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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."
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Common Sense Beats Out MN Games Law

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  • 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.
    • Since parents are no longer taking responsibility for the kids they bring into the world, the state has to fine someone for the horrible consequences of video game violence. Seriously, they should just tax the hell out of the money kids get for allowances and/or from drug dealing. It would have the same effect.
      • by Moridin42 (219670) on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:54PM (#15820921)
        actually.. North Carolina already taxes drug dealing.

        NC General Statue, 105-113.107: Excise tax on unauthorized substances.

        (a) Controlled Substances. - An excise tax is levied on controlled substances possessed, either actually or constructively, by dealers at the following rates:

        (1) At the rate of forty cents (40) for each gram, or fraction thereof, of harvested marijuana stems and stalks that have been separated from and are not mixed with any other parts of the marijuana plant.

        (1a) At the rate of three dollars and fifty cents ($3.50) for each gram, or fraction thereof, of marijuana, other than separated stems and stalks taxed under subdivision (1) of this section.

        (1b) At the rate of fifty dollars ($50.00) for each gram, or fraction thereof, of cocaine.

        (2) At the rate of two hundred dollars ($200.00) for each gram, or fraction thereof, of any other controlled substance that is sold by weight.

        (2a) At the rate of fifty dollars ($50.00) for each 10 dosage units, or fraction thereof, of any lowstreetvalue drug that is not sold by weight.

        (3) At the rate of two hundred dollars ($200.00) for each 10 dosage units, or fraction thereof, of any other controlled substance that is not sold by weight.

        (a1) Weight. - A quantity of marijuana or other controlled substance is measured by the weight of the substance whether pure or impure or dilute, or by dosage units when the substance is not sold by weight, in the dealer's possession. A quantity of a controlled substance is dilute if it consists of a detectable quantity of pure controlled substance and any excipients or fillers.

        (b) Illicit Spirituous Liquor. - An excise tax is levied on illicit spirituous liquor possessed by a dealer at the following rates:

        (1) At the rate of thirtyone dollars and seventy cents ($31.70) for each gallon, or fraction thereof, of illicit spirituous liquor sold by the drink.

        (2) At the rate of twelve dollars and eighty cents ($12.80) for each gallon, or fraction thereof, of illicit spirituous liquor not sold by the drink.

        (c) Mash. - An excise tax is levied on mash possessed by a dealer at the rate of one dollar and twentyeight cents ($1.28) for each gallon or fraction thereof.

        (d) Illicit Mixed Beverages. - A tax is levied on illicit mixed beverages sold by a dealer at the rate of twenty dollars ($20.00) on each four liters and a proportional sum on lesser quantities.


        I wonder if the legislators find it odd that most don't pay...
    • by Alsee (515537)
      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 ru
    • As anybody who's got MIP, Minor in Posession, for alchol, when you're 16+ it usually goes on your ADULT record... even though it's a punishment for being a MINOR... even more silly when you're 18 and legally an adult but can't "posess" alchol... but can man the 24 hour quicky mart for corporations or serve the stupid drunks!!!
  • 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.
    • Re:Great news (Score:3, Interesting)

      by HiddenL (967659)
      Its not that much about constitutionality when it comes to children. If they could prove that games were harmful to minors, the court would be okay with restricting its sale to them.

      The problem is, they CANT prove that violent/graphic video games are harmful to minors, because they're not. According to this site [gamerevolution.com], violent crime rates for children is at an all-time low.

      -------

      NOTE TO SELF: Don't wait until userids are near 1M to join a website after reading it for 7 years.

  • "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.

    • And I still don't know any popular video game that "teaches," you to have sex (outside of some weird homebrew games that I'm sure exist, or sex ed game maybe??). 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?
      • You can beat prostitutes in all 3 games. Actually, in Vice City and San Andreas, there is actual moaning and chatter from inside the car while "utilizing the prostitutes services" that isn't present in the original game.
      • 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 accid

      • It wasn't specifically in any of them. It was a consequence of the fact that people in the game drop their inventory when they die, and money given to people goes into their inventory, and you can pay prostitutes. None of these mechanics was even particularly important in the game, let alone the combination.
    • 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.

    • 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.

