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Indecent Game Sales Now A Felony In New York 398

Gamespot reports on the final passing of New York senate bill A8696, legislation proposed just last week, that now makes it a serious felony to sell or rent a violent game to minors. The bill makes it illegal to sell a console without parental control options and establishes a group to second guess the ESRB's rating decisions. "'This bill is impermissibly vague,' EMA president Bo Andersen said in a statement. 'A8696 seeks to apply real-world standards of violence to the fictional and fanciful world of video games, an environment in which they have no meaning. As a result, retailers and clerks will not and cannot know with certainty which video games could send them to jail under A8696. It was depressing to hear members of the Assembly note the constitutional problems with the bill and then state that they were voting for it.'" The senate seems to have no fear of possible overturn of the bill, and claims it's only thinking of the children.
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Indecent Game Sales Now A Felony In New York

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  • Wow. cigs and beee (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Broken scope (973885) on Friday June 01, 2007 @09:38AM (#19351469) Homepage
    sold to a minor don't even warrant a class E felony, and they have prove harmful effects.
    • by Broken scope (973885) on Friday June 01, 2007 @09:45AM (#19351573) Homepage
      Oh god my... I can't believe i wrote that...
    • by Lightwarrior (73124) on Friday June 01, 2007 @09:49AM (#19351627) Journal
      Yes, but the NY Senate is thinking of the children. That's more important than any study, or even the proven fact that the courts will knock this bill down faster than you can say "waste of taxpayer dollars."
      • by jellomizer (103300) * on Friday June 01, 2007 @11:00AM (#19352769)
        It is a problem with Elected Politics. In order to keep elected you need to do "Think of the Children" Laws just so you can stay elected.
        Candidate A. In my Last Term I lowered crime by 25%, added more funding for social services, The graduation to college rate is the highest in the world, and I lowered taxes by 40%.

        Candidate B. I passed the law to save your kids from video game violance. I passed a law to insure that your kids will not hurt their knees when they fall, I passed a law that will make sure your kid will never talk to a homeless person again. All this for only a 10% increase in taxes.

        Well yes these are exadarations. But the "Think of the Children" effect people on an emotional level while Saving Taxes, better use of funds reduction in crime is more of a Thinking type of thing. It is easier to sell emotion then thoughts.

    • What is an indecent game sale? Is that when the cashier is naked when operating the register?
  • by dctoastman (995251) on Friday June 01, 2007 @09:40AM (#19351485) Homepage
    Just ruled unconstitutional. C'mon, a "serious felony". What about movies with equivalent ratings? And books. Books have no rating systems at all. My six year old niece can go and buy any Diane Steel or Stephen King book and I would not recommend either to an immature audience.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Z0mb1eman (629653)

      can go and buy any Diane Steel or Stephen King book and I would not recommend either to an immature audience.
      I dunno, I think I'd recommend Diane Steel or Stephen King books only to immature audiences... :p
    • by hey! (33014)
      Actually, a method/means based distinction is more likely to pass constitutional scrutiny than a content based one. You can make driving through the neighborhood with a loudspeaker at 3am illegal while the same content spoken on a soapbox in the park is legal.

      Now if you want to regulate the content of what is coming out over the loudspeaker, that triggers a lot of First Amendment tests. It's not impossible, but by in large the tests are reasonable and well constructed. You can forbid cigarrette adverti
  • A felony?!? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Winckle (870180) <> on Friday June 01, 2007 @09:40AM (#19351495) Homepage
    I'm not a citizen of the USA, but I thought felonies were very serious crimes, like assault, or bodily harm. Not selling violent video games to children, yeah, it's probably a "bad" thing to do, but making it a felony seems a bit over the top.
    • Re:A felony?!? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tridus (79566) on Friday June 01, 2007 @09:51AM (#19351667) Homepage
      All you have to know to understand Americans these days (particularly politicians) is that they've lost all ability to view things in perspective. Thats why every time something new is made illegal (especially if its completely innane, like this), the sentences for breaking said law are so completely out of line as to be laughable. Just wait, pretty soon pirating a HD DVD will be right up there with rape (if its not there already).
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Actually, pirating media can get you a longer sentence than kiddie porn.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bent Mind (853241)

        All you have to know to understand Americans these days (particularly politicians) is that they've lost all ability to view things in perspective.
        Not only has the electorate, in general, lost all semblance of perspective, they've also completely lost the ability to separate fantasy from reality. They seriously believe that banning the fantasy will eliminate to reality.
      • Re:A felony?!? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by oGMo (379) on Friday June 01, 2007 @01:44PM (#19355461)

        Just wait, pretty soon pirating a HD DVD will be right up there with rape (if its not there already).

        I believe rape gets you 3-5 years, whereas copyright violation can get you 10 and a $250k-per-incident fine. Just goes to show what our politicians really value.

    • by fistfullast33l (819270) on Friday June 01, 2007 @10:01AM (#19351827) Homepage Journal
      Knee Jerk reactions by the legislature are not new to New Yorkers. I have three words: Rockefeller Drug Laws []. At the time they were the harshest penalties in the United States for drug possession. From the article:

      the penalty for selling two ounces ... or more of heroin, morphine, ... opium, cocaine, or ... marijuana .... or possessing four ounces or more of the same substances, was made the same as that for second-degree murder

      So this isn't an overreaction by the New York Senate - it's standard operating procedure! Even better, the laws weren't reformed for over 20 years. Just goes to show why we're the most dysfunctional state government in the country.
    • by Detritus (11846)
      It's the modern politician's way of saying "we take this seriously". If the trend continues, we might end up with the death penalty for spitting on the sidewalk. New York has a history of passing draconian laws, such as the Rockefeller drug laws of the 1970s.

      I was watching a documentary on the colonization of Australia, and it said that 18th century English law mandated the death penalty for a broad spectrum of offenses, many minor by today's standards. It seemed to have little effect on the crime rate.

    • NOTE: IANAL. Just a New Yorker.


      A misdemeanor is a crime that is punishable by less than one year in a local jail rather than a state prison.

      A felony is a crime that is punishable by more than one year in a state-owned prison or penitentiary.

      That's what a felony is about -- length and location of sentence. By the way, this should make it even MORE "over the top" for you because local jails are relatively much safer and nicer than state prisons, which are hell-holes by comparison. Unless you live i
      • by Nilatir (179045)
        State owned? If you 'follow the money' you'll find why many simple crimes have become felonys. A good portion of state-owned prisons are privately run by contractors, who get more money for more prisoners.
  • They never seem to stop running in circles. I think they actually enjoy it. When this gets defeated in court, they'll just introduce another, extremely similar bill, which will also be defeated. Gotta keep spending that tax money!
    • by jandrese (485)
      Yeah, but next time they run for office their TV ads will include the phrase "Representative Tool worked hard to keep corrupting influences out of the hands of children, because Representative Tool cares about the children."
  • We all knew the kid growing up who had the porn, whose parents didn't care, and who had the latest violent-est video game. I guarantee that this will not slow down kids' exposure to such games, because they'll all just congregate at ol'johnny's house to play re-bloodening 3. It might slow down individual sales, but if exposure to the game is the problem, then consider it as unsolved as ever. In fact, making the games harder to get usually makes them more attractive to kids, as in "this one must be really bad, lets go to johnny's and see!"
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      I guarantee that this will not slow down kids' exposure to such games, because they'll all just congregate at ol'johnny's house to play re-bloodening 3. [...] In fact, making the games harder to get usually makes them more attractive to kids, as in "this one must be really bad, lets go to johnny's and see!"

      You're forgetting another exciting factor. Johnny is usually the kid with the least parental supervision. He probably has a twisted little worldview and will get your kids into trouble.

      I knew kids who h

    • We all knew the kid growing up who had the porn

      In the year 2007, that's any kid with an Internet connection.

    • by basic0 (182925)
      "if exposure to the game is the problem, then consider it as unsolved as ever"

      Yeah, until they introduce a bill to make it a felony to use parental discretion and buy whatever video games you see fit for your children. Followed shortly thereafter by the bill to prevent pregnant women from playing violent video games because it may give the unborn fetus unwholesome thoughts. Followed shortly by the bill to prevent grown men from playing violent video games because some questionable scientific paper will cla

  • by onetwentyone (882404) on Friday June 01, 2007 @09:44AM (#19351571) Homepage
    They can point out constitutional problems and still decide to vote for it knowing it can be overturned; sounds like a whole lot of political "I need something for my re-election" garbage. I imagine the exceedingly gross penalty stands for nothing more than a Get Tough (tm) on non-crimes stance.

    Honestly, what is happening in this country where we've lost sight of what really matters?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by berashith (222128)
      I have a serious issue with someone who has sworn to uphold and protect a document knowingly commiting an act that violates it. I would love a rule/law where when a public servant has voted positively for enough ( 3 , 5 ) items that get overturned as unconstitutional that they would lose their rights to be a public servant.

      Of course, since this was passed by a state law, which are reserved under the federal constitution to be allowed to do quite a bit, I am not certain which constitution we are in violation
  • Sad (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mulvane (692631)
    I actually at first thought to myself 'Is this for real or an onion piece?', but then it dawned on me that such bad legislation is par for the course. Sure one could say ignorance of the law is no excuse, but come on, ignorance of what someone else may think of as violent or indecent contrary to an already established rating system? I'm in the military, and I value what this country was built upon, but I have serious problems with what it has become and where it is going. The vote of the people doesn't even
  • I've got no issue with a law requiring that consoles have parental controls so that parents can decide what rating level is appropriate for their kids and lock out the rest. That way they can control content without having to avoid consoles entirely.

    I don't see anyone whining about the V-chip, so what would be the problem with a ratings filter on consoles?
    • by mulvane (692631) on Friday June 01, 2007 @09:54AM (#19351715)
      Nothing!! That is just the solution actually.. Leave the parenting to the parent and make parents responsible. Sadly, most parents want it the other way around anymore.
      Who has time to be bothered by a troublesome kid.
      Sure glad the kids at school, now I can have some peace.
      Isn't there some kind of camp or afterschool activity I can send my kid to
      Why don't you go play over at some one elses house

      Parents don't raise their kids anymore, they expect government to do it, and government in turn wants to put THEIR religious and moral beliefs on our children, and punish the parents who disagree with THEIR views.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PFI_Optix (936301)
        You don't know the same parents I do.

        Most parents I know think they are at war with the schools because schools (an extension of the government) are trying undermine them as parents and raise the kids however they see fit. They whine and complain when the schools assign a lot of homework because "we don't have time to do anything as a family".

        Of course, all they do as a family is eat fast food while watching TV before the kids lock themselves in their rooms for the evening so that Susie can show her boobs t
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by mulvane (692631)
          I consider myself, as does my wife teachers as well. We don't like homework in excess, but we use school homework as family time with our kids. We sit down, help them with it, explain things they don't fully understand, and put our learned spin on things so they have multiple views to expose them to things having more than one way to be solved. Our kids eat usually home cooked meals with us. Eating out is used for days that have excess stuff (doctors appt's and or such things), and pizza on pay days (twice
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      I've got no issue with a law requiring that consoles have parental controls so that parents can decide what rating level is appropriate for their kids and lock out the rest.

      The whole problem with this, or putting stuff on computers to allow parents to restrict what their children do, is that in most households, the kids are the ones doing the tech suppoprt and setting up the electronics for the family

      People who grew up always having computers and most of our modern technology know way more about it than the

      • by PFI_Optix (936301)
        Are you aware that the average parent that needs to be concerned with parental controls these days grew up with computers and programmable VCRs and such?

        If you started your family at 25 (which is on the high side of average iirc) and you have a 13-year-old, then you were born around 1969 (give or take a year depending on when your and your kid's birthdays fall). Making you a teenager of the 80s. You know, back when the kids really *were* the only ones who knew how to program the VCR.

        This argument of "parent
        • by gstoddart (321705)

          This argument of "parents don't get it anyway" is ancient, and it's increasingly inaccurate.

          I'm not saying everyone with kids is clueless about their computers and the like, but I see a lot of news stories saying the average teenager spends 5-10 hours/week being the family tech support and helping mom and dad out with online stuff they don't know how to do.

          You must think parents of young teens are just ancient...they're in their mid-30s.

          I'm in my late 30's, so I have a pretty good idea of what age range we'

    • I don't see anyone whining about the V-chip
      That's because you aren't paying attention [].
  • by Vexorian (959249)

    Kids will just download games like they already do.

    They were damn smart at making it a felony to sell and not give away else I can think of the American army getting jailed for a serious felony...

  • We all know that 1st degree murder is a big nono....but do they put extra charges on top of the murder charges if you kill someone in front of a kid but then leave the kid unharmed?


    I thought not.
  • by RichMan (8097) on Friday June 01, 2007 @10:19AM (#19352155)

    Should a legislator vote for a law/bill later found by a court to be unconstitutional that legistlator shall immediatly be dismissed from their post having been essentially found to be "acting against the constitution". Such shall not apply to direct attempts to modify the constitution.
    • Wow, that would be workable if it was like a three strikes thing. The first two times it happened (in one term) the lawmaker would have to sit out the next three votes. After the third, he's outta there. The count could reset with each term. To sweeten the pot, any legislator who was ousted would lose the right to run for office or vote for awhile, and have a large 'U' branded/tattooed on their forehead.

