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Oklahoma Game Law Permanently Enjoined

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the that's-what-you-get dept.

The Courts 60

The poorly-written game law passed in Oklahoma - and subsequently found unconstitutional by the courts - has now been permanently enjoined from existing. This has been a pet project of Governor Brad Henry, and this enjoinment will stop the law from rearing its head again. "The law sought to ban the dissemination to minors of any computer or video game that contains any depiction of "inappropriate violence," which was defined by depictions that fall into any one of nine broad categories. Violators would also have been subject to fines of up to $1,000 ...It also seems in some way that the law singled out the game industry, since according to the court decision, the law was found to be underinclusive - meaning that a minor might be prevented from buying a video game with 'inappropriate violence' but may still legally buy or rent the book or movie on which the game was based." GamePolitics has reaction to this decision.

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Editing? (1)

spocksbrain (1097145) | more than 7 years ago | (#20650947)

That is one of the most poorly assembled group of words I have ever seen put together.

Re:Editing? (3, Funny)

sqldr (838964) | more than 7 years ago | (#20651719)

That is one of the most poorly assembled group of words I have ever seen put together.

You obviously haven't read The Davinci Code

Re:Editing? (1)

moronikos (595352) | more than 7 years ago | (#20651731)

I guess it is not much different than the law that was enjoined.

Re:Editing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20659119)

Either you don't get out much, or you are suffering from a failed-public-school education. There was nothing grammatically or lexically wrong with the three sentences he actually wrote, other than that the words "from existing" are redundant.

If you're trying to be a grammar troll, Zonk's given you much worse to work with in the past. Why don't you start back there, and try to never catch up to the rest of us? Thanks.

The Score (1)

Duffy13 (1135411) | more than 7 years ago | (#20650957)

Gamers: 32 Stuck Up Lawmakers: 0

Re:The Score (1)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 7 years ago | (#20651153)

heh, dutch guy here, so I didn't know what enjoined meant in this context.
Guess it's a good thing :)

Re:The Score (5, Informative)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 7 years ago | (#20651469)

It means that not only was the law struck down by the court, the state assembly cannot attempt to revive the law or a (IIRC) similar law

Re:The Score (2, Interesting)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 7 years ago | (#20651541)

Thanks for the explanation, indeed excellent news :)

Actually, it should be (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 7 years ago | (#20654699)

Courts: 32, Stuck Up Lawmakers: 0. Don't forget, many of these laws more or less never saw the light of day since many were struck down before ever going into effect.

Re:Actually, it should be (1)

Duffy13 (1135411) | more than 7 years ago | (#20656407)

Valid point.

What? Gaming law? (1)

shbazjinkens (776313) | more than 7 years ago | (#20651099)

This law was gone before I knew it existed. I think very few people must have been following it.

Re:What? Gaming law? (1)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 7 years ago | (#20651397)

Well it was in Oklahoma....

Re:What? Gaming law? (1)

shbazjinkens (776313) | more than 7 years ago | (#20651555)

I live here, I grew up here, that's why I think it's weird that I didn't know about this.

Re:What? Gaming law? (1)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 7 years ago | (#20651733)

That's different then. But I'm honestly not surprised. I don't look at mainstream news much but when I do I hardly every see any thing about what music/game/DRM laws are being passed. On the rare occasion that I do they tend to be a total joke.

Oklahoma - Bastion of sense in the Union (3, Interesting)

Umuri (897961) | more than 7 years ago | (#20651121)

As an okie (person who lives in oklahoma), i'm always happy to see shit like this.

No state is perfect, and there are always morons and imbeciles, especially here in the bible belt, but oklahoma has always been a relatively common sense area of the union in this fucked up little world.

I'd almost say part of it is because we're on the edge of the bible belt. People around here are smart enough to know not to be morons with their religions, but also old fashioned enough to realize that PARENTING is done by the PARENT. And people who bitch otherwise are usually just lazy.

Good job OK!

Re:Oklahoma - Bastion of sense in the Union (1)

Blinocac (169086) | more than 7 years ago | (#20651313)

Edge? We're the stinkin buckle.

Re:Oklahoma - Bastion of sense in the Union (1)

sunsfan1991 (1114991) | more than 7 years ago | (#20651387)

You must have grown up in Oklahoma and not know any better because everything you said it wrong. Oklahoma is the buckle of the bible belt, they did not want the lottery/tattoos here because of all the bible huggers. Open your eyes, I am suprised that this law did not pass here.

Re:Oklahoma - Bastion of sense in the Union (2, Interesting)

Umuri (897961) | more than 7 years ago | (#20651957)

Actually the reason i can say that is because i've seen to and talked with people in the rest of the bible belt, and have friends in some of the other states, and on the whole, oklahoma isn't quite as extreme as some of the other bible belt areas.

