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Massachusetts Considers New Game Legislation

Massachusetts Considers New Game Legislation

January 9, 2007 | By Jason Dobson

January 9, 2007 | By Jason Dobson
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Politically centered site GamePolitics has reported that the Massachusetts legislature plans to consider new video game legislation drafted by notorious anti-game lawyer Jack Thompson. Like other bills proposed by Thompson, the legislation aims to categorize violent video games as obscene in an effort to keep them out of the hands of minors.

According to the report, the proposed bill introduces a number of vague concepts in an effort to block underage consumers from purchasing any games that feature violent content that is “patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community, so as to appeal predominantly to the morbid interest in violence of minors.”

In addition, games that could be considered “patently contrary to prevailing standards of adults in the county where the offense was committed as to suitable material for such minors,” as well as those that lack “serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value” would also be blocked from being purchased by minors should the bill come to pass.

The report notes that the bill, which is based upon Utah's failed HB 257 'games as porn' bill, is backed by members of the Boston community, including Mayor Thomas Menino, who apparently requested Thompson draw up the bill.

“The Mayor of Boston asked me to draft a bill, on his behalf, for the Massachusetts legislature,” commented Thompson. “Mayors get to do that in Massachusetts. Secondly, it is very much like Louisiana. The difference is that these people intend to win the court fight, unlike the knuckleheads in Louisiana. That bill was constitutional. They took a dive because of (ESA boss Doug) Lowenstein’s threats.”

Louisiana's HB 1381, which was blocked by U.S. District Judge James Brady in June 2006, was also drafted with Thompson's help, and aimed to permit a judge to rule on whether or not a video game meets established criteria for being inappropriate for minors and be subsequently pulled from store shelves.


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