      You're forgetting that because this law has been struck down, the kid can buy it himself without his mother's knowledge. The whole point of this legislation was to try to give parents more control over whether their kids play these games without banning them from having their own money or watching them every second of the day.

      • 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.

        • 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

          • 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?

            No, no stripsearches. But they did ask what I was up to when I popped a new game in the ol' Nintendo in the family room there. I know these days kids commonly have game systems in their rooms, but if you have a sneaky kid, it's gaming in the family room or not at all. This isn't rocket science.

            That's only true if you don't consider the po

            • if you have a sneaky kid, it's gaming in the family room or not at all. This isn't rocket science.

              You are still assuming that you are always home when they are home. A reasonable assumption for small children, but not for teenagers.

              Really, these are young children we're talking about here, not evil genuses.

              I'm thinking about teenagers rather than really small children. Old enough to have a bit of money from a paper round or something, but young enough for it still to be acceptable for their

              • The harm, as the judge in this case sees it, is to the first ammendment. I happen to agree with him.

                Sure, but I hope you aren't under the impression that kids always act in accordance with their parents' wishes, even if they have a good relationship and have been raised well.

                No, I don't belive that they always act in accordance with parent's wishes. But I do belive that teenagers that have been taught right from wrong, and have a good, trusting relationship with their parent's aren't really going to be

                • The harm, as the judge in this case sees it, is to the first ammendment. I happen to agree with him.

                  Really? I don't see it infringing on anybody's right to freedom of expression. The games would still be on sale, people would still buy them. It's not like there's book burning going on, the games would still be widely available.

                  There's already plenty of restrictions on freedom of speech, but people from the USA have the curious practice of referring to speech that is undesirable as not being spee

      • 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 'bet
        • You mitigate what you can, teach your children how to think rather than what to think, and then trust them

          I completely agree. It's just that I see this law as part of the "mitigate what you can" step. Making it illegal for people to sell them violent games mitigates the problem of the games being easily obtainable. Then they'd be harder to obtain, but not impossible to obtain, which is why the problem is mitigated, not solved. And this is where the other two steps come into play.

    • 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

      It teaches a little boy how to have sex with a prostitute and then beat her to death? Is this how:

      wwwawwaw<space><ctrl>z<ctrl><ctrl><ctrl><space>< space>wwwwwww<space>wwww<ctrl><ctrl>

      (don't let your kids see this)

    • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Monday July 31, 2006 @06:10PM (#15821062)
      "One of the most popular games in America teaches a little boy how to have sex with a prostitute..."

      Yes, after she gets in the car and you drive somewhere secluded, you both sit absolutely still in the front seat fully clothed staring forward and not touching each other while the car's shocks make it bounce. While all this happens your money magically transforms into health. After this, the woman gets out and walks away.

      And that's how cars have sex.
    • and one of the most popular movies right now glorifies the days of piracy, when lawless men whored with slaves, raped and pillaged, and mamed and tortoured for fun... Or how about those 24/7 news chanels showing how the US kills, embargos, bombs childeren, ets, while showing the president balled faced lie about it.. How about the corporations that make parents work lots of OT in openly hostile environments, then when the boss runs off with the pension funds, the kids parents are now broke and mean. I do
  • ESRB? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by UMNbandgeek (952506)
    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.
    • 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.

      • I'm sorry to tell you, but the US is a democracy, not a meritocracy. Thus, what the people want goes, not what is "right" scientifically. It's good and bad that way.
        • I'm sorry to tell you, but the US is a democracy, not a meritocracy. Thus, what the people want goes, not what is "right" scientifically.

          You do know this isn't true, right? In a straight up democracy if 51% of the people vote to restrict free speech with censorship, the law restricts free speech. In the US, 66% of Congress (super-majority) have to agree to pass a constitutional amendment to override any of the existing amendments in the constitution. Further, the constitution trumps state law if they con

    • Yeah, what's the point of having USRDA for nutrients, fat, cholesterol, etc., when they aren't enforced? The government should just jail anyone who eats a cheeseburger. /sarcasm
    • In the USA, NO ratings are government enforced. All ratings from videogames to TV shows to movies are self-imposed. There is NO law that prevents minors from enterting R rated movies.
      Even things like "XXX" movies are not government rated. If someone is arrested for selling pornography to a minor, they first have to establish that the item in question is indeed pornography (sure in many cases this is trivial, but there have been several cases where comic books containing sexual material have been seized a
  • 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: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.
      • 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.

