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Old 01-17-2013, 06:05 PM   #1
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Video Game legislation that will enforce ESRB ratings

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Violent Games Legislation Introduced to US Congress
Utah’s Jim Matheson aims to make the ESRB the law, and not voluntary.
by Colin Moriarty JANUARY 17, 2013

Yesterday, President Barack Obama outlined a series of plans to help stem the growing tide of violence in the United States, including a series of autonomous executive orders and a set of legislative suggestions to Congress. As we pointed out when examining Obama’s speech, gaming (and the media sphere generally) were largely ignored, with the exception of a $10 million study – which Congress may never pass – examining the effect of violent media on America’s youth.

But in the United States, it’s Congress’s role to create laws and legislation, and Utah Democrat Jim Matheson has done just that. With the 113th United States Congress freshly sworn-in, the legislative maelstrom has begun unabated with H.R. 287, entitled the “Video Games Ratings Enforcement Act”.

At first glance, this may seem confusing since the ESRB has been rating games in the United States for nearly two decades. However, the ESRB is entirely voluntary and self-regulating; this legislation, in essence, would make the ESRB the law of the land. “It shall be unlawful for any person to ship or otherwise distribute in interstate commerce, or to sell or rent, a video game that does not contain a rating label, in a clear and conspicuous location on the outside packaging of the video game, containing an age-based content rating determined by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board.”

Should this legislation be brought up for a vote and pass unamended through both the House of Representatives and the Senate, it would give the Federal Trade Commission 180 days to “promulgate rules requiring all retail establishments engaged in the sale of video games to display, in a clear and conspicuous location, information about the content rating system of the Entertainment Software Ratings Board.”

Specifically, “It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or rent, or attempt to sell or rent (1) any video game containing a content rating of “Adults Only”… to any person under the age of 18; or (2) any video game containing content rating of “Mature”… to any person under the age of 17.”

Breaking this proposed law wouldn’t result in a criminal charge; rather, it would result in a civil penalty of upwards of $5,000 per transgression.

Interestingly, The Hill points out “that video games are protected under the First Amendment,” citing a 2011 decision derived from contention over a California law in which Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, “Like the protected books, plays and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas – and even social messages… No doubt a state possesses legitimate power to protect children from harm… but that does not include a free-floating power to restrict the ideas to which children may be exposed.”

In other words, if this law were to pass, it’s likely to go before the Supreme Court, and if the court’s decision from two years ago is any indication, the law would be nullified.

We’ll keep you updated on further developments.
SOURCE - http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/01/...b6cfb90600005a

I'm getting really tired of this scapegoating bullshit, I just want to enjoy my hobby in peace.
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:32 PM   #2
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These types of knee-jerk reactions to youth violence really irritate me. It's always about blaming it on something instead of taking responsibility for what actually caused the violence: people. What about violent television? What about violent movies, books, violent parents? Using video games as a scapegoat really just shows how little the general populace understands about visual media.

How many people die per year because of school shootings when compared to drunk driving, homicide, suicide, etc.? A lot more, but yet, whenever someone is killed by a drunk driver, you never see anyone discussing alcohol, do you? No, because it's not Dos Equis's fault someone decided to get behind the wheel after getting drunk and crash into a car. Yet, when a young adult shoots up a school, it must be because they were influenced by violent video games and they need to be banned. Nothing about mental illness, nothing about bad parenting, nothing about being bullied, but video games. What caused violence before video games? Music, of course. And before music? Who knows? No one wants to accept personal responsibility that perhaps they are to blame for it. It's never society's fault. It's something inanimate. Just like with Obama wanting to introduce an assault weapons ban in the United States. Guns do not kill people, people do. The gun didn't go to Sandy Hook by itself and shoot all of those kids, a mentally ill person did. Criminals are still going to get guns regardless of how illegal you make them. In the end, the only people who get hurt by these bans are law-abiding citizens. Anyway, that's my rant for today.
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:38 PM   #3
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The bright side to this is that, if it passes, kids won't be able to play games like CoD, whose community is tarnished immensely by children.

I digress, though. They are going about everything all wrong. You can't take away our entertainment and not expect to suffer consequences.

How do we solve issues with children and violent media? Good parenting. And, shamefully, we have a supreme lack of that this generation.
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Old 01-17-2013, 07:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masfuko View Post
The bright side to this is that, if it passes, kids won't be able to play games like CoD, whose community is tarnished immensely by children.

I digress, though. They are going about everything all wrong. You can't take away our entertainment and not expect to suffer consequences.

How do we solve issues with children and violent media? Good parenting. And, shamefully, we have a supreme lack of that this generation.
The thing is, you already can't buy M rated games if you're under seventeen and stores are 100% legally allowed to refuse sale of any product to anyone for any reason. You can still get your parents to buy you the game without problem. AO rated games are never sold in stores anyway because they are either gambling games where you gamble for real money or they have uncensored pornography, so this law is redundant and completely unnecessary. Like I said, it's a knee-jerk reaction to a tragic incident and the fact politicians use said tragic incident to push their own agenda is sickening. Thankfully, these bills never go anywhere, but the fact people think this is a good idea and worth putting into law is strange. They should focus on more important things.
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Old 01-17-2013, 07:11 PM   #5
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I don't disagree with the points being issued so far in this thread, but us in the community have to accept that this particular legislation isn't bad at all. From how I understood it, it's making sure that every game is getting an ESRB rating, and that games are sold properly.

Which, if you've paid attention to any news piece regarding the ESRB in the past ten years, you would know that they have been doing this. It's just the government's way of making sure nothing slips through the cracks.

This does not stifle how game developers make games, nor does it harm any retail store in selling games. This is akin to the rules and regulations regarding selling alcohol and tobacco to minors.

When a piece of legislation is passed down that poses a threat to the creativity of video games, then we should discuss on this. This is not one of those pieces of legislation.
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Old 01-18-2013, 10:13 AM   #6
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It should be made illegal to play them. Parents should be asked who the game is for. Sure they can deny that it is for their kid, but I think they should send people round to houses to check and stamp down on it. It's not all that realistic but eh.
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Konata View Post
It should be made illegal to play them. Parents should be asked who the game is for. Sure they can deny that it is for their kid, but I think they should send people round to houses to check and stamp down on it. It's not all that realistic but eh.
Now that seems a bit much. If anything, a game should not be sold if a minor is accompanying the one who can legally buy the game.
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:42 AM   #8
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Now that seems a bit much. If anything, a game should not be sold if a minor is accompanying the one who can legally buy the game.
I know the checking households idea is dumb, but the parent can still buy it on her/his own, so there's no stopping them. I can't really think of anything that will be effective.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:02 PM   #9
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I know the checking households idea is dumb, but the parent can still buy it on her/his own, so there's no stopping them. I can't really think of anything that will be effective.
True, and yet you're forgetting that game consoles have come included with parental controls and child locks to make sure these kids don't have access to the games.

Who it all falls on is the parent in the end.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:20 PM   #10
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Kids watch rated R movies when they're at home.

Kids will read porno mags and other books not meant for them if they find them.

Kids will play M-rated games if they're interested.

How do you stop that? The government can't do anything. It all lies down to good parenting. If you don't want your kids doing any of these things, DON'T LET THEM!!
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