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Oklahoma 'Games As Porn' Bill Now Law 200

simoniker writes "Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry has signed into law the State-specific Bill HB30004. The bill redefines a list of items, such as hardcore pornography, deemed harmful to minors to include videogames which use 'inappropriate violence'. The new Oklahoma law is due to come into effect from November 1st. The story notes: 'Despite being one of the more draconian anti-games bills put before a State senate, HB30004 has faced limited opposition, with apparently little concern being given to the consistent problems other similar bills have faced from legal challenges.'"
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Oklahoma 'Games As Porn' Bill Now Law

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  • Meh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Monday June 12, 2006 @10:31AM (#15517111) Homepage Journal
    I wonder if this is just another impress-the-voters measure passed to make the old white men in suits look good, which will get quietly struck down as unconstitutional when it ever actually comes into play in court.
    • Well, this one actually sounds like it might have some merrit, IF (and that's a huge if!) they improve the definition of 'inappropriate violence'. For example, so far as I can remember, there is no nudity in Trent Reznor's tripple-X Video rell. But I would definately consider it worthy of a XXX rating. If a state can make laws relating to the distribution of pornographic materials to minors, and pornography includes extreme violence, mutilation, etc... then this law is just "same stuff, new format"

      IMO, the
      • If a state can make laws relating to the distribution of pornographic materials to minors, and pornography includes extreme violence, mutilation, etc... then this law is just "same stuff, new format"

        I have a big problem with "extreme violence, mutilation, etc" being classified as pornography. Should kids be able to see either the violence or the sexual depictions? No. But to classify all of it as pornography suggests that a simple regular porn video is of the same substance as a mutilation video. That's
        • Pornography is a huge range. For example, there is "pornography" in 'R' rated movies. Violence, death, sex, nudity, etc... but (for the most part) it isn't extreme, and usually has some other (entertainment) value. So far as I know, there are no laws preventing the sale of 'R' rated materials to minors. The industry is self regulating.

          But if it is illegal to distribute an X-rated snuff re-enactment film to a minor, why should it be legal to distribute a game where players re-enact snuff films to minors? I h
      • Re:Meh. (Score:4, Informative)

        by computechnica ( 171054 ) <PCGURU.COMPUTECHNICA@com> on Monday June 12, 2006 @12:14PM (#15517892) Homepage Journal
        I'm stationed in Oklahoma and the adult video stores can only sell the "Cable Version"(X-rated) versions of XXX movies. When I was stationed in New Jersey and Mississippi the local video stores had backrooms for the XXX rentals.

        Oklahoma also outlaws Tattos, that is why the first few exits after the state line in Texas has Tatto and XXX Adult video stores.
    • No, Oklahomans are just plan ignorant. I have been doing work here for 5 years, and can't wait to get out of this state. These people would be completely content with a theological dictatorship in this country. They have little concern with the freedoms our founding fathers fought for in the past. It is mind boggling how much they want the government to parent their children. One of the highest divorce rates, and highest teen pregnancy rate in the country due to hypocritical religious zealots contribut
  • by Megaweapon ( 25185 ) on Monday June 12, 2006 @10:31AM (#15517113) Homepage
    Better keep the kids away from the evening news then. It's a violent world out there, so we'd better keep them as far away from reality as possible.
    • I have a problems with the definition of Inappropriate Violence... mainly that it is a subjective term.

      But my problem is not that we cannot clearly define what is and isn't inappropriatley violent, my problem is that we can't even decided if it is violent in the first place.

      Hear me out. For all of you in college dorm rooms or who have friends that play games all gatherd in one room, fire up a game of Grand Theft Auto. Go to the shady parts of town, get yourself a New Jersey Prom Queen (aka a Hooker) and dri
    • by gid13 ( 620803 ) on Monday June 12, 2006 @10:55AM (#15517325)
      While I disagree with that kind of censorship of both news and videogames, I find the phrasing "we'd better keep them as far away from reality as possible" ironic, since escapism is kinda the point of video games.
    • Inappropriate violence? What you mean like Iraq?

      No, the kids can't play Silent Hill. But there seems to be little reservation in training them to kill and then shipping them off to other countries where vibrant young minds get to witness their friends innards splayed across a road from a local improvised explosive device.

      But better they see that, than something like XXX porn. God, that stuff will ruin you for life.

      ~X~
  • GamaSutra (Score:4, Funny)

    by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Monday June 12, 2006 @10:35AM (#15517152)
    I'm pretty sure linking to a report on this on a site called GamaSutra doesn't exactly help the cause any...
  • by thedogcow ( 694111 ) on Monday June 12, 2006 @10:35AM (#15517153)
    This is Oklahoma we are talking about. As someone that lived there, I can attest to the true backwardness of the state. The state is run by clueless demagogues who fall to the pressure of the Baptist church. Take a look at these frightening statistics [bubbaworld.com]

    Ultimately this will lead to Oklahoman flocking to Texas to buy video games as well as their porn (since that is illegal too).

    I lived in Oklahoma for 5 years. Now I live in urban Houston, Texas. Oklahoma makes Texas look like a liberal oasis. At least people here have more of a "let live" policy than "God hates you".
    • Don't forget beer. Oklahomans also flock into Texas to buy beer which is not held to the 3.2% content by volume law Oklahome has, IIRC.
      • 3.2%?! No wonder so many Oklahoma students have suicide plans.
      • I once watched a debate for the election of US Senator from Oklahoma. The Republican got up and said that doctors who perform abortions should get the death penalty. The Democrat got up and said doctors who perform abortions should just go to prison. OK is worse than Utah.
      • Oklahomans also flock into Texas to buy beer which is not held to the 3.2% content by volume law Oklahome has, IIRC.

        You. Fucking. WHAAAAAAAAT?

        Is this some twisted remnant of Prohibition or something? Because I could handle the idea of banning alcoholic drinks entirely; you do the same with many other recreational drugs, after all, and the principle is at least consistently adhered to.

        But permitting drink, but banning just about all the beer that's actually worth drinking... ugh. Don't you guys have so

      • "Don't forget beer. Oklahomans also flock into Texas to buy beer which is not held to the 3.2% content by volume law Oklahome has, IIRC."

        Well, if I had to live there, at least I could do Homebrew. I guarantee THAT stuff is much higher than 3.2% alcohol.

        :-)

    • actually, the "let live" policy is because you now live in urban houston, texas, as opposed to.. how large was the town in Oklahoma that you lived in? people in large urban areas are too busy with their own crap to worry about what other people are doing: folks in smaller towns have less going on for them, so they fill their attention "gap" with what other people around them are doing.

      and many Texas communities *do* have pockets of awesomeness, but step too far outside those, and you'll get your face sma
      • I would imagine that there are probably at least 200,000 people within a 5 mile radius of where I live. Back in Oklahoma, the population of the city was about 100,000 and that was when college was in session and that was the entire 20 or so mile radius of the city. Yeah, it's a bit unfair to compared with a city of 4 or 5 million to 100K.
    • This is Oklahoma we are talking about.

      At least being next to Kansas makes Oklahoma look *relatively* good.

    • I spent a year doing contract work in Oklahoma, and the two constituencies that seemed to have the most pull are the Christ Right, and the Native American Tribes. This let to some interesting businesses along the Texas-Oklahoma State line. At the first exit in Texas, there is the biggest adult video store I've ever seen, with a liquor store next door. I guess they'll be opening a GameSpot store next.

      On the Oklahoma side, there is a huge Indian Casino. Gambling is illegal in Texas, so you find this monst
      • Pity they don't border Nevada; we'd get more jokes out of a place where you have to walk in a five foot circle to get Grand Thefo Auto, guns, go gambling and whoring than pretty much any other meme on the internet.
    • Replace Oklahoma with Utah, Baptist with Mormon, and you end up with the same situation. I've read down in the replies to this message and found a lot of similarities. Utah also has 3.2 beer, blue laws (in certain counties), illegal porn, and illegal gambling. It's common for the government leaders to ask the Mormon church for advice on how to vote. It's uncommon for them to vote against that advice. I have found that they generally wait until some other state makes a stupid law before they try to here. Tha
    • s. Oklahoma makes Texas look like a liberal oasis.

      Isn't Texas the place where possession of dildos with intent to sell is a felony?

      A coupla years ago, some woman who was in the sex-toy-party business got nabbed for drunk driving. In the impound yard, they found a large quantity of sex toys in the car, so the police also charged her with a felony (iirc punishable by 10 or so years in prison).

      -b.

  • Semantics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by quantum bit ( 225091 ) on Monday June 12, 2006 @10:36AM (#15517158) Journal
    Interesting that by wording the bill that way, that means that they're recognizing a class of "appropriate violence". I wonder how that's defined...
    • "Appropriate" means that white people are shooting brown people. Anything else is just sick and wrong.
    • I wonder whether or not the Christian fundamentalist unbeliever-killing Left Behind: Eternal Forces [washtimes.com] game is "appropriate" violence. Does this [photobucket.com] look any better than GTA? At least Doom and Quake are about fighting demons and mutants. This "convert or kill" game is a far cry from Veggie Tales, and very telling of the state of some religions in the US that churches refuse to denounce it.
    • Actually, that sort of phrasing is highly desirable, and found throughout our legal system. The reason is that it's therefore easy to update the definition to reflect changing social mores or newly available variations on a theme, without actually changing the law. This means that the law itself can be interpreted in a uniform fashion without attempting to refer to specifics of definitions and without any risk of these references tainting or damaging the law based on one individual judge's beliefs (this u
    • Well, you know, like you can't beat your wife until the bitch doesn't bring you another beer. That sort of thing.

      ~X~
  • by Delusion_ ( 56114 ) on Monday June 12, 2006 @10:37AM (#15517180) Homepage
    The limited opposition stems largely from the fact that there are no "hot spots" of game development anywhere in Oklahoma, and the fact that videogames aren't the point of a law like this. It's all about pandering to voters, and there are plenty of older voters who aren't exactly well-informed about videogame violence up for grabs in Oklahoma. This isn't about surviving a court challenge, which it probably won't. It's about "Protecting the Children" to seem more connected to the interests of average voters against the Evil Media Industry of the decadent east and west coasts than to the corporations which fund the legislators' campaigns, which clearly aren't the videogame companies.
  • I would say that a lot of R rated movies contain "inappropriate violence", yet I don't see them categoriezed with pornography.
  • by nahdude812 ( 88157 ) on Monday June 12, 2006 @10:46AM (#15517249) Homepage
    Look, all they're saying is that minors should have adult supervision when acquiring material that could be damaging to young minds.

    Whether you like it or not, and whether or not you agree with the specific cutoffs or punnishments present in this bill, young minds are impressionable.

    I'm not saying that every kid who plays Grand Theft Auto is going to go out and relive those experiences on the street, but I assert there are some kids who have not yet developed a sense of right and wrong, and for whom, exposure to this sort of material may establish certain Antisocial [wikipedia.org] (in the psychological sense, follow the link before disagreeing with me) patterns in the developing mind.

    I don't agree that this should be a felony offense (as this law seems to make it? This article says so, but I can't cooberate since the article doesn't include any text from the bill, nor a link to the bill). But there are kids for whom this stuff would be damaging until they have a better sense of the world established. I know; my wife works with them, and she also works with the kids who got access to violent and/or highly pornographic content at the wrong stage of their psychological development.

    All this law is saying (and those proposed which are like it), is that kids need adult oversight to get access to this material.
    • While I agree with you that this is FUD, it bears pointing out that most kids who get their hands on such things get them from their parents or another family member.

      That said, I do sympathize with the parents who are begginb for bills like this because they can't get retailers to cooperate. They're trying to raise their kids without the rest of the world making it easy for those kids to get their hands on things they may not be mature enough to see.
    • by RsG ( 809189 )
      And the thousands upon thousands of other things that can make them antisocial? What about them? Where are books, TV, radio, movies, the net, comics and /. in all this? Hell, what about the public school system - nothing makes a child antisocial better than throwing them into an environment with a free for all pecking order and forced conformity.

      And what about the other things that can impress upon a young mind, like, say, religion? Shall we begin letting the state supervise everything that *might* be a
      • You're probably right, since we can't protect kids from everything that might be harmful, we might as well not protect them from anything.

        While we're at it, we might as well not have any laws since people are only going to break them. Might as well not put airbags or seatbelts in our cars either since some people will die in car accidents anyhow.

        Trying to pretend we live in a kinder world, one that doesn't have as much violence, is about as sensible as...

        There's a difference between letting children know v
        • That, my friend, is a strawman. And a pretty poor one at that.

          My arguement was not "lets protect them from nothing". My arguement was "X and Y have the same effect on children. If we regulate X, shouldn't we also regulate Y?" Unless you can show me that X and Y (games and any of the other things I listed) do not have the same impact upon children, then your entire rebuttal is baseless.

          Do games, and for example movies, have the same impact upon children? Probably. Are we regulating movies as tightly as
          • Immagination is internal stimulus, while video games are external stimulus. From a developmental perspective the latter has a much more pronounced affect on the end psyche. Adolsecent Psychology 101.

            There is reason, and in fact significant evidence, to suggest that imagining a violent act, seeing a violent act, roleplaying a violent act, and finally performing a violent act each have a more significant impact than their predecessor in that list on long term behavioral patterns.

            Government regulations like
            • What exactly do you call kids playing with toys? Or playing outdoor games (sports or otherwise)? I'd call those role playing, of a sort. Imagination and roleplaying don't seem that different to me, except that the former only requires thought, not action. Children do plenty of both with or without any complicated equiptment.

              In an RTS game, you might be cast as a medieval ruler. How is that different from children building snow forts and declaring themselvs king? Or commanding mock battles with toy s
        • >> You're probably right, since we can't protect kids from everything that might be harmful, we might as well not protect them from anything.

          DAMN RIGHT!

          It is NOT the role of the government to be your unpaid nanny.

