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Censorship Entertainment Games

Banned Games Find Ways To Bypass Authority 58

Stony Stevenson writes "PC World reports that digital downloads and online distribution is making the regulation of banned computer games impossible. Running with Scissors has employed a new sales channel that allows its controversial Postal games to be downloaded direct to consumers' PCs. This has created a grey area between content regulators and classification enforcers that allows end users to receive banned content unchecked. From the article: 'The Australian Communications and Media Authority hotline manager of content assessment, Mike Barnard conceded that preventing distribution was not conclusive and the only foolproof method of stopping people downloading banned content was if they chose not to.'"
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Banned Games Find Ways To Bypass Authority

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  • In other news... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PFI_Optix ( 936301 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @11:49AM (#14706487) Journal
    Prohibition of alcohol and illicit drugs fails miserably.
  • by illtron ( 722358 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @11:54AM (#14706568) Homepage Journal
    Governments need to get out of the business of telling people what content is good for them. They can't possibly hope to stop it, so why try? I know what I find offensive, and I won't waste my time on stuff that offends my tastes. When I have kids someday, I hope to teach them some sense of decency and the difference between right and wrong. I don't think there's any actual danger of kids going postal themselves just because they played a violent video game. Raise your kids right and it'll never be an issue, no matter what kind of video games they play.
  • by Stargoat ( 658863 ) <> on Monday February 13, 2006 @11:54AM (#14706569) Journal
    "The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."
  • ...this is another example of the Net "routing around censorship". :)

    That said, I think the issue of "banning" games in the first place should be addressed directly for the absurdity that it is.

    • Yeah, well, I'd rather not se games whose objective is explicitely to kill me or my family. I've been demonstrating for freedom of expression recently but there are times where it's quite painful. Hint: I might be either Jewish or Native American or a descendent of African Slaves or Strogg.
  • ...the only *real* way to stop people obtaining them is to stop them being produced in the first place. Once they exist, trying to stop people obtaining them through any means (legal or illegal) is nigh impossible.
    • Re:Not true... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by 2008 ( 900939 )
      You can't stop production either. You could prevent a big company from producing certain types of games, but you can't stop fan-made content which can add violence/sex/drugs/atheism/whatever. And you can't stop companies in another country from producing the games either, you can prevent bulk imports but not file trading or people posting copies.
      • You can't stop production either.

        No, but they can make it illegal to posess, sell, import or produce them. It's just a question of extending the "obscenity" laws. I'm not saying it's right (I think it's very, very wrong) but it's how it will happen in at least some countries I think.

        • Re:Not true... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by RexRhino ( 769423 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @12:28PM (#14707072)
          It still won't work. The U.S. spent billions, if not trillions by now, trying to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the United States. They have a whole police/military machine trying to keep the stuff out. They have a million people in prison for selling or using the stuff. And it doesn't seem to have any effect. (In fact, the drug laws probably perpetuate the drug trade. The U.S. government is like the OPEC of drugs... they are just effective enough to limit the drugs such as they become very profitable to smuggle.

          Now, information is way easier to smuggle and hide than illicit substances. Especially in the age of the Internet. Expect any attemps to ban games to be as effective as the "War on Drugs".
          • The same thing applies - if they could stop the production of drugs, people wouldn't be able to smuggle them in. All it does is drive the problem underground though, so in that respect you're correct. But the big-game-company produced stuff, much like the big drug cartel produced stuff, would be easy to stop if the powers that be chose to do it.
            • Oh yeah, that has worked so well with the whole meth thing. I mean, you can't get that shit anymore, right?

              Face it, everytime you do something to stop someone from making one drug, they start making another, more dangerous drug to replace it.

              If you could buy coke and heroin at Walgreens, about 98% of all the bad things that happen because of drugs would go away.
              • If you could buy coke and heroin at Walgreens, about 98% of all the bad things that happen because of drugs would go away.

                So because you can buy alcohol legally, the bad stuff isn't happening?

                No alcholism in society, no drunken wife beating takes place, and no drunken fighting right?

                You can't necessarily assume that legalization is the solution...

                Truth is, we should just open it up to consumption. Who are we to dicatate what a person should or should not consume? We are all victims of our bad choices, one
          • by 88NoSoup4U88 ( 721233 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @12:42PM (#14707257)
            Expect any attemps to ban games to be as effective as the "War on Drugs".

            Maybe next time I buy a gram of coke it should contain a little warning label "Don't do games!" as the older arcade games used to have in attract mode. :)

          • I'm not saying it will work, I agree that it won't. But, as with the drugs parallel, it will lead to lot of heavy handed policing and the wrecking of lives of people who really haven't ever hurt anybody to "save" society from a perceived evil.
          • Anyone who's taken 1st year economics knows about supply and demand curves. We see that as the US government has tried to choke off the supply, the demand has fallen off -- except that those that still demand it, are much more willing to pay silly prices to get the goods. Doubly so if it's a real drug that has addictive properties (such as heroin) instead of a recreation drug (like marijuana).

            Perhaps they should look at why people want to use drugs and deal with those problems. Alcohol, which I'd say is
  • choice (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sepharious ( 900148 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @12:01PM (#14706689) Homepage
    "Mike Barnard conceded that preventing distribution was not conclusive and the only foolproof method of stopping people downloading banned content was if they *CHOSE* not to." (emphasis mine) And that is exactly as it should be. People should be responsible for the content they consume and for their children's consumption. If you can't control what your children play then perhaps you should have kept your legs closed. Down with the Nanny State!
  • by MasterOfMagic ( 151058 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @12:11PM (#14706833) Journal
    Perhaps instead of banning video games, governments should be focused on educating people between the differences between right and wrong and fantasy and reality. There are studies that show people who don't know the difference between right and wrong and people that don't know the difference between fantasy and reality can be influenced to violent behavior by violent video games. What most of these studies fail to mention is the numbers of people who have been affected by other media outlets and how that compares to video games. In the past, Dungeons & Dragons, Saturday Cartoons, Comic Books, Movies, Heavy Metal Music, and Dime Store Novels were all thought to have the same influence. So the question becomes, is the problem with the media or the people consuming the media?

    Or perhaps if people knew the difference between fantasy and reality, fewer people would go see movies and watch television and begin to wake from their unrealistic dreams?
    • Because the currently appointed government officials are exactly the people to be defining right and wrong. Good idea. Oh, wait, no. That's what parents are for.

      • So, in other words, the government shouldn't have any laws against murder, and instead parents should be able to decide on a case by case basis if murder is wrong? I don't believe the government should be moral police. There are a few things that most moral codes agree are bad: rape, murder, unprovoked assault, and so forth.

        I agree that parents should be allowed to control what video games their children play. If you look at my post, nowhere do I say that the government should ban video games or restrict
        • I think you are confusing the policing of morality with consquences for actions, the "morals" you have defined, "rape, murder, unprovoked assault, and so forth" effect other people and should have consqeuences as such, since our constitution attempts to defend it's populace against things that would interfere with their life liberty and pursuit of happiness.

          What the government should not do is attempt to define FOR ME what is right and wrong, I should decide that for myself and my children (and when they ar
          • I think that you're reading your own bias into this. I never say anywhere that the government must set standards of right and wrong and that they should be applied to anyone who wants to play video games or read books, or anything of the sort. I'm arguing the contrary - that the government should not set these standards and that the motivation behind the standards, namely, that violent video games cause violence in the population in general, is flawed. Though I do admit that for some people who don't kno
        • Laws against assault (in various forms) don't need to have anything to do with morality, good versus evil or fantasy versus reality. In thousands of years of civilization it has become generally accepted that any system of laws should probably include something to discourage assault. We may have those laws simply because it's difficult to have a functional society when people can easily gang up and beat the crap out of people they disagree with.
    • Don't forget in the 30s it was pinball games that were "corrupting the youth of America". Yes seriously, there was a huge controversy over how pinball games were leader kids into a life of crime. Yes, seriously.

      Every decade has it's stupid bogeyman that is "training children to be murderers". Whether it's novels, movies, alchohol, pinball, communists, television, comic books, dungeons and dragons, satanists, heavy metal & rap, or video games.

      People never clue into the fact it's the same old crap they
  • by rewinn ( 647614 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @12:27PM (#14707056) Homepage
    Perhaps we should ban a few more things, to encourage people to be more creative in getting what they want.
  • By allowing customers to claim any losses back from their credit card company, or something like that, making it totally unprofitable for the online casinos? You just need to do more of this sort of thing. They need to come up with laws that will allow people access to the software but not require them to pay for it, and let the publishers censor themsleves.

    Or, even better - stop nannying their citizens.
  • Is Australia a little behind in the times? STEAM has been doing this for quite a bit now. The tone I got from the article made me think that this was some sort of INTENTIONAL bypass and it was absolutely proposterous. It's like the Austrailian government is *purposefully* out to get this company, and stomp this game into oblivion.
  • People found in possession of refused classification material or those distributing it can face a variety of penalties as outlined under relevant State and Territory classification enforcement legislation. However as OFLC restrictions act purely as a guideline for consumers and law enforcement

    That last sentence confuses me. Their 'restrictions' act purely as a 'guideline'. THEY DISALLOW THE GAME TO BE SOLD IN AUSTRALIA, and as the previous sentence says, there are penalities for owning the games they've
    • The OFLC has their head up their [censored] in more ways than this. They have attempted to apply their ruling of outright banning sexual violence as it is applied to film to video games, without the capacity to fully test the content. The wording on their guidelines for film content is that *any reasonable adult* should be able to view whatever they wish. However their definition of a *reasonable adult* appears to be a methodist eunuch with no urges of any kind.

  • Banned movies, tv, games, music, etc all find their way online and someone somewhere releases it for all to see. It's pandoras box basically. You can't stop it once it's out there.

"The way of the world is to praise dead saints and prosecute live ones." -- Nathaniel Howe