Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Common Sense Beats Out MN Games Law 302

Posted by timothy
from the whack-whack-whack dept.
superdan2k writes "A federal court judge dropped the bomb on Minnesota's pending gaming law that would have fined minors for purchasing games with the mature or adults-only ratings. The lawsuit against the legislation was brought by video game manufacturers who claimed that it infringed on free speech. The judge agreed, and the ruling said that the state had failed to prove that graphic video games were harmful to children."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Common Sense Beats Out MN Games Law

Comments Filter:
  • by weasello (881450) <weasel@greensheeOPENBSDp.ca minus bsd> on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:08PM (#15820577) Homepage
    I don't understand why the minors would get fined anyway. Like cigarettes, the fine should go to the retailer - if a fine should exist at all.
  • Great news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:08PM (#15820579)
    This is great news. When are people going to realize that it is not the responsibility of the state to prevent bad parenting? Laws that restrict game play are unconstitutional.
  • "One of the most popular games in America teaches a little boy how to have sex with a prostitute and then beat her to death, and then rewards that," said Rep. Jeff Johnson, who sponsored the bill in the House. "I think some small restriction on that is reasonable."

    Let's rewind about 30 minutes to where little boy's mother bought the game for little boy despite game retailer's warning that the game might not be appropriate for him.

  • ESRB? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by UMNbandgeek (952506) on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:09PM (#15820583)
    What is the point of having ratings if they aren't enforced? If the game says M, only those only over 17 should be able to buy it. If you are under that age, there should be a penalty of some sort.
  • Correct (Score:5, Insightful)

    by _PimpDaddy7_ (415866) on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:09PM (#15820586)
    How can you fine somone under the age of 18? They are not a legal adult.

    "Minnesota lawmakers hoped their approach - penalizing the minors who got the games, instead of the retailers who sold or rented them - would have fared better in court than overturned state laws that went after retailers in Illinois, California, Michigan and elsewhere."

    That's real good, fine your customers. Who these lawyers talk to the RIAA?
    The retailers should definitely do a better job of not selling to minors. Can they ask for ID?

    Parents need to just step up and pay more attention to what their children are doing, until the become an adult, and do what they want.
  • Re:Who pays? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MindStalker (22827) <mindstalkerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:11PM (#15820603) Journal
    Actually if you fined the parent then the parent might actually pay attention to what johnny bought.
  • Re:ESRB? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:16PM (#15820634)

    What is the point of having ratings if they aren't enforced? If the game says M, only those only over 17 should be able to buy it.

    Rating games strictly provides information on the content. If retailers want to voluntarily restrict sale of certain kinds of games to minors, well and good. It is a free country. If the government, however, wants to pass a law forcing retailers to restrict sale, well that is a different story. It is called "censorship" and their needs to be a real and compelling public interest. Until the reason for the restriction is a fairly well documented scientific event with clear causality the government has no business trying to enforce censorship.

  • Moral persecution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Volante3192 (953645) on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:16PM (#15820635)
    Wish there was some unsettled place on this hunk of rock the free thinking minority of this country could migrate to and start up a new country.

    Your morals are not my morals and it's my freaking right not to get them shoved down my throat!!

    Just some frustration oozing out, I'm better now...
  • Re:I don't get it. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MindStalker (22827) <mindstalkerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:16PM (#15820644) Journal
    DUH!
    Campain 1: Joe Schmo voted to give children access to violent material!
    Campain 2: John Doe voted to protect our children.

    Now who is going to win in election???? Its not about the protecting the children at all, its a game to win the election pure and simple..
  • Re:Correct (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TopShelf (92521) on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:20PM (#15820671) Homepage Journal
    How can you fine somone under the age of 18? They are not a legal adult.

    I believe their parents would be on the hook for that. I'm fine with going after the minors in cases like this (not video games, but cigarettes, booze, etc.) in addition to the retailer. Back in my Ann Arbor days I used to help watch the door and check ID's for an Italian cafe/bar just off campus. Underage kids were always trying to get in, and despite honest efforts to stop them, sometimes one does get through. When that happens and the place gets busted, they lose their liquor license (and many, many thousands of dollars) but nothing happens to the kid. That's just plain wrong.
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:21PM (#15820685)
    > "One of the most popular games in America teaches a little boy how to have sex with a prostitute and then beat her to death, and then rewards that," said Rep. Jeff Johnson, who sponsored the bill in the House. "I think some small restriction on that is reasonable."

