Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little Impact

February 7, 2009 -

A proposed amendment to Utah's Truth in Advertising Law may have little impact on the sale of M-rated games to minors, according to its sponsor.

Rep. Mike Morley (R) discussed the measure, which was conceived by disbarred Miami attorney Jack Thompson, with Salt Lake Tribune reporter Glen Warchol:

Morley tells me his bill... takes a radically different approach than ill-fated past proposals... It would work like this: A store, Target for instance, could advertise that it takes precautions not to sell mature-content games to kids, presumably to attract business from concerned parents. But if one of its clerks did sell an inappropriate game to a kid—the parents could sue the store...

 

Of course, the stores can simply [decide to] not make any such advertising promises.

If this doesn't sound to you like a rigorous way to control video game sales, you're right. Morley acknowledged as much to me:

    This approach is constitutional. Will it be effective? Maybe not.

Morley assures me the Legislature has plenty of time to deal with pointless bills like this and still take care of the people's real business.

Morley made similar comments to Utah's Deseret News:

[Morley] acknowledged that his proposal was relatively limited in scope and would have little to no effect on some segments of the video game industry.

"If they're one of those places that thinks, 'Well, as long as they have a heartbeat and some money we'll sell to them,' then this won't have any impact on them," Morley said.

 

Morley said he hasn't been able to get a feel for the level of enthusiasm among House Republicans for yet another bill directed at the video game industry.

GP: Hardly a ringing endorsement from Rep. Morley for his own legislative proposal...


Comments

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little Impact

  Actually a simple way to deal with this is to place a sign in store:

"We do not enforce ESRB or MPAA ratings pursuant to Utah state code XXXXXXX" 

This would state clearly that the store does not enforce any ratings system which is what Jack is after.  IF this bill were to pass, then he would then launch a lawsuit against the ESRB and a Retailer, stating that the ESRB rating advertises in and of itself is a commitment to not sell M games to minors, regardless of store policy. 

 

This is the basis of Jack's assumption which he hopes to convince a judge if this were to become law.

 "Putting an ESRB rating on the box constitutes advertising that the someone under 17 can't buy the game. "  

Of course this is a false assumption if your read the ESRB policies, but Jack wouldn't "dirty his hands" that way.  The ESRB does not say you can't sell a game to someone because of the rating, but it is suggested you do not let someone under that age play the game.

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little Impact

"This approach is constitutional. Will it be effective? Maybe not."

You are three-thirds-right, Mr. Morley.

Is it constitutional? Fuck no, it ain't. Will it be effective if it passes? Definitely not.

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"Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

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"A Chrono Trigger is anything that unleashes its will or desire to change history!" -Gaspar

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little ...

my question is this.  since he's acknoledging the fact that all this bill will do is cause retailers to drop their volentary carding policies, why the hell is he sponsering it?

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little Impact

This approach is constitutional. Will it be effective? Maybe not.

Morley assures me the Legislature has plenty of time to deal with pointless bills like this and still take care of the people's real business.

I know what I'm going to say isn't as classy or informative as my fellow GPers' comments above mine, but...

Oh, shit! No, he di'in't! roflmao!!

Didja hear that, Jacky-Boy?! "Pointless bills"! Even the guy who supports you doesn't have faith in this pathetic bill you crafted!

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Game on, brothers and sisters.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------ "Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither." -- Ben Franklin Game on, brothers and sisters.

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little ...

They also seem to be under the impression that this is an advertising campaign by the retail stores

last time I checked they didn't really addvertise this, just whenever they are asked about selling M rated games to minors they state that they have a policy to card anyone that looks under 25

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little Impact

"Target for instance, could advertise that it takes precautions not to sell mature-content games to kids, presumably to attract business from concerned parents. But if one of its clerks did sell an inappropriate game to a kid—the parents could sue the store..."

Somehow I get the impression that the folks behind this bill are under the misapprehension that there are many 'concerned' parents out there.  I think the reality is that the vast majority of parents see this whole videogame witch hunt for what it is - a complete waste of their time.  Most parents just don't buy into the notion that videogames are harmful to kids.  Sure, there are a few parents who are too stupid or too crazy to see the reality, but they are hardly going to pose a threat to the game companies.

