Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

CA Game Bill Struck Down, Governor Vows Appeal

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the like-a-bad-tennis-match dept.

Games 106

GamePolitics has the full story today on the removal of California's violent games law. A judge has found it unconstitutional after a protracted legal battle. The law was originally passed back in 2005. "The bill, championed by then-Assembly Speaker Leland Yee (D) was signed into law by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (left) on October 7th, 2005. The video game industry filed suit to block the law 10 days later. Judge Ronald Whyte issued a preliminary injunction on December 22nd, blocking the California law from its planned effective date of January 1st, 2006. Since then, both sides have been waiting for Judge Whyte's final ruling. Today it has come." The law's sponsor Leland Yee is quite disappointed by the ruling, of course, and Governor Schwarzenegger plans to appeal the decision.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Last Action Hero (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20144307)

The man has been a total tool at least since he sold out to the "family friendly" wackos with Last Action Hero...

Re:Last Action Hero (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144557)

It's ironic, when you look at movies like Terminator, Conan and Predator where people bite it, often at his hand, in rather horrifying ways. But let's remember that politicians are essentially whores, so when they're taking it up the ass from some lobby they figure can get them a few more votes, they learn how to smile and make it look like they're sincere.

An insult to whores everywhere (2, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145873)

But let's remember that politicians are essentially whores
Whores perform an actual service for your money.

Re:An insult to whores everywhere (1)

Virgil Tibbs (999791) | more than 7 years ago | (#20148589)

but they are similar in some ways,
with both politicians and whores,
once you've had them, you never want them back!

Re:An insult to whores everywhere (0)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#20149473)

Whores perform an actual service for your money.
So do politicians [wikipedia.org] .

Irony (5, Interesting)

KoldKompress (1034414) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144337)

Is it just me, or does it seem hypocritical that Arnold Schwarzenegger opposes this? He's been in some incredibly violent movies, after all.

Why do people see the two mediums as being so distant? What passes as an R for a movie, would be an AO for a game, like Manhunt.

I believe that people of earlier generations do not understand games - they see an interactive medium and believe that the interactivity somehow makes it more personal, or influencial. Yet I think any well adjusted person who plays video games know they're just that - games.

Re:Irony (2, Insightful)

faloi (738831) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144383)

Hypocritical, yes. Understandable, yes.

Like so many things, one just has to follow the money. Lots of senators and governors who enjoy a lot of money from the *AA type groups are all too eager to jump on the bandwagon against violent video games. It avoids having to answer hard questions about what your supporters do to earn money, and gives you a chance to "save the children."

Re:Irony (1)

iocat (572367) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144473)

Arnold is no longer my friend. What state has the largest portion of the game industry pie? He should be sucking up to the game industry, like CA sucks up to movie industry, not slagging it off.

Re:Irony (1)

CogDissident (951207) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145245)

Agreed, chummer.

Re:Irony (1)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144397)

Could not have said it better myself. We do not need any new laws dictating how parents should raise their kids. We already have those, and in an ideal situation, where the parent is not doing a proper job of raising their kids, we have social services to resolve the issue (again, in an ideal world were social services is not a screwed up entity)

Re:Irony (4, Funny)

Floritard (1058660) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144549)

If you'd played the games [youtube.com] based on his movies, you'd understand his anger.

Re:Irony (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145337)

If you've seen movies [imdb.com] based [imdb.com] on games [imdb.com] , you understand my anger!

Re:Irony (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145631)

CA Congress to Governor: We hold these truths to be self-evident. ...

Governor to CA Congress: (puts on sunglasses) I'll be back.

Re:Irony (1)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 7 years ago | (#20149229)

The CA Congress didn't stop the law. The CA congress *PASSED* the law. The courts found the law unconstitutional.

Re:Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20144577)

Viewing a movie is something passive, playing a video game is something interactive? You're simulating/pretending to kill or whatever your game is doing. You answered your own question. The argument isn't comparing those mediums but again as you stated, does the interactivity make a person more or less likely to imitate what they play. People are going to copy what they see/play/are advertised from now until the end of time, some people just do not want to accept the fact that there are 'crazy' people out there that happen to like these things and will act out in a similar fashion. As for hypocrites, his personal life would be something to argue rather than his films.

Re:Irony (2, Interesting)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145151)

Kids imitating Superman and Spider-Man can do so safely in a game, sublimating the desire to do it by jumping off of rooftops.

Re:Irony (2, Insightful)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144739)

He has been in some incredibly violent movies, but minors are not allowed to buy those movies.

I don't see any reason why minors should be allowed to buy incredibly violent video games.

Re:Irony (4, Informative)

Kamots (321174) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144931)

You do realize that there's no legislation making it illegal for minors to buy violent movies?

You do realize that the only meaningful difference in the sale of violent movies and games comes from apathetic parents that when they hear "game" they translate it as "appropriate for 10 year old"?

