"Video Game Decency Act" Introduced in Congress

March 20, 2007 -
A Michigan congressman has proposed federal legislation which would make it illegal for game developers to hide content in the hope of gaining a less restrictive ESRB rating.

Rep. Fred Upton (R) filed the Video Game Decency Act of 2007 late last week. The bill, H.R. 1531, mirrors a 2006 proposal by Upton which expired with the end of the 109th Congress.

Upton was a major critic of the now-infamous Hot Coffee scandal, and it shows in the language of H.R. 1531, which reads in part:
It shall be unlawful... to... distribute... any video game that contains a rating label... for that video game where the person, with  the intent of obtaining a less restrictive age-based content rating, failed to disclose content of the video game that was required to be disclosed to the independent ratings organization...

Violations would constitute an unfair or deceptive practice under guidelines of the Federal Trade Commission. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, of which Upton is a member.

When he introduced the original bill in 2006, Upton said it was designed to give the FTC more enforcement power over video game content in the wake of Hot Coffee:
I guess I thought the FTC would have had some more teeth than they apparently have… I’m not at all happy… In essence there are no consequences. None… I would like to have thought that (Take-Two and Rockstar) would have been able to be fined for millions of dollars for the trash they put out across this country.

I am going to be looking to write legislation giving the FTC the authority to impose civil penalties. 

Comments

@Jabrwock:

Have you watched the Apocolypto(sic?) trailer? Granted, the bit slipped wouldn't be considered offensive, but it's there. All media must be given the same restrictions or none.

@illspirit:

It doesn't give that capability? SA had "Strong Sexual Content" descriptor applied to it already, and the acts in Hot Coffee were no worse than many R rated movies.

What annoys me most about these kind of reactions to "hot coffee" is that they act like they snuck a hardcore porn scene into a Mickey Mouse game rated E. I would totally understand everyones outcry over something like that, it makes sense. But thats not what happened. It was dormant code on an M rated game. M. Mature. I.E. not for kids. I still don't understand why politicians are making such a big deal out of this. (besides maybe to gain support for their political goals by waging war on things people are irrationally afraid of.) I'm rambling.

It looks Constitutional to me. Nowhere in the bill does it say developers have to get a rating or that retailers have to enforce the rating. Nor does it say what type of content is regulated, thus, it's not giving the ESRB extra-judicial/legislative power over speech.

If (and that's a big if) the feds can actually prove a developer hid something with the *intent* of scamming the ESRB into a lower rating, it's really no different than any other scam or false advertising. Technically, this is already illegal, it's just that the FTC found no intent to deceive with Hot Coffee.

As such, this bill really does nothing in that regard. In that it's nearly impossible to prove intent. And should intent be proven, it would have already been actionable on grounds of false advertising and/or contract law anyway.

On a side note, Section 5 essentially provides Federal preemption over any and all State or local anti-game laws! By superseding any other law "that regulates the rating of video game content, or regulates the sale, rental, or display of a video game on the basis of the video game’s constitutionally protected content," it would nullify/prevent any State/local laws therein.

The Federalist and Libertarian in me doesn't really like the Feds intruding on, well, anything. But then, this is actually interstate commerce, and it would protect gamers and developers from ban-happy State/local legislators, so perhaps it's a good thing...

@illspirit

Would it be Trademark infringment? In that exmple, the director is releasing the same movie, just with one added scene. He still owns the rights to use the ratings label on the film in question. If there was somekind of law binding contract agreement to keep him from modifying the film, then they could hold the film based on breaking contract, and then maybe trademark infringment. but i don't know for sure how these things work. The thing is, even in your explaination the film would still be seen with undisclosed content before it's stopped fully and the point of the law is to prevent such things. (hell, if the MPAA really wanted to, they could let the new thing just slide by, afterall, they aren't LEGALLY bound to do anything about it). Essentially what you said the MPAA would do is similar to what the ESRB would do in a similar situation, the moment they found out about the content they would have the game pulled from the selves and re-rated... just as you said the MPAA would do something about the film, the ESRB aswell would do something about the game. it's all similar. It's like what they ended up doing with Oblivion.

