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Calif. Petitions Supreme Court On Violent Video Game Bill 204

Posted by timothy
from the high-priority-assignment dept.
eldavojohn writes "You know the drill, violent video game bill struck down because: "We hold that the Act, as presumptively invalid content-based restriction on speech, is subject to strict scrutiny and not the 'variable obscenity' standard from Ginsberg v. New York. Applying strict scrutiny, we hold that the Act violates rights protected by the First Amendment." Well, that didn't satisfy a PhD child psychologist turned Democratic California State Senator named Leland Yee who states in his press release that "California's violent video game law properly seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of excessively violent, interactive video games. I am hopeful that the Supreme Court — which has never heard a case dealing with violent video games — will accept our appeal and assist parents in keeping these harmful video games out of the hands of children. I believe the high court will uphold this law as Constitutional. In fact in Roper v. Simmons, the court agreed we need to treat children differently in the eyes of the law due to brain development." His appeal (in PDF) is here and you can find some industry reactions to the Supreme Court hearing at GamePolitics. Unfortunately Yee seems to be a bit more competent than old Jack Thompson, who is pushing a bill in Louisiana today."
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Calif. Petitions Supreme Court On Violent Video Game Bill

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  • WTF? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @05:48PM (#28031953)
    ...assist parents in keeping these harmful video games out of the hands of children. How about a bill to assist parents in keeping that harmful McDonald's food out of the hands of children? Childhood obesity does a lot more damage than video games! After that, can we work on a bill to keep television remotes out of the hands of wives and girlfriends? I'm pretty sure that is the number one cause of domestic violence!
    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RsG (809189) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @06:02PM (#28032171)

      The stupid thing is, parents already have those capabilities, no new laws required. A parent controls their child's finances, access to electronics, and most other decision making.

      A parent can easily keep their kid from violent games. Don't buy a console, use proper precautions with computers (like requiring root access to install software and withholding the password), or failing that own a computer that can't be used for gaming (old, cheap or both). Don't buy them the games and assure relatives that you do not want the games given as presents. Do some very basic research.

      None of these things are difficult. Most don't even require action, merely inaction, on the parent's part. A modern luddite, like those who support these laws, shouldn't find it difficult.

      So, there are only two excuses for this idiocy. The first is that the people supporting these laws really are that lazy, or that unable to say no to their children. In which case, they need only look into a mirror to see the real problem. Laws won't solve the problem, unless those laws make reproduction a privilege.

      The second, more likely, explanation is that they want to enforce their own style of parenting on everyone. Which isn't "assisting parents", it's forcing them to do things their way.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        The most likely explanation is that this is simply being pushed for a political agenda. Anyone who knows anything about anything knows you can't actually stop kids from playing violent games without putting a tracking collar on the little fuckers.

        • by donaldm (919619)

          The most likely explanation is that this is simply being pushed for a political agenda. Anyone who knows anything about anything knows you can't actually stop kids from playing violent games without putting a tracking collar on the little fuckers.

          I could not agree more but if you do have a video game machine (PC or console) at some stage you are going to get the kid playing games. It really is up to the parents to control what their child plays keeping in mind that the more control you exercise the greater the chance the child will find a way to play the game you don't want them to play. I find it is best to show an interest in what the child likes or is getting pear pressure to like and if necessary hire the game and sit with them as they play it.

      • by pcolaman (1208838)
        My solution with my own son is even easier. Keep him outside as often as possible, doing as many outdoor activities as possible. Don't give the kiddos any time to play video games.
      • by vertinox (846076)

        The stupid thing is, parents already have those capabilities, no new laws required. A parent controls their child's finances, access to electronics, and most other decision making.

        I think we got the problem backwards.

        We should outlaw children. That would solve the parents problem all together.

    • by sorak (246725)

      Well, I think the reasoning is that if they're fat AND violent, then it's easy to outrun them.

  • by random coward (527722) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @05:49PM (#28031971)
    Where are they going to find the money to bring this to the supreme court?

