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ESA Fights Minnesota Game Sales Restrictions

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago

41

BaldManTom writes "ZDNet is running a story about the ESA's suit against the state of Minnesota regarding a bill which would fine anyone under the age of 17 for buying a game rated 'M' or 'AO'." From the article: "Lowenstein said that the average game buyer last year was 40 and the average player was 33. He also questioned how lawmakers reasonably expected retailers to collect the $25 fine from children."

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Ventura (1)

Corbets (169101) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490048)

Come on, with Ventura at the helm, what did you expect? :)

Re:Ventura (3, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490069)

Ventura is no longer the governor, he didn't run for a second term. If he was, its unlikely he'd have signed this law. he was slightly libertarian bent. He went on record as saying prostitution should be legal in the past.

Re:Ventura (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15490124)

He went on record as saying prostitution should be legal in the past.

But prostitution was legal in the past!

Re:Ventura (1)

Admiral Justin (628358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490420)

A wise man, George Carlin, points out...

"Paying for things is legal... Sex is legal... why is paying for sex illegal? There are far worse things you can do than giving someone an orgasm"

Re:Ventura (1)

Ethan Allison (904983) | more than 8 years ago | (#15491317)

This was Ventura's reasoning.

Re:Ventura (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15490143)

Ventura left office in 2003.

Re:Ventura (1)

-kertrats- (718219) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490198)

Ventura hasn't been governor for 4 years...

Re:Ventura (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490549)

Some of us wish he still was... Then again, I'm in Atlanta, so I'm stuck in a very different political climate these days. :-(

That's easy... (4, Funny)

daranz (914716) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490059)

He also questioned how lawmakers reasonably expected retailers to collect the $25 fine from children.

That's easy: they'd kill a hooker and steal her money, or murder someone for their wallet. We're talking about gamers here, after all.

Re:That's easy... (1)

fuzzyfozzie (978329) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490252)

"We're talking about gamers here, after all." Well, in that case they would kill a Catholic school girl by repeatedly pouring hot coffee all over her body until her skin melted off. I saw it in a videogame.

Re:That's easy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15490313)

fucking awesome! what game?

the best i ever saw was postal 2, where i would taze a NPC until they peed themselves and then light them on fire with gasoline. if i really wanted to make them suffer, i would piss on them to put it out and repeat.

Re:That's easy... (2, Insightful)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490322)

He is wondering how retailers will collect the money from the kids. Not how the kids get the money.

Hello sentence comprehension, nice to see you today.

Re:That's easy... (1)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490355)

Don't you mean they'd shoot the little bastard in the face?

JESUS FUCKING CHRIST LOOKS LIKE ZONK WOKE UP (0, Troll)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490062)

Long night of beating off to anime? No, wait that's Taco. Anyway, I look forward to the torrent of games stories now that zonk is on shift. Zonk, you are such a fag. Please leave.

What? (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490066)

I agree that underage children shouldn't be able to buy M or AO rated games. But giving a fine to the child that the retailer is supposed to collect? That's ridiculous. What incentive is there for the retailer to do so? They lose a sail, and somehow they have to enfore a law? What if the child can't/won't pay? Are they supposed to detain (kidnap?) the kid?

Either ZDnet isn't giving a very good overview of the law, or this belongs on one of those dumbest law lists.

Kickbacks (2, Insightful)

boldtbanan (905468) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490131)

When any non-government agency is supposed to collect any money for the government, they usually get a cut of the money. That's how it works for sales tax, which is analogous to a fine here.

What concerns me is that, depending on how this bill is written, retailers may be given an incentive to entrap minors. What's to stop a retailer from trying to convince kids to buy these games, then charging them an additional $25 'fine' at the register when they but it (besides bad publicity, although it might garner them good publicity from some sources). Since the description of the bill FTA seems to indicate that it's not a finable offense until after the purchase, the retailer makes a profit off of the sale, and more profit off of the fine. Something just doesn't add up with this scheme.

Re:Kickbacks (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490167)

I wouldn't say its analogous to a sales tax. And it does ay an attempt to purchase the game. But year, if the retailer gets a cut, that's almost worse. I still have to wonder what the action would be if the child does not pay the fine. Is the retailer going to call 911? I can't see the police responding over a $25 fine. Arrest the kid? I can see lawsuits popping up when some retailer "arrests" a minor for not paying a fine.

Re:Kickbacks (1)

ChaosDiscord (4913) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490463)

When any non-government agency is supposed to collect any money for the government, they usually get a cut of the money. That's how it works for sales tax, which is analogous to a fine here.

