So this past week has been a little bit newsworthy. Not much happened in the actual world of gaming, but certainly in the realm of politics and law, things have been happening.
Firstly we have had our old nemesis reappear like a bad RPG. Yes, Joe Lieberman has once again stuck his nose into the world of gaming. And he’s brought a friend this time too. Hilary Clinton, fresh off her role as outraged mom in “Won’t Somebody Please Save the Children” co-starring Jack Thompson, has signed on to co-star in this sequel, “Won’t Somebody Please Save the Children 2: Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Children”.
The two senators have co-authored a bill, titled “Family Entertainment Protection Act”, which will make it a federal offense to sell adult rated games to children below the age of 18. Such offenses would be punishable by fines The bill actually goes farther than that, giving the FTC the power and responsibility to handle complaints regarding misleading games, such as the Hot Coffee Mod of Grand Theft Auto San Andreas.
The interesting thing about all this is the fact that this bill was introduced in the same week that the Illinois anti-violent game legislation was deemed unconstitutional by a judge in Illinois. Judge Mathew Kennelly issued a permanent injunction against the implementation of the law, stating “The Court agrees that the legislature has a compelling interest in preventing violent behavior by children, protecting children from violence, and assisting parents in achieving the same goals. When the state defends a regulation of speech as a means to “prevent anticipated harms,” however, “it must do more than simply ‘posit the existence of the disease sought to be cured.” “Defendants have come nowhere near making the necessary showing in this case. They have offered no evidence that the violent content in video games is “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action.”
So there is at least a good possibility that either A: Videogames will be talked about in the halls of the Supreme Court in the not too distant future when someone appeals this law assuming it gets passed, or B: A compromise will be reached, probably a very watered down version of the Lieberman-Clinton bill giving the government the power to act should another case like Hot Coffee occur.
Either way, I really wish Rockstar hadn’t decided to see just how far they could push the envelope. Thats the Cannon for this week.