Yee Critical of CA Video Game Law Defeat; Urges Appeal

August 6, 2007 -
"Shocked."

That was the reaction of California State Senator Leland Yee (D, left) to word that a federal judge had ruled the 2005 video game law he sponsored unconstitutional. Said Yee via press release:
I am shocked that the Court struck down this common-sense law. AB 1179 worked to empower parents by giving them the ultimate decision over whether or not their children should be playing in a world of violence and murder.

As written, AB1179 would have blocked the sale of ultraviolent games to those under 18. Offending retailers could have been fined up to $1,000. Said Yee:
The $31 billion video game industry has fought any attempt at regulation every step of the way. They fought efforts to publicize their rating system because they thought it would impact sales, and now they’re again putting their profit margins over the rights of parents and the well-being of children.
 
The deliberations in this case took over a year, which shows that the ever-growing body of evidence that violent video games are harmful to children is getting harder and harder to ignore. The medical data clearly indicates that these ultra-violent video games have harmful effects on kids, and thus we have a state interest to protect them.
 
We simply cannot trust the industry to regulate itself. I strongly urge the Governor and the Attorney General to appeal this decision to a higher court and to the Supreme Court if necessary until our children are protected from excessively violent video games.

Comments

"AB 1179 worked to empower parents by giving them the ultimate decision over whether or not their children should be playing in a world of violence and murder."

Since when have parents not have the ultimate decision over whether or not their children should be playing violent games. Yee bills this as a common sense law, but anyone with a shred of common sense will know this law is completely unnecessary.

yesssss lee you must take this flop-law to the supreme court that way all this sillyness can stop and anti-game law will instead of running afoul of a mountan of evedence it will run into a wall of blades spinning at hyper-sonic speeds turning laws of that flavor into confetty

coravin

Parenting classes? I hope you aren't serious, that would be even worse than game legislation.

@ Father Time

Most of the kids so enamored of the M rating don't wait for the price drop. They beg and wheedle, and either their parents give them the $50-$60 to get that brand new game or, far more common, a parent or grandparent or other relative gets the game for them.

When GTA: San Andreas first came out, just because I was in the videogame section and the age they thought gamers were, several parents and grandparents asked me about it and other games. Even after I told her exactly what kinds of things were definitely in the game, and then the kind of things people can do in the game just to amuse themselves, one woman said that her seven-year-old grandson wanted San Andreas, so she was getting it for him.

A parent actually said they had bought all the GTA's for their kids, four through eight, and the kids played them all the time, but they hadn't known this kind of stuff was in the games. I actually asked how, and he said he just didn't look at the game at all (cover or when kids were playing). That's the biggest problem, and until we make it mandatory for parents to take parenting classes (which is unlikely), no legislation is going to help.

It's about time to introduce parenting legislation.

I am shocked that the Court struck down this common-sense law.


And I am shocked that you are shocked. FIRST AMENDMENT PROTECTS GAMES. (repeat about 300 times)

He would not have been shocked had he actually read the text of the Bill of Rights.

"We simply cannot trust the industry to regulate itself."

and it looks like you can't trust parents to regulate their children either.

@Twin-Skies

It doesn't appear to be a shot at martial arts. Rather, it just exposes the hypocrisy in Yee. It would be no different if the article talked about youth football, wrestling, etc.

@Father Time

True, we're generally thinking in terms of your average newly released games. Still all that means is that for some stuff a kid wouldn't have to save up as much. The rest of the obstacles still apply.

You have to understand, Yee's idea of parenting is, "Let's be best buddies." You can't say, "No," to your buddy!

I've said it before, and I'll probably say it again: These laws do absolutely nothing to help parents, they only let bad parents continue to be lazy.

How much money do you think this will end up costing California?

Oh and yes... please do appeal to the Supreme Court, the only way that it is legal for the government to restrict speech in any way is if it can be deemed obscene. There are very specific tests for obscenity of which violent games pass even under the strictest scrutiny.

The only argument is that because video games are interactive, they are somehow MORE obscene. This will fail because none of the criteria by which something is deemed obscene by the Supreme Court involves its LEVEL of interactivity.

I implore you, appeal to the Supreme Court.

Yee comes across as an idiot with these statements.

Shocked? Every other bill like this has been shot down. What made his so special that it would stay afloat?

Also, it should be noted that parents have the power to say NO to their kids and not buy them violent video games.

I remember when GTA:SA had just been released. My parents WOULDN'T buy it or let me or my brothers buy it. I didn't think too much of it and instead I bought a 12 Month XBL. Just this year I played through the game last month to be specific. (good times by the way) On to the point.

