Ohio Court Rules on Case Relevant to Online Game Peddlers

January 29, 2010 -

In a ruling that could have a trickle down effect on online videogame dealers, the Ohio Supreme Court has issued its opinion on what constitutes the distribution of material that is harmful to juveniles, regarding the Internet as a medium.

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression originally levied the suit (Am. Booksellers Found. for Free Expression v. Strickland)  in Ohio, asking a court to overturn Ohio code 2907.31, which broadly deals with the dissemination of matter harmful to juveniles. A federal district court originally concluded that the code was too broad and a violation of the First Amendment, and suggested shelving enforcement of the law. That decision was appealed to a 6th Circuit Court.

The 6th Circuit Court eventually asked Ohio’s Supreme Court for an answer on two specific legal questions swirling around the case:  A) should the scope of the code be applied to instant messaging, person-to-person emails and private chat rooms and B) should material posted on general websites and chat rooms be exempt from liability?

The Ohio Supreme Court answered each question in the affirmative in a 7-0 vote.

The matter will now be returned to the 6th Circuit Court who will determine the codes constitutionality.

The San Francisco Examiner noted the importance of the case for a variety of online sellers:

The group had argued the law could be applied broadly to online material and erode the constitutional free speech rights of online booksellers, newspaper publishers and video game dealers. Technology, they say, can't always keep the harmful information from children.


Comments

Re: Ohio Court Rules on Case Relevant to Online Game ...

But it is still illegal under Ohio law to send non-obscene "sexually explicit" material to a minor over a person to person channel?

I don't see how it is enforceable there, as the material is not obscene. What if a teacher or councillor was to email a PDF of a well illustrated manual of how to use condoms? Would that run afoul of this poorly written law?

Re: Ohio Court Rules on Case Relevant to Online Game ...

This is so stupid it's not worth mentioning.

 

 

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Re: Ohio Court Rules on Case Relevant to Online Game ...

Oh?  What's stupid about it?

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Ohio Court Rules on Case Relevant to Online Game ...

"A) should the scope of the code be applied to instant messaging, person-to-person emails and private chat rooms and B) should material posted on general websites and chat rooms be exempt from liability?

The Ohio Supreme Court answered each question in the affirmative in a 7-0 vote."

So...  Websites are exempt, but private conversations are not?  Am I reading this wrong?

Re: Ohio Court Rules on Case Relevant to Online Game ...

Thats what i understood it to mean as well. How can legislature apply to what i text to someone? That's probably the most blatant disregard for the 1st amendment i have ever heard. Chances are there was something (hopefully) lost in translation.

In war, truth is the first casualty.

In war, truth is the first casualty.

Re: Ohio Court Rules on Case Relevant to Online Game ...

Because according to this law, it's illegal to solicit obscenity or material harmful to minors to a juvenile (unless you're the parent or guardian) even if you're using email or text unless you meet the exceptions detailed in the law.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Ohio Court Rules on Case Relevant to Online Game ...

Maybe we should read the entire statute before bitching:

Section D(2) provides:
"(2) A person remotely transmitting information by means of a method of mass distribution does not directly sell, deliver, furnish, disseminate, provide, exhibit, rent, or present or directly offer or agree to sell, deliver, furnish, disseminate, provide, exhibit, rent, or present the material or performance in question to a juvenile, a group of juveniles, a law enforcement officer posing as a juvenile, or a group of law enforcement officers posing as juveniles in violation of this section if either of the following applies:

(a) The person has inadequate information to know or have reason to believe that a particular recipient of the information or offer is a juvenile.

(b) The method of mass distribution does not provide the person the ability to prevent a particular recipient from receiving the information."

www.gameslaw.net

Re: Ohio Court Rules on Case Relevant to Online Game ...

This court has a good idea. Next they should expand the code into violent games, unless OH code 2907.31 covers that as well. I figure it might, but in case it doesn't (just woke up from a nap and therefore am too lazy to go and read it), I should say it here.

-----------------------------



"A Chrono Trigger is anything that unleashes its will or desire to change history!" -Gaspar

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"A Chrono Trigger is anything that unleashes its will or desire to change history!" -Gaspar

Re: Ohio Court Rules on Case Relevant to Online Game ...

Why should violent games be lumped in with obscenity and material harmful to minors?

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Ohio Court Rules on Case Relevant to Online Game ...

AE

Becuse its not that far a leap of faith for politians.....


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! CP/IP laws should not effect the daily life of common people! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Ohio Court Rules on Case Relevant to Online Game ...

Uummmm....you do the same thing with booze,porn and 17+ material you fine the house/address X amount for skirting the law the seller and the shippingcompany can not and should not be held responsible ,at least when it comes to online/mail order sales, just put a tax on its trade that HAS to be paid regardless. Everyone will win in the end.....



Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! CP/IP laws should not effect the daily life of common people! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

 
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