281: Battlefield: Washington

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Geeks 1 - Inquisition 0 . And after Morazzini addmiting he knows next to nothing about video-games I can call him part of the inquisition with ease. Because arguing against something you don`t know or understand is the lowest point one can reach.

Off topic : I`m not from the US. Why does it take several months for the decision ?

I'm rather optimistic about the ruling coming down in favour of the games industry. Though something tells me the justices won't be taking several months to decide on this particular case on the grounds that the lawyer representing California made such a monumental cock-up of his own (badly researched and unproven) argument.

But I think both sides can come to a compromise: just slap a "Violent Content" sticker on the game and sell it regardless. Though I admit to being aware of the Mature: 17+ sticker / label on games care of the ESRB.

Killerbunny001:
Geeks 1 - Inquisition 0 . And after Morazzini addmiting he knows next to nothing about video-games I can call him part of the inquisition with ease. Because arguing against something you don`t know or understand is the lowest point one can reach.

Off topic : I`m not from the US. Why does it take several months for the decision ?

While the Court accepts only a tiny fraction of the cases they are asked to accept each year, many of those cases involve multiple and complex issues and therefore tend to create both a significant caseload and a significant workload to be ploughed. These cases are often accompanied by legal support filed by the litigants and amici in the form of substantial amounts of written documents which the Court must review and digest in order to make their decision. They also have to hold regular conferences to discuss the matters under their review. And they must also dedicate a substantial amount of their time to hearing oral arguments. And dedicate time needed to research and draft their written decisions (some of which have been known to run into the hundreds of pages) While the Court does have a fair amount of staff to assist them in this obviously time-consuming deliberative process, it nevertheless remains just that: a time consuming process.

I think I just gained a new respect for the nine justices.

Living in New Zealand, a country that has got Restricted ratings for Films and Games I don't see what the big deal is. Sure I can't buy postal or i have to bring an ID card to get GTA or New Vegas but it's really a non-issue. Though it may be one reason for the higher price of games but I'm not so sure.

Though of course Australia doesn't set a very good example.

Tempest13:
I actually read the entire court case, the brilliant denunciation of California's argument by the Supreme Court made me say, "Fuck yeah!" And even when Paul Smith took heat, he replied confidently and smartly. I'm really positive about what will happen.

Is it available to read online?
Id quite enjoy a little bit of light reading and it would really help my uni course (Games Technology).

Double post fail!!
Sorry guys.

It should be...if you look up the court case on google you can probably find it.

xuberfail:
Living in New Zealand, a country that has got Restricted ratings for Films and Games I don't see what the big deal is. Sure I can't buy postal or i have to bring an ID card to get GTA or New Vegas but it's really a non-issue. Though it may be one reason for the higher price of games but I'm not so sure.

Though of course Australia doesn't set a very good example.

I think this is getting a little bit blow out of proportion too actually. It's being set up as the epic conflict of Games vs. the world and if the case goes bad then everything will fold up shop and games will be gone forever but if we win then there will be candy and unicorns.

The important thing about the case is that its a point from which the government could control media (games and possible others) through the use of the idea of what is right and what isn't. Potentially they could use this to arbitrary decide what gets made and that's bad because it puts a lot of power into the hands of people who might be in favor of restricting games. Most people seem to be in favor of no restriction and letting games go as they will in more Laissez-faire style. I find it quiet hard to get a straight hold on what the case actually means though since everyone is so biased one way or the other but generally, since games are a market item and this is a capitalist country I think we might as well have as few legal barriers as possible (though consumers are still stupid and crap like Postal still gets made, somehow).

Okay, right. What?

Okay okay, so this law would state that the sale of games rated as violent would be illegal to sell to people under 18? Soo...? I don't quite get it, I was under the impression that that was how things worked here in the UK. Even if it isn't, assuming it does not ban these games, what is stopping the children asking their parents to get it for them? I'm clearly missing something as everybody is up in arms about it.

Also why is stopping children, with parents who don't pay attention to what there children do, getting access to games a necessarily evil thing? Sure games may or may not effect development at a young age, but stopping 12 years olds buying Postal (which has come up a lot in this case) isn't entirely evil. I just watched the Extra Credits video on this and I still don't get it. Now I'm very pro games are art, and should not be restricted more than any other medium, but here in the UK I think I'm safe in saying that games/movies/whatever have age ratings, these ratings are issued by the people who know what they are on about and the sale of such goods to people under this age is illegal. However it is not illegal to buy them for someone else, or for some one under age to use the product (a key difference between smoking & drinking products).

I have read other posts that say this law could allow them to control the release of games to the entire public, how so?

So please, someone enlighten me.

Keep fighting the Good fight in there - Three Dog.

