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ESRB Our Last Defense Against Game Censorship? 246

1up is running a piece looking at the ESRB, and its role in politics. They assert the organization may be gaming's last defense against politicians seeking to censor games to increase their own political capital. The article discusses the Hays Code governing movies, and the limits on speech the comic book industry placed on itself as the result of similar pressures. From the article: "Ultimately, the best way to prevent the demise of gaming is to make use of the democratic process. Despite what the Internet would like to believe, mere emails and forum posts don't have much clout. Rather, posted letters to representatives (written on actual paper) are the best way to let politicians know your opinion -- the beliefs that they've been elected to represent."
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ESRB Our Last Defense Against Game Censorship?

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  • by Plugh ( 27537 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @02:23PM (#15481720) Homepage
    Quoth gasmonso:
    You can pass all the laws and restrictions you desire, but kids will find a way to purchase/play violent games.

    So true. You know that, I know that, the problem is the legislators don't know that... and that is the immediate root of the problem.

    This is a problem I and thousands of other have taken action to fix now. Not in some fantasy land, not in some unspecified future, but now!.

    Come join us [freestateproject.org]... or just give us a test drive [porcfest.com].

  • by DevanJedi ( 892762 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @02:50PM (#15481963) Homepage Journal
    Major politica action groups like truemajority.org already do this. They send you an email saying this is the issue (e.g. net neutrality) and this is the text of the message we would like you to send to your congressman and these are the people you should send it to. If you go to their page, you only have to click 'Send' to send it via email. Since the site knows your information, it will automatically craft the email and send it to the relevant politicians on your behalf. Maybe we can put together a similar action group for "gamers' rights".
  • Wrong, wrong, wrong! (Score:5, Informative)

    by lax-goalie ( 730970 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @03:00PM (#15482047)

    "Rather, posted letters to representatives (written on actual paper) are the best way to let politicians know your opinion -- the beliefs that they've been elected to represent."

    This is just plain wrong. Due to the anthrax scare a few years ago, posted letters to Congress get shipped to a warehouse in Maryland, where they wait three or four months to be irradiated. Only then do they end up going to Capitol Hill. By then, most of them are so out of date that the issues referenced have come and gone. Letters are the WORST way to communicate with your Representative or Senator.

    The best ways to let "politicians know your opinion" are: 1) Fax, 2) Phone call or personal visit to the closest regional office (the staffer there can get stuff directly to the appropriate person, especially if you've taken time to develop a relationship with the staffer), 3) Phone call to the appropriate staff person in the DC office.

    Or, you can go one better, and set up a meeting. They're really not that hard for constituents to get, especially if you have the regional office staffer set it up. (Although you'll generally get only about 15 min or so...) If flying to DC is overkill, pretty much the whole Congress sets aside time to visit each of their regional office during breaks from Washington. Bonus tip: Congress starts "summer break" on Friday, so if you've got something to say, now's a good time to ask for a meeting.

  • EFF has an RSS feed (Score:3, Informative)

    by Mr. Sketch ( 111112 ) <mister,sketch&gmail,com> on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @03:00PM (#15482048)
    On the EFF Action Page [eff.org] You can subscribe to an RSS feed of all the latest bill/issues before congress that affect our digital rights. Things like the broadcast flag, NSA wiretaps, e-voting, etc. Each individual action page has a form letter you can send your representative or senator to show your opposition or support.
  • by moranar ( 632206 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @03:09PM (#15482126) Homepage Journal
    I submitted about the Penny Arcade efforts with the ESRB [penny-arcade.com] a few days ago, but the story was rejected. Enjoy.

    Basically, the PA guys are working with the ESRB, drawing and trying to revamp the ESRB categories to make them clearer to everyone. It looks like a nice effort.
  • by Plugh ( 27537 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @03:25PM (#15482281) Homepage
    Let's go ahead and about half the Legislature are the really bad, "nanny state" legislators think that passing laws really is the solution... and that the other half are simply willing to whore themselves and use fear tactics to get re-elected.

    Either way, it makes a hell of a lot of sense for people in favor of PERSONAL CHOICE (or, if you prefer, "parental choice", when it comes to minors) to take control of the Legislature.

    That's what we're doing here in New Hampshire [freestateproject.org]. The first of us "early-movers" are running this November. We also keep a detailed Report Card [nhliberty.org] of every member of the legislature, with a letter grade from "A" to "F", so we know which are the ones that already are pro-Freedom, and which are the bastard busybodies that need to be thrown out.

COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray