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Censorship United States Entertainment Games

DC Could Ban 'Mature' Video Game Sales to Minors 578

DeathPooky writes "As a part of an effort to continue a reduction in crime in the nation's former murder capital, DC leaders are trying to pass a law banning the sale of mature video games to minors - along with harsh penalties to enforce the law. According to the article, 'A store that violates the law could lose its business license and face a fine of as much as $10,000.' This law mimics other such bans proposed in Virginia and Maryland. I can already feel the chilling effects from here."
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DC Could Ban 'Mature' Video Game Sales to Minors

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  • by dabigpaybackski ( 772131 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @07:35AM (#11581584) Homepage
    It is fitting that the locality whose residents enjoy the least personal freedom is none other than our nation's capital. Corrupt city officials, extortionate taxes, draconian laws, ubiquitous crime, militarized police--you suck balls, D.C. Only your museums redeem you.

    (flame on)

  • Internet sales (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Antony-Kyre ( 807195 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @07:45AM (#11581622)
    You don't need a credit card to buy stuff ofg the Internet. There are other non-age related ways. Such as gift cards, Internet based gift certificates, etc.

    For example, I believe it was 1999 when PlanetAll gave me an online gift certificate for like $10. No catch either.
  • Reduction in crime? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jim_Callahan ( 831353 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @07:55AM (#11581648)
    What kind of crime can one enact with a video game, exactly? Are they afraid the kids will sharpen the edges of the install cds and slash throats? Beat their girlfirend with a heavy player's guide? Or are they afraid that the use of the games will train the kids in the pressing buttons in a predefined order skills that are so necessary for the successful terrorist, or, worse, stenographer?

    Seriously, though, it can't be the implicit encouragement of the use of violence to solve problems presented in many games. If that were the case, minors would have been banned from watching professional sports long, long ago.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 05, 2005 @08:22AM (#11581740)

    ... it's the person playing it. The environment in which the child grows up (parenting, friends, etc.) defines who that child is and much more importantly, how that child shall react to different media content socially rated as "mature" or "adult".

    I'm 14, play 18-rated games and watch porn. Do I go around on the streets killing people, drinking and dealing in and consuming inhaled death spells? I do none of these. Do I go around raping girls? I certainly do not. And why is this? Why do I not do as in the films I watch and become a serial killer/rapist, as the government experts so vehemently claim I should?

    It is because when I have vilence to unleash, I play a violent game. When I feel like having fun, I watch a horror film. When I have sexual urges, I masturbate while visualising pornographic material.

    The problem is in the attitude of the child as far as these different issues are concerned. An easily influencable child shall think killing, drinking and smoking is cool, all this because these kind of things are much too stylised when they are portrayed in films and games. As for porn, well if the male child is too naïve, he shall beleive women are really in such a submissive position, and as such he shall have a lower image of women. But porn can also be a good thing I beleive, particularly because sexually frustrated teenagers can unleash their seuxal desired on their right hand and not traumatise a girl for the rest of her life.

    My two cents anyway ...

  • by Chris_Jefferson ( 581445 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @08:36AM (#11581785) Homepage
    Out of interest, does that mean you would also want minors to be able to wander into shops and buy hard-core porn, and 18-rated horror films (18 being one of the highest ratings over here in the UK, translate as necessary to your country)?

    I'm surprised in this thread so many people seem to think it's fine for minors to buy and watch any film.. or do think that "no game is as bad as most films", which is the problem I used to have every day with parents buying their children whatever game they like when they wouldn't even consider letting them buy 18 rated movies?
  • by fwitness ( 195565 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @09:05AM (#11581877)
    It's the over-litigation problem we've been having in the US lately. People over the last few years basically figure that if there is some sort of problem, we should make a law and that'll fix it. Enforcability never comes into play. It doesn't really have to, because all someone needs to do is find one example of a child buying GTA after this law is passed, and tell the media. Instant media frenzy, with accompanying class-action suits.

    I'd love to do a study of the laws passed in the last 10 years and see how well any of them are being enforced. We keep giving parents more and more tools to 'protect' their children and parents want less and less responsibility.

    My favorite example is the V-Chip. For a while there, it cost you a lot more money for a TV because it had to have a VChip (they used to add like $15-25 to the cost of your TV). Meanwhile, I have never met a single parent who has ever used it. I still see ads today (which we the taxpayer pay for) talking about the V-Chip. Parents don't care though. They don't want to have to program their TV and block out Sex and the City for them! They want the government to make sure their children never, ever see something bad.
  • by HeavyK ( 822279 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @10:20AM (#11582188)
    The movie rating system is voluntary. There is no government regulation of movies or laws enforcing the movie rating system.
  • Re:Like porn. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jacksonj04 ( 800021 ) <> on Saturday February 05, 2005 @10:26AM (#11582221) Homepage
    The EU does not equal Europe. EU is basically a bad attempt at centralised government, Europe is a continent.

    Just because the 'morals' of Europe do not match the 'morals' of the US doesn't mean we don't have them. The US's attempt at 'morals' seems to be whatever you get force fed, and obviously those 'niggers' with no morals are after you, along with the 'pakis' who all carry bombs under their shirts. The US must have morals, the foreigners don't!

    America is the world's only super-power? Really? Have you checked? I seem to recall this super-power is being given the run-around by a load of Iraqi insurgents. And wasn't there that thing where the 'untouchable' America was taken down a peg or few? What was it, September 11? It could well have been.

    And to a final point, your morals do come from Europe. No, really. Take a look through history. If you do a lot of extrapolation and say that the US is highly religious (you all seem to think so, since you have a wide range of things saying God has blessed the country) then why not read a Bible for once in your life, and see that those morals originated from the Middle East. Where the US is currently in the process of looking for terrorists in any country with an "I" in the name. Clearly something's gone wrong, someone's lost touch with reality. The rest of the world thinks it's the US.

    Grow up and realise that your precious states aren't the only people with civilisation, history, or morals.
  • by RexRhino ( 769423 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @10:57AM (#11582354)
    The trouble with laws like this is that by being enforced arbitrarily, they amount to extortion... and will be used to destroy small retailers.

    Here is how it works: Every store makes mistakes. There is no doubt about it. No-one is perfect. At some time, someone is going to screw up and sell a game to a minor.

    So given that ALL stores violate the law, this is what happens: Once the law is passed, the politicians need to crack down on someone to show they are tough. They could crack down on the electronics superstore mega-chain, except the mega-chain store has multi-million dollar legal teams ready to do battle in court on a moments notice, and they also probably donate generously to the people in office, and if they were only fined money, they can pay the $10,000 out of their billions of dollars with no problem.

    However, the local neighborhood video game store, probably doesn't have a lawyer, and is probably just scraping by (and a $10,000 fine could put them out of buisness, even if they don't lose their licence). They are going to be the victims of the crackdown, and they will be driven out of buisness.

    And then, that doesn't even account for political extortion. Mr. McCraken is looking for donations and endorsements for his relection. It would be a shame if some government investigators came into your store and shut you down. Perhaps you could help Mr. McCracken's campaign, and he could make sure that there is not any trouble with investigators... understand?

    The law will help huge mega-corporations and crooked polititions... it won't stop kids from getting violent videogames (they will just have a clueless adult buy it for them)... and when all said and done the same "want-to-save-you-from-yourself" rightious liberals who supported the law will be complaining how the "evil corporations" drove the independent stores out of buisness (and ignoring the fact that their beloved government regulation is what did it)... and the rightious "we-must-protect-our-morality" conservatives will be complaining about oppressive government regulation (ignoring the fact that they LOVE government regulation, so long as it involves enforcing their "values" on others).
  • More DC Nonsense (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Uhlek ( 71945 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @11:06AM (#11582402)
    The District of Columbia has a penchant for making symbolic laws that don't do anything but inconvience law-abiding citizens, and sometimes cause harm.

    For no one that lives around here, DC is very small and surrounded by Maryland and Virginia. The subway system extends into both other states. Local laws limiting purchases have a very limited effect.

    Look at the handgun regulations. Neither Maryland or Virginia require licenses to purchase or own handguns, and all stores will readily sell to DC residents. All handgun laws have done in DC is to keep law-abiding citzens from owning them, the criminals have easy access.

