Washington, D.C. Closer to Adopting Municipal Video Game Law

October 27, 2006 -
The Washington, D.C. City Council is pushing ahead with legislation designed to block kids from buying violent video games.

As reported by The Hill, the proposed law is known as the Youth Protection from Obscene Video Games Act.

Currently in committee, the measure is sponsored by Council member Adrian Fenty (left), who is expected to win election as D.C.'s mayor on November 7th.

The bill uses the industry's own ESRB ratings as a guide, which is legally problematic. Case law has established that a private standard cannot be the basis for public law.

Fines proposed under the bill could be up to $10,000 for those who sell M-rated titles to underage buyers. In addition, non-retailers (such as, say, parents) who provide M-rated games to a child under 17 could be hit with a $1,000 fine.

Councilman Fenty discounted the constitutional issues at a recent hearing:
"I'm, ready, willing, and able to pass this legislation and let the courts decide whether or not the video-game industry should be held to the same standard they’ve already agreed to.

Fenty has been working on the video game violence issue for some time. GamePolitics previously covered a June, 2005 hearing on the measure. A video of that proceeding (lengthy, but well worth watching) featrues testimony from the Peaceoholics community group as well as from the ESA and ACLU.

UPDATE: We apologoze for linking the wrong hearing. Here's the correct link...

Comments

non-retailers (such as, say, parents) who provide M-rated games to a child under 17 could be hit with a $1,000 fine.

Congrats for not only pretending you care about the children, but stating you know a child better than their parents! What's next, fining parents for letting their kids stay up late?
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

...You know, Jack Thompson should be added to Godwin's rule.

Mister Gone said:
"You approve of someone forcing christian ideals onto a child and warping their litle minds into thinking that empty threats and pompous posturing are effective ways to persuade people?"

Wow, way to stereotype.

Man not a single one of you has the ability to do anything but say "games are godly no laws evah" and rant.

Stop and think........

Non-retailers couldn't EVER mean parents, because parents can buy their own children whatever, it's a non-issue with that (such as parents) remark snuck in just because the narrow minded will jump all over it and piss their pants.

Non-retailers means anybody over 17 buying the game for a kid. Such as your friend in high school that's 18 and buys cigs for the other kids, or the 21 year old in college that buys beer for the others. And to prevent kids from handing adults money to go buy the game for them.

Instead of just proving the people against gaming right that we all operate on single words, have no attention span, and can't think. Why not look at the actual arguement isntead of acting like a bunch of angry 14 year olds with ADD?

Hey, that's great.

So not only is unconstitutional to MAKE these games, it would be unconstitutional to BUY them as well?

Do they understand how this would drive piracy downloads in the States through the roof? How it would effectively KILL as sizeable portion of the industry?

Apparently not...

With all the politicians failing to put our taxdollars to good use, you'd think that the public would realize it. Come to think of it, all of these money-wasting laws sound like what you'd find in an email chain-letter that people send for around for laughs. I wonder if anyone has done that yet... made a started a chain-letter that details how the politicians are wasting our money on ridiculous, unconstitutional laws. Maybe someone should make one since they tend to be seen by so many people.

@psychotix

Where does is say "except parents"?

Mister Gone Says:
October 27th, 2006 at 11:08 am
Have you talked to a kid today? Have you seen how they act? It’s apparent that someone needs to tell parents how to raise their damn kids, they sure aren’t doing it themselves.

I agree with you, but I still don't think that it's the government's job to raise people's children on their behalf. Educating parents on how to properly supervise children is a better first step than running to file knee-jerk legislation.

psychotix Says:
October 27th, 2006 at 11:10 am
actually it’s not the “right wing” that’s anti gaming, it’s the democrats.

So if you don’t want video game legislation, vote republican, if you want it vote democratic.

I don't think it's as much a partisan issue as you're trying to paint it. Both sides have put forth and enacted these laws, as far as I remember - claiming it's solely the work of one side or the other is a little disingenuous.

