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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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  • Priorities (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheBogie (941620) on Friday June 16, 2006 @03:34PM (#15550832) Journal
    Kathleen Blanco should be worried about the coming hurricane season rather than wasting everyone's time with this.
  • by azrane2005 (860037) on Friday June 16, 2006 @03:35PM (#15550845) Homepage
    I see the point of this, if you're going to Wal-Mart or GameStop/EB. But what about online side of retailers, Amazon, GameStop, Wal-Mart, etc. This bill only affects Louisiana, so if you can't find the game on store shelves, you'll be able to find it online.
  • Re:Priorities (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stratjakt (596332) on Friday June 16, 2006 @03:36PM (#15550847) Journal
    Yeah and police should be worried about the "real criminals" instead of harassing 16 year old kids for drinking beer in the woods!
  • Redundant? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Golias (176380) on Friday June 16, 2006 @03:36PM (#15550851)
    Was a new state law really needed for something like this? Wouldn't it have made sense to simply apply the same rules that currently apply to the distribution of R-rated movies on DVD?

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

    (Although, considering all that's happened in the last year, I can't imagine that current local leaders in that state have a very long and rosy political career ahead of them anyway. It's kind of tough to rein in a lame-duck government which is already world-famous for corruption. The people of that state who don't like this law might just have to wait for the next administration to work on getting it reversed.)
  • Wonkfest (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AgentSmith (69695) on Friday June 16, 2006 @03:37PM (#15550860)
    *Yawn*

    Bill gets challeneged in court and dies.

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

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

     
  • Grr. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Friday June 16, 2006 @03:40PM (#15550882) Homepage Journal
    Playing violent videogames never made me want to shoot anyone.

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

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

    Fearmongering idiots getting ridiculous laws made, on the other hand, would seriously test my limits were I not reasonably confident of this eventually getting struck back down by someone with half a brain.
  • by Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) on Friday June 16, 2006 @03:40PM (#15550887) Homepage
    <sarcasm>I like how this generation of parents is teaching this generation of kids to value and defend their freedoms.</sarcasm>
  • by CSZeus (593470) on Friday June 16, 2006 @03:40PM (#15550893)
    Jack Thompson may have his head in the wrong place, but he's not as stupid as people make him out to be. While it's a fair bet that the ESA will go after this bill (just like they have in every other state to sign one into law), I wonder if they'll have more of a difficult time with this one. After all, they have one ruling at least to go on (Illinois), one law that's been unchallenged (Maryland), and after the fiasco with his Modest Proposal I doubt Jack would help author something else that was going to be a sure loss.

    Just some thoughts.
  • by JayDot (920899) on Friday June 16, 2006 @03:45PM (#15550927) Journal
    This isn't about God hating violent video games. As a Christian, I don't like to see violent/questionable games sold. But that's not something that you get a law written for. It's the parents who should be following the rating suggestions to avoid games that aren't appropriate for their kids. Different parents will have different standards, so a state-wide (or worse, federal) law doesn't fix the real problem. As other's have stated, enforce the rules we have, and let the parents do the parenting.
  • by sleepophile (568417) on Friday June 16, 2006 @03:47PM (#15550938)
    I live in Louisiana ...and there are a hundred things far more important than this shit.The state of education heres is pathetic , NO hasn't recovered from the last hurricane season ..and the new one is already upon us. Crime is off the charts ...and so on.And they waste time on passing a stupid video game law. Blanco needs to get her head checked .
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 16, 2006 @03:49PM (#15550947)
    I can think of much, much worse forms of censorship than depriving not yet 18 year olds of some video games. Get a grip.
  • Re:Priorities (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stratjakt (596332) on Friday June 16, 2006 @03:49PM (#15550948) Journal
    My point was that the "gov't employee should be doing X instead of Y", when their job entails both.

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

  • by stratjakt (596332) on Friday June 16, 2006 @03:52PM (#15550976) Journal
    I've found that America, and Americans are all about finding people to blame.

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

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

    Boo-hoo..

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

    And they'll probably keep slipping in little porno mini-games to be "edgy" and "push the envelope" and "fuck everything up by making a joke of the ESRB and prompting the government to take notice and usurp it."
  • Re:Redundant? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dyslexicbunny (940925) on Friday June 16, 2006 @03:53PM (#15550979)
    It's a pretty short bill (the bill [state.la.us]) but this phrase takes the cake.

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

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

    Honestly though, I don't have a problem with either of the first two parts. Selling games to minors that don't fit into the ESRB ages should be a crime. But the fine should be enough and might be a little high on the top. And/or a year in prison is silly even with the fact it could also include hard labor.
  • What am I to do (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Joebert (946227) on Friday June 16, 2006 @04:00PM (#15551029) Homepage
    I can't masturbate because it's a sin, I can't play violent video games because they make me violent, & I can't sleep with the girl next door because her dad owns a shotgun, what the hell am I supposed to do ?
  • by FatSean (18753) on Friday June 16, 2006 @04:01PM (#15551039) Homepage Journal
    I really do. Like Florida...constantly getting federal funds to repair the damage from hurricanes that just keep comming.

    On the upside, this is strong selection pressure against people who like to live near violent storms.
  • by FatSean (18753) on Friday June 16, 2006 @04:04PM (#15551056) Homepage Journal
    That is what 'meter maids' do. As for Sobriety Checkpoints...I think they are the evil product of cowardly turds who fear what they are told to fear.

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

  • Re:Redundant? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Khaed (544779) on Friday June 16, 2006 @04:26PM (#15551261)
    Selling games to minors that don't fit into the ESRB ages should be a crime.

    Agreed. Rant mode:

    Some places don't even sell M rated games (which is their choice), and I've known people who worked in game/rental places where they could get fired for selling an game to someone in the wrong age bracket. One friend of mine has actually been bitched at by a twelve year old, and then his mom for refusing to sell the kid a game that he wasn't old enough to play.

    People are going to bitch no matter what happens, as long as the violent games are made. Music has warning labels, and people still try and blame music for stuff. Even without labels -- come on, a game named Doom? Grand Theft Auto? You must be stupid to not realize that this might not be appropriate. Halo? Well, that one sounds acceptable (moreso than Super Smash Brothers name wise).

    Until we live in Carebear land where everything is flowers and unicorns we're going to have to put up with these stupid people and their crummy elected officials.

    Okay, rant mode off. This issue just pisses me off because the people involved are so stupid and deliberately ignorant. Gr. Argh. And stuff.
  • by Goblez (928516) on Friday June 16, 2006 @04:29PM (#15551283)
    So long as there is some non-essential way to produce revenue and pacify what masses perceive as a problem.
  • by 011011 (894467) on Friday June 16, 2006 @04:40PM (#15551407)
    Personnaly I don't really know what where people live and the natural disasters they are prone to has to due with a videogame bill. As far as natural disasters go, just about everywhere has its own type of possible disaster to be dealt with. As far as this gaming bill goes, in my opinion, morality is not specifically the job of government to make rules on, but without moral rules, laws really wouldn't exist. In all honesty, murder is just a question of moral reasoning. If it weren't, every solder that came home from a war would need to be tried for every confirmed kill. The real question comes down to what issues are morally objectable enough for the government to step in and create a law for it. I don't believe games should be one of these issues. Thats like saying people who put their elbows on the table should get a fine and possible jail time. As a parent, I firmly believe parents should step up, learn what the ESRB ratings stand for, research the games your children want, and enforce a restriction on your child to not get a game you do not believe they are mature enough to play. Jack Handey.....er Thompson should not be the one setting the rules for what I beleive my child is mature enough to play. Of course I do have the right to buy the game on behalf of my child, but then they may look at a 5 day waiting period for the purchase of a game. "Want to make sure you're not training for black ops, y'know," says the kindly Best Purchase guy as I fill out the ream of paperwork to buy the latest Splinter Shock game. Of course the problem here stems from people who don't want to be bothered by actually taking the time to be interested in and raise their child. Enough of this rant. Back to your regularly scheduled weather......
  • by Kelson (129150) * on Friday June 16, 2006 @04:56PM (#15551558) Homepage Journal
    Hurricanes are a piece of cake to deal with. I'd rather deal with them then earthquakes or tornados.

    Here's the funny thing: I, and most people I know who have grown up in California, would much rather deal with earthquakes than hurricanes or tornadoes. We can't imagine why someone would want to stay in a hurricane-prone area. And I'd be willing to be that people in, say, Kansas, would much rather deal with tornadoes than hurricanes or earthquakes.

    I think it just comes down to the disaster you grew up with. You know what to expect, you know how to prepare for a typical hurricane/quake/flood/tornado, you know what to do during the disaster, and you know how pick things up afterward. Every once in a while something hits on the level of Katrina or the 1906 San Francisco quake, but for the most part, the locals in any region are comfortable with their area's disasters -- and often freaked out totally by the disasters that hit other areas.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 16, 2006 @05:34PM (#15551845)
    Of course there is the fact that hurricanes *spawn* tornadoes, lots of them sometimes.
  • by Pfhorrest (545131) on Friday June 16, 2006 @05:37PM (#15551866) Homepage Journal
    But you do have a point, except for the fact that morality (which is what this law entails) is NOT part of the government's job.

    I must strongly disagree with your words here (and with the many others who espouse them), though I agree completely in spirit. Enforcing morality is the government's ONLY job. But morality is not synonymous with any particular group's common tastes or traditional values. Morality is about what is good for the everybody, and that is precisely what government's legitimate purpose is: to look out for the well-being of all of society.

    But what is good for the everybody is a very small set of things: liberty and security. Any of the particulars (i.e. watching porn, eating red meat, having long hair, wearing shoes, whatever) may be good or bad for different people in different contexts, but freedom and safety are the two things that are always good for everyone. With those provided, people are free to acquire all the things that are good for them in particular and avoid those which are bad.

    Which means that the government's job, as I think you were saying, is to mind it's own business, that business being making sure that other people are minding theirs. It is not the government's job to enforce the tastes or personal values of any people on any other people.
  • by Dudukain (978866) on Friday June 16, 2006 @10:18PM (#15553167)
    I am tired of this mindless garbage. Wacko Jacko clearly fed Kathleen Blanco some of the venom of a blowfish, which if it is of the right kind turns you into a zombie, which is in fact the origin of the zombie legend. But that is not the point, the point is that Jacko Thompson is an idiot. The only thing worse than the rabid anti-fun lobby is some of the gamers themselves. I'm talking about those nutjobs who say, lay waste to a greater metropolitan area and claim GTA made them do it. No, GTA had nothing to do with it. You played GTA because you had violent tendencies (This is an isolated example, I am not generalizing those who play such games) then because your parents are total idiots they didn't notice that you had, say, a assault weapon in your room, so then they are sure they aren't at fault because hey, it's not like they KNEW that GTA was violent OR that an assault weapon was designed to be, you know, a weapon, so they sue Rockstar, and the moronic judge who was paid about $300 by Jack Thompson, doesn't do the smart thing (Laugh the case out of court) and instead takes them perfectly seriously. The only thing worse is the fact that most Jurors are, with all due respect (None whatsoever) total freaking morons who wouldn't convict a celebrity if he had shot at them, critically wounding 3, in the past 5 minutes. They wouldn't convict him while he was still pointing the weapon at them. So why should they convict some average joe. Frankly, I don't understand the point of even having a judicial system, the media is what really tries people these days, so maybe if we just got a little sense knocked back into us, got ourselves out of the half-brained culture of compensation, and told Jack Thompson to take a hike, the cast the dark ring of deceit, forged by Hillary Clinton when she's fishing for votes, tempered in the dark ichor that the judges of suing video game companies have for blood, and finally wielded by Jack Thompson, allowing him to bypass his own intelligence for evil.... We must cast this ring into the fires of mount doom, and while we're at it, let's push in Wacko Jacko while we're at it.
  • by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Friday June 16, 2006 @10:43PM (#15553248) Homepage
    I think it just comes down to the disaster you grew up with. You know what to expect, you know how to prepare for a typical hurricane/quake/flood/tornado, you know what to do during the disaster, and you know how pick things up afterward. Every once in a while something hits on the level of Katrina or the 1906 San Francisco quake, but for the most part, the locals in any region are comfortable with their area's disasters -- and often freaked out totally by the disasters that hit other areas.

    Absolutely correct. I spent several years teaching wilderness survival for travelers going to remote areas overseas, and one of the single most important things was to educate them about the REAL risks of where they were traveling. People are very, very bad at risk evaulation because we perceive new risks as being MUCH greater than familiar risks. A large part of that is because we dramatically overinflate the danger of things we cannot control, while dramatically underrating situations we feel in control of. And familiarity can give a fantastic illusion of control.

    The classic example is of course people who worry about being killed in a terrorist attack (something they feel helpless in preventing) and demand that we spend trillions of dollars to defend against the possibility, while we cheerily drive public roads every day despite knowing the chances of being killed in a car accident is astronomically higher. But we all think of ourselves as being good drivers, so we think WE won't get into an accident because we have influence over the situation -- which is of course ridiculous, since we have no control over the drunk idiot in the other car who plows into us, no matter how defensively we drive.

    The net result is that of course someone who grows up with a given natural disaster (in my case, hurricanes), considers them merely an inconvenience. I know how to prepare, I have supplies, and have a realistic expecation of how the storm will progress, what kind of damage it will do, and how to deal with the aftermath while things return to normal. So I feel like I have some control over the situation. But I've only ever been through one earthquake, a very minor one and it scared the heck out of me because I did not instinctually know what to do in those moments. To me, it's a ridiculous risk because it can happen spontaneously without warning, but I know to someone who grew up in an earthquake-prone area, it would feel very manageable.

    Of course we would both be proven very wrong if we ever had the "big one" happen to us, because the rare but terrific disasters are completely beyond our experience.

I cannot conceive that anybody will require multiplications at the rate of 40,000 or even 4,000 per hour ... -- F. H. Wales (1936)

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