And from the article, the law isn't only about "hidden" content, it's about undisclosed content. For instance, IF R* did put the hotcoffee in the main game, but did not tell the ESRB about hotcoffee when they asked for a rating on the game, then GTA would STILL be in violation of this law... it doesn't matter that it was hidden, just that the ESRB didn't know about it. Oblivion aswell, would have gotten fined for having more blood than the ESRB knew about (or so they), and like in that previous example, the blood wasn't "hidden", it was just undisclosed

So, i think the game industry could argue that if the Game industry must be legally bound, then the movie industry should be too. I'm not so sure that being better in there ability to catch such errors is enough grounds for the difference in treatment of the two mediums... You would have a point if the law was ONLY about hidden content like hotcoffee, since that kind of stuff is something only video games can do, but from my understanding it isn't about hidden content, but about disclosing all information (stuff that can change the rating) to the ESRB.

@Monte-

If a director were to pull a fast one and release a different film than what they showed the MPAA, two things would happen: A- The MPAA would sue for trademark infringement and get an injnuction blocking further performance of the film, and B- The MPAA would likely file its own complaint with the FTC for deceptively marketing said film as being approved by the MPAA.

Either way, this still wouldn't be hidden content, per se, as it would be a blatant and immediately obvious misrepresentation. From a gaming perspective, this would be more like if R* had inserted Hot Coffee right in the open during the main story missions after the rating, rather than allegedly "hiding" it.

@~the1jeffy

As DietDan said, this wouldn't put the ESRB or the industry directly under the purview of the FTC. Enforcement (and for that matter, investigation) would only come as a result of complaints filed with the FTC from either the public or Congress. Similar to what happened with Coffeegate. Otherwise, the bill would require language granting such powers to the FTC. Which would then violate the 10th.

You are correct that there is some risk of incremental usurpation via bureaucratic fiat, just as there is with any other agency (FDA and BATFE are grim examples). However, given that there is no language in the bill authorizing the FTC to create their own extra-legislative regulations, rules, or procedures, the risk therein is minimized.

But even then, such a minor risk is probably outweighed by Section 5's Federal preemption over State and local game bans. Should the FTC become unruly at some point in the future, this could be fixed by repairing or repealing the bill. Granted, I would be much happier if the Federal .gov weren't involved at all, and instead shrunk back down to its original Constitutional size. But until that happens, we have to play by the rules of their omnipresent use of the Interstate Commerce clause.

@Hackangel

wait a sec, you hit up on something i didn't know about. If the a movie decieves the the MPAA, do they pay fines to the FTC or the MPAA? cause the way i thought it was going was that the MPAA would be the ones punishign the movie producers if they tried to pull something, not the FTC. If it is the case that the FTC is the ones handing out fines and not the MPAA, then my arguement seems rather moot, since that would mean that something like this law in question ALREADY exists for the movie idustry, and thus the law IS treating games fairly by subjecting them to the same treatment as movies, with the threat of legal FTC fines as opposed to just ESRB fines. Afterall, treating things fairly goes both ways... this would bascially mean that this situation is no different from those "no explicit games" laws.

@Monte

I think you misread something or read something wrong somewhere. The game industry would remain "voluntary". Just like the movie industry is. This law would not make it an obligation to submist yourself to the ERSB for ratings. Videogame companies do it because the majority of stores if not all of them will refuse to carry an unrated game just like most movie theaters will not play an unrated movie.

As for fines, the videogames company wont pay fines "no matter what". They will pay fines if the FTC find that they purposefully deceive the ERSB. Just like the moive companies pay fine if the FTC finds that they purposefully deceive the MPAA (which almost never happens).

The goal of the law is to make sure that videogames companies mention all content in their games. Including the content to which the access was removed but that is still in the game, like Hot Coffee.

Movies are different in that manner because you can't have content hidden that way.

