Arizona State Senate Rejects “Dangerous” Media Content Bill

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.

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