          Problems are best left to the entity closest to the problem. The further away the meddler is, the more likely they will royally f*ck everything up.
    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) on Monday June 12, 2006 @02:28PM (#15518907)
      when acquiring material that could be damaging to young minds.

            like religion, for example?
    • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Monday June 12, 2006 @03:45PM (#15519475) Homepage
      Unless your child has managed to get themselves emancipated and has moved out of the house, they are not going to be able to play any videogame if you don't want them to. You merely have to stop being self-centered for a minute and actually pay attention. You managed to survive the "completely helpless" and "toddler" stages and s/he did didn't starve or kill him/herself so obviously you've got the time.

              If the kid is subject to active adult supervision, this law is meaningless.

              It's really simple: watch what they watch, read what they read, play what they play, meet their friends and meet their friend's parents.

              All of that is considered SOP by many entire clans (nevermind atomic families).
      • It's really simple: watch what they watch, read what they read, play what they play, meet their friends and meet their friend's parents.

        So what you're saying is that you don't have kids and that you don't yet understand teenage rebellion? Either that, or you have a really odd definition of simple.
    • "all they're saying is that minors should have adult supervision when acquiring material that could be damaging to young minds." (emphasis mine)

      No, that's not what they're saying. They are saying that minors MUST have supervision when acquiring material that some people find objectionable.

      You're missing two key points:

      1. The definition of objectionable material is arbitrary but universally enforced in OK

      2. This is government legislating what material they feel is appropriate for children in a specif
    • Look, all they're saying is that minors should have adult supervision when acquiring material that could be damaging to young minds.

      Material... such as books?
  • by revlayle ( 964221 ) on Monday June 12, 2006 @10:48AM (#15517268) Homepage
    Oklahoma has one of the worst legislation faculty in the county. Also, their salary/compensation for senate/house memebers are realtively higher comapred to other states in similar economic situations (not that the economy is HORRIBLE here, but the cost of living is low, but they get paid higher than perhaps some states that a bit higher cost of living).

    couple that with this being THE Bible Belt (we have a many churches as we do convenient stores, and we have a LOT of convienient stores), poor education, and crappy voter turnouts... the government does almost as they damn well please.

    What they are doing with video games now, they tried with comic book stores and game (RPG) shops 10-15 years ago. Once they started creating too much of a ruckus with citizens (the OK goverment, that is), that crap eventually got beaten down into obscurity. Now we hear VERY little about it any more (probably now people with the jobs and some sort of income and intelligence either were more likely to 1) still play RPGs and read comics OR 2) at least USED to, but not anymore, but understand those who do OR 3) didn't play or read, but never saw the big deal around any controversy attributed to such mediums AND they have some srot of voting influence these days)

    Luckily things DO get thrown out as unconsitutional... but until then, OK will be dicks about it.
  • I wonder why they neglected to include governments that use 'inappropriate violence' in the bill.
  • Whenever this argument comes up, inevitably someone will claim that in the USA films ratings are government regulated. This is not true. In the USA films are rated by the film industry just like videogames are rated by the videogame industry. This is exactly why such anti-videogame laws are not only unconstitutional, but are also nothing more than moral panics. If such laws pass, videogames would be the only medium in the USA that are regulated by law.
    • Yeah. Pornographic magazines, VHS and DVDs; the Faces of Death videos; playing cards showing boobies; websites and web cam streams; adult cable tv channels; the Jackson at the superbowl; gentlemen's clubs; none of these things are regulated by the government. Why should video games be?

      I don't support the law, but at least I'm willing to look at it in a legitimate context.
  • Porn downloading amongst Teens and pre-teens in Oklahoma is down... When asked why many young men and boys have slowed their consumption at the fountain of sex that is the internet, the boys generally respond with: "We need some of that bandwidth to pirate games now". State legislators couldn't be reached for comment, as they were busy receiving emergency treatment for a self inflicted pedal bullet wounds.
  • From the article, this covers:

    any game which "lacks serious literary, scientific, medical, artistic or political value" and

    • features glamorized or gratuitous violence; . . .
    • has violence so pervasive that it serves as the thread holding the plot of the material together;
    • trivializes the serious nature of realistic violence; . . .
    • endorses or glorifies . . . excessive weaponry, or
    • depicts lead characters who resort to violence freely.

    What shooter, first-person or otherwise, doesn't fall into one of those catego

  • by PMuse ( 320639 ) on Monday June 12, 2006 @04:21PM (#15519749)
    I like big guns and I cannot lie
    You other gamers can't deny
    That when a target walks in with those big and pointy teeths
    You need a BFG at the least.
  • Just checking if these people are for real or just the same old hypocrites who'd drown thier mother if they could use the corpse to buy themselves an extra vote or line thier pockets: Does this bill include provisions to block MOVIES with explicit violence as well?

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