    These laws will do the same thing. Drive a few blocks into Maryland and get them there, or take the metro 2-3 stops south to Pentagon City or Crystal City malls and shop there, too.
  • by gcaseye6677 ( 694805 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @11:11AM (#11582426)
    Here is what you will NOT find. You will NOT find an example of a place where gun crime was out of control, people were getting killed left and right (like in south Chicago) and then guns were banned and the crime rate went down. Most of Europe, Japan, and other countries have lower murder rates than the US and stricter gun laws. However, correlation does not equal causality. The crime rates were lower even before the tough gun laws due to a more homogenous population and other factors. There are numerous US cities that have tough gun laws that are useless. No Chicago murders are prevented by the outlawing of guns within the city. Even if they were banned throughout the entire country, it's not as if guns can't be made in a metals workshop. Guns aren't the problem, it's the culture. Until American society become more polite somehow, murders will remain common no matter what people like Sarah Brady are able to accomplish.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 05, 2005 @11:44AM (#11582624)
    "protect the citizens from themselves"

    Isn't this the guise of almost every freakin' unconstituional, useless law? Drug laws? Sodomy laws? Seatbelt Laws? Helmet laws? There are thousands, i can't list them all.

    People, beware when the goverment starts to "protect the citizens from themselves." This is nothing more than big brother goverment. Goverment's is to protect citizens from OTHER citizens, not themselves. Goverment isn't our mommy and daddy.
  • by Geoffreyerffoeg ( 729040 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @01:08PM (#11583250)
    Of course we shouldn't. There's nothing wrong with allowing us to buy tobacco: at worst, we'd kill ourselves.

    But we shouldn't be allowed to buy violent games. At worst, we'll kill a few others.

    If you agree that tobacco should be banned to us for our own good, why don't you agree that violent games should be banned for everyone else's good?
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Saturday February 05, 2005 @05:04PM (#11585047) Homepage Journal
    An ID only tells you something if it is of a type that is fairly difficult to replicate and you are in a position to examine it. An old non-holographically laminated ID doesn't tell you diddly (without being able to check the database that can confirm it or not) because even a forensics lab might not be able to tell it apart from a fake under those circumstances - if the paper and laminate are the right brand. That sort of thing is usually pretty easy to find out. From what I understand, a bunch of the holographic laminate film for the last style of CA driver's licenses was stolen at some point... But anyway, an ID doesn't tell you anything over the internet, no. I'm thinking more along the lines of a security certificate provided by the government that you can use to identify yourself somehow... I suggest having the USPS provide them for a small fee.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 05, 2005 @11:04PM (#11587243)
    There is no R rating for games in Australia, if it meets R classification it is banned.

    Postal 2 and Manhunt are therefore widely illegally copied.

    Games in Australia are rated G (general), PG (Parental Guidence), M (Mature, recommended 15+) and MA (Mature, 15+ required).

    Please note games are typically rated at a level higher then a movie with the same content.
    eg: A movie rated PG may get a M rating if a game.
  • by Dreamwalkerofyore ( 823146 ) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @11:14PM (#11587306)
    I first saw porn at 12, looking through some search engine for a normal picture of Aeris/Aerith for my desktop. Course, searching for anything female results in porn, cuz thats the internet. Anyways, a whole bunch of years later, I'm still a normal person. I've played Doom at the age of 4. Still normal. I've played every GTA game when it came out. Still normal. Being on the internet as often as I was when I was a kid, I've seen some of the most disgusting stuff drempt of by humans, this is at the age of 10 on, and I'm still alive and normal and not turned on by excessive laxitives in donkeys. I now am studying psycology, and though I might not have a degree, I've studied enough to know that kids can normally discern the lines of imagination and reality from 9 on.

    I've actually walked in on seminars for parents on how to ristrict internet access for kids, and when they learned if he/she has been on the internet for a while, their lovely perfect child might have seen porn. There were gasps, I saw some white faces, and one woman actually fainted. Their kids were in 6th grade. Sorry, but as a human I have issues with that kind of parenting, and while it might be their right as parents to control everything their kids do, I know for a fact that it is far worse for a kid to grow up in a parental bubble where everything is funny and fluffy then to see a pair of breasts.

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll