Senator Joseph Lieberman Bids Senate Bye-Bye

December 20, 2012 -

Senator Joseph Lieberman (ID - Connecticut), who gamers might know as one of the original critics of video game violence, is retiring from the U.S. Senate at the end of the month after a 24-year term.

Back in the early 90s, Lieberman led hearings on video game violence and threatened the industry that if it didn't do something, Congress would.  And so, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) was born.

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Cybersecurtity Act Sponsors Have a War of Words with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

July 30, 2012 -

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and the co-sponsors of his Cybersecurity Act of 2012 are not pleased with the conservative lobbying group the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and are firing back at the group for what they call "mischaracterizations" about the latest revisions to the bill. More specifically, Senator Lieberman is upset over a letter that the group sent to U.S. Senators urging them not to support the bill. The group opposes the further regulations the bill would put on U.S.

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How Lawmakers Use Scary Words To Rush Legislation

June 15, 2012 -

Lawmakers seems to believe that if you put the term "Cyber" together with scary terms like "war," "terror," and "security" that you can get the power you need to pass bills and enable new powers for the government. The same tactics were employed quite unsuccessfully with SOPA and PIPA, bills that used words like "theft," "copyright infringement," "piracy," and "counterfeiting" to fight against supposed international crime. 

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Sen. Lieberman: Cybersecurity Act of 2012 Will Die if Not Voted On Soon

June 14, 2012 -

The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (CSA) lead sponsor Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) says that the bill will be dead in the water if it is not voted on before July. The Cybersecurity Act of 2012, which includes some of the language from the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), could be voted on before that because it has the support of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). While the Administration support's Lieberman's bill, the President said earlier this year that he would veto CISPA in its current form if it crossed his desk.

Center for Democracy & Technology's Open Letter to the Senate on SECURE IT Act

May 15, 2012 -

Earlier this week the Center for Democracy & Technology sent a letter to the Senate expressing its grave concerns over the cybersecurity bill sponsored by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT.) and Susan Collins (R-ME.). The letter was signed by 21 organizations and individuals that see the Senate’s version of CISPA (SECURE IT) as deeply flawed and dangerous to Internet freedom, individual liberty, and privacy.

Senator Joe Lieberman’s Cybersecurity Bill Faces Uphill Battle

May 14, 2012 -

Sen. Joe Lieberman’s (I- CT.) cybersecurity bill - a counterpart of sorts to the House's Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) - is running into plenty of opposition from Democrats in the Senate who say the bill does not do enough to protect the privacy of citizens. Adding to the fact that most Senate Republicans don't like Lieberman’s bill is that several prominent Democrats don't like it either.

Franken Freezes Out Lieberman

December 18, 2009 -

While not game-related, it is very entertaining, something not always associated with Senate floor proceedings.

Check out the embedded video of Senator Al Franken (D-MN) denying Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) an extra “moment” to finish his remarks in the midst of a debate on healthcare.

Add in reaction from a peeved Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and the event comes off as a real-life Saturday Night Live sketch.

More videos and commentary are available here.

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Where Have All the Critics Gone?

December 3, 2008 -

When President-elect Barack Obama announced this week that Sen. Hillary Clinton was his choice for Secretary of State, we noted that the diplomatic nature of her new job would distance the former First Lady from domestic social issues, including those relating to video game content.

And, as Hillary moves away from the video game arena, one thing becomes clear: The video game industry no longer faces any high-profile political opposition in the United States. Sounds crazy, I know. But consider that, in 2008:

  • Jack Thompson self-destructed. Sure, Thompson will still be a critic, but his recent lifetime disbarment flushed whatever mainstream credibility he had left.
  • The National Institute on Media and the Family was co-opted by the video game industry. Earlier this year NIMF accepted a $50,000 grant from the ESA, a mind-bogglingly bad decision. How does a watchdog organization justify taking money from the people it is supposed to be watching? Not surprisingly, NIMF's 2008 Annual Video Game Report Card was a valentine to the game biz.
  • Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) has, for some time, been preoccupied by internecine battles with his former friends in the Democratic Party. He hasn't been heard from as a game industry critic since he stood with David Walsh during the release of NIMF's 2007 report card. In fact, most recently, Lieberman (and Clinton) offered their support for the ESRB's new game rating summaries.
  • Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), as mentioned, will be focused on foreign affairs.

There are remaining critics, to be sure, but they are fragmented and most lack the national profile of Thompson, Walsh, Lieberman and Clinton. Will one of these emerge to fill the void? Hit the jump to see...

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ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

November 23, 2008 -

In a no-holds-barred interview with Crispy Gamer, Entertainment Consumers Association president Hal Halpin dishes on the uneasy relationship between Washington, D.C. and the video game community.

As part of his leadership role with the ECA, Hal does quite a few interviews, but this one with CG's James Fudge is probably the most in-depth yet. Here are some of Hal's thoughts:

On game publisher group the ESA's new (in 2008) practice of making campaign donations:

The [ESA] represents the rights of game publishing companies and as such has a duty to do what it can to influence legislators by lobbying. I know that starting up a PAC (Political Action Committee) was a decision that they grappled with for over a decade... PACs can be effective tools, but yes, you do run the risk – nowadays – that the ends may not justify the means...

On game ratings and whether the industry does enough to keep mature-themed games away from minors:

I’ve been a fan of ESRB for quite some time. Of all of the ratings systems... it really is the most comprehensive and valuable... That said, there’s always room for improvement. Perhaps ESRB having more independence from the ESA would be one great step. Another might be to work more closely with us... which we’re working on...

 

I do [think the industry is well at keeping M-rated games away from minors]...

On supposed tensions between the ESA (publishers group) and the ECA (consumers group):

We should be clear that the ESA represents the rights of game publishing companies, not gamers... It’s a trade association that looks after the interests of their member corporations... That said, much of the legislative work that the ESA has done over the years, with regard to First Amendment in particular, has benefitted the sector as a whole – gamers included.

 

As Mike Gallagher (ESA president) and I have discussed several times, the vast majority of the time ESA and ECA are on the same page... but there are clearly other times where our interests are necessarily divergent. Inherently, Mike’s issues will sometimes be in opposition to the best interests of consumers solely because they’re in the best interests of publishing companies...

On frequent game violence critic Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT):

Joe Lieberman has been largely misunderstood and painted with a very broad brush in my opinion. While I haven’t agreed with much of what he has said in the past, he alone among legislators was responsible for effecting non-legislative change in our business and did it with a lot of class, I might add.

 

Again, back when I was running [game retailers group] IEMA, I received a call from one of his staff inviting me to his office in Hartford. We had a frank meeting in which he requested that game retailers begin carding for the sale of mature-rated games in much the same way that movie theatre owners were doing, via self-regulatory efforts, with R-rated movies. The IEMA retailers... met the challenge head-on and reacted quickly and efficiently – changing the way in which games were sold, forever.

On game rentals and used game trade-ins by consumers, which some publishers and developers would like to see ended:

I understand the concerns that developer friends of mine have about not getting a second bite of the apple... In the movie business, they produce a theatrical version and then DVD, Blu-ray, Video on Demand (VoD), PSP and pay-per-view versions...

 

[Game biz types] see rental and used as businesses in which they don’t get to participate. And while I understand and appreciate their perspective... I’m still not convinced that rental and used are bad for the sector. We’ve witnessed how rental has provided a low-cost venue for people to try before you buy; same for used...

On the U.S. Supreme Court and its potential impact on video games:

Well, [a change in the balance of the court] will most definitely present a problem for the industry, but not necessarily consumers. The more conservative judges are also the ones that tend to side with intellectual property owners over consumers, for instance. Tech policy is in for a major shift from the right to the left in my opinion, and that would be very good for consumers, but quite disconcerting for the IP-concerned trade associations (MPAA, RIAA and ESA).

 

We’ve also heard that the conservative judges would be more likely to be open to anti-games/gamer bills, so a shift to the more liberal side would be good for both the trade and consumers in that regard.


Hal also points interested gamers to a detailed listing of ECA's position statements.

FULL DISCLOSURE DEPT: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.

Hillary, Lieberman Hail ESRB's New Rating Summaries

November 12, 2008 -

Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) have praised a new ratings supplement announced by the ESRB today. Both senators have been harsh critics of the video game industry in the past, lending extra weight to their support for the inititiative, which the ESRB is calling “rating summaries.”

The summaries, which provide additional detail on game ratings, can be accessed via the ESRB website or through sites which host the ESRB widget (like the one in GP's sidebar). The ESRB's new mobile site allows parents to check the summaries in real-time while making game purchasing decisions. The new rating summaries go into effect today and apply to all games rated after July 1, 2008.

Of the enhancement, ESRB president Patricia Vance said:

Parents can always use more help when making choices as to which games are right for their children. With our new rating summaries, which provide exclusive and unprecedented insight into the nature of the content that triggered a given rating assignment, parents will be that much more empowered in making those choices.

