Business Administration Education Guide

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Video Game Prohibition

In June Louisiana Govenor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco signed the legislation HB1381 into law which prohibited certain video games from being sold to minors. The legislation is sponsored by Rep. Roy Burrell (D) and largely drafted by controversial anti-game attorney Jack Thompson who is looking to define violent games as "harmful to minors," using the same legal guidelines by which obscenity is determined. However, ,the Entertainment Software Association filed a lawsuit, which resulted in a temporary injunction against its enforcement.

HB1381 debates have been heated and gone from temporary to permanent and back into court where now a federal judge has ruled that the banned of the sale of violent video games to minors in Louisiana is unconstitutional.

Rep. Roy Burrell (R) and Jack Thompson produced supposed research that shows a contributory link between playing violent video games and real-world violence. The purpose of the research was to have it documented into the legislative record in an attempt to support the legislation's already shaky credentials. In addition, the law adapted the Miller obscenity test to the realm of violent video games, prohibiting their sale to minors if they:

1. Appealed to the minor's morbid interest in violence" according to "contemporary community standards,"

2. Depicted violence inappropriate to minors according to "prevailing standards" in the adult community, and

3. Lacked "serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors."

If we are going to prohibit entertainment based on the above credentials than there is a Santa Clause list of entertainment that needs to be added starting with television.

Similar court hearings regarding video games have been unsuccessful. A US Appeals Court upheld a lower court's ruling that a similar Illinois law was unconstitutional.

Plaintiffs Entertainment Software Association, Video Software Dealers Association, and Illinois Retail Merchants Association sued several state and local officials seeking to enjoin the enforcement of Illinois’s Violent Video Games Law and Sexually Explicit Video Games Law.

This constitutes the Court’s findings of fact and conclusions of law under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 52(a). For the reasons stated below, the Court concludes that both statutes violate the First Amendment and therefore issues a permanent injunction against their implementation.

With video game legislation on a long losing streak, you would think that it's time for politicians to stop pandering to their constituents by continuing to introduce and pass legislation restricting the sale of some video games. No, we can now add Utah & Pennsylvania to the list of states examining the video game violence issue. A committee of the Pennsylvania House held a hearing in late August to consider the effects of violent games on children.

Rep. Ronald Waters (D) said, "I watch young people play these games, and they play them for long periods of time. It's hard for me to watch that kind of activity without wondering what kind of effects it's having on them. What are we doing subliminally to our children that we allow them to entertain themselves with this type of activity..."

The courts have spoken clearly and unanimously: video games are protected by the First Amendment and singling them out for regulation violates the Equal Protection clause in the Fourteenth Amendment.

Here are my thoughts and questions. Rep. Ronald Waters said

“It's hard for me to watch that kind of activity”

Why are you just watching them play the game? If you are so concerned about your child’s warfare, why are you not taking the video game set out of their hands and potentially out of the house and saying NO you can not play video games?

Why are people continually blaming the makers of these games and yet parents and friends of parents are buying them for children. That’s like buying a gun, handing it o a child, having the child shoot the family dog and than blaming the makers of the gun for they’re child shooting the family dog.

Stop and think a moment. If you do not ant your child playing these violent video games tell them they can not. Let they’re friends know they ca not play the games and tell your friends and relatives not to buy them for your children.

If you’re a parent be a parent and take some freaking responsibility for what you are allowing your child to see, touch, smell, hear and play.

Be a rebel - be a Video Game Designer!


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