@ Hank The Tank

I wasn't implying that those were Christian attributes, just that anyone who thinks it's okay for parents to do anyhthing they want to their kids is dead wrong.

Again people VOTED for Fenty to help stop problems with urban youth in DC, the specific problems.

Rise in children stealing cars
Rise in children robbing people with guns
Several attacks/rapes commited by children on adults

All of these commited by teens and the jump just started recently.... about the time of GTA getting huge.

I'm not blaming GTA for it, but this is what people in DC want from Fenty.

Just about everybody that's not a gamer (read everybody not bothering to post here) wants laws against violent games, and as soon as the government makes it's own ratings system (since it can't use the ESRB's due to legal issues) they'll have it.

Wait till 08, my dollar is on creating an effective legal way to fine retailers over games, to be one of the reasons the winner get's elected.

Eceryone knows you catch Christianity from toilet seats and not washing your hands enough anyway :D

Yes, I know their are a lot of stupid parents in this country. But their are a lot of good ones as well. The focal point of this argument is that the government should not tell people how to raise their children. Period. It takes away our rights as parents. Yes, stupid parents are hurting the good parents reputation but it's still their right to raise their kid as they see fit. Provided they have food, clothes, and education.

As far as I have seen it seems like "Think of the childeren" is used wrong its closer to "Think for the childeren".

@Mister Gone

You still presented teaching children Christian ideals a bad thing.

I could give a tinker's cuss about the parent reputations. I am worried about the kids lives. How many idiotic redneck kids do we need before it is realised that stupid people raise stupid kids. Chemical castration! God, it's always oh where were the parents oh so sad. The truth is the idiot parents were there with a lighter, sharing a beer with their 14 year old screaming "Get er lit Kletus Jr. the police is cummin!" Stupid hill billys.

@ Hank the Tank

Well yeah, I mean it's the Barney effect

Barney caused Columbine

Let me explain. Children were brought up in a seemingly loving environment. Too loving in fact. They were exposed to constant posative messages, never once were they told that there are jerks out there that will hate you just because they do. Everyone is going to be your friend. Fast forward to the school years. Kids encounter bullies, they don't know what to do "These people are supposed to like me" they think. Then they have two routes to take; Introvert because they don't understand why these people aren't their friends like Barney said they would be or Become violent, beat these kids for not liking you.

Now we have Christianity:
God loves you no matter what, anything you do wrong is forgiven by praying. People that don't beleive in God are going to Hell. So to the child, what does it matter if they are good or bad, what do these people matter they're going to hell.

You want anilitical and logical ideas from society and yet you harbor an environment that breeds insane irrational thinking. I know it's where the Bible said people come from, but a solution isn't just going to spring up from the ground.

Not every Christian is an ass like jack. Some of us are just as intelligent as the rest of the world, some of us do not like how Jack abuses our religion and twists it to his own ends.

@ Brokenscope

and I don't doubt that, what I am saying is I question the parenting abilities of Christians that force their religion onto children.

Where did the first humans come from? If you say mud and the rib of Adam, then you are not fit to parent. It's as simple as that.

@mistergone

I said provide an education.

That would imply they would be able to function as intelligent members of society. What you suggested in response to my post would not allow them to be intelligent members of society.

I think it was the word "Christian". Look, we are a society that can only go as fast as our slowest members. We are on the cusp of discovering cures to horrific injuries and disease with stem cells and who holds us back? We could clone entire organ systems and save lives, but who holds us back? It no different than Galileo's time. If only Alexander had kept marching.

Just an FYI for those wondering if this applies to parents. It does according to the definition. It says (slightly paraphrased) "A person not licensed under subsection (a) (which deals with business licenses) shall not sell, rent, or furnish a video game or computer game rated M or RP under the ESRB Ratings to a person under 17 years old, or a video game or computer game rated AO to a person under 18 years old. A person found in violation of this section shall be subject to a fine of up to $1,000 (a hearing is allowed)."

So a parent/relative might be exempt after they get to the hearing, and argue their case, but they still could be fined. And plus they need to be dragged into the hearing first.

The act barely even bothers to address why a restriction is needed vs education. Just a quick "it appeals to the morbid interest of minors".
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

@ Jaberwock

To a lot of parent video games are baby sitters that will work for weeks for $50. They really don't care if she's smoking in the house and hitting the kids, she's cheap.

I'm one of those "crazy" Christians who don't take every word in the bible literally. I don't think that the world was created in 6 24 hours periods and then a 24 hour period of resting.

I also have never seen how evolution and god are these 2 mutually exclusive ideas.

I also have nothing but contempt for sin now ask for forgiveness on my deathbed Christians. I know that is unchristian like and i feel that is one of my personal failings as a Christian is that i have trouble forgiving people.

My family is baptist. I am not. I was asked to leave my church when i questioned the pastors literal interpretation of Genesis and then Revelations.


Also, praying every night would not get you into heaven.

@Mister Gone

Yes, just like Islam and democracy when you get right down to it- anything can be used as propaganda. So you're saying that being being raised in a Christian family is brainwashing? Are you serious or just seriously over-exaggerating? Being raised with beliefs is certainly NOT the same as having them forced onto you. Yes, there are some people out there who try to force their beliefs on others. We call them fundamentalists. Every religion and system of government has them.

Also, who are you to say that one is not fit to be a parent because of their beliefs. One could say the same about you for teaching your children that idea but they would be wrong to pass such a judgement. Yes, let's just make it illegal for anyone under 18 to know of ANY religion, why don't we? Maybe because that would be unconstitutional, not to mention being far more like Communism than anything else.

No, it wasn't the word "Christian". It was your idea of using a religion in general as a scapegoat for problems of the world today.

@ Brokenscope

Then why bother calling youself a Christian. If you deviate so far from the typical Christian, why even bother with the label. Just call yourself a person that has a hard time forgiving people. Why do you have to be in conflict with the label. We all need to become a society of people. If there is a God I'm sure he doesn't have a problem with it. Odds are he's not even paying attention.

@Hank

Yes as a GAMER I'm saying I don't care if games cause kids to kill. Because it's MY entertainment. And I value that more then what happens to somebody elses kid. That's why I support NO regulation at all. I'm glad we have the ESRB to weasle out of this.

As for a source about dc www.washingtonpost.com we've been having massive crime sprees involving minors, to the point of hiring more police, instituting curfews, and it hasn't done much. The fact is once somebody is already influenced in a certain direction the damage is done. Any sort of attempt to stop it aftewards is trying to stop the hemoraging.

If you want a solution stop the wound in the first place, instead of trying to bandage it up afterwards.

Though honestly I haven't been mugged or car jacked, I don't have kids. It's not my problem and I wouldn't give up any of my games to help solve it. It's a price people pay so that some of us can be entertained. If somebody elses child chose to copy what they are shown/immersed in (which all children do) and hurts somebody else that's not my problem. However if they try to take something from me (games in this case), that is, and I'll staunchly complain about it.

Again I'll take the true stance of a gamer. I do not care what happens to other peoples children, or society as long as I can keep my own forms of personal entertainment. That's all there is to it, it's there problem not mine.

And I think games do cause violence in children. I've seen my friends kid act out after playing a fighting game and start a fight and hurt somebody, with the same moves he saw. But that's not my problem. Kids in middle school and bought the game on his own, the store sold it to them (as they should 100% if they are a good buisness) even though he wasn't old enough. I say sell the games to the kids and make more money. There isn't a penalty and we live in capitalism.

@Jaberwok

You can also get in trouble for "furnishing" pornographic material to minors. But we aren't hauling parents off to jail left and right because they bought little Timmy a playboy, or the kid found his dads stash.