@DietDan

y'know looking at that scenerio of yours actually brings up a different problem. Your scenerio takes out the fact that the esrb would be quick to take the game off the store shelves... However, thinking of this way kinda helps illustrate what i've been saying, that the game industry could argue that this law should apply to other forms of media aswell, such as movies. Take your scenerio and replace the terms, Games with movies, M with R, AO with NC-17, and ESRB with MPAA, and scenerios match up pretty much the same. By somehow deseving the MPAA, company A could have a trade advantage over company B with its movie. Bascially, it shows how the games are being singled out. Has improbable as it is, movies in theory could do almost the same thing... the MPAA is stricter and harder to get around, but i would not say it's impossible.

Movies get to maintain their voluntary system with self enforced fines and punishment, while Games are placed under a completly legally binding system with legally enforced fines. As it stands, IF a slip up like that did occur with a movie, the MPAA COULD just choose to make no fines and just leave a warning, where as the game company would be forced to pay fines no matter the cicumstances. That just doesn't sound like equal protection between the two mediums... the question is, why is the movie industry allowed to stay voluntary and not the game industry?

[...] GamePolitics reports on yet another attempt by lawmakers to make the world safe from the dangers of electronic entertainment. Entered by Representative Fred Upton, the bill spells out penalties for game companies that try to ’sneak’ something past ESRB raters. Says Upton, “I guess I thought the FTC would have had some more teeth than they apparently have… I’m not at all happy… In essence there are no consequences. None… I would like to have thought that (Take-Two and Rockstar) would have been able to be fined for millions of dollars for the trash they put out across this country. I am going to be looking to write legislation giving the FTC the authority to impose civil penalties.” [...]

“He is talking about content, not deceptive omissions from a ratings board. His motives in authoring this bill are clear.”
Not going argue with you there but legal and political are different things. I’m looking at the legal I agree with you on this politically.

“Three, the law is enforced, and video game producers must purposely ‘tone-down’ games in order to avoid any misscommunication to the ratings board (FTC in absentia). A simple misscommunication is no longer a private ageement between the ESRB (which can fine game makers or refuse ratings itself) - it’s now a felony? I can only hope not.”

Unlikely this is like saying that having slander and labial law will silence free speech, which they would were it not for the problem of proving intent. Proving intent is near imposable so this isn’t much of a concern. A miscommunication would not be punished since no intent to device is present.

“but the *next* legally logical step is to ensure that deception can’t happen. At the very least, the ESRB will be required to report any infractions to stop itself from being liable - giving the ESRB *one step away* from Judicial authority on one hand, or giving the FTC ESRB-oversight duties.”
Your own words give away the flaw in your argument is based on what might happen next those are not going to be on trial, it is a thin line but it is there none the less and having to report something is hardily legislative power really it is kind of the opposite.

“As I see it, the only way to avoid 14th due process concerns is to have the FTC oversight. If you can come up with another way this will be enforceable, I am willing to conede the point.”
This will be done exactly the same way the investigation that TT already went under was conducted. Someone -could be any one Jack Thompson, the ESRB, your mother, a disgruntled take two employee, the PTC- files a compliant. The FTC then decided if they are going to investigate, if the they do investigate the ESRB will be asked to hand over the information given to them (NOT to determine if any wrong doing occurred) the video game company will hand over all the information they have, the FTC determines if the company intentionally withheld information it KNEW was relevant with the deliberate INTENT of getting a lower rating. No FTC oversight of the ESRB required I don’t know how you’re getting the idea that would be necessary.