My parents had no power? No. Apparently they were just more conscious of the things I was doing, watching etc. These laws are pointless. If a parent doesn't care what media their child consumes a law wont make them. The parents that do, will do the research and check ESRB ratings along with any other info on a game in question.

[...] State Senator Leland Yee (D), the who had sponsored the bill, was clearly opposed to the court’s decision: I am shocked that the Court struck down this common-sense law. AB 1179 worked to empower parents by giving them the ultimate decision over whether or not their children should be playing in a world of violence and murder. [...]

@gray and cyberskull

you both forget the idea of $20 greatest hit game, less then $10 last generation games (liek Ps1 games) and used games. (Just because the games are old doesn't mean they are any less violent). But just because a kid can sneak a game doesn't make it the industry's fault, nor is there any evidence to suggest that this is a serious problem.

'The deliberations in this case took over a year, which shows that the ever-growing body of evidence that violent video games are harmful to children is getting harder and harder to ignore."

You're ignoring the fact that during that year and half many other states have tried legislatives and they have failed in a matter of weeks (or months) and the judges have said the same thing they are saying now: the evidence is not good enough to prove that violent games causes harm

"The medical data clearly indicates that these ultra-violent video games have harmful effects on kids, and thus we have a state interest to protect them."

Excuse me but i thought the courts had the final say as to whether or not those studies are good enough, oh wait they do.

"We simply cannot trust the industry to regulate itself. I strongly urge the Governor and the Attorney General to appeal this decision to a higher court and to the Supreme Court if necessary until our children are protected from excessively violent video games."

Sure get a supreme court ruling, that way we can put this issue to rest once and for all. Anyway kids don't NEED to be protected from violent games, for one thing that actively seek out the violent games and will always do so. No matter what bill you present they will find ways around it (whether legal or not). Secondly, kids can handle the concept of reality, versus a virtual realm, and there is no way you can convince me that your average 13 year old is going to be truamatized by the violence in M games.

@ SounDemon

I cannot agree more with point no. 1

Regulation is a slippery-slope, fascist.

@CyberSkull

There's also this little thing call confiscating the game until they're older; in case the kid manages to clear the sales hurdle. Granted that's difficult to do, a kid would have had to amassed enough money from gifts and allowance, get themselves to the store, persuade the clerk to sell a game beyond their age rating to them, and keep their parents from discovering the game the first time they tried to play it. But it is possible.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, this is the fear of comics all over again. Werther (or whatever his name was), the guy who wrote "Seduction of the innocent" (pretty much claiming all comics were "crime" comics...not unlike how JT appears to claim most games are "murder/columbine simulators"), he also said that the comics code (an industry self-regulatory action) was insufficient and that he didn't have faith in it's ability to regulate itself.

I am willing to bet half the reason Yee is acting this way is just that, just an act (he might still believe it all the same though). He doesn't want to look like he is backing down in the eyes of his supporters, and he doesn't want to look like he knowingly made an unconstitutional desicion. Responsibility for negative news is poisonous in the eyes of politicos, or so it seems anyway.

There is already an effective barrier keeping kids from violent games: It's called $60.

I am shocked that the Court struck down this common-sense law.

Don't be. The First amendment states "Congress shall make no law..."

It's also not a common-sense law, since it fails to do the job it's alleged to do. The bill contains the infamous miller test requiring the game "to lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value", of which most 'M' rated games are likely to already contain.

The only games which could potentially be affected by this law are few and far between. Even Manhunt 2, now-rated 18+ (or refused classification), has enough plot to bypass this law. GTA series and Postal aren't even phased either, as they are artistic parodies. At best, they take out Nexuiz, which doesn't have a built-in plot - only to have it spring back as it's required for an artistic mod.

Yee:ZOmg! reality sucks I want the world my way!


oy vay......politicians...

I am shocked that the Court struck down this common-sense law.


Is "common-sense law" like newspeak for fascist or something? Laws are either constitutional or they're not. Full stop. It doesn't matter if it seems like "common-sense" when a law violates the Constitution. But if you pay attention whenever a politicians says something is a "common-sense" law, it will almost always be unconstitutional.

Why, it's almost as if they know this, but use "common-sense" for an adjective as if that somehow magically overrules the Constitution..

The deliberations in this case took over a year, which shows that the ever-growing body of evidence that violent video games are harmful to children is getting harder and harder to ignore. The medical data clearly indicates that these ultra-violent video games have harmful effects on kids, and thus we have a state interest to protect them.

No, it shows a growing body of bad research to wade through, and a judge that wanted to make an informed decision with all his bases covered.

