Arizona Bill Worries Video Game Industry

April 7, 2008 -
A piece of legislation under consideration today by the Arizona State Senate has video game industry representatives concerned.

HB 2660, which was passed by a 36-23 vote in the Arizona House of Representatives last month, would make content producers, publishers and distributors liable for monetary damages if any written, audio, visual or digital material from which they profited was judged to have been "dangerous" or obscene and motivated someone to commit a felony or an act of terrorism.

The Arizona Daily Star reports that Keith Perkins, an attorney who runs the victims advocacy group Never Again Foundation, said that those who profit from such material should be held responsible. Perkins wrote the measure, which is sponsored by Republican Warde Nichols (left).

Representatives for content creators, however, say the measure goes too far:
A representative for the Motion Picture Association of America, Wendy Briggs, said House Bill 2660 is overly broad. She said the legislation... could result in lawsuits against people involved in mainstream movies. Briggs, who also represents video game producers, said they, too, could be liable for items she would consider harmless.

Briggs used a flight simulator game as an example:
Should I now be reasonably sure that that's going to incite somebody to commit an act of terror? What about a movie, or a book, that teaches you how to shoot a gun straight?

The Video Game Voters Network, operated by the Entertainment Software Association, which represents U.S. video game publishers, has issued an alert to members, urging them to contact their elected officials about the bill.

GP: The industry is legitimately concerned about this bill, which would have a chilling effect, certainly on game developers. Who gets to decide, for example, whether content is "dangerous"? What does that mean, exactly? Does violent content make media dangerous? Is Manhunt 2 dangerous? Call of Duty 4? Saving Private Ryan? Beowulf? The Bible?

Comments

Re: Arizona Bill Worries Video Game Industry

Hi,

Very nice and useful article.I enjoyed reading this article and viewe's comments.Even i think that law is so dangerous that it could be one of the most anti american laws ever made in the USA. Its not just the video games part that worries me the most but the part that all media, and even books included. This can effect even education I think, to the point that even that will be censored.

Tia,

http://www.addictionlink.org/drug-rehab-center/arizona

 

Re: Arizona Bill Worries Video Game Industry

Personally, i would love some (slightly educated sensible) teens, young adults, and even gaming-adults to step up to the plate, and i would love to join them. I didnt even know this bill was passed until i read this article, however i am glad i stumbled on it. Firstly, the reason i say slightly educated and sensible, is because honestly, acting rashly would only hurt the success of any 'retaliation' campaign. As has been said, parents should be held accountable, and the only reason they agree with this is 'Hey, look, i have an excuse not to raise my kids like i should and blame something else to clear my own conscience (sp?)!'

<sarcasm>The gaming industry provides the most futuristic technology available to mankind, rightly dubbed 'rating system' which tells parents what the average (and sensible) age group should be for anyone who makes the purchase of said game. </endsarcasm

Now, if the parents really sought that their kids not to be influenced by a violent game, then maybe they shouldn't be buying their kids games with violence, that, with the help of thousands of scientific minds, over the last five hundred millenia to deduce that a game involving violence should be rated M for mature, meaning only people of age to discern between reality and fantasy should own and play this game, then perhaps the parents shouldnt be buying such 'media' for their kids in the first place? perhaps taking the fifteen seconds it takes to look at the rating, and then read the back of the case which tells exactly what the game contains within, and a small backstory? oh, wait, that requires too much logic and common sense to be plausible! oops.. i must have messed up on my /endsarcasm... oh, forgot the last > !

Now to the issue at hand. As has been stated, this is simply sterotyping (blanket term) that a game induces the inspiration to cause criminal acts? last i checked, it was the persons personal interperetation of any given media outlet, + their mental condition, level of logic/commin sense, divided by the 2nd power to = the final outcome. This law simply allows anyone to blame anyine/anything be it media, or otherwise that caused their own actions. the 'Devil made me do it' excuse. and thats just what it is, an excuse.

for those claiming religion is cause for such things, youre wrong too. the people being prosecuted for a crime, are just like the very lawyers/politicians who made the topic at hand, theyre using an outlet for a scapegoat to blame for 'why' they did what they did so that they dont take the responsibility themselves.

for those that dont understand what i just said, here's a picture

Lawyer ----- Games/media inspire people to do bad things!

Person ----- God/Devil made me do it!

point? theyre both just looking for an excuse to escape personal responsibility by blaming somehting else. Its like a post-apacalyptic thing, people will accept any excuse, and blame anyone that someone else tells them to, simply to have something to blame, so they feel secure inside, and dont have to take personal responsibility.

This bill is just like the preacher in a post-apacalyptic earth, where the lawyer is the prophet, claiming the video games, and other media outlets caused the earth to become the way it has. Why do the masses (aka parents, etc) believe it? because it allows them to point the finger at something other than themselves, so that they can have somehting, other than themselves to hate and blame, without taking the time to consider 'is this a false prophet trying to take advantage of a weakened community to become rich and powerful?' anyways, im rambling and going way off topic, but i hope you get the points im trying to make.

Re: Arizona Bill Worries Video Game Industry

Oh so obviously falls under the category of unconstitutional in my mind.  

Why don't people just try and sue the Church for the Bible 'inciting violence'?
These bills would get shot to pieces and the politicians backpedal so fast...

This law demonstrates the "ex post facto" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex_post_facto) restriction in the Constitution. It is a law that could suddenly make all past media subject to penalties and punishments. That restriction is against Congress, but I'm pretty sure it would be crushed in Federal court along with the First Amendment abuses.

I can hardly wait to sue the various churches for distributing violent material that time and again has inspired wacko nutjobs to go on a killing spree.

[...] Link [...]

@axia777

This "problem" is not going away anytime soon. There are many politicians-especially right now, who would rather point fingers than try to deal with a problem.

wow this iwll effect every industry just about.
i feel bad for rap and R&B and rock music.

http://www.zippyvideos.com/4547333253702616/blame/

jeez guys

the problem is canada.

sarchasim

Why is the blame never put on the PARENTS!!!! It it too much to ask that a partent actualy raises thier child, or is it up to the media to instill values.

Who stands to gain?



Oh, the lawyers...

And they use the term "Think of the children" as a means of passing these bills? Oy Vey

That's possibly one of the most ridiculous, vague and abuse-able laws I have ever read in my life...

Does anyone else have a feeling like "it's just all falling apart"?

I don't know what I mean by that, but it's a feeling I have..

I don't see this passing constitutional muster. As GP said, who says that these games caused something or are dangerous. The bill is too vague. I personally feel that it too will join the pile of judicially killed laws.

Damn, I was hoping this stuff wouldn’t hit my state. I guess that was a little too much to ask for.

it's me

i've been hired by the good people of arisona to stop the devil breaking out of them there dvd comics!

@Pinworm

What is the it?

If you mean the law makers, then yes I'm inclined to agree, it seems they are getting desperate and the courts are having none of it.

If you mean the game makers, then please explain.

Please, please let this apply to the Bible, too.

Isn't this a straight violation of the first amendment ?

Nazi material, religious material, heck any written material can't be held responsible for the actions of others.

Yeah, saying something is 'dangerous' is a rather overbroad and subjective statement to have in a law.
For that matter, so is saying that something 'motivated someone to commit a felony.' If a mentally ill person, after an afternoon of playing GTA, were to steal his neighbor's gun and go on a rampage, what motivated him? The game? The illness? The availability of a firearm? I think that proving such motivation came from a game or movie is nigh-impossible - and if the link were provable, it probably means that the movie or game is 'inciting imminent violence' and would already be liable under existing criminal and civil law.
And the fact that the law was written by a victim's advocacy lawyer... this sounds to me like said lawyer just wants to make it easier to reach into the media's deep pockets whenever a tragedy occurs.

The only effect that this idiotic piece of legislation will have is that AZ tax payers will once again end up paying the industries legal bill.

There is no chance that this would pass constitutional muster. The federal courts have been brutal in striking down laws and lawsuits that try to hold content providers for that actions of individuals.

This clown Perkins needs his head examined.

Laws based on pure subjectivity = insta fail

Arizona bill = will fail
Massachusetts bill = will fail
Our tax dollars = down the shitter

I suggest a ruling which forces everyone to smile while they're at it.

Quick, hide your brain, it's the thought police!

Wow, i thought the other video game laws were bad, but this has to go down as one of the most stupendously stupid laws i've ever seen... and it WON a vote? i don't know whether to laugh or cry

If it applies to ALL media then it will certainly fail but it will be interesting to watch the lobies nuke it, if its only targetted at videogames it will fail aswell, mainly because it effectively discriminates between the arts and promotes the existence of Jack Thompson-esque Massacre Chasers.

What i do not understand is why now?
Are they hoping to swamp the mention of this bill with the presidential pre-elections or what are they trying to pull here, that's the 3rd one in a relatively short period of time, the two previous ones were bounced, but still it is worrisome that they're all so closely timed.

If Arizona passes this they'll also have to make gun manufacturers liable for firearm-related incidents, car companies responsible for car crashes, and alcohol brewers responsible for anything people do when drunk.

These legislators need a reality check. Anything can be used responsibly or abused; it's the responsibility of the user--or the user's guardian if s/he's a minor--to make sure the item is used in a proper way.

People need to be responsible for their own actions; passing the blame will only make things worse in the long run.

Anyone want an example of the chilling effect? Let's look at the Flight Simulator example, which would easily pass muster. If it is used in a terrorist training plot again (It was used in 9/11 and some attempts after), the development team under this law would be arrested as terrorists as well and if found guilty would spend their life in Guantanamo Bay with no chance of getting out.

As well, it takes causation out of the equation, allowing the "Games made me do it" defence to be used, and have the developer take the fall instead.

It's like everyone in a car manufacturing plant facing murder charges because they built the car that a serial murder used to run people over. Who would want to be in the buisness then?

[...] wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptA piece of legislation under consideration today by the Arizona State Senate has video game industry representatives concerned. HB 2660, which was passed by a 36-23 vote in the Arizona House of Representatives last month, would make content producers, publishers and distributors liable for monetary damages if any written, audio, visual or digital material from which they profited was judged to have been “dangerous” or obscene and motivated someone to commit a felony or an act of terrorism. The Arizona Daily Star reports that Keith Perkins, an attorney who runs the victims advocacy group Never Again Foundation, said that those who profit from such material should be held responsible. Perkins wrote the measure, which is sponsored by Republican Warde Nichols (left). Representatives for content creators, however, say the measure goes too far: A representative for the Motion Picture Association of America, Wendy Briggs, said House Bill 2660 is overly broad. She said the legislation… could result in lawsuits against people involved […] [...]

Legal Challenges to HB2660
Starting Lineup
1. "The Turner Diaries"
2. " Magnum Force"
3. " The Warriors"
4. "Jackass"
5. "Doom"
6. "The Basketball Diaries"
7. "Grand Theft Auto" (Series)
8. "Catcher in the Rye"
9. "Halo" (Series)

As mentioned in the article, HB2660 is so overly broad that any judge could interpret almost anything (film, music, books, games) to have influenced, and thus violated such a law. I could see many a citizen trying to file civil suits alleging that they were harmed by someone influenced by a film and going after a movie studio (because they have the money). Whoever wrote this law needs to go back to "law writing class" because they obviously were asleep for a good portion of the class.

If more people were politically aware in the country, I bet there would have been a riot if this were actually put into law, oy. And also for other political fouls(You all know).

This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen. Let's just clear the way for every despicable rapist to say, "Porn made me do it."

Let's just absolve everybody of personal responsibility why don't we? Big surprise a sue-happy lawyer is partially responsible for this legislation. He'll be able to chase tragedies all day.

I'd like to see this apply to The Wizard of Oz, just so all the old people in Arizona will get pissed off and demand the bill's repeal. There are lots of them, and we all know how much old people vote.

Let's see, The Bible, that's definately violent and HAS been cited as an "inspiration" for violent and terroristic acts. "Birth of a Nation", now THERE'S a film that's harmful (KKK propaganda) that should quickly be dealt with by this new law.

Then there's Loony Toons, pretty much any war documentary, the evening news, text books, ZOMG, there's harmful violence everywhere! Ban everything, initiate Care Bearism!

This bill will never fly in court.

If this, by some unforeseen nightmare ot judicial incompetence did stand, it would be a disaster, not only for the media, but for other industries as well.

