Pennsylvania Task Force Says NO to Video Game Legislation

There is good news out of Pennsylvania today, as the commonwealth will apparently not pursue video game legislation.

A working group assigned by the Pennsylvania legislature to study the video game violence issue has strongly recommended that no laws regarding video game content should be enacted.

The Task Force on Violent Interactive Video Games began meeting in November, 2007 and has just released its findings. The group emphatically recommends that the Pennsylvania General Assembly not pursue video game content legislation. Indeed, the language used by Task Force leaves no room for doubt as to its view:

The General Assembly must avoid enacting restrictive legislation similar to those that have been invalidated by the Federal courts.

The Task Force also called for more research into the effects of games on young people and suggested that legislators fund a program to educate consumers about video game issues.

Among those who testified before the Task Force are some familiar names:

  • Patricia Vance, ESRB
  • Cheryl Olson and Lawrence Kutner, authors of Grand Theft Childhood
  • Dr. Patrick Markey, Villanova University

Task force members included Markey, as well as a pair of well-known First Amendment lawyers, Clay Calvert and Robert Richards. Representatives from the ESA, MPAA and RIAA also participated. Asked about his impressions of the task force and its work, Markey told GamePolitics:

The task force members had extremely different backgrounds — experts on First Amendment issues, social science, clinical psychology and members of  the game industry, law enforcement, and parents.  I was the only member who was a  social scientist.  My main job was to discuss violent video game research (pros and cons). 


Although there were disagreements at times, I think the members of the task force worked together extremely well and came to a fairly "common sense" conclusion.

GP: The 69-page report is a document you will likely want to have a copy of. It does a nice job of summarizing the research and legislative issues surrounding violent games and also has a handy listing of the federal court challenges to various state laws. For your copy, click here.

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  1. oto kirlama says:

    I’m all for freedom of ttnet vitamin speech and allowing rent a car game makers to put whatever they want in games, but there’s one thing about this app that has me scratching my head.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but from araç kiralama the previous article araba kiralama on this I gathered that players can use Google maps in-game to find the other (real-life?) dealers in their area.  If this is the case, has travesti anyone considered what’s stopping someone from using this app to actually move drugs between hands for reals?

    But majority araba kiralama of their outrage araç kiralama stems from what it could DO TO children, not the content itself.  Talk to one of these people and you’ll find they don’t think any books kiralık araba should be banned from children.  Mention American Psycho and they talk about kiralık araç the redeeming value of using imagination to construct a story.  Reading, no matter what the content, is largely viewed as a consequenceless activity for people of any age.  The reason why I mention American Psycho is because of the content itself.  Gaming never has and likely never will have any scenes where someone has sex with a severed head.  Not gonna happen.  Yet despite this, they’ll fight tooth and nail to protect their children from two boys kissing in Bully but whatever they read is harmless… yeah.

    The entire arguement is kiralık oto based upon a social normality inflicted by luddites who can’t figure out the controls for Halo so it’s frightening and terrifying and obviously the cause of youth violence on the rise even though, in reality, it’s in decline (which is actually a HUGE suprise given minibüs kiralama the economies status).  In  a perfect world, we would have parents that actually parent.  The idea of sales restrictions on media on oto kiralama any form to accomidate parental unwillingness to get involved with their child’s life is the real problem to me.  Here I am, 32 years old, and being held up at a self-scan rent a car needing to show ID before I can buy a $10 M rated game all because Soccer Momthra can’t be bothered to look at the crap Billy Genericallystupidson does in his free time.  It’s too hard for her, so I have to suffer?

  2. krotoslol says:

    yay. 😀

    =========================================================================== Jack Thompson is vanquished!!!

  3. sakurakira says:

    I traveled through Pennsylvania on two seperate occasions recently, and I don’t recall seeing such a cute sign :(. Anyway, hooray for the keystone state! Thanks for the copy of the report, I’m sure it will make for excellent reading.

  4. Zero Beat says:

    It seems that they are learning from history.  Avoiding a losing and expensive court battle is a good thing during any situation, but given the current economic situation, it’s even more important to not waste money.  They probably did pay for this group to come to this conclusion, but this is probably a lot less expensive than passing and then arguing a video game law in court, followed by losing and paying for the industry’s attorneys.