If it wasn't illegal to sell it to kids I'd advocate doing that as well. It's not my problem and capitalism rules.

This isn't to say I'd provide games or porn to my own child... that's my problem. But then again I don't have kids.

If there is a God I’m sure he doesn’t have a problem with it.

That's what I tell people who tell my I'm not going to be saved. I reply "Well, as long as I live my life as a good person, why should my motivation matter? If there truly is a God as forgiving as you say, she'll understand." (that last part makes some of them twitch, and my day is just that much happier ;))
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

@SlyFox

Today? No religion is a good reason for the problems of the world, since the dawn of man. You can't fall back on the constitution for this one. I could care less if people have a right to free religion, I'm talking about protecting children here. Kids should learn how the world works first, then how some nut jobs THINK it works second. I said a person who says Adam and Eve spontaniously sprang into existance was unfit to parent. If you're and armchair Christian that goes to church for the raffles and pancake breakfasts then I suppose you may no beleive that, so you may be okay. I don't think the idea of teaching you kids to have free will, and self worth that comes from themselves not from some ghostly father figure that they have to fear. I think that's damn good parenting. Christian families are like if I held up an apple in front of my kids and said, this apple is an orange. Then the kids says no I'd say, you better beleive it's an orange or I'll kick you downstairs. Then I ask the kid "What is this?" and the kid says "It's and orange." Then later when he is an adult and hears other people say that's an apple, he'll want to kick them downstairs. It's a cycle of insanity.

@ Jaberwock

I have a feeling YOUR kids would do just fine. Beleive the values, have faith in the world around you.

@Mister Gone

I'd like to take a shot at the question you asked Brokenscope: because just believing doesn't make one a Christian or member of any other faith, for that matter. It's how you live your life and how you act. Why would there be any conflict with wearing a "label"?

While there are some families who

Arrgh. That is the most, despicable thing I have ever heard of.

It's like our own government wants to ban fun altogether, not to mention they want to take the place of parents raising the kids. Soon, the days of being children will forever be banned.

@ Mister Gone

You think that a person who believes in Christianity shouldn't a parent? Sweet Jesus, you are out of your mind. Why should one be excluded from being a parent just because of personal beliefs? If we kept religious folk from being parents there wouldn't be hardly anybody left on the Earth. A kid can grow up in a religous family and then turn away from religion. I know that I have. Why do you believe you know what qualities a parent should have?

I am a christian, and I do agree there are some extremeists out there who take some of the things in the bible way too far, but does my faith in god make me a stupid person?

@Mister Gone

I do agree with your points on teaching children about the world, and I do believe in free choice, I will not force my children to go to church, but I will encourge them. There are alot of things to understand about the world before one can function in it, but I do not have faith in the world alot of things have gotten way outta hand, but understanding that their are some intelligent people out there is always nice to know :).

Im not here to question your beliefs, nor how you view the world, but please understand there are some intelligent christians who were not "brainwashed" :).

So many errors, so little time.

1. Parents will remain stupid and buy the games for their kids
2. First Amendment
3. So Splinter Cell Chaos Theory, a game where you have to kill 2 people tops in the entire game, a game that teaches people NOT to kill is
depraved and against community standards?

Whew, I'm glad to live in canada :D

@psychotix

I don't know about Washington, but in my city, some crimes have gone down thanks to the presence of more police officers on patrol. Any kids out roaming after dark are picked up/questioned before they can get around to causing mischief.

Also, DC ST § 22-2201 provides excemptions for "furnishing" a minor with pornographic material. Includes scientific, educational, or other special justification for possession. This video game bill provides no such excemptions.
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

Oh come on, a troll? Really?

For pete's sake, don't try to use logic on him, trolls are impervious to it as it just bounces off their thick hide.

Look Mr. Gone, if you hate the repressive freedoms pushed on you by the USA, go ahead and move to Iran. I hear they're hiring at the "Nuclear Power Plant" there. If you like most of the freedoms but just hate having the right to free speech, you may want to consider the UK.

This is just another issue for politicains to jump on the bandwagon with.

Instead of spending all of that time and money on a law that wouldn't work why not spend some money to educate parents on the games, but I still think if a parent wants to get the game for their children let them.

All of this contorversy about games casuing violence is a classic example of causation vs correlation which means there is no way to prove that video games alone contributed to the behavior, anyone who says otherwise is more than likely biased and falsifying data.

@ SlyFox

Okay there is a group of people called Porngs that beleive in helping their fellow man, in living life the best way you can, in virtue being it's own reward and they also require you to stomp 5 puppies to dead a day. Would you call yourself a Porng?

@Zatch

They are hardly PERSONAL beleifs if you try to ingrane them in someone else. Why should a child have to turn away from religion when they shouldn't have been there in the first place. The fear of the decline of Christianity is scaring the crap out of the fundies and they can't handle it.

@ Biohazard 451

I'm glad that there are people out there that can live the values and yet shy away from the insanity. My problem is they still seek to be assosiated with the insane people. It's like I want to be called a Serial Killer because Serial Killers breath oxygen and so do I.

...damn enter key...

While there are some Christian families who prefer to force their beliefs on their children, they are by far the minority. Please don't group all the millions of them into one and then say they're ALL wrong.

Yes, religion has been a source of many problems all throughout history, but that's because humans are very protective of their beliefs and many will do whatever it takes to follow through with them, especially in the earlier centuries. The thing is, people are still like that today, like it or not and religion will still be seen as the source for many problems in the future. That's the way the world is and, reagardless of what you may think, that isn't going to change any time soon. Ironically, saying that Christianity is just like Communism and then saying that people should not know about religion until adulthood sounds pretty Communist-like in itself. I'm glad you have your opinions; it shows that you're not one to follow just anyone who comes along. In that sense we are very much alike- while I am religious, I am not because I was raised as such but because I choose to be (and compared to many, I'm not very devout at all) ;)

I think I derailed this a bit so I have to decline any more debate on the religion thing for now.



Hey How bad Does Jack Thomson Suck

So bad that a black hole met him and was like "Whoa buddy, you're making us look lazy."

A Porng, eh? No, no I do not consider myself to be a Porng by the definiton that you have put forth, as I value life in all of it's forms (with few exceptions). Therefore, I could not stomp on puppies. Sorry but thank you for asking. Are you a Porng?

:P

I believe I am a hipsterdoofus.

Do you think that a person who would use religion as a pretext to further an agenda is likely to be the kind of person to easily accept viewpoints other than his/her own? I'd wager that if there was no religion people would still find some other pretext and try to dictate how others ought to act. Religion is not the reason people are extremists; it's just how extremism is marketed these days. But people who practice religion, and those who don't, can still be normal, productive members of society, so don't be condemning religion - condemn the people that use it to further their personal goals.
What we need is to teach tolerance - we're all stuck on this rock we call Earth together, and things would be much better for all of us if we tried to understand and work with one another instead of always trying to argue that one viewpoint is superior to another. Sure, it's wishful thinking to a degree, but I think things in the world could be considerably better for all of us if once in a while people acted in the best interests of society as a whole and not just themselves.
Not to insult those who work to improve the world - I know you're out there, but unfortunately much of that goodness is overshadowed by extremism and intolerance.

As for the law - blah, blah, more of the same, though being able to fine parents for supplying games to their children is distressing. Yes, there are similar laws for alcohol and porn, but games are neither abusable substances or obscenity (except for porn games, which existing statutes tend to cover quite nicely.) And I imagine according to the letter of the law a parent giving a drink to his/her child is 'contributing to the delinquency of a minor' or something to that effect. But if the parent is responsible then no harm is done, and I think the police have better things to do than bust into our homes at dinnertime to make sure the kids aren't drinking. It's a crime, but no one really cares. Unless the kid, while drinking with the parent manages to get very drunk (because the parents are irresponsible) and commit some other crime - then an inquiry into where the alcohol came from would turn up the parents and they'd likely be charged with something.