If we don't currently hold GM & Smith&Wesson accountable for the things people do with their products, how can we hold EA and Warner Brothers responsible for things people saw in their products?

The whole idea just doesn't make sense.

It reminds me of the same people who were terrified of comic books in the 50's and 60's. "They're rotting children's brains!" "They're violent!" "They're full of smut!".

Fast forward to now, and they're the basis of more summer blockbusters than anything else in the last 10 years.

Personally, I think the interactivity scares people more than anything else, and gives them the ability to persuade otherwise intelligent people into thinking that games have some sort of negative impact. Given enough time, or the next big thing, common sense 'should' prevail. One can hope, at least.

Sounds like they have tried to manipulate previous failed bills to get one through.
Rather than going on the 'games are bad' route which has a proven fail record, they are now broadening the scope with the confidence that if they pass a law telling everyone they can now sue the big companies for every hardship and horror, then it has more chance of passing.
Come on, the 'Sue to absolve myself of responsibility and get rich' mentality has more legs than the 'bad game' angle.

That means a movie depicting mail fraud could be sued for promoting mail fraud. A film or book with teen pregnancy can be sued for causing the same. This bill could pretty much destroy ALL media...which is why it will fail.

This crap is why people hate lawyers.

o_o....you know I live in Arizona...why wasn't this brought up earlier?! I woulda driven out to Phoenix and begged to be heard before my state's congress!!

*SIGH* This country need a political enema on all levels so badly that it just isn't funny anymore....

You see people, this is why I keep saying it. The industry should stop playing defense and start playing offense. Lets try this. If they say they want to pass this law, how bout this, the industry then says it will sue every politican who passed a law and failed as there actions are DANGEROUS to free speech.

Eh?

Ok, so maybe i'm jumping the gun, but my point is, and again this is a point I keep making, the industry HAS TO STOP PLAYING NICE!

Screw the PR problems, screw whatever issues it might create in the public image, the industry needs to send a clear message to the politicans.

Fuck with us, we will break your bank and your carrer. All they have to due is point to Jack and say. "See this man, who fancies himself our most able and abiding critic? Yeah, he's about to lose his law license. Care to join him on the un employment line? "

Forget winning or losing, forget the media or political backlash. Lets force the politicos to start facing there own music.

Then maybe they'll shut the fuck up and leave us the hell alone.

Add another failure bill to the pile...

Anybody remember that Charles Manson was inspired by seemingly harmless Beatles lyrics?

Once again, the First Ammendment is to be the Industries Shield against Congress.

I'd personally like it to be an Axe too, but one step at a time.

This bill will be smacked down so quickly, I wonder if it is even worth worrying about.

Ya know, I really hope this passes.

Monkeythumbs had it right.

Have a shooting, or even just a beating up of someone, like the recent shooting at an Oxnard school, over an apparently homosexual student.

Search the criminal's home for religious text.

Blame the religious text and religion.

Multi-million dollar lawsuits against the publisher of the religious text.

And, if their religion organizes, such as a church, discover if the religion preaches bigotry and hate against homosexuals.

Multi-million dollar lawsuits against the church.

And, hey, if the church claims immunity or demands that they are protected by the First Amendment...

SHOVE "PROTECT THE CHILDREN" DOWN THEIR THROATS (FIGUREATIVELY SPEAKING OF COURSE)!

Nightwng2000
NW2K Software
Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

If this passes, I could see it getting shot down, but since it doesn't SPECIFICALLY ban any form of expression, it might be able to pass the constitutional test. I would like to point out, to those citing guns and alcohol, that the bill only attacks objects that "inspire", and would only apply to media such as games, books, and movies. This seems like a last gasp for air for the video game cencorship lobby.

Let the law stand and refuse to distribute media to the state. Watch as a significant number of politicians lose their next election.

Then challenge the law in court or let the state fix its own problems.

I'll continue to watch the Florida legislators with trepidation. However, even though Florida is RIPE (in my opinion) for a law such as this, I don't see one happening anytime soon. We're so deep in numerous real issues (tuition hikes, an economy largely built on tourism, an expanding population that demands infrastructure, yet won't pay for it, etc.) that they shouldn't have a chance to pull something like this, but I digress.
 
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