Not to say we don't have our fruitcakes, we got plenty. It's just they are balanced by a higher percentage of rational educated people who care enough to use their voice and their time to make sure that the legislation does something in accordance with their wishes.

The fact that the gaming laws and other things DID pass in oklahoma is actually the point. Times are changing, and oklahoma has been losing it's bible belt stupidity at a pretty fast rate compared with the rest.

Re:Oklahoma - Bastion of sense in the Union (1)

timster (32400) | more than 7 years ago | (#20655305)

It's just they are balanced by a higher percentage of rational educated people

That is true enough... us Texans do drive through Oklahoma on occasion, on our way to places north. Otherwise I'm afraid y'all would be more like South Dakota.

Re:Oklahoma - Bastion of sense in the Union (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#20653859)

I think the law was passed by the voters, but the courts shot it down.

Re:Oklahoma - Bastion of sense in the Union (1)

guardian-ct (105061) | more than 7 years ago | (#20658939)

You mean legislators passed it, and the governor signed it into law. Most of the registered voters were not directly involved.

Re:Oklahoma - Bastion of sense in the Union (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20656249)

He is actually right. Oklahoma may have been the buckle 20 years ago, but according to studies the "Bible belt" is slowly moving to the east (I read an article in Christian Science about this a few months back).

As people began to migrate to the east (due to housing market, job market, etc.) from states like California, Oregon, and Washington into other states like Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma they bring a more liberal view, thus the "push" of the "Bible belt."

Re:Oklahoma - Bastion of sense in the Union (2, Informative)

wooden pickle (1006975) | more than 7 years ago | (#20651445)

The home of Senators Inhofe and Coburn and of Oral Roberts University is a common sense area and merely on the edge of the Bible Belt?

Re:Oklahoma - Bastion of sense in the Union (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20652061)

Mod OP up. It is very true. Oklahoma does not have a lot of common sense. The roads are falling apart (6th worst in the nation) and the school systems are still sub-par. Oklahoma usually appears in the low forties to high thirties in state ranking. Plus, all of it is tainted with the religious dogma that help to prevent free thought.

Re:Oklahoma - Bastion of sense in the Union (1)

MadUndergrad (950779) | more than 7 years ago | (#20657079)

Oral Roberts? Sounds like a porn star. You sure that's the bible belt?

Re:Oklahoma - Bastion of sense in the Union (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20659551)

Brigham Young would make a pretty good name for a porno, but that doesn't mean Utah is very liberal ;)

What about Nirvana? (4, Funny)

boot1973 (809692) | more than 7 years ago | (#20652487)

"No state is perfect"

I think Buddhists may disagree.

Re:Oklahoma - Bastion of sense in the Union (1)

ie2fleen (746200) | more than 7 years ago | (#20653491)

Things like this are the reason why I duck questions asking where I live...

Re:Oklahoma - Bastion of sense in the Union (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | more than 7 years ago | (#20656401)

As a fellow Okie, I think I can make some further educated guesses:
  1. You grew up in Oklahoma before the Regan era.
  2. You quit reading and watching local news sometime around then.
  3. You didn't read the summary either


There was a time when everything you said would have been true. Sadly, Will Rodgers and Woody Guthrie are dead, buried, and forgotten, as are their values.

For instance, if you'd read the summary carefully you would have seen that our popular governor and our elected legislature voted got the law passed, and it was a single judge (hereafter to be known as a "Judicial Activist") who struck it down.

Not that I suggest you start paying attention to local news, or read the summary more closely. It will just tick you off.

In case you didn't know (4, Funny)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 7 years ago | (#20651253)

I got the gist of it from the article, but enjoin specifically means:

Law. to prohibit or restrain by an injunction.
So it's not a made-up word. It's a perfectly cromulent word and now my vocabulary has been embiggened.

"Permanent" law? (1)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 7 years ago | (#20652087)

I found the the use of the word "permanent" more troubling. Nothing in law is permanent, everything can be changed. That's why it takes eternal vigilance to make sure the laws aren't rewritten to hurt you.

Re:In case you didn't know (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 7 years ago | (#20653987)

Bush has en-joined Iraq to the United States.
Permanently.

-

Re:In case you didn't know (1)

PhoenixOne (674466) | more than 7 years ago | (#20655157)

Thank you. I have two degrees and I was starting to feel like an idiot because I had to look enjoined up to figure out if this was a good or bad thing.

I speak English, Tech, Marketing, Gamer, SciFi, Lit, and Geek but I never learned Lawyer...

I agree with the decision (1)

1310nm (687270) | more than 7 years ago | (#20651331)

There are too many bad parents buying their young kids ridiculously violent games, and kids doing the same with their parents' money. This law is for the idiots who think that because something goes in a Playstation, it's fine for a kid to play. Unfortunately, the government would not have to be involved if these hillbillies would educate themselves (or even sit down and watch a kid play GTA for a few minutes).