Get parents to treat games the same way they do movies, i.e. get them to check the freaking rating before letting little Johnny have it, and there won't be an issue.

But... that requires parents take responsibility. Nope, can't have that! Lets pass some laws instead!

*sigh*

Re:Irony (1)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144985)

"You do realize that there's no legislation making it illegal for minors to buy violent movies?"

Yes, I absolutely do realize that.

However, do you think that the government would hesitate to pass such legislation if the film industry hadn't already taken care of this itself?

The video game industry has *not* taken care of this itself. It apparently refuses to. The video game industry should absolutely not be surprised that the government is attempting to step in and force the issue.

The difference between the video game industry and the movie industry is that the movie industry has effective measures in place to prevent a 13 year old from walking into Suncoast and walking out with Die Hard.

Re:Irony (2, Insightful)

Kamots (321174) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145325)

"The video game industry has *not* taken care of this itself. It apparently refuses to."

Care to back that up?

Essentially the same system is in place for movies and video games. If anything video game ratings are more restrictive than movie ratings. Both rating systems are voluntarily enforced by retailers, and if you look at any major video/game retailer you'll see very similar if not identical policies are in place regarding the sale of games and movies to minors.

Re:Irony (4, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145567)

"The video game industry has *not* taken care of this itself. It apparently refuses to."

Care to back that up?
Actually, yeah, there's no gaming lobby trying to win favors from those in power. The shakeup from government into the gaming sector is pretty much the same as a shakedown to see what sort of money will fall out from them in the end.

Re:Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20151975)

Mod parent.

Re:Irony (2, Interesting)

spamking (967666) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145351)

I wasn't aware that the movie industry had people situated in theaters and retail stores around the country that conducted ID checks on everyone who purchased "R-rated" movie tickets or DVDs. The punk kids at the local theater in my home town sure don't mess with checking IDs. And I haven't noticed most retailers giving it much thought/effort either.

While I see your point about the rating system, it is ultimately up to the local theaters to deal with the ID checks, and even more so up to parents to make sure their kids aren't watching movies or playing games they shouldn't be. Unfortunately a lot of parents a apathetic about this stuff and fail to keep up with things and just know that if their kid doesn't get a copy of the latest and greatest video game console and a copy of every available title, that the kid will grow up warped and made fun of. It's very easy to fall into that trap as a parent.

Secondly, kids are always going to have access to "violent" games and movies. There will always be that one teenage kid who's older brother, cousin or whoever will have a copy of a game rated "M" that they allow the teen to play. Since my kids aren't old enough to even play games rated "T" I don't have to worry about it just quite yet. When I do, I just hope my kids talk to me about it before they try to play it so I can explain again why they're not old enough to play it.

Think of it like underage drinking. It's illegal in most places to drink if you're not 21, but some how 17 and 18 year-olds are drinking all of the time. Sometimes they buy it with a fake ID; sometimes people over 21 supply it for them.

In my opinion, the government shouldn't be wasting time and money on try to legislate parenting. Which is in effect what a bill such as this would do.

Re:Irony (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145409)

The game industry has not? Can you actually buy a single game without a rating today? I cannot.

Re:Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20150401)

Yeah but a 12yr old can walk into a store and has a good chance of being able to walk out with a brand new copy of GTA, regardless of the rating on the box.

On the other hand, I have never seen kids hanging around when I go see R rated movies. Im sure some theatres are more lax than others, but for the most part (at least in the 3 cities Ive lived) they will not sell tickets to R-rated movies to kids. Sure some video games stores are pretty good too, but I think they have a long way to go before they reach the enforcement level of movie theatres.

The GP's point was that video game sellers have been taking their sweet time voluntarily enforcing their own rating system, so its understandable that the government might want to stick its nose in. Personally I suspect the opposition of video game sellers has a lot to do with the fact that the underage population is a huge market for their violent "mature" games.

Re:Irony (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20151593)

Yeah but a 12yr old can walk into a store and has a good chance of being able to walk out with a brand new copy of GTA, regardless of the rating on the box.
Baseless and unsupported claims are the best way to win an argument!

You are full of it. (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145457)

What does the MPAA do that the gaming ratings and review board doesn't?

Both mediums get ratings, and the retailers are on the honor system to enforce them.

Maybe the problem is the stores selling the games...

Re:Irony (0, Flamebait)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144961)

That's stupid. The movies are sold in the exact same stores as video games, by the exact same people. In a department store, they are usually sold in the same section of the store as the videogames. The usually come in the same sized packaging and on a similar type of disk media. If anything, the most common format, DVDs, will play in more players than videogames.

Re:Irony (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 7 years ago | (#20155149)

That's stupid. The movies are sold in the exact same stores as video games, by the exact same people. In a department store, they are usually sold in the same section of the store as the videogames. The usually come in the same sized packaging and on a similar type of disk media. If anything, the most common format, DVDs, will play in more players than videogames.
How is that flamebait?

Re:Irony (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 7 years ago | (#20147095)

He has been in some incredibly violent movies, but minors are not allowed to buy those movies.

Huh? No there's not. Stores may have policies regarding it, but its not enforced by any laws.

I don't see any reason why minors should be allowed to buy incredibly violent video games.

Hmm, you seem to forget that 15 and up are considered minors as well. Perhaps parents should be in charge, instead of you drawing an arbitrary line.

Re:Irony (0)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 7 years ago | (#20151247)

The stores and theaters, by and large, do enforce the movie industry rules that prohibit kids from getting into R rated movies.

Stores that sell video games do not.

Re:Irony (2)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 7 years ago | (#20149709)

In the U.S. it is totally legal for minors to purchase those movies. The MPAA rating system is voluntarily enforced (at least in theory) by the movie theaters and retailers.

Re:Irony (1)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 7 years ago | (#20151311)

As I've said repeatedly, it *is* voluntarily enforced - but it is enforced. Most people don't even know that it's not enforced by statute.

This cannot be said for video game sales.

Actually it's perfectly logical (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144815)

Is it just me, or does it seem hypocritical that Arnold Schwarzenegger opposes this? He's been in some incredibly violent movies, after all.

It's not hypocritical, but planned: After the children are deprived from videogame violence, they will crave the violence so they'll rush to the cinema to see his newest action film: "Governator 3: The judge's day". However, they'll be terrified when he says his last line on the movie: "I'll be back."

Politicians are whores. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20144889)

Earler varieties have tried to ban, as immoral, Waltzing, Louie Louie by I believe the Kingsmen, Comic books, books (several), stand up comedy, a Birth of a Nation, movies like The Moon is Blue. I recently saw La Beste, that was .... interesting, and much banned.

But can you blame them old people think all kinds of stupid things, such as Graham Crackers will help prevent young boys from masturbating. In not too long, I will be old, and will beging thinking stupid things. It is the way of the world.

Re:Politicians are whores. (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144969)

My car gets 30 rods to the hogs head and that's the ways I likes it

Re:Irony (1)

Klickoris (1104419) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145035)

Actually, wouldn't an 'R' rating for a movie be equal to an 'M' rating of a video game? I though R videos were restricted to under 17 unless accompanied by an adult. NC-17 would be more akin to a video game AO rating, but 17 year olds can still see the movie, where as only adults can buy AO games.

Re:Irony (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145271)

Oh c'mon, that's a no-brainer: Who'd want to watch violent movies when he can play the lead role himself?

Re:Irony (1)

mehemiah (971799) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145317)

Is it just me, or does it seem hypocritical that Arnold Schwarzenegger opposes this? He's been in some incredibly violent movies, after all.

Why do people see the two mediums as being so distant? What passes as an R for a movie, would be an AO for a game, like Manhunt.

Agreed, but I would think that the the R would be more like M cause you can watch them at 18 without an adult but AO would be more like X [wikipedia.org] or rather NC-17 [mpaa.org] because they mostly gain the rating for the explicit sexual content.

Re:Irony (1)

yaphadam097 (670358) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145657)

I watched the movie "The Messengers" this weekend, and was struck by the fact that while the film was rated PG-13 a game that approached the same material would certainly be rated M.

In case you don't know, it is a horror movie about a family that moves in to a house where the previous tenants had been brutally murdered and their ghosts haunt the home. Within the first five minutes three people die, two of them children. The first has her head splattered against a wall and the second is hurled down a staircase breaking the banister. Later in the film a man is attacked by a swarm of crows leaving bloody gashes all over his face and arms. It was a decent movie, and the rating is probably appropriate. However, many "violent," M-rated games are far less brutal.

Re:Irony (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145811)

Head splatter? Wow. That used to rank an R rating.

Re:Irony (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145695)

It's not necessarily hypocritical. IIRC the bill blocks the sale of these video games to minors. I can't say for certain, but I'd wager that Arnold would sign a similar bill blocking R-rated movies from being sold to minors as well. Just because you are involved in the production of violent media doesn't mean you can't oppose the sale of that media to kids.

I think his decision *was* largely political and not a matter of conscience, but that doesn't make him a hypocrite. Just a politician.

Re:Irony (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145753)

Remember that slashdot article a couple days ago where it was found that monkeys learn like humans? Well, neither do I. That's because neither of us did the research or wrote the article. We just read it (or more likely, the slashdot responses). The gist of the article was that humans learn best by _doing_ instead of passively watching (even though the "passive watching" functions in our brains as a virtual "us" "doing" the thing, thus is slightly better than just reading).
So, it can be argued that actively making the decision to pull the trigger in a FPS, or go save the princess and slay the dragon in an RPG will train your mind in a certain way more than merely reading a story or watching a movie. We don't feel what Jason Bourne feels when he offs yet another target/rouge-agent, but when you know that someone is at the other end of your gun (even if it's virtual), you know you're going to be causing them some level of discomfort, even if it's just the denial of their winning. That knowledge can start to foster some pretty dark emotions/goals after a while if you're not careful (we're all familiar with griefers, yes?).

