Jack Thompson Authored Game Bill Introduced In Utah

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Jack Thompson Authored Game Bill Introduced In Utah

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Disbarred and disgraced though he may be, former attorney Jack Thompson still seems to have some traction in Utah, where he's convinced a state legislator to introduce a bill he's authored that seeks once again to regulate the sale of videogames.

Rep. Mike Morley has introduced the bill, apparently at the urging of Gayle Ruzicka, president of the conservative group Utah Eagle Forum. Thompson has "roughed out" the bill for Ruzicka, according to Glen Warchol of the Salt Lake Tribune, and apparently believes that unlike past attempts at legislating game sales, this one won't be hung up by pesky First Amendment concerns.

"It doesn't define what content is 'harmful to minors,' so we avoid the phony First Amendment arguments Hollywood loves to make," Thompson wrote in a recent Deseret News article. "The bill simply states: If you promise the public you don't sell adult-rated entertainment to kids, then you had better be telling the truth, because if a parent catches you selling this stuff to his or her kids, then you're guilty of fraud under the Truth in Advertising Law."

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, who Thompson demanded be impeached back in 2007, said he understands that the new bill will be different than earlier versions but is apparently having trouble nailing down any details because "they keep changing the language." He did note, however, that the "evidence" Thompson quotes in his assertions that games turn kids into cop killers haven't held up in court.

Thompson's support base appears to have eroded to the point where only the most extreme groups are willing to give him the time of day. While Utah has a reputation as being perhaps a bit on the fringe of U.S. states, the Utah Eagle Forum, described as "ultra-conservative" by GamePolitics, stands out from the crowd in its support of only the most far-right political causes, including opposition to the United Nations, universal health care and vaccination for children and the teaching of evolution in schools. The group was formed in 1972 by Phyllis Schlafly, a political activist best known for her stance against the Equal Rights Amendment, feminism, the Red menace and numerous other issues.

Of course, Thompson's claim that the new bill will avoid "phony First Amendment" concerns is nothing new: Most of his previous efforts to legislate game sales were accompanied by similar statements, and all were declared clearly unconstitutional by the courts - but not before costing thousands of taxpayer dollars in legal fees and damage awards. This, unfortunately for residents of Utah, will almost certainly be more of the same.

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This dosn't seem too bad. It seems to just be making it so R games can't be sold to under 18s. What's the problem? That's already in law over here.

I don't care either, I just hope Mr Thompson has his facts straight this time. The Sims did not have any naughty parts, if you removed the censor, there was nothing underneath!

Is Utah like the bin where America puts all it's particularly mad crackpots then?

Must be all that desert.

Utah...please just stop alright, I really am hating the stereotypes you bring upon my fellow Americans. Please, if you are reading this, most of us Americans aren't obese crazies...its just that our obese crazies are very, very loud and managed to steal a megaphone when we were in the bathroom.

wingshot:
Utah...please just stop alright, I really am hating the stereotypes you bring upon my fellow Americans. Please, if you are reading this, most of us Americans aren't obese crazies...its just that our obese crazies are very, very loud and managed to steal a megaphone when we were in the bathroom.

Hear, hear. He also makes conservatives look like fools by claiming to represent them, so that makes me doubly annoyed (same principle). Granted, we do a very poor job of policing our ranks for crazies, but still; he who would sacrifice freedom for security deserves neither.

Between the pie in the sky liberals and the numb-nut conservatives, the whole next generation is going to be militant libertarian.

This bill isn't intended to make it illegal to sell adult games to kids. What this bill does is turn one crime into an unrelated crime, with a much harsher penalty. He wants selling games to under-aged persons to be considered fraud. That's like claiming that TPing a house should be considered attempted murder. Once again, Jack Thompson shows off his incredible disbarment superpowers. If only he could perform that trick twice.

Dude, it's just Utah.
It's not even a fuckin' state.

Personally, I'm more interested in the reason nobody has "taken care of" the people who support him. Like that Phyllis dude.
Or chick. Or whatever it is.

Grrrrrr, we Gamers should fight back we'll... we'll... make a skin of him in garry's mod!
And then we'll put him in silly ragdoll poses, hah!

Can't this fucker just die, and save the world a load of grief?

To be intentionally vague in a bill, so that what is being legislated is open to interpretation on all fronts, is a very poor method, bordering on illegal.

MaxTheReaper:
Dude, it's just Utah.
It's not even a fuckin' state.

