New York Passes New Videogame Law

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New York Passes New Videogame Law

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New York Governor David Paterson has signed into law a new piece of legislation that will "ensure the State will explore the negative effects of violent videogames."

Unlike past attempts at legislating videogames in the U.S., which have been overturned by the courts as a result of various First Amendment issues, this law will not attempt to control videogame content but will instead mandate various measures that will help ensure mature-rated videogames don't end up in the hands of children. The new law will require that videogames display an age rating, that game consoles have built-in parental controls and also establishes a 16-member "advisory council" on the effects of violence in the media. The bill was passed by the State Senate in June with an overwhelming 61-1 vote, after which the Governor had a 30-day window to sign it into law.

Sharp-eyed readers may note that videogames sold in North America already carry a voluntary ESRB rating on their packaging, and that all three major consoles already offer parental controls, and in fact the law will not require any material changes to the production or sale of videogames in New York; it will simply mandate existing voluntary systems. Because of this, many observers question the point of the law, calling it "feel-good legislation," and even some traditional opponents of gaming laws have indicated they don't feel the matter is worth fighting. A statement by the Entertainment Merchants Association, for instance, said, "This bill is unnecessary and seeks to solve a problem that does not exist. But we do not anticipate that videogame software retailers will have a problem complying with its requirements. (It is important to note that NY law already requires DVD packages to display the rating of the movie.)"

Nonetheless, the Video Game Voters Network issued an alert earlier in July encouraging its members to contact the Governor to express their opposition to the bill, and the VGVN parent Entertainment Software Association issued a statement following the Governor's decision to sign the bill into law suggesting it may challenge the law in court. "The state has ignored legal precedent, common sense and the wishes of many New Yorkers in enacting this unnecessary bill," the statement said. "This government intrusion will cost taxpayers money and impose unconstitutional mandates for activities and technologies that are already voluntarily in place. It also unfairly singles out the videogame industry over all other forms of media. One wonders where this overreach by government in New York will end. If New York lawmakers feel it is the role of government to convene a government commission on game content, they could next turn to other content such as books, theater and film."

While other organizations, including the New York Civil Liberties Union and the International Game Developers Association, are opposed to the law, any constitutional challenges are expected to come from the ESA. Whether the group will bother to fight a law that is almost entirely symbolic remains to be seen. The bill can be read in its entirety here.

Source: GamePolitics

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Nevermind legal challenges,

I want to know how much has the state of New York spent on research, consultants, lawyers etc to create then pass legislation that changes... absolutely nothing.

Wow...this was pritty pointless

I'm not worried about it. This is a PR law and my guess would be that it is a Democratic concession to the Republicans in Albany for something else.

Patterson recently ordered all NY state agencies to recognize same sex marriages performed outside NY. Curiously, the state congressional Republicans were totally silent on the issue. My point being that NY state politics is a lot of horse trading, and with separate parties occupying the legislative and executive branches, it's doubtful we'll see any outright moral crusades of the sort that would result in significant impediments to videogame content expression.

I have a new law that New York absolutely must implement:

1) Everyone must keep breathing

I am sure that after going through their rigorous testing process that this will be implemented, as it forces people to do something they already are.

Seriously how pointless can you get? Forcing companies to do something they already do voluntarily, the fun thing is this will probably just succeed in pissing off industry members, such is the reaction you get when forcing someone to do something they are already doing.

Notice how there are never any laws passed that explore what positive effects games might have.

^^^^what everyone else said.

This bill is pointless, let us write our opinions to them via the VGVN!!

As much as I love my home state, it does some really goddamn stupid things when it wants to.

...Wow. This might be one of the greatest wastes of effort ever. What does this law do?

Aries_Split:
...Wow. This might be one of the greatest wastes of effort ever. What does this law do?

Well basically tells the video game industry to eat their vegetables when their mouth is chock full of them.

Johnn Johnston:
Notice how there are never any laws passed that explore what positive effects games might have.

It's just plain ignorance. These politicians simply refuse to understand games, and even go so far as to make assumptions, like GTA IV has forced rape, makes you drive drunk so you can progress and get 'points', and that Mass Effect is a full on porno. Yet they don't even think that, hey, maybe I should PLAY these games before I jump to a conclusion.

What if we did that with the movie industry? Or the legal system:

Judge: Hey, let's give this guy a life sentence, he shot 18 people!
Attorneys: Uhm, no, he's here because he has unpaid parking tickets...
Judge: Well, I didn't bother to review the case so, oh f*ck it! GUILTY! Life sentence without parole!

And then you get the snowball effect where a bunch of other media outlets, like Fox, take the story and run with it...

mitsoxfan:

Johnn Johnston:
Notice how there are never any laws passed that explore what positive effects games might have.

It's just plain ignorance. These politicians simply refuse to understand games, and even go so far as to make assumptions, like GTA IV has forced rape, makes you drive drunk so you can progress and get 'points', and that Mass Effect is a full on porno. Yet they don't even think that, hey, maybe I should PLAY these games before I jump to a conclusion.

What if we did that with the movie industry? Or the legal system:

Judge: Hey, let's give this guy a life sentence, he shot 18 people!
Attorneys: Uhm, no, he's here because he has unpaid parking tickets...
Judge: Well, I didn't bother to review the case so, oh f*ck it! GUILTY! Life sentence without parole!

And then you get the snowball effect where a bunch of other media outlets, like Fox, take the story and run with it...

I hate fox news with a passion. I mean, it's so full of its self it's sickening.

Jumplion:
^^^^what everyone else said.

This bill is pointless, let us write our opinions to them via the VGVN!!

I already did. 4 times, to 4 different people. They kept sending me the "Send a letter" emails, I kept responding. Anyway, even though the law is pointless, because it's passed, people might have to shut up now about games (in New York, at least)... Nah! Kids will still get the games, parents will still blame games, and the cycle will continue.

It does nothing ... until you look at old consoles. No older consoles without the built-in parental controls can be sold in NY by this law. Does this mean the makers are gonna retro-fit older consoles with chips or whatever? No. You just can't get your hands on them in NY.

Additionally, what happens to old Gamecube discs, for example? The Wii's parental controls do not affect those. Does that mean Wiis are bad? Or can you not buy Gamecube games in NY, either? It's a very muddy law that has, on the surface, little impact, but I worry about further interpretations.

this is really sucks that my state had to be the one to pass this law. although it is pointless and won't change anything, it may open the dorr for more redicules laws and restrictions on videogames to be passed in this state. if this state ever bans a game you can bet that i will buy the first one to get an ileagle copy.

This never would've happened with the governor who was paying $3000 a pop for sex...

this law sets a very bad precident. Now that a law has been passed concerning videogames the flood gates will open and we will start seeing all kinds of ridiculous laws being proposed

I'm very uncomfortable with a law that mandates what are currently voluntary measures. Much like movies are not required to be rated by the MPAA, games are not required to be rated by the ESRB. This law specifically seems to make it illegal to sell an unrated game, which is what I'm not happy about. This strikes me as a point where it may cross the line into violating the first amendment. While milder than the laws most states have stupidly passed, I do hope this is challenged and struck down (inevitably) in court.

Andraste:
It does nothing ... until you look at old consoles. No older consoles without the built-in parental controls can be sold in NY by this law. Does this mean the makers are gonna retro-fit older consoles with chips or whatever? No. You just can't get your hands on them in NY.

Additionally, what happens to old Gamecube discs, for example? The Wii's parental controls do not affect those. Does that mean Wiis are bad? Or can you not buy Gamecube games in NY, either? It's a very muddy law that has, on the surface, little impact, but I worry about further interpretations.

You beat me to it.. the law may seem redundant, but not the parental control part. Depending on how severely it's enforced, that could be pretty devestating to old-school fans, or people who can't afford new generation consoles.

Lvl 64 Klutz:
You beat me to it.. the law may seem redundant, but not the parental control part. Depending on how severely it's enforced, that could be pretty devestating to old-school fans, or people who can't afford new generation consoles.

From what I gather, this law just seems to me like the government wants to look like it's doing something, but doesn't have a clue. They put in a law that is common sense, and since most people don't know that the law is redundant, they believe the government has done something to help the community.

I don't think that anyone is really gonna enforce it, but I may be wrong.

They could just pick up a copy of "Grand Theft Childhood".

I know the PS3 has parental controls for game downloads, but it's the parents responsibility to know what their kids doing. If a mom buys her 13 year-old medically recognized sociopath of a son a copy of GTA4 then it's the parent's fault. 'Cause Ignorance is no excuse.

HeyZeus_Ezekiel_Jesus:
I know the PS3 has parental controls for game downloads, but it's the parents responsibility to know what their kids doing. If a mom buys her 13 year-old medically recognized sociopath of a son a copy of GTA4 then it's the parent's fault. 'Cause Ignorance is no excuse.

Yeh, but try saying that to Jack Thompson, Michael Atkinson and the others.

this is the biggest joke that's supposed to be serious, it makes no change positive or negative. besides games are only considered dangerous because one pillock said "blame it on the games!" thus every other murder, rapist, and other all-around degenerates decided that's not a bad idea (unlike everything else i've done so far(even though it's not necesarily beliveable that mario made you go do mushrooms, lsd and peyote)).

I bet Jack Thompson hates video games because he could never beat Super Mario.

stompy:

HeyZeus_Ezekiel_Jesus:
I know the PS3 has parental controls for game downloads, but it's the parents responsibility to know what their kids doing. If a mom buys her 13 year-old medically recognized sociopath of a son a copy of GTA4 then it's the parent's fault. 'Cause Ignorance is no excuse.

Yeh, but try saying that to Jack Thompson, Michael Atkinson and the others.

I'm reminded of alot of things about Jack Thompson.
Basically the backstory behind this strip was when Jack thompson was trying to get a violent video game made to prove his point,and he called Mike Krahulik(Gabriel).
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Mm, redundancy.

Beats the "games are violence" racket.

For everyone who wonders about the point of this law:

and also establishes a 16-member "advisory council"

That's it in a nutshell. 16 new patronage positions.

Our tax dollars at work

What's the extent of this legislation? Are general-purpose computers and cellphones -- both of which can play video games -- also required to have "parental controls"?

-- Alex

Alex_P:
What's the extent of this legislation? Are general-purpose computers and cellphones -- both of which can play video games -- also required to have "parental controls"?

-- Alex

An excellent point that's not really addressed by the law, and therefore (troublingly) is open to interpretation.

My tax dollars are paying for this. What a wonderful country.

They are assuming that there are negative effects.

"OH NO MY KIDZ ARE TURNING INTO CRAZY HEADSHOT YELLING COMMUNISTS, SAVE US TEH GOVERNMENT!"

seriously, I think politicians just hate that people have fun.

i'm happy that we don't seem to have any of these issues here in Canada..... yet

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