Webcomic Illustrates CA Violent Video Games Law

November 5, 2010 -

Webcomic Virtual Shackles wryly illustrates how California's violent video games law might work when put into practice.

During Tuesday’s oral arguments, Justice Sotomayor pointed out what could easily be viewed as a rather large loophole in the law at the heart of Schwarzenegger v. EMA.

The law seeks to prevent children under 18 from purchasing games in which the player can “virtually inflict serious injury upon images of human beings.”  But what about characters that are almost, but not quite human beings?  Here’s the relevant exchange:

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: Would a video game that portrayed a Vulcan as opposed to a human being, being maimed and tortured, would that be covered by the act?

 

MR. MORAZZINI: No, it wouldn't, Your Honor, because the act is only directed towards the range of options that are able to be inflicted on a human being.

 

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: So if the video producer says this is not a human being, it's an android computer simulated person, then all they have to do is put a little artificial feature on the creature and they could sell the video game?

 

MR. MORAZZINI: Under the act, yes...

Thanks to reader Arell for the tip!

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Correspondent Andrew Eisen


Comments

Re: Webcomic Illustrates CA Violent Video Games Law

I think a real problem for the law is the grandfathering.  CoD2 falls under this loose definition.  Even though it is rated T, would the retailer still be jailed for selling it to a minor?  Also, what if another Oblivion happened?  Where a T game was changed to a M rated game?  Would they arrest all of the clerks who sold the game while it was rated T?

http://www.deathvanquished.blogspot.com

Re: Webcomic Illustrates CA Violent Video Games Law

Far as I recall, this law only carries a $1000 fine, not jail time.  To answer your question, if COD or any other game was found to fall under the scope of the law, the retailer could be fined for selling it to a minor.  It's ESRB rating makes no difference.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Webcomic Illustrates CA Violent Video Games Law

>> It's ESRB rating makes no difference.

No Way! No wonder why everyone thinks this law is ghey.

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

"Because this town is under the stranglehold of a few tight eyed Tree Huggers who would rather play Hacky Sack than lock up the homeless" -- Birch Barlow

---------------------------------------- "Because this town is under the stranglehold of a few tight eyed Tree Huggers who would rather play Hacky Sack than lock up the homeless" -- Birch Barlow

Re: Webcomic Illustrates CA Violent Video Games Law

So much for not covering the nature of violence...lulz

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2010/11/oral-arguments-in-violent-gam...

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

Anyway the law is a train wreck and seeks to do too much. Would it not b e better to define violence the way R and M dose and then use basic tobacco laws to set fines and such that only really target the employee that dose not watch who they are selling stuff too?


I have a dream, break the chains of copy right oppression! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/cigital-disobedience/


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

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Webcomic Illustrates CA Violent Video Games Law

Only if you think a low-wage clerk should be fined $1000 for forgetting to card a 17-year-old who wants to buy a game that's been approved as appropriate for 17-year-olds.

Re: Webcomic Illustrates CA Violent Video Games Law

Time to sharpen my bat'leth.

Re: Webcomic Illustrates CA Violent Video Games Law

So does that mean there would be no problem with mowing down rows and rows of Stormtroopers? Because as we know from Star Wars Episode II, all Stormtroopers (orignally Clonetroopers) are just...clones. They aren't really people. By the definition of the law, this would be okay.

Also, violence against the Terrans in StarCraft is also perfectly acceptable. It's in the name, they are Terrans not Humans. I guess that means the X-Men are still prime targets for violence, being mutants and not humans. Superman gets shafted too, being Kryptoninan and all. Or least he would get shafted if he weren't nearly indestructible.

Re: Webcomic Illustrates CA Violent Video Games Law

No, you fool. Due to the time and cost of cloning, by the time of the Galactic Civil War most stormtroopers were ordinary conscripts and recruits.

Usen'ye, gar di'kutla chakaar!

Re: Webcomic Illustrates CA Violent Video Games Law

I think the clones would count as long as they're clones of human beings.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Webcomic Illustrates CA Violent Video Games Law

technically they are Mandalorian...

Re: Webcomic Illustrates CA Violent Video Games Law

Not up on my Star Wars lore.  Does that mean they're not human or simply that they're from the planet Mandalore?

EDIT: Here's what a friend of mine tells me: "The planet is Mandalore. Those born upon it are called Mandalorians.  They're human though.  Well, nowadays. During the Old Republic, more than 5000 years ago, there was a reptilian race called Mandalorians as well, but they died out. It's a long and convoluted history."

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Webcomic Illustrates CA Violent Video Games Law

another interesting point. do they have to be Earthling to be human? I mean, what if Vulcans didn't have pointed ears, they just acted like Vulcans and say "I'm from Vulcan"? would this stupid law apply?

Same can be said for Saiyans (dragon ball z). if they have their original tail then it would be ok to pee on their corpses, but once it's cut off, like Goku's, then does that mean they are now human in the eyes of the law?

 

Or Hobbits, Elves, x-men mutants, etc

Re: Webcomic Illustrates CA Violent Video Games Law

The starcraft one unfortunately won't work, as "Terran" is simply a more modern version of "Earthling", and as such, are human.

Just had to point that out.

Re: Webcomic Illustrates CA Violent Video Games Law

Heh. SHe's only been on the bench a couple months and I like her already.

