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Louisiana Passes Violent game bill into law.
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Sun Jun 18, 2006 10:03 pm Reply and quote this post
Lordy, could more video game laws be passed this month?  Louisiana has recently passed bill HB1381, and immediately in the state if a person is caught selling or renting a violent game to a minor could face fines ranging from $100 - $2000, as well as a prison term up to one year.

The new law allows the state to decide which games are deemed violent.  According to the law the game must meet this criteria:

1. The average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the video or computer game, taken as a whole, appeals to the minor's morbid interest in violence.
2. The game depicts violence in a manner patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community with respect to what is suitable for minors.
3. The game, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.

The Entertainment Software Association has plans to file suit against the law calling it unconstitutional, and ESA President Doug Lowenstien believes that, "the bill is an unnecessary effort."

“We are confident this bill will be found unconstitutional, as have similar statutes in other states. As recently as March 31 of this year, The Honorable George Caram Steeh, US District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, stated that video games were ‘expressive free speech, inseparable from their interactive functional elements, and are therefore protected by the First Amendment.”

"HB 1381 also directly undermines efforts legislators started after enactment of tax credit legislation less than a year ago designed to lure video game development and production to Louisiana to generate needed high-paying technology jobs," noted Lowenstein.  "Signing this bill into law would no doubt hurt the state's economy, essentially hanging up a 'Stay Out of Louisiana' sign on the state's borders for video game companies."

“Louisiana legislators have decided to squander taxpayers’ money on a bet they can’t win,” noted Bo Andersen, president of Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA), the not-for-profit international trade association for the retailers and distributors of console and computer video games and DVDs. “Despite what the legislature has been told, the Louisiana video game restriction law is not unique – a very similar measure was passed in Michigan and promptly overturned in federal court. The Louisiana law suffers from the same constitutional defects as the Michigan law and the five other video game laws that have been enjoined on constitutional grounds.  It will meet the same fate, and the taxpayers of Louisiana will end up having to pay for the legislature’s reckless gamble.”

We'll update as this continues...

-Billy Berghammer

Contributed by Thomas Lohse, iVirtua Ultimate Contributor
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Sun Jun 18, 2006 11:10 pm Reply and quote this post
The murder rate where I am is practically zero, so they won't bother introducing such a dumb law. Lousiana's population is also smaller than Singapore's - it's unusual that they need to implement such extreme measures (compared to some larger states). Perhaps they should focus more on education.
Contributed by Andy, Editorial, Marketing & Services Team
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Mon Jun 19, 2006 12:30 pm Reply and quote this post
Germany already has Violent Game laws, some games gat banned and re-released under censorship laws.

In Australia video games are rated by the Office of Film and Literature Classification, which also rates other media. Unlike movies however, no R18+ or X18+ category exists for video games, and as such if they do not fit into the MA15+ category (suitable for 15 year olds and over), they are effectively banned. This means that games deemed unsuitable for 15 year olds are banned entirely from sale and distribution within the country, even for use by adults.

In 2002, Australia banned Grand Theft Auto III for its actions against virtual prostitutes; the game was later reinstated when this action was removed. Similarly, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was banned in July 2005 following the revelation that sex scenes were included in the minigame unlocked by the Hot Coffee mod; these took the game outside the MA15+ category. The MA15+ rating was re-instated after a modified version was released by Rockstar Games, omitting the Hot Coffee minigame. In 2005 the game 50 Cent: Bulletproof was banned for encouraging gang violence. And in 2006 Marc Eckos Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure was also banned.

Through new laws the Chinese government has said it plans to restrict gamers to three hours of consecutive play, using a “fatigue technique” in games. Children and teenagers are strongly encouraged to play online games only 3 hours per day through this method. After 3 hours their character abilities will be limited. Gamers who spend more than five hours will have the abilities of their in-game character severely limited. Players will be forced to take a five-hour break before they can return to a game with the character back to full capacity. In some cases further playing is locked down through their IP identification number or account with the online game vendor. The operators face little choice as they need government approval to offer online gaming. [2]

The MMO genre of games is big business in China since subscription based games avoid software piracy, and most gamers use Internet cafes as they don't own a personal computer. The company that runs the popular World of Warcraft in China, The9, is listed on the NASDAQ market exchange so they must release an annual report which includes much information on how MMORPGs work in China. For a somewhat abbreviated version there is an article and summary of their report.

In Germany, video games, as with other media, are subject to censorship, or "decency standards", that are strict by the standards of other European nations. For video games there is the index, which is a list of video games, movies and other media considered having bad influence on children and therefore unsuited for anyone under 18. Articles not suited for anyone under 18 cannot be easily sold through mail order in Germany. There are a few specialized companies that sell such games, but require a photocopy of the buyers' ID card as age verification, and the package is only handed over to the buyer personally. This also applies to all imported games, as they don't have a German rating. Games showing the killing of humans with blood or severed body parts involved, or in general showing cruelty to humans, are examined by the BPjM (Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien) and then in some cases placed on the index, at which point it becomes illegal to advertise the games, display them on store shelves, or sell them to anyone under 18. This of course dramatically impacts sales, so most video game companies selling games into Germany elect to create a special German version that narrowly avoids the index by changing the graphics. Instead of red blood coming out of a wound, green blood is shown, implying that aliens are being killed and not humans; or gears and springs are shown coming out of the wound, implying that the victims are robots. For example, the Contra series, known as Probotector in Europe, repeatedly replaced the heroes and many enemies throughout the series with robots.

Video game violence is similarly controversial in South Korea, and similar "no blood" regulations apply. South Korea also regularly bans games that depict North Korea and South Korea at war, or that demonize North Koreans. Ghost Recon 2 and Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction have been banned for these reasons.

In July 2002, the Greek Parliament passed Greek Law Number 3037, entirely outlawing electronic gaming. This controversial law has been frowned upon, not only in Greece, but elsewhere in Europe and in the United States, and petitions were made against it. In December 2003 it was restricted to only affect Internet cafes in accordance with a letter from the European Union.

In December 2003, Manhunt was banned in New Zealand.

In 1999 the sales of three games were forbidden by the Brazilian Ministry of Justice: Carmageddon, its sequel and GTA.

In Italy some sporadic attempts of videogames censorship and/or banning have been made in the past. The game Carmageddon was censored when first released, showing zombies instead of people and green blood. This censorship was not applied to the sequels, and apparently even the first game was re-released into its original form after some time; When Resident Evil 2 was released in 1998, it was banned from stores after a protest made by a group of conservative mothers, but it reappeared after few days following the sentence of a judge.

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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Tue Jun 20, 2006 2:18 am Reply and quote this post
I saw a couple of 'adult' games on sale in Australia - like that Playboy mansion one. I'm not sure what it was rated though - I'm pretty sure that it was rated as 18+ or as "Adult", don't know why that was. Might have been an imported version or something.
Contributed by Andy, Editorial, Marketing & Services Team
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Tue Jun 20, 2006 5:28 am Reply and quote this post
Andreyevich wrote:
I saw a couple of 'adult' games on sale in Australia - like that Playboy mansion one. I'm not sure what it was rated though - I'm pretty sure that it was rated as 18+ or as "Adult", don't know why that was. Might have been an imported version or something.

Yea, that game is an "18" over here (UK). Doesn't deserve it though.

Im just glad the UK doesn't have any stupid game-related laws.

They just need to enforce the age ratings (its way too easy for, say, a 7-year-old to buy a game like GTA).

Contributed by Cube, iVirtua Active Member
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Tue Jun 20, 2006 7:19 am Reply and quote this post
Playboy mansion and Leasure Suit Larry are sold in the UK
I saw a 7 year old in GAME gat turned away with GTA, but yeah, its way to easy.

The Main Issues with Sex in Games:

The Media: Handling the media is going to be one of the most difficult issues facing developers and publishers today. However, as games such as God of War have demonstrated, it is possible to include mature themes in games without attracting negative press attention.

In the future, Brathwaite observed, game developers must be keenly aware of "ratings and age appropriateness" and must be careful to "declare content in games." Also, publishers should be selective with the packaging that they use for games.

Expanding the Market: Looking at the current offerings in the adult game market, Braithwaite pointedly stated that sex appeals to "more than just straight guys." Asking what games are available for "women in their prime," Brathwaite remarked that there seems to be nothing on the market, with the exception of emergent sex in online games, which is user generated anyway.

Learning from Emergent Sex: Lastly Braithwaite encouraged developers to learn from players. In reference to spaces such as Second Life and World of Warcraft she remarked "look at what they are doing there… some just want text."

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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Wed Jun 21, 2006 11:46 pm Reply and quote this post
Hear in North Carolina there is a crime rate But I don't know if there is any laws on video games.I know that they will card you if you appear to be underage but thats all.
Contributed by Thomas Lohse, iVirtua Ultimate Contributor
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Tue Jun 27, 2006 9:19 am Reply and quote this post
Less than half a week after anti-violent game sales legislation was written into law in the state of Louisiana, and mere hours after the ESRB filed their promised counter-suit with the state's attorney general, a federal judge has issued an injunction against the law, blocking it from taking effect until a permanent injunction hearing can be held later this month. The law would have punished anyone found guilty of selling violent videogames to minors by a fine of $100 to $2,000 and a possibility of imprisonment up to one year.

The ESRB's counter-suit follows a number of others they have successfully filed, claiming the first amendment's free speech clause protects video games as free speech as they would any other work, making a state or federal restriction on their sales both prohibited as well as unnecessary with parents, retailers, and the ESRB's own ratings efforts adequately guiding responsible purchasing.

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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