    One of the most profitable games in America teaches young politicians how fuck over their constituents while becoming prostitutes to campaign donors, and then tax their constituents to poverty, optionally imprisoning and torturing their opponents to, and then rewards that.

    Tell you what. You go first, Rep. Johnson. Then we'll clean up our naughty video games.

  • by John Miles (108215) on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:23PM (#15820695) Homepage Journal
    The shops should have their business license removed for selling clearly Mature/Adult only materuial to minors.
    Here in the UK shops are fined large amounts, and even risk prison for breaking age based laws. Here is an overview from the trading standards...


    This is the US, not the UK. Here is an overview from our trading standards:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    The decision of the judge was correct in all respects, as far as US law is concerned.
  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:23PM (#15820696) Homepage

    That wouldn't work very well, because in the US typically the shops aren't selling the game to the kid. Typically what happens is what's happened in the last 3-4 incidents to make the news: the parent or another adult buys the game, gives it to their kid, then gets outraged at the content of the game. The part where they bought it and handed it to little Johnny without checking it first seems to conveniently get forgotten. And how can the shop do anything about this? They only see the parent buying, and the parent's well over 18.

  • by duranaki (776224) on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:41PM (#15820824)
    Did you miss where very popular liberal democrats are also behind this sort of thing? Don't mix gay marriage bans with this.. these are totally unrelated issues. The only similarity is the general practice of legislators knowingly passing or trying to pass bills that they well know are unconstitutional. Usually its just trying to make themselves look good to their voters...
  • Re:ESRB? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:42PM (#15820828)

    Movies have ratings and kids cannot enter the theatre to see them, but nobody complains about censorship in that regard, the kid can just wait until he is old enough.

    There is no law that says a movie must be rated (there are many unrated) and no law that says theaters cannot let minors see R or X-rated films. Certain states and localities have passed laws that say that, but they have always been overturned when challenged.

    How about fairgrounds, are they censoring the rides because they have a height chart and restrict kids from their freedom to ride on them?

    Again, this is voluntary on the part of the fairground operators, not mandated by law in most cases. There are certain restrictions on heavy equipment and safety, but that is for a clear danger to the safety of the operators and mostly covers providing machinery known to be dangerous and not informing the user.

    Its not censorship, its common sense.

    The government restricting what citizens can see and hear is censorship. If you think in this case they should do so, well great for you. That doesn't make it legal and it does not demonstrate a danger to children.

  • Either way I thought the beating the prostitute thing was only in the original GTA3 and not in any of the later versions? Am I wrong?

    In any of the GTA3 games, you can pick up a hooker, poke her in your car for some hit points, and then run her over and get your money back. Or shoot her, or beat her down, etc etc. However, this is not a focus of the game, and if you didn't know the feature was there, you could only get it by being a smartass (like by trying to pick one up to see if you could) or by accident, like parking someplace and having a hooker walk by.

    This is, however, definitely the "feature" of the game that I have heard the most objection to from actual people. Of course, they are mostly stupid enough to believe that this is something you're supposed to do in the game, like it's a mission or something.

  • Re:Enforcable? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hognoxious (631665) on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:50PM (#15820887) Homepage Journal
    Prudish moralising's a great vote winner among certain segments of the electorate[1]. Sadly, anything that remotely looks like taxes (which as any fule kno are a kind of comyernizem invented by black helicopters and the NWO to take away your gun & SUV) is an even bigger vote loser among the same target group.

    [1] if you understood that, I'm probably not talking about you.
  • by XenoRyet (824514) on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:52PM (#15820911)
    The kid buys it, brings it home, and then Mom or Dad says: "What've you got there son?"

    Who thinks that's a better idea than government intervention?

    The taking away of a parental responsability is not the same thing as "giving parents more control". And as any good parent will tell you, you don't have to watch the kid "every second of the day" to know what they're playing. You only have to avoid compleatly ignoring them.