Your looking at this from the wrong angle let look at it this way. On paper alone this is what the law would be designed to do: AO and unrated games are not sold in most stores lets say a publisher (Party A) knows a game will be rated AO as is and then decided “Let’s just lie to the ESRB” so the game goes out with a M rating. Now let say another company (party B) was in the same positions but let the game go out with an AO ratings. To illustrate the point let ignore that the ESRB would quickly have company A’s game off the self. In this scenario companies A game would be selling in all stores while company B will be in very few stories and even in those stores that carry both companies B’s game will not be bought by some due to it rating. By lying to the ESRB company A has secured it self an unfair trade advantage this, not that they disobeyed industry regulations in it of themselves, is what is being punished. Even if you reinsert that the ESRB’s ability to rerate the game the illegal act in question “unfair trade practices” still occurred. Now let say an employee from company A leaves the company with a memo proving that company A intentionally lied to the ESRB and then gave it to company B, company B can then bring it to FTC and the FTC can then under this law (without necessary having to even call the ESRB since they already have enough evidence.) punish company B for deceptive trade practices.

Now my above scenario –as admittedly improbable as it may be- is an illustration of what a law like this on paper is supposed to prevent. How is this a violation of the 14th.

it's the same as net neutrality, people who have no idea what they're talking about are trying make laws hoping the general public is as ignorant as they are on the subject.

I call it moralist because the bill's author has gone on record with, "I would like to have thought that (Take-Two and Rockstar) would have been able to be fined for millions of dollars for the trash they put out across this country."

He is talking about content, not deceptive omissions from a ratings board. His motives in authoring this bill are clear.

On paper, this bill only gives the FTC powers it already had, then? Then why write it? The FTC already can cover deception, from what I understand. This whole bill speaks to singling out video games as today's demon - where's the truth in movie ratings act, or the truth in media ratings act? Why is it necessary to pass this law when the FTC can already go after a video game maker for hiding content from consumers by way of hiding it from the ESRB? The only answers I can up with are that Upton has no clue what he is doing by writing a redundant bill, or he is end-arounding free-speech with intent on allowing more FTC-oversight of the ESRB.

You say that this law doesn't give legal weight to the ESRB. I disagree. With this bill passed, it becomes the responsibilty of the FTC to ensure not only that deception is fined/punished, but the next legally logical step is to ensure that deception can't happen. At the very least, the ESRB will be required to report any infractions to stop itself from being liable - giving the ESRB one step away from Judicial authority on one hand, or giving the FTC ESRB-oversight duties. As I see it, the only way to avoid 14th due process concerns is to have the FTC oversight. If you can come up with another way this will be enforceable, I am willing to conede the point. Being not Constitutionally enforceable, secondarily redundant, and tertiarily a potential free-speech chilling effect makes me believe this will not stand in court.

What bother me most, is that this is a perfect example of the ridiculous bureaucracy we call a government. Upton wants to go after TTWO for putting 'trash' into millions of homes. His legal team finds the only semi-Constitutional way to do it, and writes a bill for him. He presents the bill to Congress, and because of its political baggage from the moralist/soccer mom/won't somebody think of the children camp, it steamrolls into law. Every result to this is an affront to the citizens of the US.

-One, the bill is passed and never enforced. This is not likely given the hot-button issue it is. Unfortunately this is the best we can hope for even though the Libertarian in me wants to gag.

-Two, the bills is held up in a string of lawsuits and appeals, wasting taxmoney and in the end is upheld/blocked. If it's upheld, see #3 and my above concerns. If not, then great, but still a giant waste of time on a non-issue that has little effect on real problems. We are talking about entertainment that no one is forced to buy, which is silly that it even comes into our Government.

-Three, the law is enforced, and video game producers must purposely 'tone-down' games in order to avoid any misscommunication to the ratings board (FTC in absentia). A simple misscommunication is no longer a private ageement between the ESRB (which can fine game makers or refuse ratings itself) - it's now a felony? I can only hope not.

It's out-and-out ridiculous for politicians to be wasting their time on a free-choice entertainment media, let alone 32.3% of such a media. (AO, M, and T games, or 8% if you discount T, which in all honesty is fair because the issue is more about the M/AO line because anything sexual lies there, and to be honest this is not about violence) It's not even a issue per-se, it's 1/3 of a issue or 2/25 of an issue. In all reality this is beneath needing notice.

hasnt this guy rambled on before with the same lines over and over again?

oh well it will be intresting to see where this goes

oh and im back for definitly now my libary stuff is paid off so duffy is back to posting

@Illspirit

Yes the MPAA has guidelines... HOWEVER, these guidelines have no force of law behind them, they are a completly voluntary system set up by the movie industry. The Esrb in a similar fashion already ask the game developers to disclose the most extreme content when they ask for a rating from the ESRB. Just because one VOLUNTARY system works better than another system an has less room for error, i do not think would be enough to avoid equal protection. I don't think the reasoning of "we can TRUST the movie industry more" is just reasoning.

The thing is, the MPAA isn't going to know the director released an unrated version of the film until after it screen's for the first time/starts getting distributed. Fact is, if the director decided to go over the head of the MPAA and released a version of the movie with the older rating, the MPAA might punish them in some way, but there will be no LEGAL reprecussions, such as fines by the FTC. If i recall, this is how it currently is with ESRB, if a game company were to decieve the esrb, the esrb has power to punish them with voluntarily enforced fines...

By all means, i think though it may be a system with fewer areas of error, if the if a law comes in stating that the game industry MUST disclose all vital content to their ratings system, the the movie industry as well MUST disclose all their information to their rating system... Fact is, with this law, one form of media is LEGALLY bound to obey the rules of it's ratings system, while all others get to stay VOLUNTARY

“So 3 people thinking it was Brownback’s bill makes out side hard to take seriously? I think you should be more annoyed that some of us didn’t even read the bill before we questioned it.”

True but they are pretty close to each other in my mind, people thought this was a different bill because they didn’t bother to click the link and actually read it or the link form the pervious sessions which make it clear this isn't and was never the same bill. But my general annoyance is more at the overall attitude of many of the people here mainly: that any law is about video games is automatically unconstitutional, any negative comment about game makes one an out of touch anti-gamer and the rather hypocritical attitude of some. Let me put it this way when politicians confused the super columbine RPG with Bully many immediately jumped down their thought for it. How can we expect politicians to tell apart two games, if we ourselves can’t tell two different bills apart from one another? How can we expect them to do research on to this, instead of going by their assumption that all games are pong, when we can’t be bothered to click on a link and double check our own assumptions?
This is just a small example of the attutide some on our side display.

And, as I stated, I support the law as it stands. Yes, I got confused between which bill was which, my mistake.

There you go, I've already gone further than any of the politicians have, simply by admitting I misread something. If it's perfection you seek, then you won't find it here, if it's the ability to turn around and be strong enough to admit you jumped to a conclusion, you won't find it there.

So 3 people thinking it was Brownback's bill makes out side hard to take seriously? I think you should be more annoyed that some of us didn't even read the bill before we questioned it.

@Brainswarm, Yuli and everyone else in this thread.

“Actually, they took out the requirement that they play all the content in a game. Apparently, someone pointed out to the congressman that some games were in fact so long as to make that portion of the law impossible to follow, and therefore the industry could have the entire law dismissed on those grounds.”

Once again I find it difficult to take our own side seriously when we act as ignorantly as the politicians we criticize; they did take that out because it was never in the bill in the first place. A lot of your are confusing this Bill, proposed by Michigan Rep. Fred Upton (R), with this one http://gamepolitics.com/2007/02/14/presidential-candidate-brownback-revi... The Truth in Ratings Act proposed by Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) this is the bill that would require playing the game all the way thought, give government power etc.

Honestly the only thing these bill have in common is they are proposed by white republicans, yet a whole lot of you immediately assumed they were they same. For the last time the ESRB is not effect at all by this law, the ESRB it rating it process everything is untouched by this law, the only people effected by this law are game publishers who submit games to be reviewed by the ESRB and then intentionally lie in order to gain an unfair market advantage, something that we could prosecute them for with out this law. Making this law at best a clarification of the law and at worst a needless redundancy.

