So after going to gamepolitics.com last night, I looked in the legislation tab to see if any state had drafted Anti-Violent Game Legislation. Surprisingly, My own state of Massachusetts, was among those states, that drafted draconian anti-video game bills within the last 6 years. Back in 2007, HB 1423 was drafted, it would apparently “restrict violent games to minors”, but that’s not all… No No… That’s not all..
The Bill is so ridiculously draconian that is scares me just as much as the Bill that California Drafted that got Defeated for Unconstitutionality in Brown VS EMA. Like that bill, this one uses the greatly subjective obscenity clause to determine what games would be restricted…. Basically, if the game is offensive to the public, and the judges of the content find it lacks scientific, educational, or literary value, it would be restricted. The problem is if a game is so offensive that it offends the Judges (it seems any violent game with gore would do this, hell even guns in a game offended a co-worker years ago, Doom none the less), they would be so offended that they would say it lacks those values anyway, and therefore would use it against the game and then restrict it to minors.
The real issue is not this but the fact that it uses the restrict word in the wrong way, or in an unclear way. Restrict means to ” to confine or keep within certain often specified limits or selected bounds” according to an online dictionary, so if you use this definition, the bill makes it illegal to sell games to adults now…. Even worse, the bill fails to even mention the punishments, who will judge the games, punishment (if any) for false judgement based on faked evidence or incorrect evidence or abuse of the judging process. Even if these issues are my imagination, it still uses a subjective system to determine what games are restricted and what ones aren’t. How would the stores know which ones not to sell…. Like Brown VS EMA, they might end up taking all games off the shelves to prevent losses or lawsuits coming from violations of the law. So therefore this bill would create an effective ban because since stores don’t know what games get restricted till to late, they then end up having to take ALL violent games off the shelves to prevent damages, especially if the bill is abused..
Text of the Bill in question for people wanting to read it In case it gets deleted later for any reason. (a lot of the stuff like this gets deleted suddenly, as of late anyway, such as the Brown vs EMA Amicus Brief, etc)
As of now the Bill is in the House Committee being stalled, but who knows for how long? This could come to bite my state and my freedom of choices in the Ass later. I am an Adult! I have the right to choose WHAT GAMES I Buy. I don’t want this bill to backfire and make retailers get rid of violent games in fear like it could. And since I use online retailers mostly now, who knows how it will effect online retailers in MA, or the gaming industry here. This could be, in theory, Disastrous for gaming in my state…..
This is MY STATE we are talking about here… We don’t do shit like this, uber save the children conservative nonsense here. Not till one of the hack psychologists crazy unproven theories invaded the minds of people like our Mayor, did this nonsense start, with the Banning of GTA ads on subway systems that don’t have kids in them anyway (from my experience, their too dangerous for kids)… IF our Mayor ends up allowing this to pass, I will fight it tooth and nail with regular emails to ALL the Representatives and Senators in my State…. I won’t let this go quietly and with out opportunity. I will start a campaign to get people to write EVERYONE in office in MA to oppose this and hopefully it will flood their Mailboxes so bad that they find it unconstitutional.
As of now, the bill is in committee, and who knows if it will be taken out for a vote anytime soon. But still I urge ALL Gamers in Massachusetts to email the Rep’s about this. This is danger waiting to happen for Gaming here… Don’t let this pass, gamers, spread the message, email your Rep’s, send the message below to them to make them see that this is WRONG!!!
Text to email (please us this, don’t write your own)
“As your constituent and as an avid Video Game fan, and also as an anti-censorship person, I oppose HB 1423 due to it’s vague use of the phrase “restricting” in it’s text, and other issues. I know this is an old bill, but according to gamepolitics.com, it’s still being worked on, and hasn’t completely died, according to them.It claims to be a bill that will restrict Sales of certain violent video games to adults, but when I didgoogle searches for similar bills in other states, only a few were restrict to adults type bills. Many were ills to restrict violent games to children… Since I oppose any form of Censorship, I immediately looked at the Bill’s text, and compared it to others in other states. When looking up the definition of Restrict online, It seems this bill is actually designed to Restrict sales of violent games to adults, as in a ban of violent games to adults only. Since the bill’s text is so vague, there is no part that clearly states “stores must not sell games to minors”, so which way is it? Banning games from being sold to minors, or to Adults…. Based on other bills, it looks like the writer of such a bill Purposely left it out to abuse it for such a purpose, to make it illegal for stores to even sell games to adults…. Thus killing the video game industry in this state.
Other issues I have with it, are how it uses an incredibly biased Obscenity clause that states that if thegame is lacks scientific, literary, or educational value for minors, it is harmful to minors and can’t besold, but since the the people who are deciding this (which it does not state), could simply use theirstandards of what offends them, they can simply say that the game offends them, so therefore it lacks those standards, and ban it to adults or children…. I feel Indecency and obscenity clauses are to vague and subjective to use as a test of what should be restricted, banned or both… It’s too easy for someone else to abuse this, and IMHO, that’s why the author wrote this bill to get an “effective ban” in MA passed… I just wanted to share my concerns…”