Re:I agree with the decision (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 7 years ago | (#20652311)

If these hillbillies, as you put it, are so irresponsible that they require government intervention to replace parenting, then I think giving a kid "free reign" with a Playstation shouldn't be their top priority in the first place ^_^

Re:I agree with the decision (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20654315)

You realize that the court's decision was against the law, right?

wait a minute... (1)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 7 years ago | (#20651519)

the law was found to be underinclusive - meaning that a minor might be prevented from buying a video game with 'inappropriate violence' but may still legally buy or rent the book or movie on which the game was based.
Is it just me or does their reason sound like they want to extend the law to hit books and movies too?

Re:wait a minute... (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 7 years ago | (#20651681)

They might, but books and movies are clearly under protection of the First Amendment, and I would almost guarantee that any member of the assembly that tries would get laughed out of office. Quite a few books from the official reading list in my high school would get a big fat "M" or "R" sticker as games or movies.

Re:wait a minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20652865)



Then maybe it's time for Game stores to start acting like Movie theaters & self-enforcing the rules:
- "No one under 17 admitted" for theaters.
- "No M-rated games sold to under 18" for videogame stores.

Re:wait a minute... (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 7 years ago | (#20655191)


- "No M-rated games sold to under 18" for videogame stores.


i haven't found anywhere short of a garage sale that doesn't require ID to buy an M-rated game. the magic age is 17, but i don't see much of a difference for this purpose.

Re:wait a minute... (2, Informative)

Goobermunch (771199) | more than 7 years ago | (#20654611)

IAALBNYL (ATINLA)*-- In civil rights cases that challenge the legitimacy of a statute, courts often apply an overinclusive/underinclusive analysis to determine whether the State's claimed reason for a statute is legitimate (whether it's legitimate and whether the reason is sufficient depends on the kind of right involved). In this case, the purpose of the law was to prevent minors from being exposed to "inappropriate violence." What the court is saying by calling the law underinclusive is "if you want to protect kids from 'inappropriate violence,' the method you've chosen is completely inadequate, because they can be exposed to it from other media such as books and movies. Therefore, your law doesn't pass muster." Realize, that this analysis depends largely on the stated purposes of a statute, and the specific analysis followed by the court will usually be more complex than "your law doesn't pass muster." --AC

These laws will never last (2, Insightful)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 7 years ago | (#20652665)

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

Here are the problems:
The first amendment guarantees freedom of expression. That freedom applies to all media. To override the First Amendment would take a lot of evidence.

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.

Re:These laws will never last (1)

DigitalReverend (901909) | more than 7 years ago | (#20655607)

Here's a perfect example of a misunderstanding about rights.

The first amendment guarantees freedom of expression. That freedom applies to all media. To override the First Amendment would take a lot of evidence.

Yes it guarantees freedom of expression, it does NOT however guarantee access what is being expressed. It also does NOT,. guarantee that everything that is expressed will be heard,seen or accessed. Under the law that was in place, the game companies were still able to write (express) anything they wanted to. The law just prohibited a segment of our population from accessing the game companies' chosen form of expression It was not a rights infringement case. It could possibly be construed as a censorship case, but even that does not fit what censorship is. Censorship is barring access to the entire population of certain forms of expression. This was simply prohibiting access to minors who in my opinion have no rights except to be fed, house, clothed and educated.

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.


As unpopular as this will make me, I must say that perhaps that is where the problem lies. Perhaps these laws need to be more inclusive to cover books and movies and other forms of media. Children cannot parent themselves. If parents aren't doing the job, and the larger family units aren't doing the job, and the community isn't doing the job, it has to fall somewhere and unfortunately that leaves only the government. So maybe the lawmakers in Oklahoma just need to go back and make the law more inclusive in order for it to pass muster.

Re:These laws will never last (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 7 years ago | (#20661105)

I'm no lawyer but I"m just repeating what every court including ones in Indiana, St. Louis, California, Oklahoma, and Minesota have said regarding videogames and the first amendment.

I'm curious why you think laws are needed. Are children really any worse than they were say 100 years ago?

Re:These laws will never last (1)

DigitalReverend (901909) | more than 7 years ago | (#20662857)

Boy you are asking me to stick my neck out. Children are exposed to too much too early. Parents should be protecting the innocence of their children for as long as possible and teach them to respect other people. You don't even have to go back 100 years, when young children and even teenagers called adults by Mr. and Mrs., and if you told them to please get out of your yard, or to move along to keep them from loitering, they said yes sir or ma'am and got out of the yard and moved on instead of f*** you and thinking they could defy you because they think violence is the answer.

