Arizona State Senate Rejects "Dangerous" Media Content Bill

April 8, 2008 -
As GamePolitics detailed yesterday, the Arizona Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on HB2660, a measure which would potentially hold media content producers liable for violent acts committed by consumers of books, movies, video games and the like.

According to a report in this morning's Arizona Republic, the measure, which was approved by the Arizona State House in March, was defeated in the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 4-2 vote. From the newspaper account:
Saying they had too many unanswered questions, members of a state legislative panel on Monday snuffed out a proposal that would make companies financially liable for creating or distributing books, movies and other media that eventually led to a serious crime.

Bill sponsor, Rep. Warde Nichols (R), said that he planned to reintroduce a more concisely-written version of HB2660 in 2009. He told the Arizona Republic:
At the end of the day, companies will have to stand before their customers and shareholders and explain why they are OK with the production and distribution of violent, forced, non-consensual sex acts.

Wendy Briggs (left), a lobbyist representing various entertainment industries - including the video game sector - at the hearing, said:
The First Amendment is not a defense, it's a right. It is a right to have the freedom to speak and to not have that speech chilled in any way because of your fear of the collection of civil penalties.

Sen. Ken Cheuvront (D) explained his vote against the measure:
[Makers of movies depicting rape] are atrocious in what they create. But at the same time this bill is so broad based, we have to be careful about unintended consequences.

The Arizona Daily Star has more on the story...

UPDATE: Click here to watch video of the hearing (approximately two hours long). Click on HB2660 below the video window to jump directly to the hearing on the media content bill.

Comments

"Baruch Says:

Just because you think some form of media is bad doesn’t mean you can stop other people from accessing it. Sooner or later these politicians are going to have to face this and quit wasting time trying to crush free speech."

I don't think it's meant to stop people from accessing it. Rather, it seems meant to scare the companies into not producing it. Which I guess is sort of the same thing, depending on how you look at it. But if the companies don't fear the backlash, they can produce whatever they want and we can buy whatever they want. The bill only holds them responsible if someone commits an act as the result of the media. It's a liability bill, not a "forbidden from production" law.

so with this bill enacted, who gets the bill for the Bible/Koran/Torah for depicting violence, rape, and inciting those acts throughout history. Also who gets the money from that bill?

woo0t I knew this would happen.

Well at least it didn't go all the way to the courts.

That's a relief, that bill was dangerous.

I don't see a victory here.

4-2 on the Anti-christ of media censorship?

"At the end of the day, companies will have to stand before their customers and shareholders and explain why they are OK with the production and distribution of violent, forced, non-consensual sex acts."

... What companies are these? I mean, I know Microsoft has occasionally raped my wallet, but that's it. You've gotta love these non-specific examples. I'd bet he can't name a single one.

What annoys me is kind of a spin on the whole 'square is a rectangle but a rectangle isn't necessarily a square' thing.

The bill was about 'violent acts' which could be anything, including Jerry hitting tom with a pie. But the people acted as if it only covered rape.
Ex1: "OK with the production and distribution of violent, forced, non-consensual sex acts."
Ex2: "[Makers of movies depicting rape] are atrocious in what they create."

Yes, rape is a violent act, but not all violent acts are rape. If they did pass this law, even just against rape, half of the Lifetime channel would have to blocked, as a lot of those stories are about the rape victim standing up for herself; but they depict rape. Did he just call the Lifetime channel (and a handful of After School Specials about date rape) attrocious? Perhaps you didn't think this law through all the way before you wated a lot of tax payers money.

Next thing you know, they will pass a law pulling all copies of Custers Last Stand (or whatever the title was) off the shelves, which could impact the sales of the Atarii 2600...

"At the end of the day, companies will have to stand before their customers and shareholders and explain why they are OK with the production and distribution of violent, forced, non-consensual sex acts."

Excuse, is that person serious here?

Since when do you distribute "violent, forced, non-consensual sex acts", its not as if companies are selling "instant-rape-in-a-can" here, they're works of art in a way, sure they may be violent, or otherwise disturbing, but that doesn't mean companies should be liable for what a crazy person does after "consuming" one of their products.

That person made a choice, and nothing a company does will change what a person may possibly do. (except perhaps medication).

Pwnage

Yeah, that didn't take long, glad to see some people in government still have common sense. Wasn't expecting that in this state.

[...] wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptAs GamePolitics detailed yesterday, the Arizona Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on HB2660, a measure which would potentially hold media content producers liable for violent acts committed by consumers of books, movies, video games and the like. According to a report in this morning’s Arizona Republic, the measure, which was approved by the Arizona State House in March, was defeated in the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 4-2 vote. From the newspaper account: Saying they had too many unanswered questions, members of a state legislative panel on Monday snuffed out a proposal that would make companies financially liable for creating or distributing books, movies and other media that eventually led to a serious crime. [...]

"Wendy Briggs, a lobbyist representing various entertainment industries - including the video game sector - at the hearing, said: Uhhh What?"

Would have been a better and more realistic quote given the whole movie rape thing considering that the major opponent was video games.

The nonsense that Nichols spews just further goes to show the erosion of personal accountability. It's appalling.

I really hope change is coming and we'll return to personal accountability instead of finding scapegoats so we can let truly screwed up people free. This way they can kill/rape/rob/etc. again. Genius. Just further tells me that both parties have lost their way. I can only hope that both candidates can pull their parties from the brink of insanity.

NOTE: I'm assuming that by April 22 there will only be one Democratic Candidate, no matter what the other one thinks.

If I were to write an anecdote about my childhood and mention that one day my sister and I were fighting and she kicked me in the groin (or maybe I kicked her, the details are fuzzy) would that fall under their violence clause?

Would any number of comedies be banned if someone organized a cream pie fighting contest?

Every time I see an article on this bill I keep thinking it says "HB2600" and thus someone in the house must be having a lark.

This is good news. I don't think suing other people with money because the actual criminal is penniless is a defensible law. I feel really bad for the rape victims represented in the article, but money isn't the answer.

[quote]Yes, rape is a violent act, but not all violent acts are rape.[/quote]

Unless you call AWPing a line of three terrorists in Counterstrike with one shot rape, yeah. You're right.

These people need a nice hard smack upside the head. Oh waitaminnit, thats rape in their book.

Crap, messed up the tags!!

I have to wonder though how much this bill was _really_ oriented towards video games. It sounds more like it was more oriented towards producers like Extreme Associates and bdsm/fetish companies. Never Again and such groups have been salivating at the idea of vengance against such people for years now under the assumption that such videos cause men to 'play sadist' and do real harm.

Man this is kind of scary, I mean its crazy enough that they want to limit what Video Games can do, but now all forms of media? Ill take What is Free Speech for $500 please. And if anything like this ever did get passed, It would be a witch hunt!

I can see it now: "I was like, listening to this song right? and like it said 'I dont like the way you sound (when you scream at me)' and I so totally felt like you know, like suffocating someone so that they would like you know, not make an annoying sound you know? Im going to sue Pink Bunnie Band for 1 billion dollars for making me kill that old lady!"

Yes thats right kids, Its not the devil anymore, Media made me do it, Ill bet 5 dollars ole JT had something to do with this one too.

My faith in old people has been restored. Now, to get some free cookies...

One more win for gamers!

@Neeneko

You might just be farming some free-range truth over there. It certainly sounds plausible to me.

Wow...4-2and a few didn't think it was explanitory enough to vote yes on....we=screwed in 09 when this moron rewrites it.
Why do the keep bringing up rape?

"with the production and distribution of violent, forced, non-consensual sex acts."

"[Makers of movies depicting rape] are atrocious in what they create."

Well...at least this explains why steven king came out against it,its geared twords books too

"...we have to be careful about unintended consequences."

Translation:
"We gotta make sure bigotry and hate espoused by religion is Protected because 'Protecting our religion' is of higher import than 'Protecting the children'."

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

Holy zombie jesus. FREE SPEECH. FREE SPEECH. FREE SPEECH! It is the FOUNDATION of our society. Why are so many people so willing to throw it out the window to appease their own views on what is 'moral and right'? This was not a success. This was a stay of execution. 1/3 of the people voted for a bill that so OBVIOUSLY is unconstitutional. What will happen when it's not as clear that it's trampling all over the 1st amendment?

AND FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS SPAGHETTI, LAY OFF THE RAPE. It just makes you look even less informed than you already are.

Man, and my state was on such a roll with not getting into the whole game legislation thing. Oh well, at least the Arizona senate was smart enough to vote it down, for now.

4 - 2... scary. Absolutely terrifying that anyone could be for this.

I await 2009 - when this bill comes back stronger than ever - with utter terror.

The funny thing is, I can't think of a single instance (outside of Custer's Revenge) in any medium, be it games, books, movies, television, or whatever, where rape is depicted as anything other than an atrocious and criminal act.

I suspect you'd have to get into some pretty specific subgenre of porn to even find something that truly glorifies rape. Maybe that tells you something about those politicians...

Side note..

I wonder if AA (America's Army) will be exempt.

@Pinworm

I seriously doubt the bill will be any stronger than it was. It's still too beard of a question to pass a law on this. Even the best lawyer in the world cannot find a way to not make this bill unconstitutional.

If the First Amendment is still there in 2009, then there's nothing to worry about. What he wants is just too vague to be acceptable. The only way he can do it (in my opinion) is to post several small bills, but eventually, they'll contradict each other (if they ever happen to pass the First Amendment).

Good work, AZ, but let's not crack open that GTA party keg just yet. We're not out of the woods. They say they'll reintroduce a more specific bill; that probably means one that focuses on games, rather than cover books and movies.

BAM! Knew it was gonna tank!

OK Massachusetts, time to stop this bullshit right now and just raise the white flag on the whole "games as porn" nonsense.

How the hell was that a 4-2 win? 6-0 should be the minimum. Is there any way we can just unelect our government and get non idiots in there?

"...violent, forced, non-consensual sex acts."

What kind of f-ed up games are they playing? There's never been a rape scene in any game I've ever played.

THANK GAWD. :) Sanity has now balanced itself in Arizona. And for the two asshats who voted yes, well, they should be voted out of office ASAP. Get to it Arizona voters.

@ Dick Ward

Exactly. 4-2 is an absolute defeat. This is basically the Anti-Christ of Media... Wtf is 4-2..

These guys are just going to keep putting more and more make-up on the pig until something works. They let the whistle-blowers have their victory... then quietly push it again with different language, all while we feel like the threat is gone.

[...] Link [...]

I found it quite amusing that they claim, at the end of the news article, that published works such as the Turner Diaries would have been safe under that law despite the fact that, as written, it would have been clearly targeted. Except for the ex post facto thing.

Seriously, how is it that all these people are playing rape games when i have never seen a single one from any major video game company.

4-2.

If it wasn't 4-2, it could have been 3-3 if one person changed their mind.

I'm very concerned that 2 of the 6 Senate Judiciary Committee members thought this would be good enough to go on. It's not an absolute victory, especially depending on how elections turn out this coming year. I don't live in Arizona, but Rep. Warde Nichols might be waiting for a demographic shift within the committee which might come this election year?

While it's good news that it didn't pass, this isn't fantastic news... it feels more like a stay of execution.

@Christian Astrup

Japanese text games, maybe?

Well, at least them temporarily stops the bill. When it comes back in 2009 it'll either face the same fate as this time or get passed and then shot down for being unconstitutional.

Just because you think some form of media is bad doesn't mean you can stop other people from accessing it. Sooner or later these politicians are going to have to face this and quit wasting time trying to crush free speech.

Oh, and kudos to the Senate Judiciary Committee; you upheld free speech AND saved your taxpayers thousands or millions of dollars that would have been spent defending this bill when it came under fire.

LOL! I think Ken Cheuvront read the GP article and caught the Bible referrence when he says, "But at the same time this bill is so broad based, we have to be careful about unintended consequences."

Nothing like making a law and then having it come bite you in the ass. You KNOW those politicians have a stake in the entertainment industry or their own religions at some level.

I'm betting the new "revised" bill simply targets games.

one day
one bloody day

"[Makers of movies depicting rape] are atrocious in what they create. But at the same time this bill is so broad based, we have to be careful about unintended consequences."

This prick would censor art.

@konrad_arflane

*nods* niche erotica is the biggest area where you will see rape glorified. Though there are plenty of non-adult books that are interpreted as 'glorifying rape',.. i.e. non-erotica kink related books (since many people view kink==rape, even though the similarities between DS and conservative christian gender relations are nearly identical minus the fun sex)

The nature of this bill is about as dangerous, atrocious, and un-American as it gets. Movies, books, music, tv shows and videogames DON'T LEAD TO HORRIBLE ACTS OF MURDER.!!!!!!!!!!

Imagine if someone who's heart was broken over a failed relationship successfully sued a book company over their romance novels, which featured betrayal and heartbreak.

Imagine if someone jumped of a building to their death because they read a Superman comic and the family succeeded in suing the comics industry.

This bill, if ever successful (and I have every reason to believe it won't) will be damning to the 1st Amendment.

This had to be the worst piece of rubbish i had ever seen trying to be passed as a law.

Where would it have ended? This was basically an attempt to imprison or fine the entire american populace!
 
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MaskedPixelanteNah, I'm fine purple monkey dishwasher.07/28/2014 - 4:05pm
Sleaker@MP - I hope you didn't suffer a loss of your mental faculties attempting that.07/28/2014 - 3:48pm
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