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little Impact

Of course, we are talking about Utah here.  Mormons are a bit more uppity than your average parent.

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little ...

"Of course, the stores can simply [decide to] not make any such advertising promises."

Well obviously they won't, especially if it means that they can get sued.

 

"...to attract business from concerned parents."

*laughs* what? Yeah that's the demographic all the stores want *roll*

 

"If they're one of those places that thinks, 'Well, as long as they have a heartbeat and some money we'll sell to them..."

Um I believe you're talking about movies and music (not games) which don't require any form of ID to buy mature content.

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little Impact

I actually pointed this out when the bill was first introduced.  Glad to know that Morley can see the holes in JT's plan.  Although, why he'd waste taxpayer time and money after acknowledging that is dumbfounding.

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little Impact

Morley said he hasn't been able to get a feel for the level of enthusiasm among House Republicans for yet another bill directed at the video game industry.

Cool. Sounds to me like the House is already realizing that more of these bills is just like the boy crying 'wolf' yet again.

GameSnooper

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little Impact

Actually this is not a toothless law.

Figure that this will affect all nationwide chain stores like Target, Best Buy, etc. Now figure that these companies all have instore policies about selling to underage buyers put there as a means to save face in the seige to "save our children". They have already pledged not to sell to children and cannot reneg without giving Jacko ammunition for another media blitz.

So all Jacko has to do is move to Utah and send his kid in to buy video games. This bill will just give him a new source income.

So, if companies drop their practice of carding kids Jacko wins. If they keep up there PR but one slacker/ bribed cashier sells the game to Jacko's kid, he still wins.

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little Impact

Like I said, sometimes I have to wonder if JT is crazy like a fox and is shrewder than we give him credit for.  In addition to what I said above, he could also use this as an attempt to get his law license back by pulling-up stakes and moving to Utah ang applying for it there (Remember, he can no longer practice law in the state of Florida.  It doesn't say he couldn't do it anywhere else.)  He may have to try and convince his wife to quit her practice in Florida and come with him.  But if she's the typical subservient Christian woman I think she is, odds are she probably won't put up much resistance to the idea. 

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little ...

We don't know for sure. She's a much more successful lawyer that he was, I doubt she'd agree to pack up her family and move over some law that's basically the equivalent of an annoying fly buzzing around the gaming industry.

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little ...

I think by now She wouldn't  go with him because that JT acted like an ass at the florida Bar

America has just became its own version of the Jerry Springer Show after a bizarre moment in Florida involving a carnival worker.

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little Impact

if they stop advertizing that they will card, but still do, Jack loses. It's not false advertizing that way, since they didn't say they won't card.

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Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little Impact

So... he ADMITS he's just flushing taxpayer money down the toilet? Good job writing his opponent's campaign ads.

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little Impact

Uh oh, this guy made a BIG mistake. JT's going to kill his fax machine with all sorts of crap trying to get him impeached now.

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little ...

Can someone Warn him before JT manages to break his fax machine (like he did to Judge moore)

America has just became its own version of the Jerry Springer Show after a bizarre moment in Florida involving a carnival worker.

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little Impact

"Well, as long as they have a heartbeat and some money we'll sell to them,' then this won't have any impact on them"

This is cleary discrimination against zombies.

Also, MonkeyPeaches, that example wouldn't work.  Target sold the product to a parent, therefore it did not in fact sell to a kid so no lawsuit.  Once a retailer sells an item, they no longer have responsibility for it (outside any warranty/return policies).

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little ...

This won't hold up. If Target advertised that it didn't sell M-Rated games to kids, and some parents bought an M-Rated game for their kid, then they could sue for Target selling it to them.

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little ...

The difference with your statement is the PARENT buying the game FOR their child. Target would be in the clear.

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little ...

A politician sounding less than enthused about something the Utah Eagle Forum supports?  This guy is going down.


I am red. Red is demigod.

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little ...

I betcha Jack will be calling for Morley to resign or be impeached over these statements...

 

Oh, and since this is obviously a means to open the way for trial lawyers to get rich(er), how is suing the retailer going to shut down the games industry?  Jack still doesn't understand that the retailers are a totally seperate entity from the games industry.

Take Two will still be doing just fine if this bill passes. 

Perhaps Jack should move on to other things like getting evolution out of our schools or jailing homosexuals- he would have just as much impact.