      You could extend this idea to DA's that abuse their power in unconstitutional ways.
  • by Blackknight (25168) on Friday June 01, 2007 @10:20AM (#19352161) Homepage
    Am I the only one that's tired of having their life inconvenienced for everybody's else's children? It's not my fault you're too lazy to watch what your kids are buying/playing. Why is the New York legislature even wasting time on this?
  • You know what to do. Contact the ESA, tell them about this law. Contact the judges, inform them. Contact the New York Government. Give em your criticisms. Remember, our voices speak louder.
    • Since when? Voting machines don't mean anything since they went digital, so politicians don't care about our votes, just that it "seems" like they could have gotten the majority of votes.

      I'll trust voting machines when I'm nolonger convinced that I could vote 10,000 times with just a weeks effort making a fake voting card and just rapid-swiping it.
  • It should also be tagged 'thinkofthechildren'!

    While I laugh at the silly (part of the) USA where this sort of crap is passed, the sad thing is, I have a feeling that it will blow over to europe sooner or later too.

    The influence of the USA is just too insidious to stop it, certainly with the open backdoor they have in the EU with their fellow-anglo-saxon-mentality country; the UK.

    I even fear the day, EU-countries will begin to mandate ID has to be learned at school too.

    It's actually one of the reasons I supp
  • I can use daddy's gun, and play daddy's game.
    I can't by a gun, I can't buy a game.
    Why the fuck should I care about stupid politics?
  • A8696 seeks to apply real-world standards of violence to the fictional and fanciful world of video games

    And you Jim, what have you to say for your 12 counts of GTA, 3514 counts of assault, 151 murders of police officers, and 312 FBI agents dead?
    "They had what was coming to them. Charlie was stepping on my turf, and they shouldn't have got between us."

    We have all heard your testimony of your video game rampage, and have no other recourse but to sentence you to 29 deaths by lethal injections. After wh
  • by LordJezo (596587) on Friday June 01, 2007 @10:58AM (#19352719)
    The NES, SNES, Genesis, Atari, Game Boy, etc.

    None of them have parental controls. Does that mean selling classic systems is illegal? Or do the old ones get grandfathered in?
  • I get the strong feeling this story should have tags “hilary” and “clinton”.

  • by brkello (642429) on Friday June 01, 2007 @11:24AM (#19353135)
    but I am beginning to hate the children. They keep getting in the way of all our fun. Maybe we should have less children so we don't have to think of them so much.
  • by Drake42 (4074) * on Friday June 01, 2007 @11:27AM (#19353175) Homepage
    A) See wildly unconstitutional bill, supported by a zealous minority.
    B) Realize that if you vote for it the zealots will vote for you and if not they'll bully you in the media.
    C) Realize that the bill will be immediately overturned by the judiciary, who are not under the same vote pressure.
    D) Pass the bill, reap the rewards, trust the judges to do their jobs and shut down the bill.

    Lame, cheap and easy. All it costs is voter money and wasted time, but tax money is free so who cares!

    This is why we call it politics instead of governance.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PhxBlue (562201)
      You forgot: E) Condemn "activist judges" to keep favor with the zealots.
  • Fuck the Children (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Maltheus (248271) on Friday June 01, 2007 @11:49AM (#19353531)
    I got nothing against children themselves, but I am so sick and tired of politicians hiding behind, "but it's for the children," bullshit. The didn't seem to be nearly as many problems with children before we had millions of laws "for the children."
  • by Phoenix666 (184391) on Friday June 01, 2007 @11:52AM (#19353597)
    Thinking of the children...I live in New York and I'd far prefer kids and teens spending their free time indoors playing a violent video game like GTA than hanging out outside spraying graffiti, destroying property, or any of the much worse things they get into when they are bored and have time on their hands.

    Sure, there are some kids who'll go pick up a DIY radio kit, code, or play basketball in their free time. But judging from the kids on my block in Brooklyn there are plenty who are not adept enough or self-motivated enough to do those things, but quite capable of doing harm if not directed or distracted.

  • by phorm (591458) on Friday June 01, 2007 @02:41PM (#19356411) Journal
    The store owner, the store, or the minimum-wage employee who sells an M game to a kid who is 17 years 11 months old, and looks like he's 21.

    Yeah... that's what I thought.

"The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment." -- Richard P. Feynman