I'm still not happy that he's concerned with this in spite of the very serious problem Michigan is in. We have more important matters that NEED to be fixed.

We have some of the worst unemployment in the country here in Michigan, and our elected officials are worried about polygon boobies. My family is considering a move to Chicago, people are fleeing the state in record numbers, and they waste time on this crap.

@Ace of Sevens:

Did you even go to my link? Stuff is hidden in plain sight all the time.

@sqlrob

Only if you have a vivid imagination. That could easily say SFX, SEU, CFY... It's only when you are TOLD what it says that you see the word they want you to see.

Humans are great at seeing hidden patterns, but also at IMAGINING patterns that aren't really there...
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

@sqlrob

Movies are rated by watching the whole thing. You really can't hide content in them. This wouldn't make any sense to apply to movies.

I don't think this is unconstitutional, although I'm pretty sure it has no actual effect as this would already fall under the FTC's purview, which is why Take 2 got fined before. The fine just wasn't as big as he'd like, but I think that has more to do with him not understanding the background of the issue than the FTC not having enough authority.

I agree with DietDan, while this proposal has practical flaws, game retailers and publishers shouldn't lie to ESRB. If they treated ESRB as an ally instead of just another obstacle on their way to sales as high as possible, gaming industry would be treated more positively in eyes of parents and delusional politicians and attorneys would have much harder time convincing those parents that video games are "evil".

it is still unconstitutional as it is giving the esrbs labels the power of law behind them.

This wouldn't work, because they'd only be able to penalize companies that the ESRB said had hidden content. The ESRB would be the only one who knew what had been disclosed and what hadn't, which means that ultimitely it would be a private organization deciding who the law applies to and who it doesn't.
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

Take-Two already lost millions taking the game off the shelves and restocking it with a different label. Isn't that enough for him?

@DietDan: "People need to claim down a bit this bill is actually on a quick read constitutional. The first and fourteenth amendments don’t come in too play here because unlike other laws this dose not impose any content based restrictions, compelled speech, or is it likely to lead to any form of chilling effect."

Then why doesn't it apply to movies as well? Equal protection means *ALL* media

Just give him a copy of Pong and shove him in a closet. We won't see him for awhile.

"Boop boop boop beep boop"

"I would like to have thought that (Take-Two and Rockstar) would have been able to be fined for millions of dollars for the trash they put out across this country."

WTF!?

I guess this particular Representative wants to be in the waste disposal business.

Idiocy.

@DietDan

You are right. This does not involve regulating the sale of video games. But it does try to step on the toes of developers by forcing them to obey regulations that they are voluntarily following at the moment. IT will have no effect but to set the stage for future legislation to have a government controled ratings board, which the game industry will not go for.

These politicians don't understand that the video game industry is an effective self regulating industry. They have their own policies in place that work to prevent things like Hot Coffee from happening. Its only down fall is that it expects the developer to fully disclose all the content. With the exception of Hot Coffee, there has never been a problem with developers withholding content. And since Hot Coffee, we will probably never see it again as no developer wants to go through all that crap.

Since this bill is written for and because of Hot Coffee, it won't pass. There is not enough of a problem with developers withholding content to warrant this type of legislation. Maybe T2 should add Fred Upton to the harrasment suit along with JT.

People need to claim down a bit this bill is actually on a quick read constitutional. The first and fourteenth amendments don't come in too play here because unlike other laws this dose not impose any content based restrictions, compelled speech, or is it likely to lead to any form of chilling effect.

All this bill says is you can not lie to the ESRB. This bill is all about trade practice, this doesn’t raise any constitutional issues. The name "decency act" is an intentional misnomer a better name would be “Full disclosure in ratings act” but that name wouldn’t get the soccer mom vote.
On a practical level the law is useless:
1) Proving intent would be imposable.
2) The ESRB already has contractual power stopping publishers from doing this.

But really now people jumping on any bill that has the word game in it and shooting the chant "first amendment" without having any idea what it is makes our side look like a bunch of whining spoiled brats who are complaining that they can’t buy the latest GTA game.