    And normally I’m all for research, but I’d rather wait for things to improve a bit before we delve into matters that aren’t easily proved one way or another.


    "That’s not ironic. That’s justice."

  5. Zero Beat says:

    Funny thing about politicians who say "this is a more narrowly tailored bill unlike any before" is that they are copypasta with a little cilantro and maybe an extra meatball, so they always fail for the exact same reasons.


    "That’s not ironic. That’s justice."

  6. illspirit says:

    Yea, it’s a good thing Bork got, err, Borked. But the other conservatives up there are not like him. Bork didn’t really care so much what the Constitution actually says as he cared about "traditions" he thought would have fit in back in the days of witch burning and such.

    I don’t have much faith in Scalia these days, but I’m quite confident that Justices Thomas, Alito, and Roberts would overturn Federal game legislation. If only because it goes outside of what they view as a proper reading of the interstate commerce clause.

    The so-called "liberals" on the court should be the ones to worry about. Stephens, Breyer, and Souter would likely vote in favor of Federal game restrictions. Doing otherwise would jeopardize the sweeping commerce clause powers most of their jurisprudence is based on. See also: Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1 (2005), where the stereotypical "liberal v. conservative" positions (minus Scalia, grrr..) were turned on their head. And Ginsburg could go either way. Especially since she likes using foreign law to shape the US Constitution.

    Likewise, Obama’s nominees could be pretty bad. For instance, Gov. Granholm is rumored to be on the short list, and she signed an anti-game law. Then there’s professor Cass Sunstein, who is in favor of regulating/censoring political speech on all websites in the name of "fairness." This doesn’t sound like someone who would care one bit about the First Amendment when it comes to games..

    Had McOldGuy won, we might have ended up with a Justice Alex Kozinski. Or one of the other libertarian-ish Federal judges nominated by Reagan (two or three of whom have written opinions striking down anti-game laws). Oh well. Maybe next time. And hopefully with a less crappy candidate. :p

    But, yea, it’s good to see the Keystone State still has some sense. I just hope Cali gets to SCOTUS and we can kill this anti-game crap for good before any other States jump on the ban-wagon.

  7. GoodRobotUs says:

    ‘The General Assembly must avoid enacting restrictive legislation similar to those that have been invalidated by the Federal courts.’

    Unfortunately, there’s a politician-sized hole in that statement.

    It says nothing about ones that aren’t similar to those that have been invalidated by the courts.

    Think about it, how many politicians have said ‘Ah, but this one is a different approach that is constitutionally sound’.

    I’m sure it wasn’t intended to be a loophole, and it’s no major deal because I’m pretty much convinced that, at least as far as legislation is concerned, the whole ‘Ban those filthy games!’ attitude is pretty close to a dead duck soapbox nowadays, however, this is more a case of rear-end protection for the state.

  8. Falcon4196 says:

    I’m proud to be a Pennsylvanian today.  Here’s hoping they listen and don’t waste any of my tax money.

  9. TBoneTony says:

    That is great news.

    I hope more is done so one day, maybe in the next 10 or 20 years that we might see a real Adult rating being used for commercial videogames.

    Because no matter how they see it, the M17+ rating is the closest thing for a rating used at a commercial standard for us Adults who hate being treated like teenagers.


    Hope the views are later translated into society.


    Sadly I think that it will be a long time for society as a whole to change.

  10. digdug says:

    I cant believe the quote by Robert Bork. He calls for an outright “censorship regime” for sex and violence, and this is someone that supposedly reveres the constitution and bill of rights. Thank god that idiot never got on the supreme court. This is why it was so important that Obama win too because I think theres already 4 conservatives like Bork on there now, Scalia being one. One more (from McCain) would have been a majority.

    The report is worth reading. Its mostly pro-video games imo, but it has negative views too. The only thing I kept waiting for was something about how real violent crime has dropped so much in the past couple decades at the same time the video game industry has exploded. That seems like all the evidence you need right there.

  11. magic_taco says:

    I guess…But i do think this is a right that gamers should have and gamers do have rights to have their freedom protected.

  12. E. Zachary Knight says:

    Sure I can see that. But can you really have a balanced report on the future of an industry without any input from that industry?

    I think they had quite a bit of professional opposing view points to keep it balanced and from getting trashed in the way you state.

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  13. Soldat_Louis says:

    "Representatives from the ESA, MPAA and RIAA also participated."

    And I personally have a problem with this. You know, without them, this report may have opposed leglisation anyway. But with them participating, this report could not enforce it. And I see the criticism coming : "of course the report is against legislation : it was written by the entertainment industry !" (it’s not true, but who cares ?). Or "waaaah waaaah why haven’t you asked our watchdog organization to participate/testify ?".

  14. Father Time says:

    Perhaps they were brought in to discuss the impacts of the movie ratings and the parental advisory sticker.

    It’s the only explanation I could think of (that is if the panel requested them to be there instead of the RIAA and MPAA requesting an invitation).


    "What for you bury me in the cold cold ground?" – Tasmanian devil

  15. Zero Beat says:

    Might be a "First they came for the lepers, and I did nothing" kind of scenario.  Essentially, they don’t want to see any potential video game laws even considered let alone passed, because first it’s video games, then movies, then music.


    "That’s not ironic. That’s justice."

  16. Pixelantes Anonymous says:

    "and wait, the MPAA and RIAA were brought into the discussions?"

    That was my first reaction on the issue as well. What possible contribution could they have had to the proceedings that made any sense, considering ESA was already represented as well?

  17. zel says:

    "A working group assigned by the Pennsylvania legislature to study the video game violence issue has recommended that no laws regarding video game content should be enacted."

    Excellent, can we get this to happen on a federal level? 😛

    and wait, the MPAA and RIAA were brought into the discussions? lol well i guess this is one time we can say thank you RIAA and MPAA.


    I am a signature virus, please copy and paste me into your signature to help me propagate.

  18. Spartan says:

    As a former Pennsylvanian I’m happy too!


    "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" – Herodotus

  19. zel says:

    Well, i’m thinking they may have been on our side in this case. Perhaps the group likend game content to media similar to movies and music hence protecting games as an entertainment medium and not a toy for children only thus giving us protection as a form of expression and prompting them to call the MPAA and RIAA in to the discussions. or am i being too naive/optimistic? 😛


    I am a signature virus, please copy and paste me into your signature to help me propagate.

  20. BearDogg-X says:

    SURVEY SAYS………One More For The Good Guys.

    While you’re at it, send a copy to each of the other states that haven’t failed in the federal courts yet.

    Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra.

    Proud supporter of the New Orleans Saints, LSU, 1st Amendment; Real American; Hound of Justice; Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always

    Saints(3-4), LSU(7-0)

  21. deuxhero says:

    State governments have less power (and are therefore less corrupt) and acctualy live near the people who vote for them. Federal politics (and Illinois) are the corrupt ones.

  22. Corey says:

    Don’t be so quick to pat the politicians on the back just yet. The group who created the report were not politicians. They were scientists, lawyers, industry members, and parents. And this does not mean the state legislators won’t persue a game law. This report is just a reccomendation. We’ll see how smart the politicians are in the comming weeks/months.

  23. SeanB says:

    So your saying politicians did something right? They’re actually smart?


    I demand to see some proof!

  24. Neeneko says:

    PA has never been all that patient with people like JT in the first place, so he was probably going to be harmless here.

    While PA, like anywhere else in the US, has a strong evangelical community it’s Quaker roots still pop up here and there ^_^

  25. magic_taco says:

    Well, Atleast Pennsylvania Gamers will be happy about this, This would keep a certain disbarred and shame of the human race  attorney jack thompson from causing trouble.

    I hope we can get that here in florida, i just wanna see the look on his face if they did that here.

  26. Geoff says:

    Pretty much anoyone here could have given the same recommendations years ago and without the cost to the taxpayers.  (I’m assuming this was government-funded.)  I’m not really impressed, though I’m known for being a cynic.

    At least there was some common sense this time around instead of the usual crap.


    Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cook-book! Little Red Cook-book!

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