[...] Ward Burton Contact the Webmaster Link to Article supreme court Yee Critical of CA Video Game Law Defeat; Urges Appeal » Posted at GamePolitics.com on Monday, August 06, 2007 Yee Critical of CA Video Game Law Defeat; Urges Appeal August 6th, 2007 “Shocked.” That was the reaction of California State Senator Leland Yee ( ... to a higher court and to the Supreme Court if necessary until our children are protected ... unconstitutional. Said Yee via press release: I am shocked that the Court struck down this common-sense law. View Original Article » [...]

Three things:

1. Anyone who uses the term "ultraviolent" without seeing A Clockwork Orange does NOT deserve to live.
2. Common sense is just truthiness repackaged.
3. Yee is a single-party canidate with an eskewed POV.

So much silliness...

"I am shocked that the Court struck down this common-sense law. AB 1179 worked to empower parents by giving them the ultimate decision over whether or not their children should be playing in a world of violence and murder."

It would do nothing to empower parents. It would however have a chilling effect on the gaming industry by making the larger retailers such as Walmart to not risk carrying games meant for a mature audience in case they are fined. That leads to publishers refusing to make games for the mature adult due to less sales, which leads to the freedom of choice being taken away from mature gamers. Protecting the children is a noble cause, but not at the expense of mature adults rights.

"As written, AB1179 would have blocked the sale of ultraviolent games to those under 18. Offending retailers could have been fined up to $1,000."

As I just said, how does this empower parents?

"The $31 billion video game industry has fought any attempt at regulation every step of the way."

Hence their voluntary regulation and rating system...

"They fought efforts to publicize their rating system because they thought it would impact sales, and now they’re again putting their profit margins over the rights of parents and the well-being of children."

Hence the clearly visible rating system symbols and information on EVERY SINGLE GAME that is sold in stores.

"The deliberations in this case took over a year, which shows that the ever-growing body of evidence that violent video games are harmful to children is getting harder and harder to ignore. The medical data clearly indicates that these ultra-violent video games have harmful effects on kids, and thus we have a state interest to protect them."

Did he even read why the law was overturned? It was because there is no research out there that proves video games are harmful! This is at best sheer ignorance of fact, and at worst a blatant lie.

"We simply cannot trust the industry to regulate itself."

It already does. What you cannot trust is every parent out there to use the information in the ratings to make an educated decision. What you cannot trust is every retailer to enforce the ratings 100%. What you CAN trust is for every video game that is sold to have an appropriate age rating on the box, as well as information regarding it's content.

"I strongly urge the Governor and the Attorney General to appeal this decision to a higher court and to the Supreme Court if necessary until our children are protected from excessively violent video games."

I would strongly urge the Governor and the Attorney General to create a program to educate parents regarding the ratings systems to ensure that their children do not see material/content that is not appropriate for them. I would also urge them to appeal to these parents and make them realise that it is THEIR responsibility to look after and monitor their childrens' consumption of media, not the governments.

Your "shocked"?

We have been saying all this time that you were going to lose this one. We were saying all this time that there was no way this law would be found constitutional. You have come to this website. We have told you this. It was the enevitable conclusion. Yee, go home and sit down on your over comfortable couch and cry over dramatized tears. Your bill was crap to begin with and you lost. Deal with it.

(see the next article for more on my tirade againt Yee. Now we have a special guest star. The Govinator himself.)

"I am shocked that the Court struck down this common-sense law. AB 1179 worked to empower parents by giving them the ultimate decision over whether or not their children should be playing in a world of violence and murder."


So... parents don't have power unless the government gives it to them? I call bullshit. If anything the more and more involved the government tries to get involved in our lives the less control, and freedom parents will have, as the government will be raising the children.

Yee was told by many people whether it was here or other places that his bill would ultimately fail, yet he's "shocked" that the judge ruled it unconstitutional after almost two years.

Talk about being overconfident.

Yee should "shut the f*** up, he's out of his element."

Yeah I bet you will be "shocked" when this little bill cost your state a couple of million dollars.

"They fought efforts to publicize their rating system because they thought it would impact sales, and now they’re again putting their profit margins over the rights of parents and the well-being of children."

We have never fought to not publicize our ratings. We want them posted everywhere. We just don't want your crappy labels that you can put on any game you wish.

I said it in the Governator's thread and I will say it here(with proper editing):

Try educating parents for a change. When you create a law, it makes one more thing for parents to forget about and one more way they can get in serious trouble for forgetting.

Start working with the video game industry. We want the same results as you. We want the parents to have the final say in what their kids play. We just don’t think that laws are the answer.

Education not Legislation.

This guy was sane at some point, right?

Parents have the decision power of what their kids see and do regardless of any laws. If they don't care what games their kids play then no law is going to help the situation.

"AB 1179 worked to empower parents by giving them the ultimate decision over whether or not their children should be playing in a world of violence and murder."

