closer and closer to a dead heat tie.

When that happens, ONLY the extremists' votes really matter, because everyone else's votes get canceled out.

Re:Best Government money can buy! (1)

jandersen (462034) | more than 8 years ago | (#14783434)

Communism doesn't work because some people will realize that they don't have to work hard and still get the same benefits.

Democracy doesn't work because of greed.

Socalist governments don't work for the combined reasons of above.

Monarcy doesn't work because you are the victim to the whims of 1 person.
 


So what do we do? Start from the basic concept of communism, add some of the best things from capitalism etc. The big problem always seems to be that societies are not trying to evolve and improve. What we need is to be pragmatic and put all stupid ideals and religious views to one side for a while and simply learn to do things better. USA has a long way to go in this direction; so do China, Europe, Russia and all the others; better get moving, don't you think?

Oh, goody! (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777609)

Today he wines and dines some senators, tommorrow it's illegal to sell used videogames or run emulators.

-Eric

Re:Oh, goody! (1)

Swanktastic (109747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777697)

Today he wines and dines some senators, tommorrow it's illegal to sell used videogames or run emulators.

Not to let facts get in the way of a good joke, BUT the Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association and Video Software Dealers Association are trade groups for retail software vendors.

Their objective is to make sure bills don't get passed that limit software resale. In fact, they recently blocked a California law seeking to do just that.

   

Re:Oh, goody! (1)

Il128 (467312) | more than 7 years ago | (#14778371)

We are such pesimists because being negative is right more than half the time.

This is a bad thing for users of games.

Slashdot : Service Unavailable (0, Offtopic)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777617)

What's up with Slashdot?
The last 2 days ... I received the following message several times...

503 Service Unavailable
The service is not available. Please try again later.

Re:Slashdot : Service Unavailable (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777934)

The /. crew is playing Diablo on the web server.

If you can't beat 'em (1)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777623)

If you can't beat 'em, you might as well join 'em. I think I just puked in my mouth a little.

Games industry VS gamers (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777680)

It should be noted that the "games industry" doesn't always have interest that coincides with gamers. More particularly, the industry's interests don't coincide well with industry employees.

While it might be nice to see the anti-gaming crusaders put in their place a bit, the possibility of employees taking a hit and more attacks against those who make anti-CD cracks (or more promotion of Starforce or other such evils) doesn't necessarily make this a good thing.

Kinda Scary (1)

smaerd (954708) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777808)

Which Games Industry is he representing? If he's representing the Id Softwares of the US then this could be good. I highly doubt this, however. My guess is he's lobbying for Vivendi, EA, or Take2. If this is the case, we can look forward to seeing emulation labeled a terrorist activity in the near future.

The Game Lobby (1)

kbonapart (645754) | more than 8 years ago | (#14777831)

Finally someone can threaten the politians in a way that can scare them. With voters.

The youth vote jumped 11% in 2004 to reach 47% turnout in 18-24 age voters. The feared Elderly Voting Bloc has a whopping 66% voter turn out. We are gaining ground.

If the numbers we attained forthe 2004 election hold, or perish the thought, we gain ground, we could actually see social security legislation that, you know, DOESN'T SUCK. Private accounts indeed.

The "Gamer" lobby could reach over into health care reform, drug reform (pot? okay! meth? WTF?!?!), industry oversight reform (you're dumping WHAT into the lake? I fish there!). With a democratic majority but still a republican presence, the Gamer lobby could deal with both sides, and focus on issues for the future. Our future.

Gamers Unite! And vote!

Re:The Game Lobby (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#14779904)

The "Gamer" lobby could reach over into industry oversight reform (you're dumping WHAT into the lake? I fish there!).

Haha, when was the last time you saw a gamer outside, let alone FISHING!

Re:The Game Lobby (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 8 years ago | (#14781346)

The last time I did anything that even remotly resembles fishing is when I built fishing boats in Empire Earth :)

Good news and Bad news... (1)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 7 years ago | (#14778046)

The good news is, the politicians will no longer be screaming to ban video games any more...

The bad news is, now the government will pay subsidies to video game makers not to make video games (like they give to farmers to not to grow things). :)

Gaming Industry stirkes out with Lobbyist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14778579)

Rep. Slaughter's old Chief of staff hired as the gaming industry's first lobbyist. Yeah, that's about the political quaivalent of the Congress announcing it picked up its first game console this week, a used Sega from ebay. And unless the dems win the hosue and senate in 06, this guy won't be coming from the side that runs the show in DC. Dick Cheney would have to start shooting a lot of people for the Dems to have a shot in 06 - it's just a numbers game, and the odds favor the incumbents in a big way. So don't expect the gaming industry to be safe from attacks by Congressional Committees eager to "protect the children". Just because they hired a former staffer from a rather insignificant member of Congress, and yes, even as ranking Member on Rules, Louise Slaughter can be described as insignificant. I'm sure she'd be an entirely different force in a majority party, but that and the tooth fairy will get you a quarter to call someone who cares.

The good and the bad of it (1)

keldog42 (956510) | more than 7 years ago | (#14778742)

I see this as a double edged sword. On one hand the industry will be using the lobbyist to better protect them from their own employees (http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/10/06/1 231236 [slashdot.org] ). On the other, they can gain some protection for their games and their creators from Jack Thompson types and the popular media in general.

So in the future, you will be able to rape cats in GTA12 if you feel like it, but the game will be developed by abused Taiwanese children in exchange for small morsels of bread.

Stupid Choice of Lobbyist (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 8 years ago | (#14784627)

He's a Democrat with Democrat connections. DC is a Republican City. The regulator agencies, both houses of congress and all of it's committees are Republican run. There is not much of a chance of this changing until 2012.

And, as the game industry is in the business of making money, they should choose a lobbyist whose legislative history isn't in destroying businesses and having contempt for any money earned from a source other than the gov'ment.

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