 

Death to the Vulcan infidels! Behead those who insult the Force!

Re: Webcomic Illustrates CA Violent Video Games Law

That an interesting loophole if I ever saw one.

http://www.magicinkgaming.com/

Re: Webcomic Illustrates CA Violent Video Games Law

I already commented this before, but I think that if the law also looks for avoid children to play games with sexual violence, then, rape is OK if the victim is an humanoid alien? What about elf girls?

The absurdity of the people who tailored this wreckage of bill uncanny and just proves how disattached from popular culture they really are.

 

------------------------------------------------------------ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com

Re: Webcomic Illustrates CA Violent Video Games Law

The law doesn't concern itself with sex, only violence.  Reason being, there are already laws against selling minors material (including video games) with explicit sexual content.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Webcomic Illustrates CA Violent Video Games Law

He said "sexual violence", which IS explicitly covered in the law -- but, as he notes, in the context of the "image of a human being" language.

So he's right -- according to the Deputy AG's argument, all you have to do is say "That's not a human, it's a Vulcan/android/elf" and bam, loophole, the law does not apply.

Of course, as we all know, games containing rape are pretty rare (Phantasmagoria and...uh...?), and graphic rape would likely garner an AO kiss-of-death and prevent a game from being released for consoles or sold at major retailers, meaning the California law is meaningless whether the victim is human or merely humanoid.

Re: Webcomic Illustrates CA Violent Video Games Law

Yeah, combination of not reading his comment very carefully and not being very clear with my point to begin with.

Yep, today's off to a nice start.

Anyway, the point I intended to make is that if the sex (violent or not) is explicit, it would be covered by existing laws whether the character was a human being or not.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Webcomic Illustrates CA Violent Video Games Law

Good find, Andrew.

Reminds me of the old arguments (which can basically be applied all kinds of ways):

Human prison inmate shanked in the shower? Not cool.

[Insert humanoid other race which arbitrarily (de/ex)sanguinates in the color green], beheaded by a [Insert arbitrary non-terrestrial weapon]? Perfectly A-OK.

----
Papa Midnight
http://www.thesupersoldiers.com

 

----
Papa Midnight

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Poll

Will we ever get Half-Life 3?:

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
E. Zachary KnightAs an illustration, you can kill someone by shooting them in the head, or you can starve them to death. The means don't matter, just the ends.10/02/2014 - 8:18am
E. Zachary Knightquiknkold, I can't speak for James, but trying to silence a critic by blocking its financial supporters is a censorious activity. It may not be the same as direct censoring, but its ends are the same.10/02/2014 - 8:18am
E. Zachary KnightMecha, I found neither the title nor the content of Gamasutra's Gamers are Dead article inflammatory. But I guess that just means I was the target audience for it.10/02/2014 - 8:16am
prh99@james_fudge Agreed, but then again this group doesn't exactly have high ethical standards or even a grasp of hypocrisy.10/02/2014 - 8:14am
MechaTama31Are... Are you guys suggesting that the content of the "Gamers are over" article is *less* inflammatory than the title?10/02/2014 - 7:58am
quiknkoldhey James, Boycotts are not Censorship. Supreme Court NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co. (1982)10/02/2014 - 7:37am
Michael ChandraWhat's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. That said, the name says it all.10/02/2014 - 7:34am
E. Zachary KnightYes.10/02/2014 - 7:29am
ConsterQuestion: is Kefka on drugs, or is he secretly a conspiracy theorist character from a TV show?10/02/2014 - 7:21am
james_fudgeEnjoy my comedy stylings.10/02/2014 - 7:10am
james_fudgehttp://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/10/02/It-s-been-real-GameJournoPros-prepares-to-close-its-doors10/02/2014 - 7:09am
InfophileAnd the headlines-only part is particularly depressing, as in most sites, they're not even written by the author of the article. So the author has to field tons of complaints about what the editor decided to title their article.10/02/2014 - 6:25am
InfophileAE: Most people don't. This has been tested - I remember an article slipped in a request in the second-to-last paragraph to use the word "banana" in your comment if you read that. It took over 50 posts for a banana.10/02/2014 - 6:24am
james_fudgeprh99: Whether you agree with the article or not, fighting alleged censorship with censorship is hella lame10/02/2014 - 4:27am
james_fudgewhoever made that decision at Intel will regret it later on down the road. Boycotts are tricky business.10/02/2014 - 4:26am
prh99The unflattering characterization "They don’t know how to dress or behave." & "‘Games culture’ is a petri dish of people who know so little about how human social interaction..." probably didn't help.10/02/2014 - 1:52am
prh99Probably not many as it was purely a vindictive move. The headline alone was plenty of ammo, but for those that did read and complain..10/02/2014 - 1:42am
Andrew EisenI wonder how many of those who complain about that article actually read past the headline.10/02/2014 - 1:37am
prh99http://intel.ly/1tjh1AH http://bit.ly/1rGPHOY http://intel.ly/Zu6go9 it isn't surprising "Gamers are over" didn't go over very well.10/02/2014 - 1:34am
Papa MidnightCan you parlay that to #WriteAGawkerArticle? The cesspool of horrid crap over there extends far beyond Kotaku.10/02/2014 - 12:34am
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician