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Jack Thompson's Violent Game Bill Signed Into Law

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the happy-day-for-media-savvy-lawyers dept.

368

simoniker writes "Louisiana Democratic Representative Roy Burrell's HB1381 bill, covering violent videogames, has been signed into law by Governor Kathleen Blanco. The law takes effect immediately, the latest in a very long line of video game-related bills specific to one U.S. State. The measure proposed by HB 1381, which was drafted with the help of controversial Florida attorney and anti-game activist Jack Thompson, allows a judge to rule on whether or not a videogame meets established criteria for being inappropriate for minors and be subsequently pulled from store shelves. A person found guilty of selling such a game to a minor would face fines ranging from $100 to $2,000, plus a prison term of up to one year. Needless to say, the ESA will likely be mounting a legal challenge to this bill in the very near future."

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368 comments

Priorities (5, Insightful)

TheBogie (941620) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550832)

Kathleen Blanco should be worried about the coming hurricane season rather than wasting everyone's time with this.

Re:Priorities (3, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550847)

Yeah and police should be worried about the "real criminals" instead of harassing 16 year old kids for drinking beer in the woods!

Re:Priorities (3, Funny)

eneville (745111) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550920)

No. It's about the 8 year olds having sex and firing bb guns in the woods. 16 is pretty much 18... there's no big deal if they're watching inappropriate material. Big deal if they're much younger.

Re:Priorities (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15550940)

8 year olds having sex

If you're 8 years old and *able* to have sex, well then bravo!

Re:Priorities (2, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550948)

My point was that the "gov't employee should be doing X instead of Y", when their job entails both.

Sobriety checks and parking tickets are every much police work as homicide investigations, and signing bills into law (it passed the house, etc) is every much as much a governors job as planning for hurricanes. Actually planning for hurricanes isn't a governors job, per se.

Police don't write parking tickets. (4, Insightful)

FatSean (18753) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551056)

That is what 'meter maids' do. As for Sobriety Checkpoints...I think they are the evil product of cowardly turds who fear what they are told to fear.

But you do have a point, except for the fact that morality (which is what this law entails) is NOT part of the government's job.

Re:Priorities (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550978)

You're both wrong.
More people should get off their asses & do somthing so more can get handled at once.

Re:Priorities (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15551006)

They need another Hurricane Katrina.

Then they'll get what they deserve and also not have time or money for shit like this.

I love paying for people to live in dangerous area (2, Insightful)

FatSean (18753) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551039)

I really do. Like Florida...constantly getting federal funds to repair the damage from hurricanes that just keep comming.

On the upside, this is strong selection pressure against people who like to live near violent storms.

Re:I love paying for people to live in dangerous a (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15551068)

Confessions of a Welfare Queen [reason.com]. Goes into the insanity behind the National Flood Insurance Program...

Each state will treat it differently, but (1)

Deekin_Scalesinger (755062) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550839)

Florida will love have some input on this topic. I lived there for several years, and I remember repeated protests by local ethnic groups after each release of GTA, due to its perceived representation of those groups. It is also GW's brother's state still.

Re:Each state will treat it differently, but (1)

grogdamighty (884570) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550880)

This is a state law that applies to Louisiana only; it has absolutely no bearing on how Florida or any other state but Louisiana deals with violent video games.

Re:Each state will treat it differently, but (5, Informative)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551063)

This is a state law that applies to Louisiana only; it has absolutely no bearing on how Florida or any other state but Louisiana deals with violent video games.
That's not entirely true. Legally state law only applies to that state--although there are exceptions to that rule as well.

Politically, state law can affect other states in a couple of ways. First, politicians are always playing 'keep up with the Joneses.' If poll numbers go up for legislators in La. or a borderline incumbent gets reelected after campaigning on 'save our children from evil video games' you bet your sweet ass that will have a bearing on how other states deal with video games.

Also, politicians are lazy farks. Why do think they pass laws written by lobbyists? La. has a bill demonstrated to be passable. You think every other state considering a law on the same material is going to reinvent the wheel? Heck no! You can probably already buy a copy of this law at Office Depot--all you need to do is fill in the name of your state.

Now legally, a law like this can have great bearing on how other states deal with violent video games. Let's say there is a legal challenge to this new law in La. Whatever the outcome of that suit, again other states will use that information in forming their own laws. If it get's thrown out, expect the lobbyists to study the ruling closely to determine exactly what version of the same law would stand up in court. Think dealth penalty.

So, what about online retailers? (5, Insightful)

azrane2005 (860037) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550845)

I see the point of this, if you're going to Wal-Mart or GameStop/EB. But what about online side of retailers, Amazon, GameStop, Wal-Mart, etc. This bill only affects Louisiana, so if you can't find the game on store shelves, you'll be able to find it online.

Re:So, what about online retailers? (1)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550867)

Those major online retailers should just threaten to not sell anything to anyone in that state... I think the general public would be pretty pissed off and that would be the end of the idiotic law.

Re:So, what about online retailers? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15550875)

Well since you need to be 18(?) to get a credit card, they are technicaly not selling the games to a minor, even if it's a minor using the credit card.

Re:So, what about online retailers? (4, Informative)

paladinwannabe2 (889776) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550888)

Ah, but if Little Timmy orders it online, he's doing it through Mommy's Credit Card- which means that either A. Mommy gave her permission (in which case she's buying the game, and it's okay) or B. Little Timmy is commiting fraud, and it's Little Timmy who is breaking laws, not the seller. It would be the same as if Little Timmy stole beer from the department store- the store isn't breaking laws, Timmy is.

Re:So, what about online retailers? (1)

azrane2005 (860037) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550907)

Actually, if you go through Amazon, you only need a checking account. Last I checked at my bank, minors were allowed checking and savings accounts, as long as their parents co-signed.

Re:So, what about online retailers? (1)

wrcromagnum (902396) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550924)

Thank god you'll still be able to find it. This is censorship at its worst.

Re:So, what about online retailers? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15550947)

I can think of much, much worse forms of censorship than depriving not yet 18 year olds of some video games. Get a grip.

Re:So, what about online retailers? (2, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551058)

American censors like to start with these edge cases first and then move inwards. Once you can get a judge to declare that abusing a minor in a particular way is acceptable then it's a very short hop from allowing the government to do the exact same thing to everyone.

        British common law is the slippery slope made manifest.

        How many more times does it need repeated.
       

Re:So, what about online retailers? (1)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551093)

Unless there are some interstate laws that effect online commerce, an easy argument against an online version of this bill is due to the fact you need to have a credit card (checkcard) to purchase products online. Credit cards/check cards are only supposed to be given to people age 18 and older. While someoen here, I am sure, will say "well my nephew is 14 and has one" - well that is against the law. Does it happen? I know it does, I saw a personal banker (i used to manage a bank) help a minor apply for a check card (the minor being 17). I told the personal banker, and the kid they have to wait until 18 - no if's and or butts. I am sure this happend times before this when I wasn't around to stop it.

Remember, a minor's signature is worthless. Let us say a minor managed to buy a car. Drove it for a week, wrecked the car. The parents could go to the dealership, sue AND win, the money the minor paid for the car and then give the car to the dealership as-is. Dealership would be screwed.

So if little Johnny decides to go to an online retailer and purchase some highly violent/pornographic game then he needs mommy/daddy credit card. Even though the kid was pushing the buttons, it is considered that the parents did the purchasing (next time lock up your credit card).

If, however, an online version of this law came to pass it would only effect people (and companies) who residei n Louisiana.

Jack Thompson (1)

strike2867 (658030) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550846)

drafted with the help of controversial Florida attorney and anti-game activist Jack Thompson

Did they even think to do a background check on him?

Redundant? (3, Insightful)

Golias (176380) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550851)

Was a new state law really needed for something like this? Wouldn't it have made sense to simply apply the same rules that currently apply to the distribution of R-rated movies on DVD?

At least this wasn't a federal initiative. If the people of Louisiana have a problem with this law, they can certainly let their government know about it.

(Although, considering all that's happened in the last year, I can't imagine that current local leaders in that state have a very long and rosy political career ahead of them anyway. It's kind of tough to rein in a lame-duck government which is already world-famous for corruption. The people of that state who don't like this law might just have to wait for the next administration to work on getting it reversed.)

Re:Redundant? (2, Funny)

Sweeman (980241) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550902)

Mr. Thompson feels that the ESRB's rating system is too logical. He'd rather have an arbitrary and subjective system that can be bent to fit his needs.

Re:Redundant? (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550922)

There are no laws for R rated movies, they've been overturned by the courts time and time again. Although many theaters do voluntarily enforce the ratings. X rated movies do fall under obscenity laws, but I think it would be hard to qualify any video game as an X.

Re:Redundant? (5, Insightful)

dyslexicbunny (940925) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550979)

It's a pretty short bill (the bill [state.la.us]) but this phrase takes the cake.

(3) The game, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.

Who makes the diecsion on whether or not games fall into this category or not? Thompson? I think it's fair to say that no game (that people would seriously play) falls into this category based on how I read it. But then again, I don't play games for those reasons and likely, neither does anyone else.

Honestly though, I don't have a problem with either of the first two parts. Selling games to minors that don't fit into the ESRB ages should be a crime. But the fine should be enough and might be a little high on the top. And/or a year in prison is silly even with the fact it could also include hard labor.

Re:Redundant? (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551019)

Selling games to minors that don't fit into the ESRB ages should be a crime.

If people really are all that concerned, wouldn't community pressure be enough?

In a lot of neighborhoods across America, you can't buy pr0n in convenience stores anymore. Not because of laws, but because community groups shamed the stores into taking it off their shelves with threats of boycots and/or very visible campaigns against it.

If you had a couple blue-haired ladies in front of every EB store (or whatever) holding up signs that say "This store sells filth to minors", they would probably be very motivated to meet with community groups and find an arrangement which everybody can live with. If that means that the people of Jerkwater, Iowa wants all the GTA games behind a beaded curtain, that's between them and the store owners in that town.

Then again, I'm a crackpot libertarian. I've got this crazy notion that people can work shit like this out for themselves without the aid of the nanny state.

Re:Redundant? (1)

Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551032)

You can get hard labor for violating the Louisiana law that makes consuming 40 different (non-marajuana) plants (e.g. Amanita Muscaria) illegal too.

Perhaps many or even most laws there have that provision.

Re:Redundant? (1)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551098)

Louisiana law that makes consuming 40 different (non-marajuana) plants (e.g. Amanita Muscaria) illegal too.

They need a law against that? Louisiana must have the best parties ever!

Re:Redundant? (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551048)

Who makes the diecsion on whether or not games fall into this category or not?

A judge. Sheesh, it's almost like slashdot guys dont read the articles before they comment or something!

I'm going back to fark where people think before they talk!

Re:Redundant? (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551004)

It's hard to slip a pornographic mini-game and other hidden content past the MPAA.

The MPAA's system is actually voluntarily followed. Theatre's *could* let 12 year olds into R-rated films, but they dont. Blockbuster *could* sell R-rated movies to kids, but they don't.

Our blockbuster let my kid (13) rent GTA Vice City, but not Predator (the film). He took them both to the counter at the same time.

I have no problem with him viewing/playing either one, but it illustrates the difference. In the publics mind, all video games are "for kids". All cartoons are "for kids" too -- just wait until they find out about yaoi and tentacle porn.

Re:Redundant? (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551012)

I can't imagine that current local leaders in that state have a very long and rosy political career ahead of them anyway. It's kind of tough to rein in a lame-duck government which is already world-famous for corruption.
You'd be suprised what a bit of gerrymandering [wikipedia.org] can do for politicians.

Re:Redundant? (0, Offtopic)

Golias (176380) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551054)

It does not speak well of the state of our education system that you (probably rightly) felt the need to provide a wiki for the word "gerrymandering" in a discussion about politics.

Re:Redundant? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551062)

Can you find a reference to any law in the U.S. restricting the sale of R-rated movies to minors?

And even if there was one, no one could possibly be brought up on charges (successfully anyway, one would hope) given that video games are not movies.