So without it, parents have no authority over what their children play? Whatever happened to taking away things your kid wasn't supposed to be playing with?

So how much do you think California will be paying out when the state gets sued for the defense's attorney fees?

Because censorship empowers parents.

@Neebs

I assume you are not from California-or you don't know the local scene here. San Francisco and the nearby area (San Bruno, South San Francisco and a few other places) is very, very liberal. This is not necessarily a bad thing. What you may not realize is just how strong that mindset is in the region. Leland Yee is a hardcore liberal politician who believes in the "nanny state" idea above anything else. He had LOTS of local voter support but not primarily from this item-he has done many, many things-some of them are good, but if you look at his entire track record, it's easy to see why he believes there is a problem. In his view, he's for more government and not less.

He is a politician who is abusing his power, IMHO, but he won't come clean-he will always spin things to support the "nanny state" concept every single time.

I am a registered voter in the state of California-but because Leland Yee is in a different district, I could not vote against him. He didn't even appear as a choice. I used to support Schwarzenegger, but when I realized that Schwarzenegger just goes with the loudest voice, not necessarily the correct one (from a constitutional perspective), I did not vote for him in the 2006 elections.

I would have loved to vote against Leland Yee, but alas, I simply could not.

Finally the other shoe drops! As others have said, about time.

"We simply cannot trust the industry to regulate itself."

O RLY? Were you in a cave, Leland, when the whole Manhunt 2 brouhaha was going on? The industry showed it can polcie itself very well when it needs to, thank you.

Crawl back under your rock, Leland. We haven't heard a peep out of you since that bill was passed and frankly we'd prefer you keep quiet.

Oh, and good luck with that appeal.

What ever happend to parents doing their job by protecting their kids from excessively violent video games which they shouldn't even be playing in the first place? This country is very wrong in its priorities.

Last time I checked New Orleans was still ravaged from a hurricane that happened a few years ago. Why aren't we trying to pass laws to help with the fixing of New Orleans?

*sigh* What can you say that hasn't already been said?

Leland Yee, maybe if your head came out of the closet, looking for skeletons that aren't there, you'd be well aware of the Manhunt 2 rating. The game got an AO rating, and as far as we know, it deserved it. I think the industry is doing a GREAT job of regulating itself.

Another thing, what was that crack about giving parents the right to decide what their kids can and can't do. Are you suggesting that maybe parents are too stupid without this bill, and therefore don't get the right to decide? Are you kidding me?

Maybe he has a point there. After all, it's parents that are buying the violent games for their kids.

“AB 1179 worked to empower parents by giving them the ultimate decision over whether or not their children should be playing in a world of violence and murder.”

Who the HELL voted for this guy?

I am shocked, SHOCKED I tell ya, at Yee's inability see he might actually be wrong about something. Shocked.

@Gamer81

Just read Polus' commentary on the link.

Is it just me, or did he take a pot shot at martial arts at the end of the article?

I don't believe this man is wicked, stupid or mean. He means well and has the interest of the future of America (our children) at heart. However, we all know we must be very deligent in monitoring methods least we become a different country from what we are now and possiblly a country we've fought never to become.

Gosh I love America and it's core constitutional values. The founding fathers were either exceptional political geniuses that were fortunate to all be at the same place and point in time... or the constitution was only really just an extreme fluke of brilliance.

I'm of the belief it was of the former. It doesn't really matter in the long run I know but it's still rather fricky to me though when I think about it. lol

I assume that Leland Yee has a different definition of the word publicize. Surely doing national TV ads with Best Buy and Wal-Mart, special promotions with Penny Arcade and placing a big ol' poster that explains the ratings in practically every major retail outlet that would carry games, usually no more than five feet from the display cases themselves, would have to count as SOME form of publicity.

I still remebering reading GP when they drafted the law and discussed it.
My how the years fly by, he could've spent that worrying about the actual harm for children. Maybe it is best we send yet another email to Yee to remind him what actually causes harm to children...

"AB 1179 worked to empower parents by giving them the ultimate decision over whether or not their children should be playing in a world of violence and murder."

Oy vey... i think i speak for a lot of people when i say that he pretty much says, in one sentence, that somehow, parents have no say whatsoever in what their child can do, and gaining knowledge about games is virtually impossible. He talks about a 'common sense law' and yet completely LACKS common sense at the same time.

Liar Leland Yee will never learn.

http://www.d3dgames.com/yee.html

Use common-sense for a change, Mr. Yee, and save some taxpayer dollars by not appealing. Everyone with an IQ above zero knew all along this bill was unconstitutional. Stop acting "shocked" because it makes you look simple-minded.
 
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