        What's wrong with it? The simple fact is that it is the responsibility of the business to keep minors out, and if they can't do that, they don't need to be in business. This responsibility is only fair in light of the sta

        • but here in lye's the question of what is required of the shop to prove age.. should I have to have a notarized copy of my birth certificate and three forms of photo id to buy?

          you would be surprised at the quality of some of the fake id's out there.. hell I had a friend of mine take one of his cousins birth cert down to the dmv and gave all the right answers and got a license saying he was 22 when he was 17..

          it was state issued and the two of them looked very alike.. now if he goes to a bar and gets buste
        • And it's against the law for minors to drink, so both parties have violated the law (that's why I'm saying the kid should be punished too).
          • Actually, my understanding is that it is unlawful to serve alcohol to a minor, unless you are said minor's legal guardian, or sell alcohol to a minor. I don't think there's anything illegal about drinking as a minor.

            However, I dare say that possession of a fake ID is at least worth a small fine...

            Dan Aris

            • Re:Incorrect (Score:3, Informative)

              by drinkypoo (153816)

              Actually, my understanding is that it is unlawful to serve alcohol to a minor, unless you are said minor's legal guardian, or sell alcohol to a minor. I don't think there's anything illegal about drinking as a minor.

              You're wrong, "MIP" is an oft-used acronym for "minor in posession" (of alcohol) and it's a crime. It's also illegal to serve alcohol to a minor. It's not illegal if you're their parent, BUT if they are busted for being in posession then you too can get busted, as an accessory to their crime

  • It would have fined youths under age 17 $25 for renting or buying video games designed for adults - those rated "M" for mature or "AO" for adults only. The law also would have required stores to post warning signs about the fines.

    If they're under 17, wouldn't the partents pay the fine anyways? thus not teaching the kids a lesson. Stupid law, glad it's dead.
  • by LaNMaN2000 (173615) on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:12PM (#15820608) Homepage
    The video game censorship law is just a symptom of a larger problem; the resurgence of social conservatism in the U.S. Whether in the form of media censorship, gay marraige bans, partial-birth abortion bans, flag-burning ban, etc., it appears that social conservativism has taken hold at the state level as well as the federal. I can only hope that dissatisfaction with the current administration impacts the midterm elections.
    • 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...
      • Did you miss where very popular liberal democrats are also behind this sort of thing?

        Who says that those so-called "liberals" can't be social conservatives? Seriously, what on earth gave you the idea that either political party has any interest whatsoever in liberty?

        In the US, the repubs are pushing social conservatism on religious grounds (abortion, gay marriage and the like), while the dems are pushing that same sort of social conservatism on censorship grounds ("think of the children!"). It's just a qu

      • Usually its just trying to make themselves look good to their voters...

        Unfortunatley, those particular voters want to fuck with my personal life more than the other voters who just want to waste my tax dollars on social programs.

        Personally, I'd rather have wasted tax money than being forced to have more god and church in my life.
    • 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 :)
    • The problem is with Politicians, and the way they do business. Ideology is but a minor factor.

      The process is this:

      Problem "foo" pops up, generally as the result of some sensational news coverage of an otherwise relatively common event.

      One or more vocal pressure groups decide that "foo" is a problem.

      One or more politicians decide that taking up the cause of "foo" is a route to higher polls, re-election, more donations, waxy yellow buildup, or just will get them more sex from the cute young interns.

  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:13PM (#15820613) 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 [tradingstandards.gov.uk]:

    Video cassette tapes/DVDs/computer games

    You must not sell, rent or supply a video cassette or DVD unless the British Board of Film Classification has classified it.

    You must not supply (including hiring out) a video cassette tape or DVD to a person who is under the age marked on the video cassette tape/DVD.

    Most computer games are exempt from classification but if the game is classified then it must not be supplied to a person who is under the age marked on the game.

    The age restrictions are 12,15 and 18 .

    The maximum fine for selling or renting an age restricted cassette/DVD to a child under the specified age is £5000 and/or up to 6 months imprisonment.

    Restricted 18 video cassettes and DVDs can be supplied only in licensed sex shops to persons 18 years of age and older.
    • There are no age restriction laws on the selling of video games, which is the root of the whole issue. The ESRB rating is just a "suggestion".

      Now, if they'd put out a law to make it a fine-able offense to sell games to kids who are under the ESRB suggested age rating, I'd have had no problem with that. But, as usual, they put all the blame on the buyer, so if you bought something that was age unsuitable the retailer got the money for the sale, and you got the fine.

    • 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.
    • 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

      • Many shops even discourage employees from advising parents about ESRB ratings. A buddy of mine worked for a Gamestop in Minnesota for a couple years. Parents would come in with 6-12 year old kids screaming "GTA! GTA!" And mom would pick it up and ask if it was okay for the kid to play. He'd say flat out, "No. This game shouldn't be played by anyone under 17." The manager would then walk over and try to convince her that it was just fine so he could keep his store numbers up, then dock my friend reward
    • In media reports people constantly say that ESRB ratings aren't given by the government. Well, in the USA, neither are film ratings or television ratings. ALL ratings on entertainment are voluntary. The MPAA is not a government agency any more than the RIAA is.

      While it might be simpler to have government regulation of the media, that simply isn't the way it is in the USA. Until the government regulates film, music, and tv, then to single out videogames is illegal. All of this is simply grandstanding by p
    • The shops should have their business license removed for selling clearly Mature/Adult only material to minors.

      Why? The ratings are voluntary and provided by the industry itself. Purchasing the software is voluntary. What is the logic behind making a voluntary private sector arrangement mandatory by law? Isn't this like delegating legislative power to a private entity?

      Oh, and UK != MN, btw. So "here in the UK" means jack for this discussion.

      If the government is going to make the observance of ratings man
  • Moral persecution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Volante3192 (953645)
    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...
    • 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.

      Yeah, good luck with that. It would take about 2 days before the supposedly 'free thinking minority' started arguing about what color to paint the new white house or some other such inane concept.
    • I don't care if they put an age limit on the purchase of the games. Why not? It's not really an issue today, because sex/violence is still pretty unrealistic, but as games get more realistic this will become a real issue.

      Might as well start enforcing the age restrictions on content...If you want your kid to be able to play it, you can still buy it for 'em, but they shouldn't be able to pick it up unsupervised. This isn't to say this law was in any way justified. Utter shit would be a better word for it. Bu
  • Enforcable? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mayhem178 (920970) on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:17PM (#15820650)
    It would have fined youths under age 17 $25 for renting or buying video games designed for adults - those rated "M" for mature or "AO" for adults only. The law also would have required stores to post warning signs about the fines.

    I'm wondering how they were planning to enforce this. Obviously they can't rely on store clerks to ask for ID, since they were considering putting this law into effect in the first place. So what then? Have a cop watch the checkout lines? Oh, I know.....search warrants for all residences with children 17 or younger!

    I'm thinking this is just another scare tactic. Another "this could happen to you!" situation to worry about, in the hopes that it'll stop kids from trying to buy/rent games that they shouldn't be.

    Personally, I think a better solution would be to fine the store when this happens.
  • by Guysmiley777 (880063) on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:24PM (#15820704)
    think of the children!?

    Couldn't resist. :)
  • by XenoPhage (242134) on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:38PM (#15820804) Homepage
    I'm a bit torn about this ruling. Part of it may be that I don't fully understand this bill, nor the implications thereof. As I understand it, this bill would have prohibited minors from renting/buying adult oriented games (M/AO) under threat of a fine. Is that it? I thought the objective here was to prevent retailers from selling these games to minors under threat of fines to the retailer.

    I don't necessarily agree that video games are harmful to all children. However, I would agree that they can, somewhat, de-sensitize them. And, I would agree that certain children may be negatively influenced by some games. Granted, those children generally have a host of other behavioural issues that should have been red flagged long before video games really get into the picture.

    Regardless of whether or not the games will "hurt" the children, however, they have been rated for adults. Because of this, I personally believe that retailers should be encouraged to prevent the sale of these games to minors unless an adult is present. Encouraged as in the guidelines given to them by the ESRB, not fines and laws. These guidelines are, of course, a deterant, and not something that will prevent a child from ever getting their hands on the game. That part is up to the parent.

