NY Assembly Calls Senate's Pointless Video Game Ban Bill And Raises It

from the keep-on-trying dept

Last week, the New York state Senate passed a bill that would ban the sale of certain video games to minors, ignoring the small matter of unconstitutionality that's seen the laws struck down by the courts in other places that have passed them. Now, the State Assembly is working on its own video-game ban law, and it goes even further than the Senate version by making retailers that sell games with "depraved violence and indecent images" to minors subject to felony charges. The bill also requires video game consoles sold in the state to feature some sort of parental-control technology (which GamePolitics notes the current major consoles already have), and it would give the state's attorney general the power to stop sales of machines without it. For some unexplained reason, computers and handheld devices are exempted from this part of the law, when it would seem that they pose just as big a "threat" to the youth of New York as consoles. Perhaps the biggest change is that this bill includes a severability clause, which says that if a court finds any part of the law unconstitutional, only that portion will be struck down, rather than the entire law. That sounds like little more than an attempt to skirt the Constitution by lawmakers who know the law will fall foul of it, but all it really does is increase the amount of taxpayer money the state's going to have to waste defending the law in court before it's inevitably struck down. Update: Well, that didn't take long -- the Assembly passed its bill in a single day. Now the two bodies have to patch up the differences between their two bills.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Joshua, May 30th, 2007 @ 7:06pm

    Severability

    It seems to me that severability clauses should be banned in all laws and contracts.

    If you draw up a law and vote on the whole law and not little bits of the law, then the whole thing should stand on it's own, else the intent of the law is lost and it no longer remains what the people voted on. The same goes for contracts, just replace all instances of "law" with "contract" and "voted on" to "agreed to".

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 30th, 2007 @ 8:01pm

    Gah...

    Wouldn't "parental control technology" be "check your child's room for games you don't want them to have"?
    My aunt found her 8 year old son playing a GTA game (can't remember which one) that he'd borrowed from a friend, so she just took it off him.

    That seems to be the most sensible and, in the end, easy way of handling this situation. The sheer lengths that these people are going to in order to relieve parents of responsibility is amazing.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 30th, 2007 @ 8:59pm

    Seriously...

    ... how many times are we going to have to play this game before the lawmakers just give up and realize that the judges aren't going to cave?

    The ESRB and all the console makers are doing due diligence and then some to make sure that the kids don't play the horrible, horrible violent video games that will surely lead to the downfall of western civilization.

    At some point, doesn't the burden fall upon parents and/or other responsible guardians? Won't somebody PLEASE think of personal responsibility?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 30th, 2007 @ 9:35pm

    Give me a brake

    All I have to say and this is why im anonymous is that when my son got in trouble at school and blamed a violent game that I let him play is that I spanked him (he hit a girl and yes i know the hypocrisy in the punishment but thats how I learned) and he is now not allowed to to play anything over a rating of E and nothing with viloance so he plays a lot of sponge bob

     

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  5.  
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    Brian Ruff, May 30th, 2007 @ 11:40pm

    I love moronic reasoning, yes parents should watch their kids but in this day and age where kids are bombarded with increasing areas and venues propagating violence and perversion you would think that the gaming industry would lend a hand, but hey I get it, if that happened then all you techie perverts wouldn't be able to strip kids of their innocence as fast and take advantage of them, you have to prey on children cause adults take one look at ya and know what pathetic losers you are!

     

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  6.  
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    PaulT, May 31st, 2007 @ 12:39am

    @Brian

    "I love moronic reasoning"

    "if that happened then all you techie perverts wouldn't be able to strip kids of their innocence as fast and take advantage of them"

    Yep, proved your own point there. Calling people on a site you obviously frequent "techie perverts" isn't going to help your argument, even if it was valid.

    The issue is this: not all games are for kids. Just as not all movies, comics, books, music and television are intended for kids, some games are clearly targetted at adults. Once an entertainment medium enters the home, it's the responsibility of the head of that household, e.g. a parent, to determine the suitability of that medium for the children, not the job of producers (who make games for adults) or retailers.

     

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  7.  
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    Andrew Garrett, May 31st, 2007 @ 1:25am

    I don't know why, after all the arguments, nobody has yet come up with a decent reason why sexually-oriented material is somehow "indecent" and "harmful to minors".

     

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  8.  
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    The infamous Joe, May 31st, 2007 @ 4:06am

    Peter Pan.

    Now, I'm not a parent, so maybe that's why this seems so off-base to me.

    I don't know about you people, but I grew up with plenty of violence on TV, and I don't robs stores or hit women. Maybe instead of isolating your poor little fragile children from the entire world, they could instead be taught right from wrong, honor, personal accountability and fantasy from reality. (at least the difference between a video game and real life, if you want them to believe in Santa Claus or whatnot) I know, this is probably asking a lot-- especially since a lot of parents I know haven't exactly nailed all those things down, but it has to start somewhere. That way, a kid could play Postal 2 (a great game, btw) and not think it's okay to run around dousing people with gasoline and lighting them on fire-- watching them burn and then pissing to put out the fire. (I told you it's a great game..) ;)

    As for why sex is so wrong and violence is okay-- well, I have my theories-- maybe because we were founded by people too prudish for the *English*? To them (and us?!) sex is a dirty, vile, nasty thing that should only be shared with someone you love. Or something like that. I don't exactly understand it myself-- it seems to me that European kids turn out no more messed up than American ones, and sex is just as natural as eating-- and I hope no parent out there is trying to isolate their kid from seeing/knowing people eat.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2007 @ 5:26am

    "I love moronic reasoning, yes parents should watch their kids but in this day and age where kids are bombarded with increasing areas and venues propagating violence and perversion you would think that the gaming industry would lend a hand, but hey I get it, if that happened then all you techie perverts wouldn't be able to strip kids of their innocence as fast and take advantage of them, you have to prey on children cause adults take one look at ya and know what pathetic losers you are!"