Sen. Clinton said:

This new supplement to the ratings is a real gift for parents as we head into this holiday season.  Parents need all the information they can get to make more informed decisions about what’s appropriate for their children.  These new rating summaries offer more helpful information than ever before to help parents to get involved and get informed.

While Sen. Lieberman added:

For well over a decade I have called upon the video game industry to inform consumers about the content in video games so they could make the right choices for their children.  One result was the creation of the ESRB rating system... The ESRB has now taken consumer education one step further with their new rating summaries, which provide a greater level of detail about game content to help parents be even more prepared to make informed game selections for their children.  I applaud the ESRB for taking this proactive step to inform video game consumers.

Also on board are National PTA president Jan Harp Domene and Dr. David Walsh of the National Institute on Media and the Family, a frequent game industry critic.

Check out Far Cry 2's ESRB page for an example of the new rating summaries.

GP: This is a smart move by the increasingly proactive ESRB. The rating summaries certainly can't hurt and the backing of Hillary and Lieberman may assist in heading off a pair of bills presently in Congress which seek to bring "truth" to video game ratings.

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PHX Corp@Adam802 We'll break out the popcorn in June12/19/2014 - 9:23pm
ZippyDSMleeMaskedPixelante: I'm itching to start it too but I will wait till the patch goes live. >>12/19/2014 - 7:52pm
Adam802Leland Yee and Jackson get trial date: http://sfbay.ca/2014/12/18/leland-yee-keith-jackson-get-trial-date/12/19/2014 - 5:24pm
MaskedPixelanteNevermind. Turns out when they said "the patch is now live", they meant "it's still in beta".12/19/2014 - 5:07pm
MaskedPixelanteSo I bought Dark Souls PC, and it's forcing me to log into GFWL. Did I miss something?12/19/2014 - 5:00pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/12/republicans-may-have-plan-to-save-internet-providers-from-utility-rules/ this is intreasting. congress may put net nutrality in to law to avoid title 2 classification12/19/2014 - 2:45pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.polygon.com/2014/12/19/7421953/bullshit-cards-against-humanity-donated-250k-sunlight-foundation I have to admit I like the choice o organization. congrats to CAH.12/19/2014 - 1:51pm
E. Zachary KnightIf you are downloading a copy in order to bypass the DRM, then you are legally in the wrong. Ethically, if you bought the game, it doesn't matter where you download it in the future.12/19/2014 - 12:06pm
InfophileEZK: Certainly better that way, though not foolproof. Makes me think though: does it count as piracy if you download a game you already paid for, just not from the place you paid for it at? Ethically, I'd say no, but legally, probably yes.12/19/2014 - 11:20am
ZippyDSMleeAnd I still spent 200$ in the last month on steam/GOG stuff sales get me nearly every time ><12/19/2014 - 10:55am
ZippyDSMleeMaskedPixelante:And this is why I'm a one legged bandit.12/19/2014 - 10:51am
ZippyDSMleeE. Zachary Knight: I buy what I can as long as I can get cracks for it...then again it I could have gotton Lords of the Fallen for 30 with DLC I would have ><12/19/2014 - 10:50am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/12/19/marvel-vs-capcom-origins-leaving-online-storefronts-soon/ Speaking of "last chance to buy", Marvel vs. Capcom Origins is getting delisted from all major storefronts. Behold the wonders of the all digital future.12/19/2014 - 9:59am
MaskedPixelanteSeriously, the so-called "Last Chance" sale was up to 80% off, while this one time only return sale goes for a flat 85% off with a 90% off upgrade if you buy the whole catalogue.12/19/2014 - 9:37am
E. Zachary KnightInfophile, Tha is why I buy only DRM-free games.12/19/2014 - 9:37am
MaskedPixelanteNordic is back on GOG for one weekend only. And at 85% off no less, which is kind of a slap in the face to people who paid more during the "NORDIC IS LEAVING FOREVER BUY NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE" sale, but whatever...12/19/2014 - 9:28am
InfophileRe PHX's link: This is one of the reasons the digital revolution isn't all it's cracked up to be. There's also the flip side where Sony can block access to games you've bought if they ban your account for unrelated reasons. All power is theirs.12/19/2014 - 8:52am
MaskedPixelantehttp://uplay.ubi.com/#!/en-US/events/uplay-15-days You can win FREE GAMES FOR A YEAR! Unfortunately, they're Ubisoft games.12/18/2014 - 6:29pm
Papa MidnightAh, so it was downtime. I've been seeing post appear in my RSS feed, but I was unable to access GamePolitics today across several ISPs.12/18/2014 - 6:06pm
james_fudgeSorry for the downtime today, folks.12/18/2014 - 5:54pm
 

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