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little Impact

"If this doesn't sound to you like a rigorous way to control video game sales, you're right. Morley acknowledged as much to me:

    This approach is constitutional. Will it be effective? Maybe not.

Morley assures me the Legislature has plenty of time to deal with pointless bills like this and still take care of the people's real business."

Wow, Thompson was right, "[the video game] industry is in trouble." Oh noes!

[/sarcasm]

"If they're one of those places that thinks, 'Well, as long as they have a heartbeat and some money we'll sell to them,' then this won't have any impact on them," Morley said.

So  basically it's only going to affect those stores who are trying to do the right thing and make the occasional mistake by selling an M game to a 16 year old, whereas those who will merilly sell an M to a 12 year old will be whistling along completely unaffected. Great bill Jack, great bill.

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little Impact

Wow Morley doesn't even sound impressed with this. Can someone in Utah right your representatives and give them a piece of your mind. He doesn't exactly sound like someone who should be in power anyway *sighs*

If this gets even a breath of consideration, Jack will proclaim this as some sort of phenomenal success and a victory against the industry when really it does, ironically, jack and shit...and Jack is leaving town :)

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little ...

Even if this bill is essentially toothless, it needs to be refused just on principle.  Otherwise, Jack will be crowing about this and we'll never hear the end of it.

As someone in another thread said, this would be the piece of legislation he would need for the "floogates to open" and go after all those publishers he's had a vendetta against.

I've often believed that if Jack Thompson is indeed crazy, then he's crazy like a fox.  He figures if he can't get the video game companies and publishers through direct means, he can try to get them on a technicality like this bill would suggest.  He knows how we in America love to sue (remember the Hot Coffee-related class action lawsuit?), and who's to say he or someone else won't take advantage of this law when the opportunity arises?

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little ...

If Jack were crazy like a fox, he'd still be a lawyer right now.  No.  Jack is crazy like the guy with the straitjacket who thinks he's Napoleon.

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little ...

If it's as pointless/ineffective as the rep says, then i feel you've pretty much summed up the intentions behind it.

Jack's bigger (i guess...relatively speaking) proposals have all been shot down.  So with this, he's starting at baby steps, hoping a victory, however small or microscopic, will get a ball rolling ever so slightly.

Will it work? no, i don't think so.  If he wanted to use a sort of "hit and run" tactic (that is to say, small victory here, small there, hoping that even if they are completely pointless, they'll add up to allowing him something big) then the time for that has passed with his disbarment.

His disbarrment hasn't seem to put him down in this bill (as noted in other articles), the second he makes a really big move, all it'll take is one person to do an "expose" on him, and it'll all crumble.

Of course, people may continue to run with it, and not show he's disbarred (continuing the "former attorney bit") due to the sensationalist possibilities of reporting on videogame legislations...but who knows?

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little ...

"Of course, the stores can simply [decide to] not make any such advertising promises."

And there's how each and every single store that sells games can avoid this silly little law. They can still instruct their clerks to card people for M rated games, but not make statements that they do so. That way, they still continue their efforts to ensure people get the appropriate games, while at the same time, brats who manage to get fake IDs, or lazy/inattentive clerks don't cause the store to receive a fine.

I wonder how long it will be before Jack pulls all his "proof" and "expert testimony" and support for this bill when he reads the interview, claiming that it's failure is due to the sponsor having no confidence in it. Or perhaps he will accuse him of being bought out by the video game industry, as he has with others before. Either way, there is no downside here for the video game industry, or the retail industry which it would have more effect on.

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little Impact

So wait... would that advertising include ESRB rating notifications... and if so, wouldn't that just undermine parent's abilities to make smart game purchases for their kiddies?

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little ...

...pointless bills like this...

I think that pretty well sums this up.

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little ...

There really needs to be some penelty for passing bad laws.  Unfortunatly people are rewarded for behavior like this rather then punished.

Re: Utah Sponsor: Jack Thompson Game Bill May Have Little ...

Jack Thompson, wasting tax money his whole life.  First starting with his early education he still hasn't put to use, and most recently this.  Where his fail boat sinks next, no one knows.  The fail sail is always at full mask, and he is one man that is proud of it.

Question, what has JT ever gotten to go his own way?

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