What are you talking about? Sales tax is nothing like this fine.

Sales tax is owed by a business to the government. You're not involved at all. However, to make prices seem lower businesses advertise a lower price that doesn't include the percentage they will eventually owe to the government. While common, this is hardly required. Indeed businesses like vendor carts often simply advertise the full price and don't charge extra for the sales tax (it helps keep the math simple). They still need to pay up to the city, county, and state. The business isn't getting a cut of the sales tax. They're just labelling the percentage of the real price of the product that will eventually be handed to the government. If they want a bigger "cut" they simply increase their prices (and the sales tax that goes to the government goes up proportionally). If anyone is getting a "cut", it's the government getting a cut of the business's revenue.

Re:Kickbacks (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 8 years ago | (#15492096)

Which, if I'm not mistaken, is why San Diego had to get rid of their traffic cameras which were run by a private company: It's illegal for private entities to perform the role of law enforcement. Sales tax is completely different, in that the seller is not imposing a penalty for an alleged violation of the law.

Re:What? (1)

kailoran (887304) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490321)

They lose a sail

Arrr, it's got to be those nasty pirates, taking other people's sails out.
(couldn't resist)

Re:What? (1)

Dance_Dance_Karnov (793804) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490478)

and if retailers lose to many sails they won't be able to make it to the next port.

Re:What? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490481)

They lose a sail, and somehow they have to enfore a law?

You do if you want to stay in business. You can't sell alcohol to minors, you can't sell cigarettes to minors.

Re:What? (2, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15492581)

I agree that underage children shouldn't be able to buy M or AO rated games.

Why do you say that? Did the State of Minnesota mandate the rating process? Does the state oversee the correct application of a rating to a particular game? Did the state place the ratings on the boxes? Can a game producer appeal to the state if they feel a rating is unfair? Does the state regulate any portion of the rating system at all?

No.

A voluntary system created by the industry, with private reviews and voluntary compliance by game producers, and now it's somehow state-mandated that retailers abuse this completely unofficial system? And not only that, but to try to fine minors at the register? It's like someone wrote this law just to see how fast the Supreme Court can strike it down.

Let parents do their job and be parents. The state is horrible and ineffective at just about everything else they do, what on earth makes them think they know better than me what's best for my kid?

What I'd really like to see the ESRB do is to grant some game an M rating strictly for "flagrant blasphemy and satanic references". Then we'd see how quickly this idiocy could be overturned!

Re:What? (1)

jthestump (950361) | more than 8 years ago | (#15496423)

A voluntary system created by the industry, with private reviews and voluntary compliance by game producers, and now it's somehow state-mandated that retailers abuse this completely unofficial system?

Key word: voluntary

If the government doesn't control, oversee, or indeed have anything to do with the rating system, they shouldn't make laws that rely on that system. It's that simple.

Re:What? (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511350)

If the government doesn't control, oversee, or indeed have anything to do with the rating system, they can't make laws that rely on that system. It's that simple.
Fixed that for you.

yakidy yak (don't talk back) (2, Funny)

Burlap (615181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490117)

FTA
The association's most recent legal victory came in April when a federal judge in Michigan issued a permanent injunction halting the implementation of a state bill that would ban the sale of violent video games to minors. The judge rejected the state's claim that the interactive nature of video games makes them less entitled to First Amendment protections, the ESA said.

cause you know... conversations arn't interactive in the least. Guess some politician got too used to hearing themselves talk and everyone else just sit there in silence.

Re:yakidy yak (don't talk back) (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 8 years ago | (#15492060)

I find your post insightful, however I would like to propose a fine for getting songs stuck in people's heads.

It's all politics (1)

Strider817 (952386) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490183)

Hurray for Political Pandering, it seems like this is an epidemic facing our states today... passing silly laws with little chance of succeeding in court, in order to increase your own political clout. Perhaps it's just that these lawmakers can't possibly believe that kids have rights under the constitution too.

If these states really wanted to protect kids, the best thing to do right now is to get into talks with the ESRB and work out a good solution to the problems they have with the rating system. If you don't think it's enforced enough, fine, but it they must realize that the rating system has to be enforced at the retail level, like the movie industry, if it has any chance of success, not at the government level.

dumb law (2, Insightful)

dosboot (973832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490200)

Well I'm a Minnesotan gamer and I don't think it is that silly to prevent kids from playing rated M games. It shouldn't be a law though, I'd rather see it be a simple store policy. The movie industry doesn't have this kind of ridiculous legislation.