Re:Irony (1)

Spudtrooper (1073512) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145953)

Exactly right, my good man. I grew up on Super Mario Brothers, and now I eat mushrooms and save princesses all the time.

Re:Irony (1)

EtoilePB (1087031) | more than 7 years ago | (#20146103)

Why do people see the two mediums as being so distant? What passes as an R for a movie, would be an AO for a game, like Manhunt.

There is an argument -- one that I am not sure how I feel about, but an argument nonetheless -- that says the participation and interactivity of gaming makes everything sort of... more. It's frequently looked at in studies and frequently used as the cornerstone of debate. Sometimes they compare to TV, sometimes they compare to competitive athletics... it's a pretty hotly researched thing in psychology, as I understand it (which is as a layman).

When you look at film history, the anti-gaming and pro-regulation arguments are in a way directly recycled from anti-film arguments of the 20th century. Personally, I think the history, development of, and premise of video gaming is VERY similar to the history and development of film, which is why I'm constantly reading and writing about such. But every time a new medium comes into its own, it meets with strong reactions. It happened for film and for television. I suspect the thought of video gaming as "different" will dissipate over time as well.

Re:Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20147015)

"that says the participation and interactivity of gaming makes everything sort of... more."

And the research says that argument is bullshit, overwhelmingly. The "debate" is mostly between the vast majority of researchers who think said argument is bunk, and the few who disagree, but have yet to come up with anything definitive that supports their argument.

A non-layman.

Re:Irony (1)

The_K4 (627653) | more than 7 years ago | (#20146839)

No this does not seem hypocritical. While I think this law in unnecessary, we do have movie ratings and for some ratings you need ID or a parent to get in. So, in your example, Manhunt is an AO game or an R movie, you would need to be 18 for either. Now some theaters may choose to ignore this ID requirement, but there are some that would check ID and not sell a ticket to an R rated movie to a 15 year old. How is this any different? Arnold made incredibly violent movies for adults knowing that kids shouldn't be able to get into the theaters or buy the movies without an adult. The same is what he is looking for now for incredibly violent games. You and I may not agree with his position or this law but let's not call him a hypocrite because of that.

Re:Irony (1)

captain_cthulhu (996356) | more than 7 years ago | (#20147263)

"R" and "AO" are the same thing

they both restrict people who are 17 years and younger

"R" means "Restricted" - meaning restricted unless you are an adult. there's no difference there.

the hypocrisy is that movie theaters or retail stores have no problem showing/selling an R-rated movie while no retail outlets will carry an AO-rated game.

Re:Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20147957)

No, AO is 18+. What you're looking for is M, which is the "R"-equivalent rating for games and which most retailers indeed stock. In other words: you're wrong, wrong and wrong again.

Re:Irony (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | more than 7 years ago | (#20149329)

No more hypocritical than his stance on anabolic steroids or his firm convictions on environmental reform (did I forget to mention this boy owns 6 humvees?).

Is it just me, or does it seem hypocritical that Arnold Schwarzenegger opposes this? He's been in some incredibly violent movies, after all. Why do people see the two mediums as being so distant? What passes as an R for a movie, would be an AO for a game, like Manhunt.

Re:Irony (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 7 years ago | (#20149935)

>What passes as an R for a movie, would be an AO for a game, like Manhunt.

Youre looking at the wrong "R." The "R" after his name explains his politics.

Good for them (2)

Fierythrasher (777913) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144339)

the laws got one right for a change. Let parents and consumers decide what's right, not overly conservative right ring politicians. I have one set of parents, I don't need the Governator as another.

Re:Good for them (5, Insightful)

Compholio (770966) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144585)

the laws got one right for a change. Let parents and consumers decide what's right, not overly conservative right ring politicians. I have one set of parents, I don't need the Governator as another.
Actually, the law got it wrong and it was corrected by the judicial branch. Note that people that disagree with judges doing things like this say that they're being "activist judges" and "going against the will of the people." Which, as it happens, is one of the purposes of the judicial branch as set forth by the constitution.

Re:Good for them (3, Insightful)

Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144603)

>Let parents and consumers decide what's right, not overly conservative right ring politicians.

are you some sort of completely retarded left-wing hippy? the right-wing typically advocates personal freedoms and responsibilities, as well as a generally small government with few restrictions on commerce. how could this law possibly be associated with right-wing politicians? they'd have to be totally ignorant of the facts, too stupid to think about things logically, and complete hypocrites. and you think people would ever vote for such politicians.

go home troll, no way it'd ever happen...

