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Jack Thompson's Violent Game Bill Signed Into Law 368

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

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 16, 2006 @02:39PM (#15550875)
    Well since you need to be 18(?) to get a credit card, they are technicaly not selling the games to a minor, even if it's a minor using the credit card.
  • by paladinwannabe2 (889776) on Friday June 16, 2006 @02:40PM (#15550888)
    Ah, but if Little Timmy orders it online, he's doing it through Mommy's Credit Card- which means that either A. Mommy gave her permission (in which case she's buying the game, and it's okay) or B. Little Timmy is commiting fraud, and it's Little Timmy who is breaking laws, not the seller. It would be the same as if Little Timmy stole beer from the department store- the store isn't breaking laws, Timmy is.
  • by radish (98371) on Friday June 16, 2006 @02:57PM (#15551000) Homepage
    I'm not sure what you mean. The Illinois law was struck down as unconstitutional [theesa.com], just like the others - so that's another win for the ESA. The Maryland one, on the other hand, was actually supported by the ESA because it only concerned itself with explicit sexual content rather than vague terms like "unsuitable" or "violent". As far as I know, there are no games published in the US which would even qualify under the Maryland law (including Hot Coffee), so it seems more like it's simply trying to bring existing "don't sell porn to kids" laws up to date by including video games as well as existing media like DVD. Seems sensible to me. To quote the ESA:

    "The ESA has always been supportive of the inclusion of video games to 'harmful to minor' statues that meet the Supreme Courts obscenity standards. We believe that video games should be treated in the same way that books and movies are treated under the law."
  • by jedidiah (1196) on Friday June 16, 2006 @03:04PM (#15551058) Homepage
    American censors like to start with these edge cases first and then move inwards. Once you can get a judge to declare that abusing a minor in a particular way is acceptable then it's a very short hop from allowing the government to do the exact same thing to everyone.

            British common law is the slippery slope made manifest.

            How many more times does it need repeated.
           
  • by mcmonkey (96054) on Friday June 16, 2006 @03:05PM (#15551063) Homepage
    This is a state law that applies to Louisiana only; it has absolutely no bearing on how Florida or any other state but Louisiana deals with violent video games.
    That's not entirely true. Legally state law only applies to that state--although there are exceptions to that rule as well.

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

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

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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 16, 2006 @05:30PM (#15552244)
    Because I don't like using credit cards online (paranoid), I've used money orders to buy items from Amazon, ebay, and other stores. Anyone can buy a money order, anyone can write their name and address on a stamped envelope, and anyone can mail that envelope. Therefore, any underaged person can buy stuff online without the help of an adult when done with a money order.

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