I think we did a wonderful job actually. morizanni gave alot of way.. balked a few times. Smith was actually rather cool about he whole thing. very well done

AzzA-D:

Is it available to read online?
Id quite enjoy a little bit of light reading and it would really help my uni course (Games Technology).

will do you one better, heres the audio:
http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_audio_detail.aspx?argument=08-1448

and a pdf transcript:
http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/08-1448.pdf

i really enjoyed reading this, and before hand, i didnt think i would.

McCa:
Okay, right. What?

Okay okay, so this law would state that the sale of games rated as violent would be illegal to sell to people under 18? Soo...? I don't quite get it, I was under the impression that that was how things worked here in the UK. Even if it isn't, assuming it does not ban these games, what is stopping the children asking their parents to get it for them? I'm clearly missing something as everybody is up in arms about it.

Also why is stopping children, with parents who don't pay attention to what there children do, getting access to games a necessarily evil thing? Sure games may or may not effect development at a young age, but stopping 12 years olds buying Postal (which has come up a lot in this case) isn't entirely evil. I just watched the Extra Credits video on this and I still don't get it. Now I'm very pro games are art, and should not be restricted more than any other medium, but here in the UK I think I'm safe in saying that games/movies/whatever have age ratings, these ratings are issued by the people who know what they are on about and the sale of such goods to people under this age is illegal. However it is not illegal to buy them for someone else, or for some one under age to use the product (a key difference between smoking & drinking products).

I have read other posts that say this law could allow them to control the release of games to the entire public, how so?

So please, someone enlighten me.

The point is they are making a special exception for Video Games above and beyond any other form of media, and enforcing those restrictions through law. See, content like films and music that gets labeled as 'explicit' or 'restricted'? Enforcement of those ratings is voluntary for the industry involved - there is no legal barrier preventing 12-year old kids from buying an album with explicit lyrics, attending an R-rated film, or buying an M-rated game; with only one exception (porn), all forms of media enjoy equal protection in law. By that I mean if a theater knowingly or accidentally lets kids who don't meet their own internal age requirement into an R-rated film, they are not criminally liable for doing so.

That is the sticking point - the California legislation would mandate that the state rate all video games by content (as opposed to the ratings produced by voluntary participation in the ERSB) and would make it a crime to sell video games deemed "excessively violent" to children. Never mind that when it comes to internally enforcing age restrictions, the video game industry does a vastly better job than the film or music industry at actually keeping kids away from mature content. It would codify in law that video games do not enjoy the same free speech protections as other forms of media do, hands over rating authority to state bureaucrats without addressing just where the hell they're going to find the funding to do all that rating (hint: Our tax dollars!), while producing chilling ramifications for the development of mature games - where is the incentive to develop such titles if the distribution side of the equation isn't going to stock them for fear of being criminally liable?

It might seem to be much the same thing, but there is a whole world of difference between voluntary enforcement of store policies that translates into an effective ban on sales of violent video games to minors, and a law mandating an actual ban on such sales via the stick of criminal liability.

As for the UK comparison, I am understandably fuzzy on the details of the their rating board and the legal status of those ratings (what with being an American and all), but are you certain that the act of sale of a game that was rated "18 and over" to a minor is actually classified as a criminal action?

dastardly:

JDKJ:

dastardly:

You're probably right on that. My hope, though, is that the breadcrumb leads down a trail so precarious and narrow that folks end up deciding it's not worth it.... at least for long enough until something new attracts the sharks elsewhere.

Which it eventually will. Once upon a time, the blood in the water came from movies. Then, it was comic books. Today, it's video games. Sooner or later, they'll latch on to some other scent of blood and swim off in pursuit. Bound to happen.

P.S.: Having now added on to it, I regret the comparison of sharks to politicians as being unfairly insulting to sharks. Your average shark's 100 times more intelligent than your average politician.

Or at least more honest about their intentions.

A Shark will eat you and be honest about it.
A Politician wants your money and will try to make stupid laws to circumvent it and do stupid things because he is a dipshit.

They should just do it like the UK, if a game has an age rating on it and you are not at least that age then you can't buy it, then you just get your parents to, like me :D or steam, that works too.
Although some places are getting ridiculous with what you need for ID but still.

Good to see the games industry has it's confident face back on, the mediums defence was fantastically delivered throughout very one sided argument. If I was important in the state of California I'd be seriously pissed at the lawyers that put the case together.

I found it very sad to hear someone get up and make all kinds of aspersions against an entire medium based on clips of, it's my understanding, one game, Postal 2.

Wait, what? Postal 2 was violent? When I played it I pegged it as one of the most boring games ever.. The opening mission objectives were:
collect a cheque
cash the cheque
buy milk.

This involved walking across town and walking back to the middle, buying milk from the shop and strolling back to the start point *yawn* The rest of the game was much the same. If he'd even played the game his case was based on he wouldn't have brought the case.