Re:Good for them (1)

AndyG314 (760442) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145067)

While there was a time when the right wing did advocate for smaller government and conservitave spending, that is no longer the case and has not been since the mid 80's. Currently most right win polititions advocate for about the same level of government involvement as the liberasl do, all be it in a different way. This is the reason for all the right wing "third parties" who have formed. Many conservitaves want to see actuall spending reductions and smaller government which the mainstream right wing has moved away from.

Re:Good for them (2, Insightful)

Belacgod (1103921) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145093)

Where have you been living for the past 12 years? The right wing's just as bad as the left now on cultural content.

Re:Good for them (1)

OmegaBlac (752432) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145329)

Minor quip: As a resident of California I would say that Arnold is hardly "overly conservative right wing". Not even close. He is more of a moderate conservative with some liberal leanings.

Re:Good for them (1)

Doonga2007 (1049016) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145427)

Oh! It's "ring", jeesh, I've been saying "wing" all these years. Oh, and you're dyslexic. Note: This is intended to be funny and probably failing miserably.

Re:Good for them (3, Informative)

Rakarra (112805) | more than 7 years ago | (#20146085)

Calling the Governator overly conservative is quite a stretch. As another poster hinted, Arnold is more in the vein of 60's and 70's Republicans rather the neo-cons of the Reagan/Bush era. His biggest problem with the California Legislature at the moment is that he gets better results working with the Democrats than he does with the Republicans who don't think he's conservative enough. And the bill's author and primary sponsor is Leland Yee, a Democrat who's clueless about games, hardly a right-wing figure.

When it comes to media censorship, the Democrats have not had a stellar track record.

Re:Good for them (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#20148419)

Watching John with the machine, it was suddenly so clear. The Government would never stop, it would never leave him. And it would never hurt him, never shout at him or get drunk and hit him or say it was too busy to spend time with him. It would always be there and it would die to protect him. Of all the would-be fathers who came and went over the years, this thing, this machine was the only one who measured up. In an insane world, it was the sanest choice.

Not that I agree, of course...

Before anyone asks why it is unconstitutional... (5, Insightful)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144423)

Every time these stories about videogame laws come up someone asks what is wrong with having laws like this.

Here's the problem:
In the USA no other medium has its ratings enforced by the government. Not the music industry, not the comic book industry, not the internet, not tv, and not the film industry. The MPAA ratings are self-enforced. If someone under 17 isn't allowed into an R-rated movie without an adult it is because the movie industry is inforcing those rules, not the government.

Therefore, if the videogame industry were to be singled out as the only medium to have its ratings enforced by the government there would have to be a mountain of evidence suggesting that violent videogames were harmful to minors. No such mountain exists. As such, these laws are misguided at best and hollow attempts on the part of politicians to appear "pro-family" at worst.

Not the Comic Book industry? (1)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144575)

I'm sure that some people in the Comic Book industry could tell you about self enforcement [wikipedia.org] of social standards. The thing is, it's just not that relevant these days.

Re:Not the Comic Book industry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20153149)

The CCA had no legal authority over other publishers, but magazine distributors often refused to carry comics without the CCA's seal of approval.

From the link you posted.

Re:Before anyone asks why it is unconstitutional.. (1)

ZakuSage (874456) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144613)

That's not the reason the bill is unconstitutional. It is because video games are a form of speech and as such are protected under the first amendment. Even if there was a massive indication that video games were harmful to children (and no such evidence exists), it would still be unconstitutional to put in place any sort of ban or restriction by the government.

Re:Before anyone asks why it is unconstitutional.. (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144783)

I'm not legal expert but I believe that showing that there was some sort of legitimate harm would overcome the first amendment.

Regardless, when people simply say that it is unconstitutional on first amendment grounds there are always those who are under the mistaken assumption that film ratings are government enforced and so this law and others like it would simply bring videogames into line with films. My perhaps poorly worded post was an attempt at cut off those kinds of posts.

Re:Before anyone asks why it is unconstitutional.. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145565)

If there is harm done in the creation of the content, usually the act displayed itself is already outlawed. But so far, I don't see how in a computer game a real life law could be broken (other than in real movies, where you can technically film a real crime).

Other than that, I do not see a reason why content should be forbidden. Kept out of the hands of minors, or (better) left in the discretion of the child's caretakers, but outlawing content is a surefire way to go head on with the 1st amendment.

Re:Before anyone asks why it is unconstitutional.. (1)

Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144721)

your post is interesting and the following thought occured to me: since other media aren't so heavily regulated could they be used as some sort of delivery mechanism? e.g. buy Manhunt 2 the book and by the way get a free shiny disk that allows access to bonus material when inserted into certain computers with specific requirements.

it's clearly not a solution to the true problem though, but it would be interesting to see how the censors would respond when the freedom of speech issue is so clearly highlighted.

Re:Before anyone asks why it is unconstitutional.. (2, Interesting)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144841)

I've not read the text of the proposed law but unless it requires all games to be rated then the simple solution is to not submit a game for a rating. Of course, that would probably prevent most stores from carrying it.

