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California Looking To Revive Violent Video Game Law
California Looking To Revive Violent Video Game Law
October 27, 2008 | By Eric Caoili

October 27, 2008 | By Eric Caoili
More: Console/PC

California is seeking to revive an anti-violent-video-game law that would prevent anyone aged under 18 from purchasing or renting video games that "appeal to a deviant or morbid interest of children and are patently offensive to prevailing community standards."

The proposed law requires that publishers put an "18" label on the covers of games deemed excessively violent. Retailers who violate the law, allowing minors to purchase games marked "18," would face a $1,000 fine.

Sen. Leland Yee, who wrote the legislation, told the San Jose Mercury News, "This is the same technology the armed forces use to help soldiers kill the enemy. All we're saying is, 'Don't sell it to kids.'

Originally introduced in 2005, the law was given a preliminary injunction shortly afterwards and then a permanent injunction in 2007 after courts ruled that the law threatens the free-speech rights of video game companies and that there was insufficient evidence of a connection between violent video games and children engaging in violent activities.

Both the movie and music industries have also voiced displeasure with the law, arguing that it is too broad and that it could affect the sale of other media depicting graphic violence.

On October 29, 2008 in a Sacramento hearing, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals plans to review the ruling which found that the law violated the First Amendment.

"The same argument has been made again and again throughout the history of the country about books, about movies, about comic books and now about video games," says Entertainment Consumers Association director Jennifer Mercurio. "The way this law is drafted comes up against hundreds of years of First Amendment issues."

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Robert Gauss
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Quote from Senator Yee: "This is the same technology the armed forces use to help soldiers kill the enemy. All we're saying is, 'Don't sell it to kids.'"

Mr. Yee is mistaken. He has no experience in what technology is being used to train or assist soldiers. My personal experience makes me an expert on this matter. The military doesn't sell to kids, either.

Also, children in the USA do not have rights to purchase goods. They are minors, therefore the ability to purchase goods, not the "right," is entirely via parental guidance.

John Petersen
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I don't like the proposal because it's to broad.

But I do believe something needs to be done.

Andy Lundell
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I suppose Senator Yee is correct in the sense that computer programs are indeed used to train soldiers.

I wonder if he has similar problems with books.

E Zachary Knight
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John, Why would anything need to be done? There is no problem. The link between violent games and violent behavior is speculative at best. According to the Federal Trade Commission, minors only succeed at buying M rated games 20% of the time, while they succeed at buying R rated movies 47% of the time.

According to the ESA, M rated games only accounted for about 12% of games sold each year. Also, around 85-90% of children say their parents are present when they buy a game.

There is no problem when it comes to violent game sales to minors. This is a solution in search of a problem.

Give the world another ten years and we will care as much about game sales as we do about movie sales.

Benjamin Quintero
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Doesn't ESRB have a rating system that marks games for 18+?? I think it's "M". So now we are going to have an M and an 18 on the cover? That makes perfect sense!

Maybe scaring a huge 18 on the front isn't enough; we should force all mature games to come in a red box that plays music like a greeting card when you open it up. That will fix it!

David Tarris
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There are just too many things wrong with this picture:

-The government is not one of your parents.

-We already have the ESRB, with an M17+ sticker on the game, why do we need another?

-Has anyone found credible evidence to suggest that playing violent video games has clear and present side effects?

-First Amendment?

David Delanty
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Back-court pass to Andy Lundell. From downtown!...BAM! NOTHING BUT NET!

Benjamin Quintero
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No offense but Postal and Manhunt are child's play in the face of modern media you get for free on the TV airways. A little blur over the faces of real dead bodies scattered around a battle field is not going to mask the fact that those were real people. Just like what you find on TV, it's up to the parents to monitor that information that their kid is receiving. Most modern consoles already have parental control installed on them; most parents just don't know how to use it.

If parents took 10 minutes to browse through their kid's catalog of games, they can just as easily make sure that their kid is not being exposed to inappropriate material. Making it illegal will only stop the uninitiated but it won't stop the kids that insist on accessing adult material; just like kids get their hands on adult movies and magazines if they really wanted to.

Regulating tobacco never stopped kids in high school from smoking in the bathrooms. The key is to raise your children right and teach them about morals and proper judgment.