Judge Understands The Constitution; Issues Injunction On Video Game Ban

from the you-were-expecting-something-different? dept

Almost everyone familiar with the law will tell you that the various new state laws to ban the sale of certain video games to children violates the First Amendment. It's not like this hasn't been tested before. Similar laws have been thrown out for that very reason. But, why would politicians trying to score points let things like the Constitution stop them? Judges, on the other hand, are supposed to uphold things like the First Amendment, so it's no surprise that a judge has issued an injunction in Michigan, keeping that state's law from going into effect, while also noting that the state has almost no chance of winning its case.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Spawn, Nov 10th, 2005 @ 3:53am

    Hmm...

    They are trying to solve the problem by making adults (hopefully the kid's parents) responsible, which is the right directions.
    However the problem is that a lot (not all) parents lack clues on video games.

    A lot either just don't let their kids play at all or rely on media to tell them exactly what games not to let their kids play, while letting them play any other game under sun.

    I've seen a kid play games a lot more violent and profound than Vice City. But can't play the Vice City.

    It's just a disconnect that is getting better since a lot of the original gamers that still are having kids and still understand what is going on in different games.

     

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  2.  
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    Jack, Nov 10th, 2005 @ 4:44am

    Well ....

    First Amendment does not give free reign to any and everything. Adult magazines are restricted to adults as video games with adult content should be. Yes, adults should be responsible and leading the effort but sadly most do not.

     

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  3.  
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    Mike, Nov 10th, 2005 @ 5:30am

    Rights

    I for one am sick of the people relying on the government to determine right from wrong. It is in no way the job of the government to tell me what games my child can and cannot play. I rely on reviews. I do the research. I am a responsible parent. Dont give me the crap about 'some parents aren't though'. Just because some aren't means the balance of us should have to comply with laws designed to save some people from themselves? Give me a break. Take some responsibility for yourself and your family.

     

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  4.  
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    Eddie, Nov 10th, 2005 @ 5:53am

    Re: Well ....

    Those adults who are not responsible, should know that, in fact, THEY are responsibles for their kids. That doesn't give them the right to delegate their responsibilities to other.

    I mean, if they let their kids read some adult magazines, it's not magazine's publisher fault. Same thing with video games. This kind of behavior eases the pain for the parents, but don't solve the real problem.

    People has to start to recognize that their choices affects their surrondings. Of course it's impossible to watch what kids are doing 24/7, but if they have proper education, the parents don't have to worry (much) about their kids behaviours.

     

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  5.  
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    Lilfroger, Nov 10th, 2005 @ 5:53am

    Government vs Responsible Parents

    Why should I as a parent loose my right to raise my child the way I see fit? No I do not want my young child playing video games that advocate breaking the law; but I am his Mother. An elected official is supposed to speak for the people who put her/him in office, but when does what s/he say out weight my parental control? If I want to raise my son to hunt ducks who is to say that is wrong. If other people want to raise their children with no respect for the law who is to say they can't. With out the citizen’s right to revolt against the government we are giving up on more than our First Amendment right.

     

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  6.  
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    zgatt, Nov 10th, 2005 @ 6:22am

    No Subject Given

    Painfully wrong statements and implications about what freedom of speech means.

     

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  7.  
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    Zach, Nov 10th, 2005 @ 6:36am

    Re: Well ....

    True, there's limitations on the First Amendment, (obscenity, yelling fire in a crowded theater, etc.) However, those restrictions are extremely limited (as I'm sure you know). Saying that adults should be responsible and lead the effort while simultaneously working to take the responsibility away from them and put it in the hands of government indicates that you don't really want responsible adults - you want restrictions on what games are made.
    Video games are rated, and that rating is clearly labelled on the game box in front and back. Parents don't need the decision taken out of their hands, they need to be educated on the tools they can use to make informed decisions.

     

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  8.  
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    doesntmatter, Nov 10th, 2005 @ 7:04am

    Re: Rights

    Couldn't agree more...what's with the parents anyways...to busy making or breaking business deals?

    How hard is it to check up on little johnny's games...ie take an interest in what their doing and at the same time semi-monitor whats going on...allows the child to perceive freedom and flexibility in their lives while at the same time allowing parents to become more involved...

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 10th, 2005 @ 7:27am

    No Subject Given

    While I agree that parents and not the city/state or country should be responsible for whether or not kids play video games and if allowed which ones, I have to say that alot of parents don't know enough about them to make an informed decision about what their kids are playing, I ran into a lady at Wal-Mart one day who was planning to get a copy of GTA: San Andreas for her 10 year old, I asked her if she knew what it was about, she said no but her son had said he wanted it and a few of his friends already had it, I explained to her about the type gameplay involved in that game and she quickly changed her mind about buying it, she thanked me for telling her and the kid looked at me like he wished I were dead...

     

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  10.  
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    Wist, Nov 10th, 2005 @ 7:28am

    No Subject Given

    ...slowly.. losing.. freedom.. ...argh! *dies*

     

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  11.  
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    Iain, Nov 10th, 2005 @ 7:52am

    What is the big deal?

    I'm all for keeping M-rated games out of children's hands. Why is ok to limit the sale of pornography or keep children out of "R" movies but it's not ok to keep children from buying games that rated Mature?

    It's crap. Keep the M-rated games out of the kids hands and morons like Jack Thompson have no ammunition.

     

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  12.  
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    Brent Ricks, Nov 10th, 2005 @ 8:42am

    This game business is pissing me off!