I think it might be a state, I'll need someone to back me up on that though, I'm not sure.

dekkarax:

MaxTheReaper:
Dude, it's just Utah.
It's not even a fuckin' state.

I think it might be a state, I'll need someone to back me up on that though, I'm not sure.

If it's a state, there are girls on the internet.
I think we both know what that means.

Just when you thought he was killed off, his hand pops out his grave!

Fuck, Jack Thompson is like something out of a slasher movie. He never dies. Just when you think you've seen the last of him and you can finally breathe easier, he comes from behind and guts you.

Dear god, not again.
He Just Won't Die.

Thats bill is definitely fair. Selling R games to under 18's is not allowed anywhere is it? Still not as bad as Michael Atkinson.

sv93:
Thats bill is definitely fair. Selling R games to under 18's is not allowed anywhere is it? Still not as bad as Michael Atkinson.

Hard to say until they present a final version. The problem with a law that says you can't sell "adult content" to minors is that we all have different definitions of what constitutes adult content.

If the state legislature, or a judge, or Jack Thompson, is the one deciding if it's adult or not then it's unconstitutional. If a jury is deciding if it is adult content, then it might fly in court. But that begs the question...why have the law in the first place if you have to pay a jury every time to review the game?

L.B. Jeffries:
Hard to say until they present a final version. The problem with a law that says you can't sell "adult content" to minors is that we all have different definitions of what constitutes adult content.

If the state legislature, or a judge, or Jack Thompson, is the one deciding if it's adult or not then it's unconstitutional. If a jury is deciding if it is adult content, then it might fly in court. But that begs the question...why have the law in the first place if you have to pay a jury every time to review the game?

I suppose that is true, I don't see why they can't just go by what the ESRB rates. They use a pretty fair scale. Reviewing a game every time one comes out would cost far to much considering how many games come out each year. I have a feeling he would say 17+ or M is a game that can not be sold to minors.

"The lunatic is on the grass.
The lunatic is on the grass.
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs.
Got to keep the loonies on the path..."

lijenstina:
"The lunatic is on the grass.
The lunatic is on the grass.
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs.
Got to keep the loonies on the path..."

"The lunatic is in the hall.
The lunatics are in my hall.
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor;
and every day, the paperboy brings more..."
Hmm, that actually sounds like things here at the escapist. Only we're mostly not HARMFUL loonies.

You can lead a horse to water, but you cant convince jack thompson that he's fighting a losing battle. You can't keep games not for children out of children hands if their parent freaking buy it for them.

Sorry Jack, you've had a good run.

Btw, this guy got disbared and people still listen to him? Jesus tap-dancing Christ someone call morgan freeman to weave his ass into the loom of fate.

Why look, it's one of my top four Americans that should have been early abortions. (Thompson, plus Joe Lieberman, George W. Bush, and Bill O'Reilly).

Why are the stupid ones always allowed to live...!?

It should be a Federal offense just to BE Jack Thompson.

All in favor of boxing up Jack Thompson and shipping him to Siberia, say "aye".

¬_¬

Well that bothers me, if only because it means I can't have access to M games any more. Then again, it probably won't hold up, and I don't live in Utah

robinkom:
It should be a Federal offense just to BE Jack Thompson.

Same for being Disbarred Jack Thompson...

Just covering all the bases. OH NO! ROBOT LINCOLN!

sv93:
Thats bill is definitely fair. Selling R games to under 18's is not allowed anywhere is it? Still not as bad as Michael Atkinson.

I'm quoting this not to pick on you but because it seems to encapsulate the sentiment of a surprising number of responses to this.

Non-American readers may be excused for not knowing this but videogames, like other forms of expression, are protected under the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which, as you might guess because it's the first, is an important one. It covers a lot of ground but it's best known as the one about freedom of speech and the press.

Why is this important? Because if courts somewhere decide that videogames aren't entitled to First Amendment protections then suddenly you're looking at a potential "slippery slope" situation; that is, if videogames don't get Constitutional protections, then why shouldn't books be subject to review and control as well? Music? Television shows? Movies? The only material excluded from wide-ranging Constitutional guarantees is that which has been declared declared obscene, which is why it's illegal to sell porn to kids, and also why some wackos have tried to have videogame violence declared obscene.

It is not - NOT - illegal to sell M-rated games to kids. The ESRB rating system is voluntary. There are no laws on the books anywhere in the US that criminalize the sale of videogames to minors, and every attempt to impose such laws - like this one - have been immediately overturned as unconstitutional.