And the whole reason laws like this are getting passed is that none of the big 3 games distributors is willing to be first to put in place a national policy to restrict sales of mature games to minors.

Heh... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15550853)

And you worry over the chinese goverment whilst a retard and attention whore fucks with your hobbies.

Wonkfest (2, Insightful)

AgentSmith (69695) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550860)

*Yawn*

Bill gets challeneged in court and dies.

Couldn't we just get the current videogame ratings enforced instead
of the geschtapo tactics?

I know, it's beyond Jack-off's reach to understand such things.

 

Dear Mr. Thompson (5, Interesting)

Discopete (316823) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550868)

"The reason is that this industry, through the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board), its developers' lobbyist, the ESA (Entertainment Software Association), and the retailers' lobbyist, IEMA (Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association) are involved in ongoing fraudulent conduct in marketing video games that contain adult material to children."

1:) Prove it
2:) If you can't do you as an attorney know what Libel is?
3:) IIRC Libel can be grounds for revocation of your BAR registration.

Re:Dear Mr. Thompson (1)

pcgamez (40751) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550942)

Wouldn't the lack of action by the bar association for Thompson's actions in the past three years indicate that the bar association does not care?

Re:Dear Mr. Thompson (1)

RsG (809189) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551033)

Getting someone disbarred isn't exactly easy, which is a pity. Personally, I figure that the bar association is probably not too concerned about some senile crusader trying to prolong a career in the spotlight by pushing crap like this.

Given that there are far more dangerous abuses of the legal system that lawyers get up to, the bar association likely turns a blind eye to minor infractions, especially if disbarring Jacko would be unpopular in whatever district he's licensed to practice in. OTOH, I dearly hope that one day he either goes too far and gets in hot water, or else pushes the wrong person and ends up on the business end of a lawsuit.

Re:Dear Mr. Thompson (1)

fish_in_the_c (577259) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550999)

this will be intresting, because if ESRB and ESA are acuratlely rating games according to the court there should be no problem. It also seems like it would have to find the rating was in error wouldn't it?

it might give rise to some intresting statistics about how often the court finds and existing ratting to be in error.

How does he do it? (2, Interesting)

edmicman (830206) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550869)

In a statement released by Jack Thompson when the Louisiana Senate passed the bill, the lawyer commented: "The corrupted and corrupting video game industry will, of course, challenge this law once it is signed by Governor Blanco. The reason is that this industry, through the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board), its developers' lobbyist, the ESA (Entertainment Software Association), and the retailers' lobbyist, IEMA (Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association) are involved in ongoing fraudulent conduct in marketing video games that contain adult material to children."
Good grief! How in the world does this guy maintain any kind of professional credibility?!? What kind of backwards state government would even give JT an audience? "The reason is that this industry...are involved in ongoing fraudulent conduct in marketing video games that contain adult material to children." What??? There's nothing more important going on in the world today??

I think I want to drive to Louisiana and kick this guy in the nuts.

Re:How does he do it? (1)

edmicman (830206) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550903)

My bad...I guess he's in Florida. Well, I'll drive to both states and kick everyone involved in the nuts, how about that?

Re:How does he do it? (1)

Atzanteol (99067) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550957)

I think I want to drive to Louisiana and kick this guy in the nuts.

I see a slashdot carpool in the future! :-)

Re:How does he do it? (1)

Wes Janson (606363) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551122)

I think I want to drive to Louisiana and kick this guy in the nuts.

Stand in line please, no skipping.

Let me be the first to say... (1, Flamebait)

miskatonic alumnus (668722) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550874)

fuck Jack Thompson with a CD-ROM. When will we be rid of this army of lawyers and cops for Jesus? Isn't God a big enough boy to take care of his own business???

Re:Let me be the first to say... (2, Insightful)

JayDot (920899) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550927)

This isn't about God hating violent video games. As a Christian, I don't like to see violent/questionable games sold. But that's not something that you get a law written for. It's the parents who should be following the rating suggestions to avoid games that aren't appropriate for their kids. Different parents will have different standards, so a state-wide (or worse, federal) law doesn't fix the real problem. As other's have stated, enforce the rules we have, and let the parents do the parenting.

