South African Watchdog Group Wants Violent Games & Music Taken Off Shelves

August 26, 2008 -

South Africa's Independent Online reports on yet another attempt to link media violence to the real deal.

The IO reports that Cape Town-based watchdog group the Family Policy Institute has petitioned South Africa's government to recall all music containing violent lyrics and all video games with violent content.

FPI spokesman Errol Naidoo made the request, expressing the group's concerns over potential negative influences on young people. The move comes in the wake of the samurai sword killing of a 16-year-old by a schoolmate who allegedly dressed himself like Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison (left).

Prefering not to wait for any type of inquiry, Naidoo requested the recall of the games and CDs "pending the outcome of the investigation". From the Independent Online:

Naidoo cited the case of two US teens who were convicted of murder in 2003 after stabbing a friend 20 times and slitting his throat after listening to Slipknot's song Disasterpiece.

He also cited the case of Bangkok teenager Polwat Chinno who had killed a taxi driver by punching and stabbing him after playing the computer game Grand Theft Auto. "Police believe he was acting out a scene in the violent video game," Naidoo said.

He said there was no guarantee that removing violent music and games would prevent violent behaviour, but that it would "provide added peace of mind for families".

117 comments

Report: Obama VP Choice Biden is Anti-consumer on Tech Issues

August 26, 2008 -

CNet's Declan McCullough reports that Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) has an anti-consumer track record when it comes to technology.

In the past the Democratic VP nominee-apparent has stood with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) on copyright issues.

From the Cnet report:

[Biden] has spent most of his Senate career allied with the FBI and copyright holders... ranks toward the bottom of CNET's Technology Voters' Guide, [his] anti-privacy legislation was actually responsible for the creation of PGP [encryption]...

 

Biden became a staunch ally of Hollywood and the recording industry in their efforts to expand copyright law. He sponsored a bill in 2002 that would have make it a federal felony to trick certain types of devices into playing unauthorized music or executing unapproved computer programs...

 

A few months later, Biden signed a letter that urged the Justice Department "to prosecute individuals who intentionally allow mass copying from their computer over peer-to-peer networks." Critics of this approach said that the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America, and not taxpayers, should pay for their own lawsuits...

 

All of which meant that nobody in Washington was surprised when Biden was one of only four U.S. senators invited to a champagne reception in celebration of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act hosted by the MPAA's Jack Valenti, the RIAA, and the Business Software Alliance. (Photos are here.)

McCullough reports that Biden has "steadfastly refused" to answer Cnet's questions on his tech voting record.

GP: It's ironic that Biden has chosen to portray himself as an intellectual property rights champion. He has twice been outed for plagiarizing.

Report: While Still at RIAA, New ESA Counsel Lauded Jammie Thomas Music Verdict

August 22, 2008 -

As GamePolitics reported earlier this week, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the lobbying group which represents the interests of U.S. video game publishers, announced that it has hired Kenneth Doroshow to serve as the organization's General Counsel.

Doroshow was formerly employed as Senior Vice President, Litigation and Legal Affairs for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). During Doroshow's tenure the RIAA gained a reputation for employing heavy-handed legal tactics against individual file sharers.

New York attorney Ray Beckerman, who runs the Recording Industry vs The People blog, worries that gamers will now face the same type of oppressive enforcement strategies:

I guess we may have to rename this blog "Gaming Industry vs. The People" some day, as we have just learned that Kenneth Doroshow -- the RIAA executive who was supposed to debate the statutory damages issue with me back in March, but who chose to avoid that subject and instead recounted his opinion of the facts in Capitol v. Thomas, and who later inserted some paper he'd written into the transcript of the conference instead of allowing his talk to be reported -- has left the RIAA and joined the ESA (the "Entertainment Software Association").

 

If he accomplishes for game manufacturers what he accomplished for the recording industry, I would say the industry's prospects are bleak.
 

Beckerman also reports that Doroshow defended the $222,000 verdict levied against single mother Jammie Thomas (seen at left) for file sharing mp3s:

At Fordham Law School's annual IP Law Conference this year, [Beckerman] had a chance to square off with Kenneth Doroshow, a Senior Vice President of the RIAA, over the subject of copyright statutory damages. Doroshow thought the Jammie Thomas verdict of $222,000 was okay, he said, since Ms. Thomas might have distributed 10 million unauthorized copies. [Beckerman], on the other hand, who has previously derided the $9,250-per-song file verdict as 'one of the most irrational things [he has] ever seen in [his] life in the law', stated at the Fordham conference that the verdict had made the United States 'a laughingstock throughout the world.'