  • by Alsee (515537) on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:56PM (#15820939) Homepage
    The reason is simple, and was in the article:

    Minnesota lawmakers hoped their approach - penalizing the minors who got the games, instead of the retailers who sold or rented them - would have fared better in court than overturned state laws that went after retailers in Illinois, California, Michigan and elsewhere.

    That approach has already been tried and shot down by the courts. So they were attempting (as usual) to re-pass the same damn unconstitutional law, trying to find some way to circumvent the court ruling that struck it down.

    -
  • When I was a child - in the sixties and seventies - I couldn't purchase a playboy magazine. Nobody in the world would sell 'em to me, and most of them would have called my parents if I had tried. But I had a stack of them (five or six) under my bed, hidden in a monopoly box.

    You mitigate what you can, teach your children how to think rather than what to think, and then trust them - you have no choice. My folks still have no idea about half the stuff I did as a kid, and I'm not naive enough to think I'm 'better', that *I* will *know*. Just like Deathrace 2k (anyone remember that jewel?); I was taught by my parents that it wasn't polite to run over pedestrians. And never once was I confused about that relationship, even whilst I was cackling about the points I racked up with each pedestrian scream. Never once did I feel liek the game was teaching me how to run over pedestrians. It was a GAME, and they were not REAL PEOPLE. There's the real world, and the game world. The game world gets tough. Wear a cup.
  • by bigbigbison (104532) on Monday July 31, 2006 @06:02PM (#15821001) Homepage
    The problem is that nearly all of the politicians who are behind these are Democrats. So we vote against the people who want to ban gay marriage or against the ones who want to ban certain kinds of media. Some choice we have in the USA...
  • by dougman (908) on Monday July 31, 2006 @06:03PM (#15821007)
    While your comment has all the codewords folks on /. like to see when modding people up, your premise is your opinion. You flatly state that "The video game censorship law is just a symptom of a larger problem; the resurgence of social conservatism in the U.S." I'm sorry to say that whether you like it or not, you do have in the neighborhood of 300 million neighbors who all get a say in this representative republic. Historically, the US has had a great deal of ebb and flow when it comes to social behavior. To call the popular view of social standards today a "problem" is every bit as wrong as conservatives calling the free-love dope smoking hippies of the 60's a problem.

    You also make the mistake of connecting your dissatisfaction of "the current administration" to the resurgence of social conservatism. Growing social conservatism isn't something that GW Bush introduced. This has been happening since Regan was voted in. The 80's marked the end of 20 or so years of very liberal social behavior. In my opinion, the country started to reel conservatism back in again and voted for President Clinton. Who knows how his behavior as President may have affected the social feelings of the population at large.

    I'm very much a conservative. Regarding your list of "social issues" I'm: against media censorship, against gay marraige (but not against civil unions and gay couples having all "married couple" benefits), against the government setting any abortion laws (the issue of abortions being right or wrong is a very separate issue from the government setting the laws), and I'm okay with people having the right to burn the flag.

    Lastly, regarding your remark that "social conservativism has taken hold at the state level", I should point out that Minnesota (I'm a resident of this state) has been a solid blue state (Democrat - DFL if you're from here) for as long as I can remember. Remember that one state that didn't vote for Regan in his 1984 landslide? That was Minnesota. That being said, this state probably does have the most socialy conservative liberals in the US :)
  • by Bogtha (906264) on Monday July 31, 2006 @06:05PM (#15821027)

    The kid buys it, brings it home, and then Mom or Dad says: "What've you got there son?"

    When you were a kid, did your parents strip-search you before you entered the house or something? You don't think it's easy for kids to sneak stuff past their parents?

    And as any good parent will tell you, you don't have to watch the kid "every second of the day" to know what they're playing. You only have to avoid compleatly ignoring them.

    That's only true if you don't consider the possibility that they know you would object and only play the game when you aren't present.

    I think that you are missing the fact that kids are aware of what games you do and don't approve of. They don't blindly walk in and go, "Hey, guess what I've bought - look, you can set people on fire and everything!" when they know you don't want them playing violent games.