    Wouldn't it be better to actually spend the money on the children in California, rather than pay lawyers to take this clearly unconstitutional law to the supreme court? What with California's budget woes; you would think they would want to save the money so they don't have to cut as much from education and health care for poor children.
  • Bringing in a case about the death penalty is an interesting tactic. I'm surprised he didn't use a school speech case, as they seem to be more on point. Oh well, hope he loses regardless.
    • Irregardless of what happens (I could care less), bringing up the Roper case is a perfectly cromulent tactic.

  • I remember this guy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @05:56PM (#28032067) Journal
    Ah, Leland Yee.

    This is the same Leland Yee who has three times been pulled over on suspicion of cruising for prostitutes in San Fran (while holding public office), but never been charged? The same Leland Yee who was arrested for shoplifting in Hawaii, but had all charges dropped without prejudice?

    Is it just me, or are those with the biggest axe to grind usually the ones with the most delicious skeletons in the closet?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by spiffyman (949476)

      Speaking of axes to grind, until you can produce evidence, the answer to all your questions may as well be "no." Seriously, how is this modded Informative or Insightful? There's not a single link to evidence for these claims. In a quick Google search, I found nothing about Yee being picked up for being a john - though lots to suggest he has fought against prostitution for years - and the only thing about shoplifting was this article [sfgate.com] referencing a 1992 incident that appears to have been a big, dumb mistake.

      M

      • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @12:02AM (#28035663) Homepage

        If you didn't find the links, you weren't trying very hard.

        • http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2000/10/13/MN116316.DTL&hw=leland+yee+record&sn=002&sc=701
        • http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/1999/11/22/MN91849.DTL&hw=leland+yee+prostitution&sn=002&sc=610
    • by pcolaman (1208838)
      California is home to some great, absolutely outstanding public servants, eh? Not saying that my home state has perfect angels serving me and other citizens of Florida, but I'm sure glad we don't have the likes of Yee and Pelosi to worry about. I will say though, Cali does have the Governator as Governor, who could be sent back in time to kill either Yee or Pelosi and change the future.
    • by Darth (29071)

      I think that perhaps everyone has skeletons in their closet, because the perception of appropriateness in society is a fabrication of an ideal that not only doesn't exist, but that nobody really wants to exist.

      The deliciousness of the skeletons in the closets of people like Mr. Yee comes from the perception that they are the instigators and promoters of the fabrication that we all quietly disagree with. The exposure of their hypocrisy is enjoyable in a very schadenfreudian way.

      In my opinion, they are largel

  • by Kelson (129150) * on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @05:57PM (#28032093) Homepage Journal

    assist parents in keeping these harmful video games out of the hands of children

    Wait, so parents can't refuse to buy violent video games for their kids already? They can't confiscate them if the child (or, more likely, teenager) saves up their allowance and goes and buys it themselves?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by captnbmoore (911895)
      Because we all know Government can be better parents then the parents themselves.
    • No they can't.
      The ones that do end up getting killed by their kids.

    • by shentino (1139071)

      Giving parents the right to confiscate (read: search and seize) property from their kids, EVEN if they bought it with their own hard earned money, implies that children have no property rights at all.

      • Giving parents the right to confiscate (read: search and seize) property from their kids, EVEN if they bought it with their own hard earned money, implies that children have no property rights at all.

        You imply that children can have their own money.
        With the possible exception of creative works, most state law believes that parents have a right to their kid's services and earnings.

    • by donaldm (919619)

      They can't confiscate them if the child (or, more likely, teenager) saves up their allowance and goes and buys it themselves?

      If you live in a country where 18 is classified as adult then R18 rating games (if your country has this rating) are restricted to adults that can show proof of age if asked. Most countries that have this normally make it illegal to sell R18 games or media to minors. In Australia were I live it illegal to sell alcohol, tobacco, knives (no this is not a typo) or even any form of gambling content to a minor (I wonder if our politicians have heard of the name "two up" which you can play with two coins). What i

  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @05:58PM (#28032117) Homepage

    Someone needs to remind Mr. Yee that, at least in all the cases I've heard reported on, the store didn't sell the video game to the kid. They sold it to an adult relative of the kid, who then gave it to the kid without bothering to check on what exactly their "little angel" had been bugging them for. And then when they found out exactly what little Timmy had gotten, they dove headfirst into that river in Africa and started looking around for someone else to take the blame for their failure. No law about selling video games to minors will do a single blessed thing about that, where there's no video game ever sold to the minor.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pcolaman (1208838)
      Agreed 100%. The real problem is parenting, which won't be solved simply by any sort of legislation. It will be solved by local and state governments doing real things to encourage parents to give a damn about their kids lives, and unfortunately, it won't work in 100% of the cases even if the governments (both local and state, this isn't a federal issue) did their due diligence. There will always be some dickhead parents and some jacked up kids.
      • by jesser (77961)

        Can you give me an example of what governments can do to encourage parents to care about their kids' lives?

        • by pcolaman (1208838)
          Put your money where your mouth is. That is, give parents a tax credit for being involved in activities such as the PTA, After school activities (soccer moms, etc), and enrolling and completing parent/kid activities. Obviously, the big question would be, how do you show that they did/did not do the said activities. I don't profess to have a perfect solution, but getting some sort of documentation from the school and it being notarized would be the simplest solution IMO. As I said, you will never get eve
    • I agree with you here. There probably are a small number of sales to teens, but the vast majority are to parents, grandparents and other relatives.

      I wish I could find the article now, but back when the Hot Coffee scandal broke for GTA:SA, there was some grandmother so upset that content like that would be in a game she got for her 11 year old grandson. Apparently the fact that the game was called Grand Theft Auto wasn't enough of a clue that it wasn't child appropriate.

      Side note: with the whole Hot Coffee

  • Correction (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pestie (141370) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @06:05PM (#28032207) Homepage

    "California's violent video game law properly seeks to protect children from the imaginary harmful effects of excessively violent, interactive video games."

    FTFY

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by donaldm (919619)

      "California's violent video game law properly seeks to protect children from the imaginary harmful effects of excessively violent, interactive video games."

      FTFY

      Anyway all the people in California who want a so called inappropriate game will drive to the next state and purchase the game anyway. What are they going to do have strip searches at the border and xray all game imports from say Netflix or even monitor all downloadable game content. If they do this it is time to polish up your boots, practice the "goose step" and watch out for that man with the "Charlie Chaplin" moustache. :)

  • but who will protect those kids from endless frivolous lawsuits?
  • unlikely (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HBergeron (71031) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @06:58PM (#28032975)

    A capital punishment decision that was only 5-4 is going to be extended so far as to justify prior restraint on free expression. In fact - yes, this is a legal argument but it just barely passes the laugh test.

  • [...] we need to treat children differently in the eyes of the law due to brain development.

    Why did I understand that as "We need to treat their brains, so they stop developing." and "At least they got any brains. Which we clearly don't. Let's nuke them!"

    Maybe I'm just tired. ^^
    But I don't know it it's from the retardedness of such people, or from fatigue. ^^

  • by AlmondMan (1163229) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @07:02PM (#28033009)
    And make it illegal to indoctrinate children with religion, as religion is 1000 fold more harmful to childrens' minds than any videogame. Then, when they're of an age where they're capable of choosing themselves, having been enlightened of the choices in religion and atheism, and let them choose for themselves. Just like they can choose to play these presumably harmful videogames.
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @08:07PM (#28033731)
    Dear California,

    As one of the most expensive states in the Union already, and with an electorate who just told you today that we want less government for less money, why are you spending your time on this kind of garbage? Don't you have bigger problems to face?
  • by bigbigbison (104532) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @09:34PM (#28034569) Homepage
    Illinois passed a video game law that got ruled unconstitutional and then they had to pay the Entertainment Software Association's lawyer bills [gamasutra.com]
  • ...and assist parents in keeping these harmful video games out of the hands of children.

    Parents don't need yet another law to give them the ability to keep harmful video games out of the hands of their children. They already have that ability. They just need to exercise said ability more often.

    It's not the government's job to raise our children.

    The proper role in this situation would be more like posting an advisory that certain studies link video game violence to this that or the other(assuming said studies even exist) but it should be up to a parent/guardian to make the decision.

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