To reiterate from a legal perspective this law can not be consider anti-game (politically it’s a different story) games themselves and who they can be sold to are unaffected. All it dose is mandate full disclosure of information between two parties during certain business related transactions.

@Thefremen:

Good one, heh.

@ vellocet

Not quite, a EULA is not a contract one can go to jail for. Its there to ensure the most out of your experience. In a sense a guarantee that the game will work and run properly IF you follow the EULA. If you do not TT and R* has no obligation to help you if anything bugs out about the game after modification. If they did have to help their customer service would run the companies dry due to everyone wanting a new title since they got a busted copy thats unstable after they introduced some script into it to see boobies.

@vellocet

thats exactly what i was thinking.

@ konrad_arflane

You're right, scratch my 2nd point from the above post. The other two points still stand, and are pretty damning ;)

@ vellocet

EULA is not LAW. In breaking a EULA, unless the act of breaking the EULA is in some other way criminal (illegally sharing music, etc.), you are only subject to being rejected from using the software in question. The other terms in the EULA protect the software company from being legally liable for its customers' misuse.

Also, pre-Hot Coffee, GTA was mod friendly. Post-Hot Coffee, they changed the EULA. So, to answer your question in two ways, no.

I wonder if anyone can answer this for me... I never really found out when the whole Hot Coffee thing was happening in the first place.

Isn't the use of the Hot Coffee mod a violation of EULA (End User Licensing Agreement)? In which case anybody accessing the Hot Coffee content would in fact be breaking the law? So in effect, by trying to pass laws like this, aren't they encouraging people to break the law?

@E.Zachary Knight

you are correct, however so much of our government is based on a two party
system, that it is essentially what we are stuck with.

@ the issue
Just wait until we are old enough to clear this crap out of congress. *grumbke silly age requirements and wealth needed grumble*

Was I the only one who read the title first and thought it was going to be like "Comics Code Authority " which regulated content in comic books to make them more kid friendly?

@thefremen
We do not have a two party system. That is what the Dems and Reps want you to believe. You can be a member of any party you want whether it is "nationally recognized" or not. You can vote for a member of any party you want. It is just that since the house, senate and electorial college are all Dem and Rep controled, there won't be a third party introduced to the governement for a while.

Wouldn't this already be illegal and he's just unhappy the FTC didn't impose as biig a penalty as he'd have like because they understood the situation?

The two party system sucks, we either get fascism or communism.

Thefremen
I could not have said it better myself...no really :P

i dont get this crap man. wasnt the hot coffee mod only accessible through a hack or something? and the only way people even knew about it was from talk over the internet. i dont see why and how they changed the rating for this if it wasnt really put in the game the typical sense. i dont see many "children" getting this mod to work, let alone finding it themselves. just because it was still there doesnt mean they left it there intentionally with the goal of people getting access to it. people who played the game normally would have never come across the hot coffee mod themselve.

what would these people be saying if the mod actually WAS removed from the game? you see, modders could just make up their own little sex minigame if the mod was never created by the GTA developers, and put their own content into their game themselves. what would they be saying if that was the case? the esrb cannot rate the content held in user-made programs/mods. someone with good modding skills could put some sex mini game into just about any game they can get their hands on.

@the1jeffy:

I think you're mixing up the FTC and the FCC. The FCC regulates the airwaves. The FTC punishes "unfair and deceptive trade practices".

If it weren't next to impossible to prove intent, I wouldn't mind legislation to make it illegal to deliberately mislead the ESRB. I don't see how the ability of game publishers to hide content from the ESRB helps anyone. On the other hand, there really is very little incentive for a publisher to do this - once the game is out, any content they may have hidden from the ESRB is out in plain sight for everyone to see (if it's actual game content, and not unused code like Hot Coffee), and the ESRB can rerate the game as necessary. So it's a rather unnecessary piece of legislation.

Jon Stewart is right. This guy is an out of touch jackass.