  • by Bogtha (906264) on Monday July 31, 2006 @06:16PM (#15821098)

    You don't want to have to watch your kid every second of the day? Don't have children.

    You're kidding, right? You seriously think it's feasible for the average parent to spend their entire day, from waking in the morning to going to sleep at night, watching over their kids, for eighteen years? And the kid won't grow up to be a complete raving lunatic?

    I'll be damned if I'm going to suffer because you couldn't be bothered to make sure your children are living the way you want them to.

    Suffer? That's hilarious! If you think having to ask your parents to buy a game for you constitutes suffering, then you need to switch off the console, go outside in the fresh air, and try to get some perspective.

  • by KiloByte (825081) on Monday July 31, 2006 @06:17PM (#15821101)
    actually.. North Carolina already taxes drug dealing.
    I wonder if the legislators find it odd that most don't pay...
    The point is, tax evasion brings a much bigger penalty than dealing drugs.
  • You first (Score:4, Insightful)

    by XMilkProject (935232) on Monday July 31, 2006 @06:45PM (#15821248) Homepage
    When politicians (supposed role models) stop filling our televisions with news of blow jobs, fraud, and lies then maybe i'll worry about animated games that a kid has to ask his mother to pay for.
  • by TwoTailedFox (894904) <TwoTailedFox@Gmail.com> on Monday July 31, 2006 @07:17PM (#15821416) Journal
    You mean like the way no one has proven the harm of pornography to minors?

    Well, kids seeing porn might drive up incest rates.

  • by ubergeek65536 (862868) on Monday July 31, 2006 @07:38PM (#15821535)
    So Christians believe blowing someones head of is OK to watch or pretend to do? I don't think religion has anything to do with it. Are you saying european countries that allow sexual content on TV but ban violent video games don't have a religious population? If there is free speech in the US then why do networks get fined when they show something Jesse Jackson objects to?
  • by MLease (652529) on Monday July 31, 2006 @11:23PM (#15822566)
    They care to such an extent, I've heard of cases where they don't report drug dealers to law enforcement, since that'd result in a drop in tax revenue.

    Actually, the IRS is not legally permitted to share information from tax returns with other law enforcement agencies. I believe it's a 5th Amendment issue.

    -Mike
  • by jargonCCNA (531779) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @12:42AM (#15822932) Homepage Journal

    That's almost precisely the comment I was going to make.

    First premise: Look at Japan. More to the point, look at the prevalence of seijin manga in Japan. Here's a culture that's apparently obsessed with violent rape fantasy, yet their rate of violent crime is significantly lower, per capita than that of the USA. [N.B.: I have no figures to back this up. I could be completely wrong. Nevertheless, my second premise stands.]

    Second premise: Boys begin puberty around ten or eleven years of age—after all, gentlemen, when did you start getting really interested in sex—but tend to have the most frustrating six, seven, maybe even eight years of their as yet short life because Western culture dictates that "everything about what's between your legs is evil and if you even think about it for a second, you're a terrible, disgusting person!"

    What am I getting at? Basically, that letting kids read pornography (not necessarily hardcore pornography, but Playboy [playboy.com] at the very least, because it's really just pinups) can't possibly hurt or warp them. If anything, it'll let them become more balanced adults, because they'll learn for themselves that the human body is a wonderful thing, something to be celebrated and not mourned, and they won't feel immense amounts of guilt for touching themselves after school, before their parents get home. I'm almost be willing to bet that a lot of North American rapists turn to rape partially because of the frustrated guilt they feel over looking at their fathers' naughty magazines and getting caught. And, of course, in time, they'll discover that sex with a loving partner can be the most wonderful thing that you can do with another person; that's it's sharing yourself, body, mind and soul with them. Sex is, honestly, the closest I've ever come to a truly religious experience.

    If anything's truly harmful to children, it's the way that Generation Xers are giving their children anything and everything they want, in a desperate attempt to be their child's friends. Children need parents, not overgrown playmates. If you're being proper parents to your children, then they'll become the good adults you want them to be. It's just that simple.

    But that's a rant for another story, and another time.

Prediction is very difficult, especially of the future. - Niels Bohr

Working...