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Category — Violent Game Laws

Take Two Seeks to Enjoin Thompson From Brining GTA IV & Manhunt 2 Suits

Categories: "Inside Baseball"InjunctionsJack ThompsonViolent Game Laws

Text of Complaint (March 13, 2007)

In response to pre-existing threats form Jack Thompson, Take-Two Interactive has preemptively asked the Southern District Court of Florida to provide declaratory and injunctive relief against Jack Thompson to stop him from bringing suit:

  1. to stop the sale and distribution of Manhunt 2 (due out in the summer of 2007) and GTA IV (due out in October 2007); and
  2. seeking pre-publication review of the games;

as he did in the past with Bully. In the words of the complaint:

…declaratory relief is especially necessary here because Thompson has a history of making multiple threats of legal action, whether substantiated or not, both against Plaintiff as well as the retailers who purchase the video games and offer them for sale to the public.

Dale’s Comment: Interestingly, the firm representing Take-Two in this action, Blank Rome, LLP, is the same firm that previously had sought to have Jack Thompson held in contempt of court.

CONTINUE READING →

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EU Considers Unified Violent Games Restrictions

Categories: Game RatingsLegal ReformViolent Game Laws

Germany is leading the European Union in calling for the EU to adopt an Europe-wide standardized labeling system with age restrictions and warnings. Each country would be free to set their own ratings.

Sources: Gamasutra | GamePolitics.com

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Proposed German Law would Criminalize Violent Video Game Makers and Gamers

Categories: Violent Game Law CasesViolent Game Laws

This story has been floating around the gaming sites for weeks. I haven’t covered it because I can’t imagine that such a proposed bill will ever become law. But, since the L.A. Times is now covering it, I thought I’d at least mention it in passing.

A proposed Bavarian and Lower Saxony law would impose fines and possible jail sentences for up to one year on game developers, distributors and game players of games in which the goal is to inflict “cruel violence on humans or human-looking characters.” This is so broad so as to include a huge swath of popular video games today.

Dale’s Comment: As a blog policy, I typically don’t comment on draft bill because most of them never become law. If you are interested in this type of coverage, GamePolitics.com is for you! Again, I will be flabbergasted if such an extreme law ever sees the light of day in Germany. Of course if this amounts to anything I’ll cover it here.

Sources: L.A. Times | GamePolitics.com | Gamasutra

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Congressman Joe Pitts Claims his Video Game Comments were Misportrayed in Daily Show Lampoon

Categories: Game RatingsHumourLegal ReformPolicy AnalysisViolent Game Laws

After raising many eyebrows with his comments, Congressman Joe Pitts claims his statements on the affects of violent video games on children aired in a June 22 Daily Show segment were misportrayed.

Sources: DailyLocal.com | GamePolitics | Joystiq | YouTube Video (snippet)

Click here to view YouTube video.

Dale’s Comment: It’s hard to understand how Congressman’s Pitt’s comments could have been misportrayed. They were aired uncut. This is simply another example of a (probably) well intentioned, aging, out of touch Senator speaking on a subject he does not understand. Sounds like Washington as usual to me.

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Louisiana Senator Defends Violent Games Law

Categories: Violent Game Laws

Text of Preliminary Injunction
Text of Temporary Restraining Order
Text of ESA Complaint
Text of Violent Game Bill (HB 1381)

Louisiana Senator Mike Michot defends the recently blocked violent Video Game Bill. Attorney General Charles Foti has promised to take the fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sources: GameDaily.biz | KATC3 | Gamasutra | Next Generation | Game Politics 1 | Game Politics 2 | 1Up.com

GamePolitics Full Coverage of Louisiana Violent Game Law

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Jon Stewart on Congressional Debate over Video Games

Categories: Game RatingsHumourLegal ReformPolicy AnalysisViolent Game Laws

In this Daily Show clip, Jon Stewart lampoons Congressman Joe Pitts’ Lack of understanding of the video game industry, affects of violence on children and the ESRB rating system.

Sources: YouTube Video (snippet) | joystiq | GamePolitics | Gamasutra | GameIndustry.biz

Click here to view YouTube video.

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Louisiana Violent Game Bill Signed Into Law – ESA Files Suit

Categories: Violent Game Law CasesViolent Game Laws

Text of Violent Game Bill (HB 1381)
Text of ESA Complaint
This new bill (HB 1381) drafted by controversial Florida attorney Jack Thompson, allows a judge to rule on whether or not a video game meets established criteria for being inappropriate for minors. 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. The ESA immediately filed suit.

Dale’s Comment: Jack Thompson has drafted HB 1381 in a way that tries to respond to the First Amendment issues that brought down similar laws in other jurisdictions. It is drafted in such a way to use the same legal standard by which obscenity is determined – the Miller test. The Miller test defines obscenity as something that “by contemporary community standards appeals to the prurient interest; depicts sexual content specifically defined by state law in a patently offensive way; and lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value”. The Miller hasn’t, to my knowledge, been used in cases that attempt to uphold the constitutionality of legislation controlling depictions of violence.

Sources: Gamasutra | GamePolitics | GameSpot 1 | GameSpot 2 | Next Generation | Macworld | Reuters | GameDaily.biz | Muskogee Phoenix (Editorial) | ESA Press Release | joystiq | Link | Link | Advanced Media Network

GamePolitics Full Coverage of Louisiana Violent Game Law

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Oklahoma ‘Games As Porn’ Bill Signed Into Law – ESA to Fight It

Categories: Sexuality CasesViolent Game Law CasesViolent Game Laws

Text of Law (HB 3004)
Here we go again! This law redefines a list of items, such as hardcore pornography, which are deemed “harmful to minors”, to include video games which use “inappropriate violence”.The new law will make it a felony for anyone in Oklahoma to sell, rent or display games which contain inappropriate violence. Stores must keep such games hidden in a similar manner to pornographic magazines and videos. The law ignores the ESRB age rating for games, and instead makes its own definition of inappropriate violence. The law is due to come into force on November 1, 2006. The ESA has already launched a constitutional challenge to the law which is likely to succeed based on the experience of similar challenges in other jurisdictions.

Sources: Gamasutra | GamePolitics.com | Governor Henry’s Press Release | GameSpot | GameIndustry.biz | Next Generation | GameDaily.biz | joystiq
ESA to Fight: Gamasutra | GamePolitics.com | GameSpot | GameIndustry.biz | Next Generation | 1Up.com | ars technica | Business Week

Note: Oklahoma becomes the eighth U.S. jurisdiction to enact such a law. Previous laws in Washington State, Illinois, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Michigan were held unconstitutional. California’s video game law is currently under review. Minnesota’s bill was signed into law last week.

GamePolitics.com Full Coverage of Oklahoma ‘Games as Porn’ Law
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Minnesota Video Game Bill Signed Into Law – ESA to Fight It

Categories: Violent Game Law CasesViolent Game Laws

Minnesota’s new video game law provides a twist, in that it fines those under 17, $25 for purchasing or renting Mature and Adults Only rated games. Unlike laws from other States that failed to pass Constitutional-muster, it doesn’t punish retailers for selling or renting to minors, but it does require retailers to post a sign notifying customers of the fine. The law goes into effect on August 1, 2006. As usual, the ink wasn’t dry before the ESA vowed to fight it.

Sources: Gamasutra | GameSpot | Next Generation | GamePolitics.com | GameSpy | GameDaily.biz | Joystiq | 1Up.com | Team Xbox
ESA to Fight: Gamasutra | Next Generation | GamePolitics.com | GameDaily.biz | GameIndustry.biz

Text of Bill:

S.F. No. 785, 2nd Engrossment – 84th Legislative Session (2005-2006) Posted on May 22, 2006

A bill for an act relating to crime prevention; prohibiting children under the age of 17 from renting or purchasing certain video games; providing penalties; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 325I.BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:Section 1. RESTRICTED VIDEO GAMES; PROHIBITIONS.

Subd. 1. Definition. As used in this section, “restricted video game” means a video game rated AO or M by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

Subd. 2.Prohibited acts; penalty. A person under the age of 17 may not knowingly rent or purchase a restricted video game. A person who violates this subdivision is subject to a civil penalty of not more than $25.

Subd. 3. Posted sign required. A person or entity engaged in the retail business of selling or renting video games from a location or structure with access to the public shall post a sign in a location that is clearly visible to consumers. The sign must display the following language in 30-point font or larger: “A person under the age of 17 is prohibited from renting or purchasing a video game rated AO or M. Violators may be subject to a $25 penalty.”

EFFECTIVE DATE. This section is effective August 1, 2006, and applies to violations committed on or after that date.

Dale’s Comment: Imagine a police officer writing-up a ticket to a 13-year-old violator? “May I see your library card and hall-pass please?” Or better yet, an eight-year-old in night court challenging the fine!? Please Mr. Judge, I thought the video game “Hot Coffee” was a beverage preparation tutorial. How would a child go about paying the fine, with their credit card or check book? Perhaps the police will garnish their allowance for the next 6 months. ;)

GamePolitics Full Coverage Of Minnesota’s Violent Video Game Law

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Western Australia Adopts Tough Video Game Law

Categories: Child Sale RestrictionsViolent Game Laws

Western Australia passed the Government’s Censorship Amendment Bill last night, enacting a $5,000 fine to sell or rent MA-15 plus-rated video games (the equivalent of a mature-rated release over here) to a minor. It’s currently unknown whether any legal action will be taken to try and reverse the decision.

Sources: 1Up.com | Yahoo! News Au | ABC (Australia) NewsOnline | GamePolitics.com

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Views Clash at Senate Game Hearing

Categories: Policy AnalysisViolent Game Laws

A U.S. Senate’s Judiciary Subcommittee held a hearing designed to publicly discuss the issue of laws restricting game sales. Titled “What’s in a Game? Regulation of Violent Video Games and the First Amendment,” the hearing saw two panels of four testify on the impact violent video games have on children and how games are–or aren’t–protected as free speech under the U.S. Constitution

Sources: Next Generation | GameSpot | Gamasutra | GameDaily.biz | GamePolitics.com

GamePolitics.com’s Full Coverage Video Game Legislative Activities in Congress
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Regulating Youth Access to Violent Video Games: Three Responses to First Amendment Concerns

Categories: Featured ArticlesPolicy AnalysisViolent Game Law CasesViolent Game Laws

(first published October 2, 2003)
Text of Paper
Abstract: Recent efforts to limit the access of children to violent video games have faced legal challenge under the First Amendment. This article presents three theories that may provide defenses to constitutional challenges. The evidence of harmful effects is examined to argue that limitations may meet strict scrutiny. The theory that violence may fit within harmful to minors statutes ordinarily directed at pornography is also presented. Lastly, the argument that video game play is not expression protected by the amendment is explored.”.
Source: by Kevin W. Saunders

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Senate Panel OKs Video Game Study

Categories: Policy AnalysisViolent Game Laws

ELSPA Boss Blasts U.K. MP’s “utter nonsense” Violent Games Speech

Categories: Game RatingsViolent Game Laws

U.K. MP Vaz had proposed an amendment to the Video Recordings Act 1984, which would make it mandatory for video games to receive content ratings in the same way that films do – a role currently fulfilled by the voluntary PEGI ratings system.

Sources: GameIndustry.biz  |  GamePolitics.com

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GamePolitics.com Launches a Google-map-based Video Game Legislation Tracker

Categories: LobbyingViolent Game Laws

The legislation tracker organizes pending, passed, or killed video game legislation throughout the U.S. It interactively highlights the name of the bill, its status, sponsors and other relevant information.

Source: GamePolitics.com

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Florida Gaming Bill Passes Senate Committee Hearing

Categories: Violent Game Laws

The bill is modeled on California AB1179, which imposes government-approved labels on games on top of the existing ESRB ratings, and fines retailers $1,000 per infraction for selling violent-rated games to minors

Sources: Gamasutra  |  Gamespot  |  Next Generation  |  GameIndustry.biz  |  GameDaily.biz  |  Game Politics  |  1Up.com

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Maryland, Indiana Prepare Violent Video Game Bills

Categories: Violent Game Laws

Soon to join the list of states which have introduced legislation against the sale of violent video games to minors, a roster which currently includes California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, and Delaware are new entrants Maryland and Indiana, according to video game weblog GamePolitics.

Sources: Gamasutra | 1Up.com | NextGen.biz | GameDaily.biz

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U.S. Family Entertainment Protection Act Introduced in Congress

Categories: Violent Game Laws

IEMA & ESA Respond to Clinton & Lieberman Family Entertainment Protection Act

Categories: Violent Game Laws

Senators Clinton & Lieberman Introduce Federal Game Regulation

Categories: Violent Game Laws

Delaware Introduces Mature Game Sale Restrictoins Law

Categories: Retail SalesViolent Game Laws

Delaware may follow California with the introduction of a bill to restrict the sales/rentals of M rated video games to those under 17. If this bill passes, the failure to check for ID, or selling or renting M or AO games to an underage customer, will result in a Class A misdemeanor.

Source: Gamasutra

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CAMRA Bill Introduced in House of Representatives

Categories: Violent Game Laws

New Jersey To Introduce Violent Game Legislation

Categories: Violent Game Law CasesViolent Game Laws

New Jersey has become latest state to consider localized legislation against violent or sexually explicit video games, following the announcement of a proposed bill at proceedings being held at the New Jersey Statehouse.

Source: Gamasutra

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Manitoba to Restrict Video Game Rentals to Minors

Categories: Child Sale RestrictionsGame RatingsNew LawsRetail SalesViolent Game Laws

Under the new Manitoba law, a retailer who sells or rents a video game marked Adults Only to anyone under 18 can be hit with a fine of $5,000. Games marked Mature, such as the Grand Theft Auto titles, will not be available to anyone under 17.

Sources:
CTV | Fradical.com | Manitoba Press Release

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New Ontario Video Game Retail Sales Law

Categories: Child Sale RestrictionsGame RatingsNew LawsPolice ActionsRetail SalesViolent Game Laws

On March 7, 2005, the Ontario Film Review Board adopted the ESRB classifications. As a result it is now an offence to sell, rent or publicly exhibit video and computer games classified as “Mature” or “Adults Only” to persons apparently under the age of 18 years. If convicted, individuals may face up to $25,000 in fines or imprisonment for a term of not more than one year or both. Corporations are liable for fines up to $100,000.

Sources: GamePolitics.com | Fradical.com | Ontario Film Review Board Press Release

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