@Benji

Bravo! Well said ^_^

@Benji

Couldn't have said it better myself. I am the type of person to get along with everyone and accept people for who they are not what they believe.

This law is completely bogus and I think like I said before it is another way to get voters to so "Oh look at him, he cares about the children and wants to protect them." You know alot we be easliy swayed because he wants to fine parents too, that screams out to some folks... "Hey this guy is serious."

This is one reason I can't stand to turn on the news in the morning, all you see is ad campaigns vote for this, and next one is vote against it.... it's so annoying.

This law is unconstitutional for many reasons.

1. This law violates the 14th Amendment due process clause by using a private industries ratings system as a form of government restriction. Not only that but thislaw singles out video games for regulation and not other forms of free speech such as movies, music, books, magazines, theater plays, ect.

2. This law violates the First Amendment of the Constitution by restricting minors access to free speech material that does not fall under the legally constitutional defintion of obscenity for minors, and is therefore protected speech for minors. Also the law does not have a legitimate proscription as there is no proof beyond some extremely weak, inconstistant, incredibly flawed and biased studies linking violent video games and other violent media to increased violent or aggressive behavior in kids.

3. The law goes against parental rights as it would bar parents from allowing their kids access to games they find appropriate for their children.

Fenty might as well make his campaign "I'll pass unconstitutional laws that will waste loads of taxpayers money and won't solve any problems with youth violence." Because that's what this law is.

"And I think games do cause violence in children. I’ve seen my friends kid act out after playing a fighting game and start a fight and hurt somebody, with the same moves he saw."

There is a big difference between real life aggression and violence with intent to harm and aggressive and violent play.
Many kids after watching a wrestling match or an ultra-violent R-rated schwarzanegger movie will wrestle one another and pretend to shoot one another with their fingers or toy guns, BUT, they don't intent to actually hurt or harm one another. It just play and it's perfectly natural.
Of course some kids do get carried away with aggressive/violent play and do hurt one another but they don't really intent to. Accidents can happen and the kids are usually very appolegetic if they do hurt someone while playing aggressively.
Of course there are also kids who are violent and aggressive to being with and playing a violent game may set them off, BUT if the game wasn't there it would just be something else that would set them off instead.

@Bigman-K

I'd forgotten about # 3. What about rental places that allow parents to set what ratings their kids are allowed to rent? This would override that...
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

There is a big difference between real life aggression and violence with intent to harm and aggressive and violent play.
Many kids after watching a wrestling match or an ultra-violent R-rated schwarzanegger movie will wrestle one another and pretend to shoot one another with their fingers or toy guns, BUT, they don’t intent to actually hurt or harm one another. It just play and it’s perfectly natural.
Of course some kids do get carried away with aggressive/violent play and do hurt one another but they don’t really intent to. Accidents can happen and the kids are usually very appolegetic if they do hurt someone while playing aggressively.
Of course there are also kids who are violent and aggressive to being with and playing a violent game may set them off, BUT if the game wasn’t there it would just be something else that would set them off instead.


Intent to hurt doesn't matter that much. Many people are hurt when there was no intention.

As for the game. Yes if the game wasn't there something else could serve as the catalyst. However that doesn't mean much. If a child wanted to hurt somebody and didn't have a gun he could use a bat. Obviously one is much worse, and in America children handle both guns and bats safely all the time, it's rare that something goes wrong.

The thing about games is since they are interactive they hold more influence then a book or a movie. Now maybe something else would set them off, but it might not be as bad.

Again I'm for violent games even though they are bad for minors. As long as companies make money, and I stay enterained it's not my problem.

this is gonna fail so bad,games arent like alcohol or tobacco,how pathetic can the government get?
 
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