    I come from the gaming gen. who started with the Atari and now have every system (minus the 3DO and NEO Geo. I have been playing Video games and since 1980.

    I for onw was upset when Sega forced the hand of the Gov't to impose ratings in the first place. However, due to content of current games, I now understand. There are some game stores and rental shops that will not sell the M-rated games to minors already. It is the parents' responsibility. Just like it's their responsibility to raise their children instead of leaving it up to the school systems.

    I agree with the previous posts that mention that parents need to take a more active roll. Kids will still get away with buying and playing Mature video games some way or another. It is the parents' responsibility to know what their kids are doing. Take the game away.

    Porn/Adult magazines are behind the counter and covered due to the cover's content. There are no naked women on the cover of video games. Kids can't just pick it up and flip through images of porn, like one could with the magazines, if thery were placed in the open. Magazines, and games are two different arguments and cannot be compared.

    Anyway, again, as parents, we should KNOW what are kids are doing. Just because he/she doesn't have the game doesn't mean that their friend doesn't.

    Whatever happened for people taking responsibility? That's why you are called a PARENT and they are CHILDREN!

     

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  13.  
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    Spawn, Nov 10th, 2005 @ 8:59am

    Re: Government vs Responsible Parents

    The laws intent is to give that right to you.

    But the point is if the parent doesn't make themselves aware of the tools they have what's the point?

    All games have ratings now that tell you who its for and why it is rated that way. But parents aren't even aware of that. The kid picks a game and the parent says... hmm i haven't heard of this on the news... it must be ok.

    Not the way to deal w/ the situation.

     

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  14.  
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    Mike (profile), Nov 10th, 2005 @ 9:14am

    Re: What is the big deal?

    Why is ok to limit the sale of pornography or keep children out of "R" movies but it's not ok to keep children from buying games that rated Mature?

    With movies, it's a voluntary system -- not the law.

    That's where the problem comes in. The government can't step in and make a law about this.

     

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  15.  
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    Bill.., Nov 10th, 2005 @ 10:08am

    Re: What is the big deal?

    Why is ok to limit the sale of pornography or keep children out of "R" movies but it's not ok to keep children from buying games that rated Mature?
    With movies, it's a voluntary system -- not the law.
    That's where the problem comes in. The government can't step in and make a law about this.


    The movie rating system is voluntary ONLY because it's working. The "voluntary" game rating system is not working. Preventing the sale of games to minors is what the law is trying to do. Just as with movies, if you don't care if your child plays the game, you are free to buy it for him. Just make sure none of his friends play it without their parents permition and all is fine. This law will help those parents that are trying by not allowing their children to go behind their back and buy the game.

     

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  16.  
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    Rikko, Nov 10th, 2005 @ 10:32am

    Re: What is the big deal?

    I have to disagree, Mike. I think your vision of government is an evil being that is too heavy-handed. I see it as a construct put together by us - we needed rules, and we got them. We don't always agree (abortion, healthcare, taxation, military), but clearly the majority of people did at some point, and those rules were made.

    They still exist because people are too apathetic and selfish to change them. Not government's fault.


    We have said we want controls on what our children have access to, and that has been handed down. Whether these rules came from wisdom, fear, or ignorance, means nothing. The government doesn't do anything that nobody wants if it isn't necessary - to do so would cost it its life. People may hate taxes, but they're necessary to maintain the society we, at some point, said we wanted.

    Same with games - clearly parents want controls on what their kids have access to. If this is a black and white matter of parenting, we might as well allow kids access to firearms, cocaine, cigarettes, military service, and banned books. We don't, because we have decided we have certain activities that are inappropriate for children and thus restrict them.

    Anything that gets restrictions placed on it is considered harmful (by someone in some way) - we all differ here as well. I would personally remove the "harmful" status from marijuana, books, and film, and completely ban (not just minors, but to all) tobacco, alcohol, and firearms.
    You can be damned sure that not one person who reads this will agree with me 100%, but if enough people did, we could force it into law. Would you be happy? No. Would I? Yes. About this. But then your majority would get their way on something that pisses me off, and round and round we go.

    Can you honestly say that you think kids should be allowed to buy a pack of smokes, because damn it, you're a good parent and when you see him with a Marlboro between his lips you can "talk to him" and the problem will go away?
    I doubt it. People of any age or largely stupid animals that need to be controlled (that's why religion still persists, isn't it?).

     

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  17.  
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    Mike (profile), Nov 10th, 2005 @ 11:27am

    Re: What is the big deal?

    My point wasn't whether the law made sense. It was whether it was constitutional... and it's pretty clear that it's not.

     

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  18.  
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    SB, Nov 10th, 2005 @ 11:45am

    Perfectly clear?

    Amendment I
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Is the argument that it is in their religion to play video games? I don't get it...

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 10th, 2005 @ 2:02pm

    Re: What is the big deal?


    “Why is ok to limit the sale of pornography or keep children out of "R" movies but it's not ok to keep children from buying games that rated Mature?”

    It is not OK to limit the sale of porn, or to keep children out of R rated movies, but the well meaning nannies of the country demand it. It hurts our children, and it hurts our adults, but they demand it none the less. What we need are fewer nannies.


     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2006 @ 7:46pm

    If the parent doesnt understand what m rated means on the game cases they should explain what it mean cause on many of the games i own is just says m or t rated nothing explaning what exactly it means.

     

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