Re:dumb law (2, Insightful)

hunterx11 (778171) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490269)

The movie industry doesn't have this kind of ridiculous legislation.

They also have more lobbyists than the video game industry.

Re:dumb law (1)

Nos9 (442559) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490325)

Most Video Game stores do have policies, and most follow them.
  I seem to recall all the "investigations" that have been done into this sort of thing it is the big chain stores that sell them most often (against their own policies) to under aged folks.
    Also being a Minnesotan gamer, and havign worked in a video game store, I can honestly say this won't help much with the problem of kids getting violent/explicit games.
    1) Truely explicit games aren't avaiable at game stores, most retailers do *not* carry AO rated gamers.
    2) most parent buy whatever their "perfect little angel" asks them to, and never ask anything abotu the game.
    3) most of the parents were annoyed that they had to be bothered to come into my store to pay for the game for their kid becasue it was rated M.
    4) most parents are totally clueless about the rating system, or how to read for that matter. I've ruined many, many 12-14 year olds days because they had mom all sold on that new GTA game, even after I mentioned that it was rated M for violence, blood and gore... then I dropped the "P" word on the parents and the game went back on the shelf... It is incredible, killing cops, going on a homocidal rampage, etc. no sweat... pay a woman for sex?! no way!

Re:dumb law (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490474)

Preventing them from playing involves a whole lot of things you really don't want the government in control of.

On the other hand, I see no problems with preventing people who do not meet the age requirements on the box from purchasing games.

Re:dumb law (2, Interesting)

Vexar (664860) | more than 8 years ago | (#15493653)

I think the state should require a license to sell M and AO licenses, and that the license would be revoked. make M and AO games a controlled substance, sort-of. That way, you'd lose your license if you got caught selling to minors.

M for 17 year olds, Ao for 18 year olds (1)

ZildjianKX (872002) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490266)

Shouldn't you be fined if you are under 18 for Ao games? Has anyone else noticed that some shops, like EBgames and GameStop won't sell mature games to anyone under 18, even thought M games are 17+ and meant for 17 year olds?

Only in america... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15490349)

... would you find capitalism at its finest.

"Sorry, we can't sell you that game son but we're going to take your money anyway!"

"What do you mean you can't pay? We know you got the money because you were just about to buy that $60 game!"

Is this like, legal? (1)

Miaomiao (618330) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490591)

I'm a Minnesotan, so it's trippy to see this here :) I was paying closer attention to our "ban gay marriage" thing honestly. Retailers have the right to refuse sale, for any reason, but adding a fine to minors makes things a little more fuggy. First of all minors do not have a right of contract, they can bail out freely. Things like alchohol and cigarrets are prohibited, but it's more giving minors access to them that's banned, not them using it. There's a similar policy with alcohol, but it turns different because of that muggy age between 18 and 21, where people ARE liable for using while underage. This law is essentially unenforceable, and would have a nasty time if ever challeneged in court. Now if we persecuted retailers for selling to minors without clear parental permission, there might be some merit to it. That's another issue though, and something we dont want to see.

Buying your way around the law (1)

RealmRPGer (889362) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490777)

So, even IF this bill would actually stand, I foresee certain retailers adopting a "$50 or $75 if you're under 18" rule.

Fine kids = Fine parents (1)

nuggz (69912) | more than 8 years ago | (#15490963)

Simple, you fine the child, but their guardian is responsible to pay the fine.

I say fine the store, they are guaranteed to be there for the transaction. Works for booze, guns, porn, gambling, movies, why not games too?

Fine, fine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15491434)

What is amusing is that this basically just raises the price of a game by $25. The child can still buy the game, they just have to pay more for it.

My opinion... (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 8 years ago | (#15492710)

I don't know what the specific law says, but here's my opinion on the matter.

If the law is simply preventing businesses from selling games which are rated for adults to children, and if the fines are imposed on the retailers (not the customers), then I guess it's okay. An adult, any adult, could simply go in and buy it for the minor, but hopefully that adult is the legal guardian. However, game ratings should always be optional, meaning if the video game manufacturers wanted to get around this law, they could leave the video game unrated.

Hold On.... (1)

ElaborateCalculator (744855) | more than 8 years ago | (#15492994)

... so this means that a retailer gets $50 (or $60, or whatever) from a minor when they purchase an M or AO game; then they immediately charge $25 because the minor purchased an M or AO game?

Doesn't that mean they are abetting the breaking of the law, then enforcing the punishment of it?
IANAL, of course...
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