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

To the subhuman pieces of trash that passed this bill. - FUCK YOU! YOU VILE COMMUNIST FASCIST DICTATOR ASSHOLES!!!!

Where the hell do they grown these pod like humans? I can't believe this passed in America. This country ios going straight down the shitter I swear.

Awesome, another waste of tax-payer money.

I'm not too surprised as politicians, from both parties, often go with such lazy legislation as it makes it appear that they are "doing something" about the social ills. But it's only appearences. Even if this bill were to pass (and it doesn't have a snow ball's chance in hell) it would achieve nothing except tying up the Arizona courts in a plethora of though crime-esque legal battles.

If you really want to cut-back on felonies and crime, promote legislation that would have a tangible effect on society. Attract jobs to your state as an area with a good economy has less crime due to people not feeling so desperate. Promote electives in schools such as art and music so kids, especially teens, have an outlet of their angst. Ensure that the gun laws on the books are enforced properly so that psychos like Cho never get their hands on weapons in the first place. Make sure there are enough polic on the street to curb crime.

Of course, to do all that requires actual effort and time and politicians these days only care about getting elected so we end up having crap like this. And for the record I deplore these massacre chaster lawyers as they exploit a tragedy for money and face time.

Ok, I'm done ranting.

To any sane Judge out there in the world - Please over turn the absolute backwards piece of shit thinking insanity.

What's worse is that this would also basically make people NOT responsibable for their own actions.

@ Dark Sovereign

Actually, if I'm not mistaken about the wording:

"3. The person knew, should have known or recklessly disregarded a significant risk that the material would substantially assist, encourage or result in another person committing terrorism or a felony offense."

It's not simply "inspiring" the person to commit the crime, it could be providing the means to commit it. Which again brings us back to events like suing an automaker because a loved one was killed in a hit and run.

The manufacturer provided the "assist" to the crime, and a car is a dangerous object, and the manufacturers do know that.

So, it seems that this bill is trying to open up the way to pretty much sue everything in existence. Not that it will stand up to scrutiny as it is so f****** vague that it makes me ill. Go solve a real problem, guys.

Aaaah, yes.

An exceptional piece of legal garbage that not only enables the "GTA made me do it!" excuse, but it *rewards* it.

Don't want to be responsible for something? Play a video game and blame that afterward! Then you'll get off scott-free and you'll be able to litigate against the video game makers!

Let me preface this by stating that I don't advocate real-world violence at all. This is purely hypothetical.

Now then, suppose this ridiculous law passes, and it so enrages some nutjob that he decides to commit acts of violence against the Arizona legislature or some of its members. Could the AZ legislature then be sued for creating "written material" (the law itself) which "motivated someone to commit a felony?"

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that they haven't really thought it through, but you'd think they'd at least be aware of the abject failure of all similar laws in otehr states.

Story time!

Little Johnny went to school one day with a gun in his back pack. Little Johnny shot eight of his classmates as well as three faculty members before turning the weapon on himself. The police looked into Little Johnny's background. They found that he came from a broken home, was on anti-depressants, and he often went hunting with his father. His step-father had been arrested for domestic abuse of Little Johnny twice. Little Johnny had stacks of nazi propaganda in his room and all of his victims were minorities. The police found a copy of Grand Theft Auto in the room next to a rather offensive suicide note, denoting the various ethnic groups he thought were destroying the planet.

What do you think the media is going to talk about?

Ok, story time is over. I am quite sick of all of these attempts at legislating free speech. The fact of the matter is that the KKK can march down the street in broad daylight, but video games are constantly being attacked by politicians as what is wrong with kids today. You want to know what is wrong with kids today? They are still kids. Eventually, every generation takes the next step. I just hope when the current powers that be fade into obscurity, the next ones will remember what we have dealt with.

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

Among many many other things, including philosophies he learned through studying Scientology (which would explain a lot IMO but I digress).

The music industry puts out lots of sappy love songs. If I'm mentally unstable after a harsh break-up, and hearing such a song causes me to snap, then the artist and/or label are liable for my actions.

If I jump on a turtle and the turtle dies, Nintendo is culpable of cruelty to animals. If I then kick the dead turtle into something and it breaks, Nintendo is charged with vandalism as well.

The Muppet Babies cartoon encouraged the audience to use their imagination. I can imagine a lot of things, and I can use my imagination to plan out my actions. Therefore, Jim Henson Productions is liable for anything I do.

Murders and Terrorism caused by Video Games - 0
Murders and Terrorism caused by the Bible - 10,000,000 +

and everyday that passes i wonder more and more about bringing my little Aeris into a world filled with madness such as this...there are so many other problems in the world....but somehow our entertainment media is the cause of everything.people dont go insane from all our jobs leaving the country, and being poor and desperate...or go nuts after losing a loved one in a war we shouldnt have ever started...they only go nuts because they read an evil book, watched a violent movie, or played a violent video game.Things like this really make me consider moving my daughter and i to some vast remote area of the world where the local wildlife has never even seen a human

Actually, if this applies to all, than the most dangerous piece of media has to be none other than the Bible.

Millions upon millions....upon millions have killed, assaulted and have committed suicide over it.

What is going on in the American legal system? I thought this kind of crap happened way back in the 80's when the American legal system and the 'Concerned Parents of America" attacked heavy metal. Did we not lean a damn thing? I guess not. They are wasting millions that they could be using for real purposes like feeding the homeless, funding schools, or any number of worthy ventures. My god, who voted in the asshats? To the voters in Arizona who did so, you have no one to blame but yourselves. Thanks a lot, you are all asshats too.

This is more ridiculous then the bill that Jack Thompson wrote. Even if the bill is passed, it must be "clear and present danger" which hasn't happened in video games.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clear_and_present_danger

"HB 2660... 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."

By that same reasoning the pilot instructors who taught terrorists how to fly planes should be liable for damages due to the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York.

@Tyler Baumbarger

Good story. Sad but too true these days. Personal responsibility is out the window and means all most nothing now to most Americans from what I can see. What a sad state of affairs.

I'm really glad I'm not American at times.

I'm really grateful we don't have to go through this nonsense in Canada.

Due to 9/11 I'd like to sue Mohammed. Because of the war in Iraq/Afghanistan I'd like to sue Jesus.

Personal responsibility already went out the window when insurance was invented. What this bill does is just effectively knock out that middleman and make it easy to fabricate damage claims that don't really exist.

But April 1st was a week ago...

Oh no.

This won't pass, but if it did, you can bet your games that I would be doing hundred times the damage to just about everyone that others would be doing to the game industry. They want to play hard ball? Fine. Here come my atomic bombs, bitches.

what about the gun manufacturers? they stand to profit from somebody who buys a gun and uses it to kill a ton of people. hell, just seeing the gun could inspire somebody to do it. but no, gun lobbyists have been around forever, and so nobody thinks of going after THEM.

Personal responsibility were slain by Psychiatry and Psychology. As soon as everything in the world became a "sickness" or an "addiction," people were no longer responsible for what they did. They went from being criminal offenders to being "victims of mental defects."

GP: Vinnie, change your user name - final warning....

 

I hate living in a Christian country. :(

This bill would NEVER pass Constitutional muster. It is just way, WAY too vague.

The Supreme Court likes specificity, it would, in fact, have a BETTER chance of passing if it did explicitly ban video games or something like that. But this bill basically punishes everything and anything that "inspires" bad thoughts/actions.

This is just ridiculous, whoever proposed this bill should be thrown out for wasting time.

@Cheater87

All fundamentalist groups suck. Not just Christians. Extremists of any color or stripe are just illogical and lame. That is the nature of the world. There will always be some group of asshats that think they know what is best for everyone.

BTW, I am a spiritual anarchist. ;) (I am not a political anarchist.)

@Cheater87

Then go kill yourself, because you can't escape Christianity. It's also stupid to think that a Christian belief is behind all of this. Christ said three things applicable here: "turn the other cheek", "you who is without sin, cast the first stone", and "before removing the speck from your brother's eye, remove the plank from your own".

This thing's gonna get it's ass kicked right? Right?

@ vinniethewop - Right on brotha. My shrink kept telling me that everything that happened bad to me was the fault of my depression. Turns out if I just get off my ass and fix the problem, the problem goes away. Incidentally, paying for the shrink was one of those problems that went away too :)

Also of note to those members of this site that are Christians, I am in no way demeaning ALL Christians, just the fundamentalist extremist ones. Extremists of any kind suck.

Odds for this law passing constitutional muster: NOT A CHANCE IN HELL!

Ah, well. Even if it passes to law it will get challenged quicker than you can say "giant waste".

That is what I am hoping Dark Sovereign. That is what I am hoping, that some Judge out there will see and laugh him/her self right off their bench.

As someone who lives in Arizona, let me be the first to say on behalf of the 'sane' people. We're sorry our state is run by freaking idiots.

Note to all you saying "This bill will never pass"

Remember when people said "this lawsuit will never win" back when that fellow sued McDonalds because 'his coffee was hot' making millions? Obviously this is different in context, but there are similiarities:

All it takes is one.

All it takes is one of these anti-videogame laws to pass, and then there is more, and more, and more, until the USA is destroyed.

I'm not saying this one will pass.. but one day, god forbid, one might. And that's all it takes.

I live in Arizona. Now I'm considering moving...

It's also against the Arizona State Constitution Article II, section 25:

25. Bills of attainder; ex post facto laws; impairment of contract obligations
"Section 25. No bill of attainder, ex-post-facto law, or law impairing the obligation of a contract, shall ever be enacted."

@pinworm

Except with that lawsuit it had nothing to do with the constiution, while this has everything to do with it. you're compairing apples and oranges. true, it only takes one to win, but they all failed under the same exact reasons. and we have qoutes of those politicians saying they knew it would fail. they are in no way planning these things to pass, they just want good fluff to add to their campaigns later.

Pinworm, laws have passed before and they got overturned as being Unconstitutional. Any Judge in her/his right mind will see the insanity of this Bill and over turn it immediately. Who/what I really feel sorry for is voters in Arizona whose tax money is being wasted.

Given the fact that Christo-fascists are ruining the country with the whole thought that the Dark Ages=Guilded Ages I feel it's valid to bring up Christians as a negative in this discussion. This bill has arised directly from the ideals of the American Taliban, which is Christian. Does that mean all Christians are bad? No. Are Jack Thompson bills and this crap being put forth by Pastafarians or Athiests? Nope. These are attempts by Christians to put their "values" into law in order to win votes from other Christians.

@Thefremen

Blaming the Christian doctrine is different than blaming certain Christians. And while some of the Christians are making the laws, other Christians are fighting it. The difference is, the defenders don't make as big a stink about their Christianity. Frankly, it's not good to bring up "Christians" as a negative at all, since without clarification it paints all of us in the bad light.

What I'd like to know is what qualifies for being judged as making them commit felonies or terrorism? I swear, the majority of politicians think we all must be some kind of Manchurian Candidates who will kill on cue

So I could beat money changers and they could sue every movie about Jesus then?

Who are these politicians? Where are their heads?

Who is this Bill? I want to drown him while I kick his ass.

This is scary stuff. Not because this bill stands a snowball's chance in hell of surviving a First Amendment challenge, but because 36 members of the Arizona House of Representatives felt it was worthwhile legislation.

It's frightening to me how inept our elected officials are.

I refer back to Yuki's comment to summarize my position; enough is enough. The industry needs to stop being concerned about these bills and go on the offensive. Go start some shit. Educate these morons on those rights they're supposedly sworn to protect.

And as Yuki suggests, maybe end a few careers while you're at it.

@ Khabi - Apology Accepted

The whole blaming Christians thing... ya know, it's easy to just say it's all because of Christians, but we all know that's not really the case. But to you fellas getting upset at someone blaming all Christians or Christianity in general..

Look, I know that a majority of the country is Christian, but we don't see the normal everyday Christian guy just going about his life. No one finds that interesting. What people do find interesting is the Jack Thompsons, spouting hellfire and brimstone. The nutjobs. So, that's where this is all coming from.

Not that it's okay, mind you. For example, black people were/are shown in a negative light more often than not, specifically on the news, and on shows like Cops. (don't hate on cops too much though, I love that freaking show) It's not the sole reason for rascism, but it doesn't help. The same can be said with any group of people that can be put into a group, whether it be by age, skin color, religious belief. Media portrayal of gamers is much the same way.

I'd also like to point out that the only time I ever know that I'm talking to a Christian is when I'm talking to a nutjob Christian who is hassling me about my Fuck Censorship CBLDF shirt, my long hair, the music I'm listening to, etc.. Christians that are normal reasonable people tend not to tell me that I'm going to hell, or whip out bibles at me.

Anyway, I'm sure this was rambling, but I just wanted to put it out there.

I think the one guy made a great point using the Flight Simulator game as an example.

Did Microsoft Flight Simulator inspire 9-11? You could make the argument...and as such Flight Simulator, FLIGHT SIMULATOR for crying out loud would be banned under this law.

its like my mom would always say when she wouldn't let me go over to friends' houses:
"I know whats best for you, trust me."

that is what I'm getting from all these anti-video game activists these days, they THINK they have the children's best interests at heart but they dont.

Also, to those arguing for using the 1st Amendment as an "axe" or suing on the 1st Amendment, you can't really do that.

You have no private right of action under the First Amendment. You cannot sue because a law is passed that you think violates your rights.

The video game industry could only sue if they were actually harmed. So if this law passed and a game was banned or say EA fined. THEN EA could sue, but they can't sue until the law is actually used against them.

If they try to sue earlier than that the case will be dismissed for lack of "ripeness." It's this idea that the courts will not issue "advisory opinions." They won't issue decisions on laws until those laws are actually employed against someone so that the legislature doesn't slam the courts with hypothetical laws just to see if they'll pass.

It would do two things:
1) Gum up the court system even more than it already is
2) Make the courts the lawmakers, not the legislatures, since no law would pass without first being run by the courts for an "o.k."

Arizona Resident here.
Sent my form letter in.
Surprised this passed the house.
Confused that an Arizona law was recently passed which allows adults to carry concealed weapons (with permit) onto school campuses.

You can carry an object invented with violence as its purpose onto a populated area, and if you fire that weapon, the media you have experienced can be blamed for your choice of action.
 
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