    As a parent, (yes, I'm a geek AND I got the girl.. I'm still trying to figure out how the hell that happened myself) I know what limits my children have. I pay attention to what they watch, read, play, and even who they hang out with. I'm not a dictator by any means, but I do attempt to influence what my children say and do without forcing my opinions on them. They are free to make their own decisions, within reasonable limits. I do not allow my children to play games such as GTA. I do, however, allow my older son (12) to play games such as Unreal Tournament, 007, and some of the M-rated racing games. Of course, I checked them out beforehand. And I have yet to see him driving down the street, with a BFG, taking out the neighbors.

    I find it disheartening that our society seems so hell bent on not only allowing, but encouraging the government to set forth laws to regulate how I raise my children. I'm aware that there are parents out there who are completely useless and should never have been allowed to reproduce, but laws like this infringe on my rights as a parent. I should be able to raise my child as I see fit.

    I think laws like this should be beaten down, but I think reasonable guidelines should be put in place. And I definitely don't like the free speach flag being waved around as an excuse for stuff like this.
    • I find it disheartening that our society seems so hell bent on not only allowing, but encouraging the government to set forth laws to regulate how I raise my children.

      What makes you think this law tried to do that? If this law weren't struck down, then you would still be free to let your kids play violent games, it's just that you'd have to buy them for them. The choice would still be yours, not the government's.

    • Regardless of whether or not the games will "hurt" the children, however, they have been rated for adults.

      Rated by whom? Hint: Not who you think, but rather, by people with a vested financial interest in the outcome of the ratings. People who charge fees to game manufacturers for the rating, and take suggestions from those same manufacturers as to what the ratings should be.

      However, I would agree that they can, somewhat, de-sensitize them.

      There is zero evidence whatsoever to support this FUD.

      And, I would ag
  • Minor Trouble (Score:2, Interesting)

    "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."

    Ie, Minnesota lawmakers decided to target minors with their unconstitutional law because minors (ie, their parents) have a harder time fighting back. It's times like this I wish lawmakers could be brought up on treason charges for intention
  • Does this mean that they can't fine minors for buying stuff like Playboy because of free speech?

    I agree that individual stores should have the right to refuse to sell whatever they want to minors: it's their call... but it's not right to have stuff be mandatory unavailable to minors under threat of breaking the law.
  • 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 erroneus (253617) on Monday July 31, 2006 @06:55PM (#15821304) Homepage
    You mean like the way no one has proven the harm of pornography to minors?

    As a society (in the US anyway) we almost 'instinctively' assume that sexually explicit material is unsuitable for children to view. No one ever asks why or asks for proof of its danger.

    And here we have another form of entertainment that many intuitively feel is a danger to children, and now a judge is asking for proof?

    I hold that depictions of sex are not harmful to children any more than graphical violence is. Why are the two treated so differently? Is it our religious social core?
    • 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—aft

  • If your 15 yr old daughter goes out to the mall and comes home 3 hours later without taking drugs, drinking booze or having sex, she's made a choice. If yer kid doesn't get (buy,steal,borrow from a buddy, get a buddy's big bro to buy, etc) that violent video game, he's made a choice.
    All the laws prohibiting kids from doing things are attempting to do the impossible: take away choice. The fact is, once the kid knows it's out there, every minute he/she doesn't go for it is a decision made.
    Choice exists no
  • by dasboy (598256) on Monday July 31, 2006 @07:32PM (#15821499)
    I can't help but feel that the video game publishers lucked-out on who heard their case. James Rosenbaum isn't inclined to assume that technology invalidates common sense application of the law. To this end, he has written several "thought articles" about search and seizure involving data. His article "In defense of the DELETE key" attempts to set some rational restrictions of mining a hard drive for incriminating evidence. He has expanded on this with several other "In defense of ..." articles: In Defense of the Delete Key [greenbag.org] In Defense of the Hard Drive [greenbag.org] In Defense Of The Sugar Bowl [fclr.org]
  • by Nyph2 (916653)
    I live in St Paul MN, and was just listening to a story about this on MPR. It sounds like the emphasis was on the lack of proof they cause harm. Mike hatch, the ex-attourney general currently running for govenor, is now attemping to get said proof according to the statement he made today... so dont expect this issue to stay dead.
    Before elections I expect to see more of a fuss on this issue in MN.

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