GP: For more the Jammie Thomas case, click here.

26 comments

BoingBoing's Cory Doctorow: People Believe V-Tech Killer Was a Gamer

August 7, 2008 -

BoingBoing co-author Cory Doctorow gives a wide-ranging interview to the Chicago Tribune in which he touches on misperceptions about violent video games and the Virginia Tech massacre.

There’s this broad consensus that the Virginia Tech murders had something to do with violent video games. When you actually read the coroner's inquest report, video games are mentioned twice. The first is his mother saying he never wanted to play those video games. The second is his roommate saying, "We always thought he was weird because he never wanted to play video games." Yet it’s still a [popularly held] truism that violent video games must be responsible for Virginia Tech.

 

GP: As GamePolitics has reported in the past, the official commission investigating the Virginia Tech rampage found only one game that the killer played - Sonic The Hedgehog.

51 comments

Meredith Vieira, Today Show Crew Play Rock Band ...Badly

July 30, 2008 -

It's a safe bet that Meredith Vieira wasn't hired to replace Katie Couric based on her singing ability.

On this morning's program, Vieira along with Today Show cohost Matt Lauer, weather guy Al Roker and correspondent Natalie Morales played Bon Jovi's Living on a Prayer.

Living on a Prayer lost.

GP: Thanks to reader Adam Muller for the heads-up!

29 comments

No Longer in a Metal Mood, Pat Boone Trashes Video Games

July 12, 2008 -

In a commentary for WorldNetDaily, singer Pat Boone frets that video games are part of a social upheaval which will cost America its very soul:

[While the presidential race takes place], there's another campaign in full swing, one perhaps even more crucial, one that will certainly determine the future of our country. One that will determine the direction and morality of our young. One that quite possibly will cost America its soul.

 

It's the campaign, in the world of entertainment to absolutely throw off every restraint, abandon every moral guideline, exploit every taboo and be free to portray and present anything human beings are capable of. In prime time and full color and without any regard for the sensibilities of parents or ministers or censors, or anybody else. On TV, in movies, in music even and especially in video games.

 

Target? Our young, virtually every age from grade school through college. The next generation – our future.

It seems that Boone serves on the board of watchdog group the Parents Television Council, a frequent critic of video game content. And while he singles out video games as especially worrisome, he mentions nary a one in his column, focusing instead on TV shows like Gossip Girl, Nip/Tuck and Sex and the City.

The good news is that Boone has a suggestion. If modern media content troubles you, just wind the clock back, oh, 70 years or so and listen to old radio shows:

Many adults, fed up completely... are doing the logical thing: tuning out and turning off. My friends Ed and Jean Lubin, whose three kids are mostly grown and on their own now, just told me they're spending their evenings out on their patio listening to old radio shows! Classic shows like "The Green Hornet," "The Lone Ranger," "Fibber McGee and Molly," "Abbot and Costello," "Jack Benny," dramatic and comedic and music shows from a time when entertainment was just that – entertainment...

GP: Gosh, he hardly sounds out of touch at all.

What's really ironic is that on the album pictured here, Boone sings lounge lizard arrangements of tunes like Alice Cooper's No More Mr. Nice Guy. Now, when Boone still actually had something of a career in the mid-70's, Alice Cooper was regarded by the mainstream much as Marilyn Manson is today.

89 comments

Oasis Guitarist Links Violent Games to Surge in UK Stabbings

July 4, 2008 -

According to the BBC, Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher (left) has suggested that violent video games may play a role in Britain's wave of knife crimes.

Speaking at awards ceremony in London, Gallagher said:

[It's a] pity scumbags are taking over our streets. In my day, status was trying to be somebody, do you know what I mean, not trying to kill somebody?

 

I was up in Liverpool for a week a couple of weeks ago and even on the news there [knife crime is] every single night. I don't even know what [Conservative Leader David] Cameron or [Prime Minister] Gordon Brown are going to do about it...

 

People say it's through violent video games and I guess that's got something to do with it. If kids are sitting up all night smoking super skunk [cannabis] and they come so desensitised to crime because they're playing these video games, it's really, really scary.

 

102 comments

EA Apologizes to Northern Ireland for Using Wrong National Anthem in Soccer Game

July 4, 2008 -

Electronic Arts has apologized for inserting the wrong song where Northern Ireland's national anthem should be played in soccer title UEFA Euro 2008.

While Northern Ireland's proper anthem is God Save the Queen, the game mistakenly plays The Soldier's Song.

As reported by MCVUK:

A regional newspaper in Northern Ireland reports that fans reacted with ‘surprise’ to hear the anthem represent their national team in the game... EA spokesperson Shaun White apologised for the error...

 

That apology has been welcomed by NI Sports Minister Gregory Campbell. He said: "Any apology on this matter is most welcome. Obviously there's has been a lack of knowledge on the makers' part and hopefully it will be changed as soon as possible."

Via: Joystiq
 

31 comments

Nintendo Sued Over Use of Music from 1993 Film

June 24, 2008 -

 

A Los Angeles film production company sued Nintendo on June 12th, alleging that the console manufacturer used a tune from the movie True Romance in a commercial for the GameCube.

The suit, filed by Morgan Creek Productions in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, was voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff on June 18th.

The 1993 film was directed by Tony Scott and written by Quentin Tarantino.

The song in question is You're So Cool, composed by Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer. The suit claims:

Sometime within the past three years, [Nintendo] used the sound recording of "You're So Cool" without authorization in a television advertisement for the Nintendo "GameCube."

 

Plaintiff is informed and believes and thereon alleges that [Nintendo] also used the sound recording at issue herein in other forum in order to generate sales for their product.

It is unknown why the suit was dismissed less than a week after being filed. GamePolitics is seeking comment from the plaintiff's attorney as well as Nintendo.

The complaint does not make reference to a specific use of the song by Nintendo. However, this 2004 post from the Toon Zone forums makes reference to You're So Cool being used in an ad for Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door.

UPDATE: Also, courtesy of comments left by GP readers Orange Soda and Anonymous, we've added the video of the commercial which apparently sparked the copyright claim.

Read the lawsuit here.

17 comments

Medal of Honor Music Used in McCain Campaign Ad, But Composer is an Obama Supporter

June 19, 2008 -

If the background music for a recent McCain campaign commercial (see video) seems familiar, there may be a good reason. 

The piece featured is, in fact, from EA's Medal of Honor: European Assault – undoubtedly the first time music from a videogame has been used in such a manner.

As it happens, though, this has caused the game's composer no little chagrin.  Christopher Lennertz, an ardent supporter of Barack Obama received many calls and letters regarding the campaign ad.

So how did Lennertz's music find its way into McCain's commercial? The composer told GamePolitics:

 

It turns out that there was a mix-up as to which company controlled the rights to the music. The McCain campaign did nothing illegal. I do think however, that they should have checked to see if the creators of content that they are using to promote their views are in fact in sync with them…

Lennertz also released a statement on the McCain ad:

I have been receiving many emails and calls for the past week regarding the use of my music in a national television ad for John McCain's presidential campaign. The ad is called "Safe" and prominently features a track entitled "Casualties of War" that I wrote for Medal of Honor: European Assault. While I do not control the ownership of this piece, I am extremely disappointed its placement in this commercial. I did not authorize the use and was not made aware of the situation. Regardless of party affiliation of support, I would like to think that someone who believes in the American ideals of business and creativity like Sen. McCain supposedly does, would not want to disgrace or inflict any hardship or ill-will on the artists who create in this country by using their works to promote products and agendas which with they disagree.

 

As an American, I have the utmost respect and admiration for our troops and all of their sacrifices. In fact, much of the inspiration for my music in this piece came from having a grandfather who served this country honorably as an officer in World War II. I respect John McCain for his service to this country, both in the military and in Washington, but I do not and have never supported his candidacy nor his agenda for this country. I am dismayed that my music has been used to promote his platform and even more disappointed that a candidate who claims to be the best voice for American entrepreneurs and business owners in this troubled economy so flagrantly ignored the most basic values and tenents of copyright and intellectual property. What, I ask, does such an action or oversight say about Mr. McCain's regard for the intrinsic value of American products, services, or creations? Where does the line get drawn? Is it reasonable to use my music to sell tobacco, alcohol, or pornographic materials? Is it reasonable to use it to promote a religion in which I do not believe? Is it legal?...yes, perhaps, is it ethical?...I don’t believe so. Is it American?...definitely not by my standards.

 

 

As an artist, business owner, and patriot, I proudly support Senator Barack Obama for the Presidency of the United States of America...

GP: This special report provided to GamePolitics by: Alex Van Zelfden

95 comments

Prez Bid Kaput, Huckabee Kicks Back with Rock Band & Lasagna

March 6, 2008 -

After bowing out of the Republican presidential race, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee retired to Little Rock where he accepted condolences from President Bush and decompressed by playing Rock Band.