Now do I blame video games? Absolutely not. However, I do blame parents for letting their children being exposed to certain video games, movies and even music before they are old enough to understand the content of such materials. Since parents are not taking the responsibility upon themselves someone has to do it. In the past a lot of people looked out for the welfare of children, people in your neighborhood, in the schools even in the churches. That is all gone now, so since the job must still be done, government is all that's left. I don't like the idea of that role falling to the government, can't raise themselves and if we ever want to get back to where we were not only respected by the world but each other, something must be done.

Re:These laws will never last (1)

matlokheed (602233) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665887)

You're serious?

While I wasn't alive 100 years ago, the kids of today have exactly zero fear of anything because parents are unwilling (or unable) to punish their kids. I know of a kid who doesn't go to school periodically because he doesn't feel like it. His parents try to punish him? How? They have to work, and so short of taking him to work, they have exactly zero control of what he does during the day. They could theoretically disconnect internet access and disconnect cable at home, but then they're punishing themselves too and I'm pretty sure they don't want to do that. If I did that as a kid, I really don't even want to think what would've happened.

I'm not saying video games are the cause of this (as a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure they're not), but the fact that parents aren't as involved with their kids is involved. First amendment rules don't apply to everything and this isn't as much of a square peg in a round hole as most people are painting it to be. There's a reason why you don't see pornography on broadcast TV and it has nothing to do with the goodwill of the TV stations (the FCC would step in). The real difference this does have is that videogames are purchased for private use, so the parents should be able to tell what their kids are playing.

Of course, some parents are lousy parents and that's where some people think the government should step in, considering unlike the music or movie industry (and I'm not saying they have perfect systems either), the videogame industry doesn't seem interested in regulating themselves.

Somebody should be watching the kids though.

Re:These laws will never last (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20664445)

it does NOT however guarantee access what is being expressed.

Very precise description of the Great Firewall of China.

STOP putting subjective language in LAW (1)

netsavior (627338) | more than 7 years ago | (#20652735)

Opinions have no place in law, subjective terms have no place in law. Or didn't they learn from the Larry flint "obscenity" trials.

I am just glad that the morality police aren't very intellegent. I fear the day when they are able to put 3 words together.

Sarah Connor (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#20653443)

The poorly-written game law passed in Oklahoma... has now been permanently enjoined from existing .
They invented a time machine... in Oklahoma?

Re:Sarah Connor (1)

Shinmizu (725298) | more than 7 years ago | (#20658223)

Yeah, we have one at OSU. We just put Sooner fans on public display to distract from the fact that there are non-Neandertals running things in the background here.

So.. (1)

mikkelm (1000451) | more than 7 years ago | (#20654123)

What amazes me is that 47 lawmakers can unanimously pass a blatantly unconstitutional bill. When the courts have to fix what that many politicians unanimously messed up, it's obvious and undeniable proof that the current method of government just does not work.

Re:So.. (1)

CrashPoint (564165) | more than 7 years ago | (#20654669)

No, actually it's proof that it does work, as fixing what the politicians mess up is in fact exactly what the courts are for.

Re:So.. (1)

mikkelm (1000451) | more than 7 years ago | (#20658407)

You're actually saying that consistently hitting the last line of defence to try to clean up the mess that the lawmakers make is proof that the method of government works?

What this proves is that the system is completely messed up, and that the failsafes that are meant to prevent a total meltdown worked this time around. You really call that a working system?

Re:So.. (1)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 7 years ago | (#20654881)

The Founders thought it was proof the system worked.

The politicians waste their time instead of ours; the courts exist as an oversight/check on their powers.

Without the courts the politicians would still exist and would still be causing trouble. I mean, they would be like Jack Thompson, right?

Re:So.. (1)

Jim Hall (2985) | more than 7 years ago | (#20655039)

What amazes me is that 47 lawmakers can unanimously pass a blatantly unconstitutional bill. When the courts have to fix what that many politicians unanimously messed up, it's obvious and undeniable proof that the current method of government just does not work.

On the flip side, 47 lawmakers will use this at the next election, and talk about how they vote to protect the children. It all comes down to politics.

Re:So.. (1)

mikkelm (1000451) | more than 7 years ago | (#20658513)

Obviously. Hence the post you replied to.

CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP (0, Offtopic)

Craden (1155833) | more than 7 years ago | (#20655491)

chicken noodle soup is delicious. and very healthy. so eat more of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup.

ob Tom Leher Quote (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 7 years ago | (#20658949)

"I do have a cause though. It is: obscenity. I'm for it. Unfortunately the civil liberties types who are fighting this issue have to fight it, owing to the nature of the laws, as a matter of freedom of speech and stifling of free expression and so on. But we know what's really involved: Dirty books are fun! That's all there is to it. But you can't get up in the court and say that, I suppose. It's simply a matter of freedom of pleasure. A right which is not guaranteed by the Constitution, unfortunately." -Tom Leher
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