@ E. Zachary Knight

The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees due process and equal protection under the law.

This bill(just like all the other legislation that failed) violates the video game industry's due process and equal protection since they're the only entertainment medium that's targeted in these bills.

Once again they fail to understand what they are doing,they can not go after games alone,they would have to change the whole structure of over the counter media is sold and "restricted"............

*gives Upton the finger*

We're severely in debt due to former governor Engler, and this is the best you can think of?

Great, just as I was thinking we'd seen our last anti game bill in my state, Upton drafts another, giving people like Jack Thompson another reason to contaminate our air soil and water
 
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Matthew Wilsonthe lose of nn would not be good for us, but it will not be good for verizion/comcast/att in the long run ether.04/24/2014 - 2:16pm
Matthew Wilsonsadly yes. it would take another sopa day to achieve it.04/24/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoI am also confused. Are you saying NN would only become law if Google/Netflix pushed the issue (against their own interests)?04/24/2014 - 2:10pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, you are saying a lot of things but I am still unclear on your point. Are you saying that the loss of Net Neutrality will be good in the long run?04/24/2014 - 2:06pm
Matthew WilsonOfcourse it does I never said it did not.though over time the death of NN will make backbone providers like Google, level3 and others stronger becouse most isps including the big ones can not provid internet without them. they can peer with smaller isps04/24/2014 - 1:54pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, and that still plays in Google's favor over their smaller rivals who don't have the muscle to stand up to ISPs.04/24/2014 - 1:45pm
Matthew Wilsongoogle wont pay becouse they control a large part of the backbone that all isps depend on. if verizon blocks their data, google does the same. the effect is Verizon loses access to 40% of the internet, and can not serve some areas at all.04/24/2014 - 1:14pm
Neenekolack of NN is in google and netflix interest. It is another tool for squeezing out smaller companies since they can afford to 'play'04/24/2014 - 12:57pm
Matthew WilsonI have said it before net nutrality will not be made in to law until Google or Netflix is blocked, or they do what they did for sopa and pull their sites down in protest.04/23/2014 - 8:02pm
Andrew EisenGee, I guess putting a former cable industry lobbyist as the Chairman of the FCC wasn't that great of an idea. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/24/technology/fcc-new-net-neutrality-rules.html?_r=204/23/2014 - 7:26pm
Andrew EisenIanC - I assume what he's getting at is the fact that once PS3/360 development ceases, there will be no more "For Everything But Wii U" games.04/23/2014 - 5:49pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - Yes, obviously developers will eventually move on from the PS3 and 360 but the phrase will continue to mean exactly what it means.04/23/2014 - 5:45pm
IanCAnd how does that equal his annoying phrase being meaningless?04/23/2014 - 5:09pm
Matthew Wilson@Andrew Eisen the phrase everything but wiiu will be meaningless afer this year becouse devs will drop 360/ps3 support.04/23/2014 - 4:43pm
Andrew EisenFor Everything But... 360? Huh, not many games can claim that title. Only three others that I know of.04/23/2014 - 3:45pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/23/another-world-rated-for-current-consoles-handhelds-in-germany/ Another World fulfills legal obligations of being on every gaming system under the sun.04/23/2014 - 12:34pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/04/steam-gauge-do-strong-reviews-lead-to-stronger-sales-on-steam/?comments=1 Here is another data driven article using sales data from steam to figure out if reviews effect sales. It is stats heavy like the last one.04/23/2014 - 11:33am
Andrew EisenI love RPGs but I didn't much care for Tales of Symphonia. I didn't bother with its sequel.04/23/2014 - 11:21am
InfophileIt had great RPGs because MS wanted to use them to break into Japan. (Which had the side-effect of screwing NA PS3 owners out of Tales of Vesperia. No, I'm not bitter, why do you ask?)04/23/2014 - 10:52am
RedMageI'm still disappointed the 360 never broke into Japan either. It had a bevy of great RPGs in the late 2000s.04/23/2014 - 9:48am
 

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