When there are things like Steam, Gametap, X-Box live and other less legal online methods of game delivery, these types of laws are becoming increasingly meaningless anyway.

Re:Before anyone asks why it is unconstitutional.. (1)

scot4875 (542869) | more than 7 years ago | (#20147521)

When there are things like Steam, Gametap, X-Box live and other less legal online methods of game delivery, these types of laws are becoming increasingly meaningless anyway.


You think that an unrated game is going to make it onto Steam, XBox Live, or Gametap?

Hell, all of the classic games being released on the Wii virtual console are being submitted for ESRB ratings.

About the only way to distribute a game if it's not rated is to post it on your own website.

--Jeremy

Re:Before anyone asks why it is unconstitutional.. (1)

enderjsv (1128541) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144795)

What about porn, though? Isn't the sale of pornography to minors regulated by some states? I'm not asking this as a point, I really just don't know how all this works.

Re:Before anyone asks why it is unconstitutional.. (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144977)

Yes but porn is a genre and not a medium. Those laws are on state or local levels. Sometimes it is something as vague as "material harmful to minors." It seems like at least once a year a comic book store will get busted for selling a comic book with depictions of sex or nudity in it to a minor but even in those cases it is often the case that the court has to determine if the comic book in question is "pornographic" or "harmful to minors."

I"m not a lawyer though so if someone who is an expert in this would like to chime in feel free to do so.

Re:Before anyone asks why it is unconstitutional.. (1)

enderjsv (1128541) | more than 7 years ago | (#20146421)

Yeah, but that's the point. Let me draw the analogy if I can. Pornographic movies are a subset of a larger movie industry. The government, at least on a state level, has for years regulated the sale of pornographic movies to minors even though it doesn't do it on a industry wide basis. AO rated games are a subset of a larger game industry. So why is it unconstitutional for state governments to regulate the sell of AO rated games to minors when regulating only AO rated games would not be an industry wide regulation. Now I realize that most of these proposed laws apply to M rated games, which are more analogous to R rated movies, but that point still doesn't address the legality of regulating M rated games. I'm not saying that its right, but legal and right are two entirely separate concepts.

Re:Before anyone asks why it is unconstitutional.. (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 7 years ago | (#20147093)

I understand your point, but up until the ESRB broke under the political pressure and inappropriately started rating mainstream games AO for content that would not recieve and X/NC-17 in a film, this wasn't a problem. AO games were previously sold in venues appropriate for X rated material, such as X rated video shops and the Internet, not at Wal-Mart.

This is why it was such a huge failure of the ESRB when the ESRB rerated San Andreas as AO. Suddenly, mainstream stores found themselves carrying an AO title (even if only for a short period while they scrambled to get it off the shelves) and it was material far tamer than the latest from Ms. Audrey Hollander and her peers. However, if you are completely ignorant about games and their contents, you might believe that the two things are similar. Those are the really politically dangerous people, the ones who think someone hid a Jenna Jameson movie as an easter egg on GTA: San Andreas.

How could the ESRB have handled this better? Well, they could have issued some sort of recall notice stating that games with unrated material were on store shelves and therefore were not allowed to display the ESRBs copyrighted 'M' rating on the box. If the stores wanted to continue to sell the title, black sharpies to black out the ESRB rating along with warnings to all customers that "This title is unrated by the ESRB" would have sufficed.

Or they could have reviewed the content and said that it still fell withing the 'M' rating. (More courageous and accurate, but probably not politically wise.)

Most likely, Rockstar and Take Two would have done the same thing that they ended up doing (recalling and reissuing the game with the non-rated content excised) and the ESRB wouldn't have ended up with a watered down AO rating that is now pretty meaningless. (Seriously, no one is going to stock AO - San Andreas along with that game Asia Carrera did unless it is an Internet retailer that stock mainstream titles along with adult fare.)

The fact of the matter is if mainstream retailers are expected to handle AO titles, and AO titles are going to cover a spectrum from PG - XXX there is indeed a huge can of worms with obscene content laws. But that's a problem with laws that are already on the books, not with new laws which if they dealt only with obscene content would be redundant and which if they deal with non-obscene are unconstitutional.

Re:Before anyone asks why it is unconstitutional.. (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 7 years ago | (#20149793)

That goes back to my original point that it would take a mountain of evidence for videogame ratings such as and including AO -- for violence -- to be government regulated. Until such a mountain exists then there will be no basis for treating violent videogames differently than violent films or even non-violent films.

If a game is rating AO for sex, then I would assume that existing local or state pornography laws would already apply so no need for a new law.

Re:Before anyone asks why it is unconstitutional.. (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 7 years ago | (#20147625)

Yes but porn is a genre and not a medium

And realistically violent videogames are a genre, not a medium.