    As far as I'm aware, having a game rated isn't a legal requirement in the US. Game companies have to submit their games for rating voluntarily, which means they are actually going out of their way to help the parents (including the fact that many shops won't sell unrated games).

    Also, where exactly are children "bombarded" with ANYTHING "propogating violence"? Do you let your children go for a walk through the ghetto on their own? Let them watch no holds barred fighting? Gimme a break.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2007 @ 5:45am

    Re: Give me a brake

    No reason to be anonymous. Your son got out of line and you put him back in line. That's called parenting. Keep up the good work.

     

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  11.  
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    Sanguine Dream, May 31st, 2007 @ 5:58am

    Well...


    Perhaps the biggest change is that this bill includes a severability clause, which says that if a court finds any part of the law unconstitutional, only that portion will be struck down, rather than the entire law.


    What if each part is found to be unconstitutional?

    Here is the deal. People constantly ask why politicians keep trying to pass these laws even at the cost of the constitution. The reason is because each one of these overzealous politicians wants to the "The One" that passes an and anti violent games law. All these lawmakers know that it will win them lots of brownine points with conservative voters and politicials across the coutry will see that first law as a blueprint and will copy it without haste.


    Oh and it will be a significant blow in the fight against terrorism and it will protect the children! Sorry I couldn't resist the opportunity.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2007 @ 9:14am

    Re: Re: Give me a brake

    When I was in elementary school, I punched this girl, roxanne, and she deserved it. She had maliciously punted a ball that I had lost control of over the fence, and then sneered. So maybe your son was right, you never know. Nobody believed me at the time.

     

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  13.  
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    Anon CowHerd, May 31st, 2007 @ 9:17am

    Re:

    Sorry, need help parenting? Take a parenting class.

    Don't expect Big Nanny Gov. to do it for you.

    Your type really makes me sick. You whinge on with excuse after excuse (usually "technology") and utterly fail to take any responsibility whatsoever for the upbringing of your foul, socially retarded offspring.

    You're a loser. But you can change.

    The damage you've done to your kids is likely irreversible. Here's hoping they "thank" you properly some day for that.

     

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  14.  
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    techie loser, May 31st, 2007 @ 11:04am

    Re:

    Brian, you're reasoning is moronic. No wonder you love moronic reasoning.

    Did you co-author the bill?

    Please Brian, save my children!

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2007 @ 1:31pm

    The world is a cruel harsh ever changing place. Isolating children will only end up hurting them far more in the end

     

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  16.  
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    Bill, May 31st, 2007 @ 2:15pm

    "depraved violence and indecent images" - I believe that most Mario games fall in to this category - jumping on heads and the princess in her suggestive dress. Every game can be seen as violent even solitaire. Did those cards WANT to be flipped? No! And you've exposed their undersides, how obscene! ;)

    Either accept the technology as it is or don't buy it. Its as simple as that.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2007 @ 4:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Give me a brake

    no my son was in the wrong they where in lline at the water foutin and he hit the girl for going to slow. so he was in the wrong and the teacher was there and saw the whole thing.

     

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  18.  
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    John Miller, Jun 1st, 2007 @ 6:43am

    Re: Give me a brake

    Maybe you should try borrowing one of your son's English books...

     

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  19.  
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    Eric, Jun 1st, 2007 @ 9:57am

    Re:

    Even worse, the King of Hearts promotes suicide.

     

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  20.  
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    MR. MAN, Jun 25th, 2007 @ 8:47am

    Re: Peter Pan.

    I agree with the infamous Joe because if u just isolate your child from the the world then what will they acheive in life because you know they'll see voilence and a lot of the things they are trying to stop them from seeing. Another thing is (well this is my opinion but) it is probably better for a child to see things like violence and fighting because they would probably be tramatized by the fact of see someone get beat up and die at the age of like 20 and never had seen it before. and for you people out there who think that leaving a child locked up in a house is a good idea and that they shouldn't hear any thing bad hey face it they will hear bad words sometime and you can't stop that, so why don't you let them out once and awhile and let them see what the world is really like. and if you don't like what i say kiss my @$$

     

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  21.  
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    Jack, Apr 8th, 2008 @ 8:18am

    This bull

    Stop taking freedom away from us u F**** nuts. Hey video games are fun and i can't do anything but study and work all day so why restrict. Soon the government is going to start having people have ID to just buy one game that is stupid.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous, Jul 28th, 2008 @ 2:28pm

    In my opionion, I think it is the parents duty to tell the kid right from wrong, good from bad, fantasy from reality, but parents are getting more and more lazy these days and not seeing what there kids are playing. If they know there kid can't handle violence or they know it will make him more violent then they should not even buy the game for him in the first place. But there are kids out there who do know this already. I being one of them. I play violent games, and I don't get violent, but I know right from wrong and I know not to do that in real life. It isn't that hard for parents to tell there kids not to do that, and if they do...Just scold them, take it away from them for awhile.

     

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