Grr. (4, Insightful)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550882)

Playing violent videogames never made me want to shoot anyone.

Listening to violent music never made me want to stab anybody.

Reading a violent book or watching a violent film never made me want to go out and hurt anyone in any way.

Fearmongering idiots getting ridiculous laws made, on the other hand, would seriously test my limits were I not reasonably confident of this eventually getting struck back down by someone with half a brain.

Re:Grr. (1)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550959)

Playing violent videogames never made me want to shoot anyone.

Speak for yourself. When I was a kid, I had a sudden urge to run around with a bent tent pole and go after highly pixellated "Ducks" [wikipedia.org]

Re:Grr. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15551053)

Speak for yourself. When I was a kid, I had a sudden urge to run around with a bent tent pole and go after highly pixellated "Ducks"

That's nothing...

When I was a kid.. I crawled through sewers finding coins, and ran through petshops to stomp on turtles. Hell, I even ate mushrooms...

Re:Grr. (1)

geobeck (924637) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551105)

Playing violent videogames never made me want to shoot anyone.

Actually, playing Duke Nukem 3D made me want to rampage around a movie theater with a flame thrower.

Oh wait, it wasn't caused by the game; it was caused by thinking "I paid $16 to see this turkey?!"

Free speech? Think of the children! (5, Insightful)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550887)

<sarcasm>I like how this generation of parents is teaching this generation of kids to value and defend their freedoms.</sarcasm>

Re:Free speech? Think of the children! (1)

Broodje (646341) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551079)

Actually, sarcasm aside, there is nothing like in-your-face real-world examples to help teach these concepts. Kids understand more than you think, but this is especially sweet since it's video games. It hits home, it's not far away distant 60's civil rights, but it'll do as an example to get them involved. Get them to ask questions, ask why this is happening.

Re:Free speech? Think of the children! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15551084)

This generation of parents has been told it takes a "village" to raise their children rather than two dedicated parents of opposing gender*. Therefore the responsibility falls on that village to pass laws protecting their children, rather than accepting the responsibility themselves.

* I have no problem with gays or their marriages. I just believe that children need both male and female influences in their lives.

Before everyone starts crying incredulity (2, Insightful)

CSZeus (593470) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550893)

Jack Thompson may have his head in the wrong place, but he's not as stupid as people make him out to be. While it's a fair bet that the ESA will go after this bill (just like they have in every other state to sign one into law), I wonder if they'll have more of a difficult time with this one. After all, they have one ruling at least to go on (Illinois), one law that's been unchallenged (Maryland), and after the fiasco with his Modest Proposal I doubt Jack would help author something else that was going to be a sure loss.

Just some thoughts.

Re:Before everyone starts crying incredulity (2, Informative)

radish (98371) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551000)

I'm not sure what you mean. The Illinois law was struck down as unconstitutional [theesa.com], just like the others - so that's another win for the ESA. The Maryland one, on the other hand, was actually supported by the ESA because it only concerned itself with explicit sexual content rather than vague terms like "unsuitable" or "violent". As far as I know, there are no games published in the US which would even qualify under the Maryland law (including Hot Coffee), so it seems more like it's simply trying to bring existing "don't sell porn to kids" laws up to date by including video games as well as existing media like DVD. Seems sensible to me. To quote the ESA:

"The ESA has always been supportive of the inclusion of video games to 'harmful to minor' statues that meet the Supreme Courts obscenity standards. We believe that video games should be treated in the same way that books and movies are treated under the law."

Re:Before everyone starts crying incredulity (1)

CSZeus (593470) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551091)

I just meant to observe that because they have examples of laws that have been both struck down and supported, they're perhaps better prepared to deal with the legal issues.

Re:Before everyone starts crying incredulity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15551043)

But are the laws all the same? Use the current raiting and then impose fines. Instead they are giving 1 person the power to go "you know what I don't like other games they made so I think this one is just the same". I say try this. If they pass one of these laws and the law stays pull your game stores out and let them deal with that.

yeah right (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550895)

How exactly will they imprison the entire Walmart branch's employees at once? Those poor people already have it bad enough.

Re:yeah right (1)

pluther (647209) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550974)

How exactly will they imprison the entire Walmart branch's employees at once?

They won't. Just the clerk at the checkout counter who makes the actual sale.
The floor person who helped the kid find it, and the stocker who put it on the shelf, and bagger who packed it up to be carted out to the car, will not be held responsible.
And, of course, the manager of the store, as a person who has a salary high enough to afford a lawyer if need be, would never be charged with anything related to this.

On the Other hand (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15550899)

Why can't we get a bill that fines Jack Thompson whenever he tries to buy a game.

Where are the parents? (1)

dethl (626353) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550916)

The government does not need to fill the spot of lazy parenting. If parents are so worried about Mature-rated video games then why aren't they preventing their own kids from getting them? And it's not one parents reponsibility to enforce their beliefs on another parent. I was allowed to play violent video games back when I was 10 or so (Marathon and the sort) but I was only allowed to as long as I understood that a) IT'S JUST A GAME and b) DO NOT EMULATE WHAT YOU SEE IN SAID GAME.

Re:Where are the parents? (1)

JayDot (920899) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550984)

I've had similar experience growing up. The only way I got Unreal Tournament and Swat 3 was by assuring my folks that you could tone down the gibbing and the adult taunts. Not only have I not killed anyone, but my paintball game has really improved!

Re:Where are the parents? (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551103)

The government isn't trying to fill the spot of "lazy parenting". The government is trying (misguided or not) to prevent the zit-faced knob at GameSpot from usurping rules that the parents may have already layed out.

The people who are going to sue under this law will be the parents who are pissed when Timmy comes home with a copy of "GTA4" after they repeatedly denied to buy it for him.

The parents who dont give a shit will continue not giving a shit.

Welcome back Hayes (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550929)

An increasingly disturbing trend are these arbitary laws where there is no set standard. The recent decency laws for broadcast Television are very similar. The real goal is to promote a climate of fear and force self regulation. The laws effectively say there's a speed limit but we aren't naming an actual speed the maximum speed will be determined by individual officers. How can you possibly stay legal under those conditions? Say a kid buys a deer hunting game. A judge declares it violent and fines the store inspite of the fact it's perfectly legal for the same boy to go hunt actual deer. It's an arbitary moral standard that punishes anyone that strays into the gray zone. We are being driven back to the "good ole days" of the Hayes Comission when entertainment was afraid of saying or doing anything the least bit off color.

Re:Welcome back Hayes (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551024)

Good.

I'm glad to see a move away from set-in-stone standards, and bullshit like mandatory sentencing and "three strikes" laws.

A judges job is to judge. Our job is to keep shitty judges who we feel are incorrect off the benches by not electing them, or those who would appoint them.

Only in Louisiana... (4, Insightful)

sleepophile (568417) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550938)

I live in Louisiana ...and there are a hundred things far more important than this shit.The state of education heres is pathetic , NO hasn't recovered from the last hurricane season ..and the new one is already upon us. Crime is off the charts ...and so on.And they waste time on passing a stupid video game law. Blanco needs to get her head checked .

^ Mod it up ^ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15551081)

You know it's true.

What's the problem? (1)

Temujin_12 (832986) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550949)

Maybe I don't understand the full ramifications to this bill, but I simply don't see what is wrong with allowing "a **JUDGE** to rule on whether or not a videogame meets established criteria for being inappropriate for minors and be subsequently pulled from store shelves." Isn't that what a judge's job is--to *judge* if x-entity is adhering to pre-established criteria (read laws) and assign an appropriate pentaly? IMHO, this power should absolutely be in the hands of the judge. The REAL QUESTION is, "What are these 'criteria'?" The energy should be placed on establishing these criteria to balance freedom of expression with protection of minors, not on a judge's ability to enforce laws (that's a given).

Re:What's the problem? (1)

rolyatknarf (973068) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550994)

What exactly are the "established criteria for being inappropriate for minors"?

Re:What's the problem? (1)

Temujin_12 (832986) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551116)

That's exactly my question. There's no problem with judges enforcing laws (that's their job!). The problem is who is defining these criteria and how do these criteria effect everyone.

Defining appropriate protection for minors from offensive material is a tough job.

Re:What's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15551115)

Are you willing to risk jail time because some judge decided that Mario Kart is not appropriate for minors? If you aren't, I doubt most store employees and managers are either.

Re:What's the problem? (2, Interesting)

SpecTheIntro (951219) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551117)

The problem in this case is that 1.) the pre-established criteria are not based on any scientific evidence, and 2.) the defendent being held accountable for the sale of the video game will be the sales clerk, not the retailer. Can you imagine being sentenced to a year in prison for selling a kid a video game? To put that in perspective, three years is a typical sentence for manslaughter. And to make matters worse, why in the world would you give a judge the right to remove a product entirely from circulation? Unless it's ruled as obscene, (and thanks to the porn industry, I can't think of any game that would satisfy the legal definition of the word), there's no legal precedent to allow that sort of power. The bill's a mess.

ain't gonna fly (1)

rolyatknarf (973068) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550955)

You can put big wings on this pig of a bill but it ain't never gonna fly - unless it gets blown away by the next hurricane.

It's an election year (1)

BigCheese (47608) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550967)

More stupid laws to wow the values voters. They won't even notice when they are overturned after the elections are over.

How is this bill supposed to work? (4, Interesting)

SpecTheIntro (951219) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550972)

The bill's intent is to keep adult-oriented (this criteria to be determined by a judge) games from getting into minor's hands, and fines any store responsible for selling said games to minors. This is not necessarily a bad thing; one of the biggest weaknesses of the ESRB is its lack of real power: it lacks any and all punitive ability. It can assign ratings all it wants, but when it comes down to it, individual store policy determines who can buy any given game. Clearly this has been ineffective in keeping inappropriate games from the hands of minors. We can argue all day long that: "this is the responsibility of the parents, zomg the government is evil, how dare they try to say that killing hookers is bad, zomg," but really the gaming industry lacks any coherent self-regulation and this needs to change.

Unfortunately, this bill is one step in the right direction (fining retailers who sell GTA3 to ten year olds) and three steps in the wrong (absolutely no specification as to what can be considered "inappropriate," granting sole discretion to the judge, and calling for any "inappropriate game" to be pulled from circulation.) The last wrong is the one that concerns me the most: since when does content "not suitable for minors" suddenly translate into "not suitable for sale?" That seems to me a gross overextension of what the bill should be trying to do, which is to keep minors from playing excessively violent or sexual games. It's no secret that idiots like Jack Thompson believe the world would be a better place without video games, period, but it shocks me that any legislature would buy into this. There are plenty of types of media (rape-pornography, for instance) that the courts currently do not have the ability to demand be removed from circulation. I'm supposed to believe that ANY game could be more harmful to society than the simulation of rape? That doesn't make any sense at all.

Random thoughts on who else to point fingers at.. (2, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#15550976)

I've found that America, and Americans are all about finding people to blame.

Blame the governor and Jack Thompson all you want, but in the end, the geeks of Louisiana are the ones who dropped the ball here. Did anybody follow through on those calls to "write your legislature, blah blah"? Does anybody ever? Nah, too much like work. But goddamnit they should know how we feel!

A bunch of smelly non-voting hippies with a complete apathy towards government whining about not being represented.

Boo-hoo..

Don't worry, they'll keep making GTA games as long as there's money in it. You'll be able to buy them, too, so long as you aren't a minor.

And they'll probably keep slipping in little porno mini-games to be "edgy" and "push the envelope" and "fuck everything up by making a joke of the ESRB and prompting the government to take notice and usurp it."

Just F'ing great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15551008)

This is exactly why the Democrats scare the hell out of me. They signed into a law another "I'm from the government and I know what is best for you" law.

I see an increase in torrent traffic (1)

scwizard (941758) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551017)

What does this teach kids? It teaches them that to get what they want they need to download utorrent [utorrent.com], go to sites like isohunt [isohunt.com] and learn how to use DAEMON Tools [daemon-tools.cc].

If the kid really wants GTA Cop Killa edition he's going to be able to get the game. If it's a little kid it's the parents who buy the game for him anyway, and if it's a bigger kid then after failing to get it from the store one of his friends is going to tell him about the things I mentioned above.

This is yet another law that targets innocent kids. People will say that the point of the law is to protect kids from the games, but it's really to protect the adults from the kids. There wasn't that much anti video game sentiment until after Columbine. This law has the effect of hitting two birds with one stone, it supposedly stops kids from becoming violent, and it gives the cops and excuse to arrest kids on sight for piracy.

The biggest puzzle here is: why are "minors" the ones that grownups are afraid of? I don't know why either but for some reason they are. They keep us locked up in school all day, and the reason I get for that type of thing when I ask is something along the lines of "it makes it so you don't have a bunch of kids running through the streets unsupervised".

Then you have an assortment of other laws along those lines as well. Minors aren't allowed to drive cars, their not allowed to vote. I may sound kind of crazy here, but after reading this article I'm starting to see a pattern.

What am I to do (2, Insightful)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551029)

I can't masturbate because it's a sin, I can't play violent video games because they make me violent, & I can't sleep with the girl next door because her dad owns a shotgun, what the hell am I supposed to do ?

Pulled? (1)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551044)

inappropriate for minors and be subsequently pulled from store shelves

Why does it need to be pulled from shelves? Just make a "do not sell to minors" label on it and if they sell to a minor then they get fined/jail. I have no problem with preventing minors from buying particularly violent bad games themselves. Normally i would say it is against freedom of speech/privacy and what-not, but we are talking about minors. That segment of our population which cannot buy guns, alcohol (some states it is 21 others 18), pornography, etc. So since we do not pull porn magazines from bookstore shelves (even some comic books are hard-core in their porn drawings) why should games be any different. Just label them as such...put them on a really high shelf or locked in a box (though every game store I get to has an EMPTY box for display, and all the games are behind the counter).

Again, my only problem is pulling the games from the shelves...that infringes on *MY* right to view and purchase the game...i am not a minor and should be able to do so. This law actually censers against me.

Re:Pulled? (1)

spune (715782) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551072)

OT, but alcohol's 21 in every state. Thanks to our buddy Reagan, states which do not set the age limit to 21 don't get federal highway funding and other goodies, that sly bastard.

Liberal Democrat Figures (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15551045)

The American city with the highest civilian death rate was New Orleans before Katrina - with a staggering 53.1 deaths per 100,000 - almost twice the death rate in Iraq. Representative Roy Burrell (Democrat Louisiana)should have spent more time fixing the real world than trying to regulate a "mythical" world.

who's fault? (2, Interesting)

rolyatknarf (973068) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551073)

If I buy an "inappropriate" game in my home state of Missouri and give it to my minor aged (15 tears old) nephew in Louisiana as a gift who goes to jail?

Re:who's fault? (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551125)

If you give your 15 year old nephew a hardcore porn DVD, alcohol, or a pack of smokes, who goes to jail?

The answer is either you, or nobody, depending on if the parents are pissed off about it or not.

Tags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15551083)

I love the new tagging system.

jackthompsonisadouche, wtf, dumbass

Just don't freaking give children money (1)

demonic-halo (652519) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551095)

If I have a child, I just won't freaking give him any money. I have 100% control of everything the child buys.

And if the child finds ways to make a profit without my help. I'd be damn proud of the child, and encourage him to make more money.

Freaking people spoil their children too much.

Old games (1)

Faux_Pseudo (141152) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551107)

So who is going to go and collect every computer game that has existed and find out which ones are effected by this law?
And is it exicution or intent that counts? IE in nethack you become the 4th rider of the end times and are able to kill anything in sight. But its text bassed. Does that count?

Consistency ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15551123)

Different judges, Different opinions. Too dependent on the indiviual perceptions of the judges.

Yeah, that's what they should worry about in LA (1)

Warlock7 (531656) | more than 7 years ago | (#15551131)

What a freakin' joke. They're concerned about violent video game legislation while most of the New Orleans population is still homeless? What a backwards ass state that is...
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