As amusing as tasering passers-by until they wet themselves was(followed by dousing them in petrol, lighting them on fire. A quick splash of piss to put them out before grabbing a passing cat sticking a rifle up it's rectum and putting the groaning charred mess on the floor out of it's misery. What a gloriously fantastic tool for venting rage; we need a modern remake!) The game itself was a utterly devoid of violence.

It was left to the player to paint the town red and, without fail, we did, for no good reason at all. The game never hinted that every single object could be used as a weapon but we all found out within a minute. Postal 2 was no more violent then an average day in suburbia, if no-one could be hurt and the world could be reset

Gildan Bladeborn:

McCa:
Okay, right. What?

Okay okay, so this law would state that the sale of games rated as violent would be illegal to sell to people under 18? Soo...? I don't quite get it, I was under the impression that that was how things worked here in the UK. Even if it isn't, assuming it does not ban these games, what is stopping the children asking their parents to get it for them? I'm clearly missing something as everybody is up in arms about it.

Also why is stopping children, with parents who don't pay attention to what there children do, getting access to games a necessarily evil thing? Sure games may or may not effect development at a young age, but stopping 12 years olds buying Postal (which has come up a lot in this case) isn't entirely evil. I just watched the Extra Credits video on this and I still don't get it. Now I'm very pro games are art, and should not be restricted more than any other medium, but here in the UK I think I'm safe in saying that games/movies/whatever have age ratings, these ratings are issued by the people who know what they are on about and the sale of such goods to people under this age is illegal. However it is not illegal to buy them for someone else, or for some one under age to use the product (a key difference between smoking & drinking products).

I have read other posts that say this law could allow them to control the release of games to the entire public, how so?

So please, someone enlighten me.

The point is they are making a special exception for Video Games above and beyond any other form of media, and enforcing those restrictions through law. See, content like films and music that gets labeled as 'explicit' or 'restricted'? Enforcement of those ratings is voluntary for the industry involved - there is no legal barrier preventing 12-year old kids from buying an album with explicit lyrics, attending an R-rated film, or buying an M-rated game; with only one exception (porn), all forms of media enjoy equal protection in law. By that I mean if a theater knowingly or accidentally lets kids who don't meet their own internal age requirement into an R-rated film, they are not criminally liable for doing so.

That is the sticking point - the California legislation would mandate that the state rate all video games by content (as opposed to the ratings produced by voluntary participation in the ERSB) and would make it a crime to sell video games deemed "excessively violent" to children. Never mind that when it comes to internally enforcing age restrictions, the video game industry does a vastly better job than the film or music industry at actually keeping kids away from mature content. It would codify in law that video games do not enjoy the same free speech protections as other forms of media do, hands over rating authority to state bureaucrats without addressing just where the hell they're going to find the funding to do all that rating (hint: Our tax dollars!), while producing chilling ramifications for the development of mature games - where is the incentive to develop such titles if the distribution side of the equation isn't going to stock them for fear of being criminally liable?

It might seem to be much the same thing, but there is a whole world of difference between voluntary enforcement of store policies that translates into an effective ban on sales of violent video games to minors, and a law mandating an actual ban on such sales via the stick of criminal liability.

As for the UK comparison, I am understandably fuzzy on the details of the their rating board and the legal status of those ratings (what with being an American and all), but are you certain that the act of sale of a game that was rated "18 and over" to a minor is actually classified as a criminal action?

I'm unsure if it's criminal but they certainly wont sell it to you at all. I get the impression it is.

As for the point I was making. I can see the American unconstitutional argument, well enough saying it is an affront to law and to a successful industry. I am beginning to see how if passed this law could spiral, however what I'm failing to understand is: are the game manufactures liable for criminal charges if a minor buys there games or just the retailer?

McCa:
I am beginning to see how if passed this law could spiral, however what I'm failing to understand is: are the game manufactures liable for criminal charges if a minor buys there games or just the retailer?

Under the law as written manufacturers aren't at risk of criminal prosecution for producing violent games, but their retail counterparts certainly would be, and even at this stage of the information age, retail is still king, so it would have an impact even without leaving publishers open to criminal prosecution.

There's also the very real risk of the legal precedent it would set, as right now every proposed state legislation regulating the sale of games has been struck down as unconstitutional as a violation of free speech - once you cross that hurdle, who knows what else they might try to legislate? Logically if you can wall off retail channels through law, the next step for those misguided crusaders would be digital distribution, and that certainly would be targeting game manufacturers directly.

However you slice it, no matter what this legislation is bad for the industry and bad for the medium, and I'm hopeful the Supreme Court took this case on to make a point (that point being "Stop making these unconstitutional laws, state legislatures, seriously").

Thats awesome!! Thanks very much.
Thisll be very interesting indeed.

superbatranger:
Hold the phone. The man representing California knows nothing about video games? Did any of the Justices tear him a new one, because I know I would have.

I'd have torn him ten.

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