As reported by the National Journal's Hotline blog:

Huckabee spoke to President Bush and many of his supporters... before hosting his entire campaign staff at his home for lasagna and video games...

 

Huckabee said he originally intended to cook ribs for his staff, but that they would have required nine hours to cook. So several tins of lasagna ably substituted. Staffers gathered in the basement to play Rock Band and hold a final team meeting.


As GamePolitics reported last September, Huckabee has also been known to try his hand at Guitar Hero. He's actually a pretty darned good real-world guitarist as well and plays in a band called Capitol Offense.

GP: Yes, that's a Guitar Hero controller... No time to PhotoShop one from Rock Band...

33 comments

 
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MaskedPixelanteOf course it's improved. At launch, Origin was scanning your entire hard drive, but now it's just scanning your browsing history. If that's not an improvement, I dunno what is!07/29/2014 - 8:59pm
Papa Midnighthttp://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/columns/experienced-points/12029-Has-EAs-Origin-Service-Improved-Any-Over-the-Last-Two-Years07/29/2014 - 8:25pm
Sora-ChanSo it's just a matter of having better emulation software. If it can be done with a 3DS game, with all the memory and what not it takes up, it can be done with a GBA title through emulation.07/29/2014 - 7:30pm
Sora-ChanOther VC titles for the NES and Gameboy had the same setup where you couldn't access the homescreen without quitting out of the game til a later update when those games were released for the public outside of the founder program.07/29/2014 - 7:28pm
Sora-Chanthe 3DS can, and does, run GBA games, as seen by the founder gifts, which included a number of GBA titles. As for running GBA games and still having access to the home screen, I beleive it's more of the game emulation software needs to be updated.07/29/2014 - 7:27pm
Matthew Wilsonthe 3ds already swaps os's with the original ds. plus I dont think people expect miverse interaction when playing a gba game.07/29/2014 - 6:06pm
MaskedPixelanteBut that's not the issue, the 3DS is perfectly capable of emulating GBA games. The problem is that it doesn't have enough available system resources to run it alongside the 3DS OS, and thus it doesn't have access to stuff like Miiverse and save states.07/29/2014 - 5:45pm
Matthew WilsonI am well aware that it requires more power, but if a GBA emulator could run well on a original psp, than it should work on a 3ds.07/29/2014 - 5:36pm
ZenThe reason the SNES could run Gameboy, or the Gamecube could run GBA was because their adapters included all of the necessary hardware to do it in the respective add-ons. The systems were just conduits for control inputs and video/sound/power.07/29/2014 - 4:51pm
ZenMatthew: Emulation takes more power than people realize to run a game properly. You can make something run on less, but Nintendo...as slow as they are at releasing them..makes them run as close to 100% as possible. Each game has its own emulator for it.07/29/2014 - 4:47pm
Matthew Wilsonkind of hard to believe since the 3ds is atleast as powerful as the gamecube hardware wise.07/29/2014 - 4:27pm
MaskedPixelanteYes, the 3DS has enough power to run 16-bit emulators, but not at the same time it's running the 3DS systems themselves. You could run the games, but you wouldn't get save states or Miiverse.07/29/2014 - 4:04pm
InfophileRunning GBA on 3DS shouldn't be hard. The DS had flashcarts sold for it that added just enough power to emulate GBA and SNES games, so the 3DS should have more than enough natively.07/29/2014 - 3:37pm
MaskedPixelanteIt's a bunch of people whining about boycotting/pirating Trails in the Sky FC because XSEED didn't license the Japanese dub track, which consists of about 10 lines per character.07/29/2014 - 11:27am
Sleaker@MP - devolver Digital issued a twitter statement saying they would replace the NISA pledge.07/29/2014 - 10:57am
E. Zachary KnightIs that a discussion about RIAA member music labels?07/29/2014 - 10:48am
MaskedPixelantehttp://steamcommunity.com/app/251150/discussions/0/43099722329318860/ In this thread: Idiots who don't understand how licensing works.07/29/2014 - 9:20am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/07/28/gaymerx-in-dire-straits-after-nis-america-allegedly-backs-out-of/ NISA backs out of GaymerX support, but it seems like the only people crying foul are GaymerX.07/29/2014 - 6:30am
Papa MidnightIt's not bad so far, but I am honestly not sure what to make of it (or where it's going for that matter)07/28/2014 - 9:44pm
Matthew Wilsonis it any good?07/28/2014 - 9:36pm
 

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