Re:Before anyone asks why it is unconstitutional.. (1)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144881)

The only bad thing about these laws is that they typically go against the constitution. The biggest problem is that there is no MPAA equivalent in the gaming industry. There isn't a need for the government to regulate the movie industry.

If the ESRB had the same power there wouldn't be any need for the government to regulate the video game industry. The problem is how can you do this effectively, especially now that online digital distribution of games is becoming so popular. The next generation of consoles and games might be predominantly sold online. One only needs to have access to a credit card or buy a game card at the store to purchase games online.

You may not think that there needs to be regulation. The problem is that younger kids may not be able to differentiate reality from the virtual world. This may not lead directly to violence, but there could easily be other psychological problems associate with it.

There is obviously no perfect way of regulating any medium when it comes to children being able to handle the material. It all comes down to good parents, knowing that their child can tell right from wrong and reality from fiction. Unfortunately in our society there are many parents who don't do it, or can't for some reason. That is why there does need to be some sort of regulation (not necessarily from our government) that is fair and flexible.

Re:Before anyone asks why it is unconstitutional.. (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145865)

there is no MPAA equivalent in the gaming industry

Thank God for that. I don't want every video game to use Steam. I want to play w/o the internet thank you.

Re:Before anyone asks why it is unconstitutional.. (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144987)

In the USA no other medium has its ratings enforced by the government. Not the music industry, not the comic book industry, not the internet, not tv, and not the film industry. The MPAA ratings are self-enforced. If someone under 17 isn't allowed into an R-rated movie without an adult it is because the movie industry is inforcing those rules, not the government.
You have a very limited understanding of the situation.
The state/federal government regulates all things "obscene".

Obscene (sexual or violent) content in film, books, magazines, tv and video are all regulated. There are limits on how you can sell them, to whom you can sell them, where you can sell them and in the case of television, what time you can show it.

The MPAA and other self-enforcing bodies were created to keep government from setting up regulations. In that light, I find it a bit disengenous to make the argument that "the movie industry is inforcing those rules, not the government". The rules were coming, because portions of the public were loudly demanding them. The industry decided it's better to do it themselves rather than have onerous government mandates handed down.

Therefore, if the videogame industry were to be singled out as the only medium to have its ratings enforced by the government there would have to be a mountain of evidence suggesting that violent videogames were harmful to minors. No such mountain exists. As such, these laws are misguided at best and hollow attempts on the part of politicians to appear "pro-family" at worst.
See: Pornography

Re:Before anyone asks why it is unconstitutional.. (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145111)

However, this law was not about obscenity was it? It was about ratings.

Moreover, there is no definition of obscenity but rather a test and as such things are declared obscene on a case by case basis.

Yes, the MPAA rules were set up to cut off government enforcement. However, so were the videogame ratings.

I fail to see what any of what you wrote indicates that I have a limited understanding of the situation. The situation as I see it is about government regulations of ratings and not obscenity. Nor is it about a genre such as pornography but rather a medium. Please feel free to correct me.

Re:Before anyone asks why it is unconstitutional.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20145091)

In the USA no other medium has its ratings enforced by the government.

Someone hasn't heard of the FCC. "Ratings" are enforced, when was the like time you watched a MA television show on NBC or CBS at primetime? When was the last time you heard the "F" word on KROCK or whatever your local radio station is. By not allowing the 'adult' or 'R-rated' material they're effectively enforcing it.

Re:Before anyone asks why it is unconstitutional.. (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145229)

Those ratings are not enforced by the government. It is a voluntary system and as far as I know there isn't even a voluntary ratings system for radio.

There are, however, decency guidelines for programming broadcast over the public airwaves. These, as the name would suggest, are guidelines and not specific rules. Why are they guidelines rather than specific rules? Because the FCC feels that spelling out specific rules would be censorship.

It is a matter of semantics but the fact is the television ratings are voluntary [fcc.gov]

From the FCC's website

Did you know that the television industry has voluntary ratings for TV programs?

Re:Before anyone asks why it is unconstitutional.. (2, Interesting)

Ahnteis (746045) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145553)

FCC has control over the limited public resource of the broadcast spectrum. They have no right to limit cable, private satellites, movie theatres, etc.

Porn? (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 7 years ago | (#20146579)

I could be wrong, but I think that in terms of both picture and print, there are government laws controlling the sale and public display of pornography? Not that it makes the game-violence bill any different, and it still makes games the only legislation-enforced anti-violence medium.

Go for the wallet (2, Interesting)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144431)

These bills have failed in enough States now that it must be 100% clear that they are never going to stand up to legal scrutiny and their passage can be nothing more than a political statement. Is there no way that the administrative cost of drafting them and the legal costs of defending them in court could be inflicted directly upon the legislators who still insist on trying to drive them through?

Re:Go for the wallet (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144607)

It's an unfortunate power of legislatures that they can continue to pass laws they know damn well are unconstitutional, with no obvious penalty to those who continue to vote in favor of such measures. The worst part is that whether they win or lose in court over these measures, they can claim that they were trying. They just offload the blame on to the judges.

Re:Go for the wallet (2, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145623)

Why doesn't the other party use slogans like "Governer X has signed y laws into existance that were immediately thrown out by the court as unconstitutional"?

I mean, the way I judge the US population, they start throwing fits when they hear their politicians do something against the constitution.

Re:Go for the wallet (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145969)

I dunno, does the US population do that? Certainly, certain groups (states rightists, the ACLU, the gun lobby) make lots of noise when legislatures try to make end-runs around the Constitution, but that hardly means the public at large does.

Re:Go for the wallet (1)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20146071)

Because it works the same for both sides.

Unless they're setting up a test case (and this only works if one party has a super-majority), just about no one introduces bills that are intentionally unconstitutional. It's entirely possible to send a bill to the Governor that is supported by both sides of the aisle that is later determined to be unconstitutional. So who's the bad guy? The legislator that introduced the bill? The one that carried the bill to the other house? The ones who voted for it? The one who signed it into law?

Constitutionality can only be determined after a bill has been signed into law, so you can never be completely certain that the bill you are submitting won't pass Constitutional muster until your shiny new law is subject to judicial review processes.

Re:Go for the wallet (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 7 years ago | (#20146883)

In theory, this is correct. What it doesn't account for, though, is legislatures so utterly stupid that they sign into being laws which are identical to those which have already been established to be unconstitutional when implemented by other states. As I understand it, the drafting of the various bills that have been struck down is very similar. They're not trying anything clever to get around the constitutional objections that have been raised to the exact same law in the past. They're just doing the legislative equivalent of bashing their collective head repeatedly against a brick wall, and using the tax-payer's money to apply a bandage afterwards.

Re:Go for the wallet (1)

nasch (598556) | more than 7 years ago | (#20147041)

So who's the bad guy? The legislator that introduced the bill? The one that carried the bill to the other house? The ones who voted for it? The one who signed it into law?
Yep. That has nothing to do with any particular law though. ;-)

Re:Go for the wallet (1)

adarn (582480) | more than 7 years ago | (#20150957)

Because the other party doesn't want the general public to start judging them by the same criteria?

Nothing more than a political statement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20144745)

That's why these laws are so popular amoungst spineless democrats and republicans. It appeals to the soccer mom's and the "do something for the children" sets on the moral right and paternalist left.

It costs nothing but money for the legal fights and the vote makes for great bullet points come election time, even if it never becomes laws.

P.S. You would never see this story as "Democrat-sponsored censorship law fails." Slashdot always seems to minimize the democrat portion of this bipartisan circlejerk we've been getting. Republicans have been an epic disaster, but it a real shame that Democrats will get rewarded for this disaster, because they have been such a part of it. Go Patriot ACT! Go endless undeclared war! Go spying!

Re:Nothing more than a political statement (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 7 years ago | (#20149881)

What are you talking about? I constantly see people bashing Clinton about her stance on games.

Re:Go for the wallet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20145681)

Is there no way that the administrative cost of drafting them and the legal costs of defending them in court could be inflicted directly upon the legislators who still insist on trying to drive them through?

Here in Illinois, they just took most of the fine from a public fund. I cannot remember if it was Unemployment, or Health Care, or some other fund. I looked for the /. article, but I am running out of time to post this before leaving, sorry for not linking to a source.

Personally I expected better... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20144457)

from Governor Conan. He didn't crush his enimies, see them driven before him OR hear the lamnentations of the women. *sigh*

Law struck down on the basis of stupidity? (3, Funny)

bigtangringo (800328) | more than 7 years ago | (#20144763)

As far as I know, this isn't something that happens often. A judge looked at the law, the facts, etc, and said "Hey, that just doesn't make sense." My most sincere thanks to the judge.

What's wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20144917)

The law requires games with adult content to be labelled as such, the same way it's done with movies. I for one don't like having to search for Silent Hill games near the Pokemon crowd.

And making sure we don't have another toddler wetting his pants because he played Manhunt or the like is good. We don't need the media hounds calling for a ban on videogames in general. Would you be OK if you could buy a Silvia Saint movie in DVD no matter the age? Pretty soon you couldn't buy an adult movie anywhere because they would have been banned to "protect the children".

Once you're 18 you can play what you please.

It's just like with porn (3, Informative)

Kawolski (939414) | more than 7 years ago | (#20145095)

They'll keep trying to pass laws like this because they've succeeded in passing laws that prohibit selling pornographic material to minors. Restricting the sale of "violent video games" is just seen as an extension of that, and it isn't a difficult task to convince U.S. government lawmakers that controlling a virtual character to chop another person's head off with gallons of blood flying everywhere is more or just as harmful to children as seeing a pair of exposed female breasts. Lobbying dollars are not required. After all, if the "think of the children" mantra didn't work, politicians wouldn't use it so damn often.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?