With the video game event of the year – the Halo 3 launch – just days away, game-hatin’ attorney Jack Thompson is apparently seeking to re-create one of his greatest non-triumphs.
Although he failed miserably with a similar bid against Rockstar’s Bully in 2006, Thompson hopes to have a Florida court declare Halo 3 a public nuisance. He promised as much late last year (see: Jack Thompson Vows More Public Nuisance Suits Against Games in 2007).
No surprise, really, that Halo 3 is in the media-hungry attorney’s crosshairs. Thompson seems to prefer rattling his saber when high-profile game releases are involved. In his latest attention grab Thompson has released the text of what appears to be a court filing in the 11th Circuit, the same jurisdiction in which he failed embarrassingly during last year’s Bully case.
Once again, Thompson is basing his claim on a Florida statute which defines public nuisances as that which:
…tend[s] to annoy the community, injure the health of the citizens in general, or corrupt the public morals
To get an idea of what the public nuisance law was really designed for, the types of places named in the statute include:
…any house or place of prostitution, assignation, lewdness or place or building where games of chance [i.e., gambling] are engaged in violation of law or any place where any law of the state is violated, shall be deemed guilty of maintaining a nuisance…
GP: Not a video game retailer in the bunch.
As with Bully, Thompson clearly hopes the court will grant him a hearing. Although after last year’s well-publicized Bully performance, which earned Thompson a Bar complaint from presiding Judge Ronald Friedman, that seems unlikely.
More troubling by far are the long term implications of this action. Thompson apparently feels emboldened to invoke Florida’s public nuisance law against any video game he desires to target. That is the essence of censorship and the video game industry cannot allow it to continue on any number of grounds – legal, moral or creative.
The full text of Thompson’s complaint is here (MS Word format)…