Tell you what, read this and if things remain unclear we'll go from there:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/editorials/op-ed/5491-A-Crash-Course-in-ESRB

One other interesting thing to note, since we're on the topic. You know those MPAA ratings you see movies carrying, G, PG-13, NC-17, all that? That's voluntary too. Nothing legally binding about it.

I think we should all put Jack Thompson and Michael Atkinson on an island somewhere and just let them create whichever crazy laws they want, and apply it to anyone who wants to live there.

So who votes for Skull Island? If they thought Donkey Kong was a mean monkey......

Jack Thompson needs to get the fuck out of my state >_>
Honestly, most people here aren't that red. It's just that we elect fucking retards to the House who are completely out of touch with what we want.

Khell_Sennet:
Can't this fucker just die, and save the world a load of grief?

To be intentionally vague in a bill, so that what is being legislated is open to interpretation on all fronts, is a very poor method, bordering on illegal.

Oh please it's not like it's border-line destroying the 1st amendment...wait...fuck...

"Phony First Amendment claims"? God,this fucker is getting more senile by the day! Someone needs to take him round the back and put a bullet through his rotting brain!

I like my First Amendment rights the way the are right now. Jacky shouldn't be messing with them.

Somebody just needs to finish off ol' Jacky boy.

It won't be murder, it'll be a very late abortion.

To add to Malygris comment about missed interpretations-

"The bill simply states: If you promise the public you don't sell adult-rated entertainment to kids, then you had better be telling the truth, because if a parent catches you selling this stuff to his or her kids, then you're guilty of fraud under the Truth in Advertising Law."

Why this is STILL an issue is beyond me, but what this bill does is criminalize what Rockstar did with GTA:SA vis a vis 'Hot Coffee'- that is including in the original code the sex mini-game.

What this bill won't do is make it to where selling an M rated game to a child is illegal.

What this bill will do (provided it stands) is criminalize selling a Y game with M content (ostensibly to anyone; Jack seems to think only kids buy games).

Essentially- It adds videogame content to the purview of the Truth in Advertising act in Utah. And honestly, it's not really a big deal.

EDIT: Even in the case of Rockstar and GTA:SA, the game was rated M at the onset (so is Mass Effect). It was only made AO as an outcry from consumers- Had the minigame been in there in the first place, it probably would have still been rated M.

Titanic has full frontal nudity of the chick and at least one (if not two) sex scenes and was rated PG-13. Team America: World Police was almost rated X due to the sex scene (with the puppets)- It's fucking random what gets rated what.

KeyMaster45:
You can lead a horse to water, but you cant convince jack thompson that he's fighting a losing battle. You can't keep games not for children out of children hands if their parent freaking buy it for them.

Sorry Jack, you've had a good run.

Btw, this guy got disbared and people still listen to him? Jesus tap-dancing Christ someone call morgan freeman to weave his ass into the loom of fate.

This is where it gets messy. He wants to be the one to decide what constitutes adult content. Once thats done, his work isnt over, because he knows that shitty parents will buy their shitty children those games to get around laws like this. He will try to get all offending material banned "1984" style.

Without reading all the statements (so this seems a bit redundant) this seems like it's business as usual for the players involved. Basically it seems like the same insanity except reversing the wording. Rather than basing things in terms of being "harmful to minors" it exists to use equally broad strokes to what constitutes "adult content". This would in effect override most of the existing laws because it would empower people, irregardless of rating to file lawsuits for false advertising to any game that they want to claim has something too adult in it, without any specific standards being specified. Allowing for totally seperate standards to spin off from this law through precedent, contrary to what is already in existance as rating.

So basically if he passed this, some dude could go out and buy say a "T" rated game with some pretty subtantial violence, probably some T&A and innuendo, and perhaps a bit of general political/social commentary of whatever sort, claim that labeling this game as for "Teens" is wrong due to all that adult content. Taken before local and state courts in places like Utah victories could in theory be won on such grounds to form a body of precedent to advance on more entrenched standards.

Basically, for all comments about him, he IS smart enough to realize that he doesn't have a leg to stand on, and he is trying to get something vague enough for him to work with established somewhere, so he can try and build from that base.

I'm not saying this will work, or even could work if he succeeded, but I think it's pretty clear what he's trying to do. It's a bit more than reaffirming existing laws, it seems to be all about inserting specific wording into law that would open a potential for him to act again with a veneer of legitimacy.

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