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Mostly Toothless Video Game Bill Passes the Utah Legislature

from the where-are-the-regulations-against-silly-regulations? dept

The Utah legislature has seemed strangely obsessed with technology issues this session. Perhaps spurred on by a questionable BYU study on the problems created by video games, the Utah legislature has passed a bill promoted by disgraced lawyer and anti-videogame activist Jack Thompson to regulate the sale of video games to minors. The good news, as Ars Technica reports, is that the law was largely defanged during the legislative process. Under the final version of the bill, retailers would not be liable for selling M-rated video games to minors if they'd put their employees through a training program. They'd also not be liable if the children had gotten the games by lying about their age. With that said, there's still plenty to object to here. For starters, the legislation punishes retailers for failing to follow their published policy on video game sales. That means that a retailer that has a strong policy against selling to minors will face more liability if it breaks that policy than a retailer that doesn't have such a policy. This could have the perverse effect of discouraging retailers from adopting strong policies against selling violent video games to children. It will also force a lot of retailers to put their employees through "training" programs that may be completely unnecessary. But probably the most serious problem with this legislation is that it may be an opening wedge for future regulation of video game sales. Expect the same interest groups that pushed this legislation through to come back in future years with bills that would close the "loopholes" in this year's legislation.


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  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 6:50pm

    "Expect the same interest groups that pushed this legislation through to come back in future years with bills that would close the "loopholes" in this year's legislation."

    Mormons, it is ok to say it. The push is more of a nudge really, all you have to do is put the bill on the table and because it's "protecting the children" it will get passed. These are the same kind of people who don't let their children watch R movies till they move out of the house..

     

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  2.  
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    gooner, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 7:07pm

    Utah. The state where you can not have 5% beer but you can do a shot of tequila with your 3.2% beer. Go figure.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 7:11pm

    Re:

    "These are the same kind of people who don't let their children watch R movies till they move out of the house.."

    Or wear bikinis in public pools - they require girls of all ages to wear a 1-piece bathing suit because it may stimulate sex.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 7:15pm

    Re: Re:

    Not true--Mormons are in fact allowed to wear bikinis. Still, I concede that most decide not to because they prefer to dress modestly.

     

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  5.  
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    Zach, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 10:32pm

    Re:

    hey im mormon and i love me some video games and r rated movies lol and im not a "sinner" or im not going to hell or whatever its just the anti video game people pushing this. i will admit that Utah Mormons are a little weird (im from California) but its mainly the people that think if you play grand theft auto when your 13 your going to shoot up your school because "I saw it on my game and they just came back after i killed them" its stupid

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 11:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: bikinis in public pools

    "Or wear bikinis in public pools - they require girls of all ages to wear a 1-piece bathing suit because it may stimulate sex."

    A small town outside Salt Lake City, Utah, just banned bikinis at their public pool. Some townspeople supported the ban, but others were outraged.

    One teenager girl put it eloquently: "Not being able to wear bikinis are retarded." She then added, "But string bikinis aren't cute."

    The mayor also talked gallantly about "freedom of choice," but didn't seem to understand what it means, since he then added that the town should be able to ban "that which we feel is inappropriate to us." (I love how the mayor tries to talk about "individual freedoms" like it's something that he respects. Oh, but except when we don't like your freedom)

    The full video is at:

    http://current.com/items/89174348/small_town_bikini_ban.htm

     

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  7.  
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    DrDave, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 3:33am

    Forbidden fruit

    In the medical journal Pediatics a well done study was just published looking at video game ratings and accessability and it found that in all ages groups, including 7-8 y/o, the high the rating the more the child wanted to play the game. The whole rating system is just letting kids know that this game is the one you have to play.

     

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  8.  
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    ChrisB (profile), Mar 18th, 2009 @ 7:11am

    Re: Forbidden fruit

    The rating system is useful to parents like me, who actually have a backbone and can say no to their kid. The reality is most problems with kids getting M games have nothing to do with the retailers, but lazy stupid parents who don't give a s**t. But it would be difficult to make a law that punished parents, so let's blame everyone else.

    Similar case in point: I actually had some stupid woman come up to me and my wife and ask if we'd take her two 11-year-old boys into Friday the 13th. The cashier had informed her that the movie was rated 18A, and no they can't go in without a parent. The business did their job, and this woman was doing everything in her power to circumvent it.

     

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  9.  
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    A thinker, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 8:01am

    wonder how the game industry will react...

    Unless I'm mistaken, the rating of games is VOLUNTARY, so if game makers see this type of law as a problem, won't they just stop rating games?

     

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  10.  
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    Travis, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 10:26am

    Re: wonder how the game industry will react...

    Unless I'm mistaken, the rating of games is VOLUNTARY, so if game makers see this type of law as a problem, won't they just stop rating games?

    Because Microsoft, Sony and Microsoft refuse to license games on their system unless they are rated.

     

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  11.  
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    Video gamer, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 6:38pm

    None of you are addressing the issue. The Bill will simply punish retailers for breaking the law. The current law prohibits these retailers from selling M-rated games to minors. Just as an employee would get punished for selling cigarettes to minors. This bill, if anything is a waste of time because it is basically saying that the law can be enforced. If you want minors to be able to buy M-rated games, then we need to change that law.

     

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  12.  
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    DR1V3N CRAZY, Feb 10th, 2010 @ 7:28am

    ya, i might admit i have a little bit of a game addiction. but once you start u can't stop i mean who wants to when you get to blow heads up on GEARS of WAR i mean its so much fun.

     

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  13.  
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    FEMALE VIDEO GAMER, Mar 29th, 2010 @ 1:09pm

    Stupid parents deserve to get their asses busted. It's not hard to say no to a child. Take f'ing charge of your family for christ sakes! I am not a parent myself, but i know what it means to take charge. You know what, this whole topic is ridiculous, i don't even know why we're talking about this. 'Cause we all know that all of these stupid soccer moms are just gonna keep complaining about how they can't connect with their kids because of video games. I call shenanigans in all of this bullshit.

    -peace.

     

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