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.

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"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...

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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?


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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.

 

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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.

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MechaTama31I think there are a significant number of jobs people will do for food that they will not do for an ipad.07/12/2014 - 8:39am
Infophilelabour (primarily among mothers and teens) and some show increased labour. Maybe it's a cultural thing in play that results in different outcomes in different societies.07/12/2014 - 6:53am
InfophileYou also need to take into account just how crappy it would be to only have the basics to live. But with competing forces at play like this, it's impossible to argue to an answer. We have to look to tests of it, and results are mixed. Some show decreased07/12/2014 - 6:51am
MechaTama31to be done, and some people really need jobs.07/11/2014 - 5:41pm
MechaTama31Info, I think you don't really understand just how crappy a lot of the jobs are that provide the "basics" that you assume will just continue to be produced under such a system. There's very little pride or prestige to be had from such jobs, but they need07/11/2014 - 5:40pm
Andrew EisenMaskedPixelante - That's probably because it's now available on the Wii U eShop for $8.07/11/2014 - 5:18pm
InfophileThat's not how human psychology works. It's all about "Keeping up with the Joneses." When everyone around you has a new fancy smartphone and is talking about that cool HBO series, do you want to be the one left out?07/11/2014 - 4:05pm
Matthew WilsonThe issue is most people would settle for the basics and not work. That is why we would need very heavy automation to make a system like that work. Almost all labor intensive tasks would have to be done by robot.07/11/2014 - 2:32pm
InfophileOf course, that's a gross oversimplification. The idea, have a basic safety net that pays for what's needed to live. If people can find a job and are willing to work, they get more money which can be spent on comfort and perks.07/11/2014 - 11:33am
InfophileIt's quite possible to get an economy to work with a basic minimum standard of living. You just need perks for the people who do work. Everyone gets food and a home. Everyone who works also gets an iPhone.07/11/2014 - 11:32am
MaskedPixelanteIn the continuing adventures of "Stuff I figured would be overpriced on eBay but isn't", 15 bucks for a copy of Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga.07/11/2014 - 10:04am
SleakerI didn't gather the same conclusion.. Seems like they are focusing on devices & services still, just not calling it 'devices and services'07/11/2014 - 8:57am
PHX CorpMicrosoft CEO readies big shakeup, drops devices and services focus http://www.theverge.com/2014/7/10/5887143/satya-nadella-microsoft-ceo-employee-email07/11/2014 - 8:45am
MechaTama31declared that everybody should have them. Somebody still has to produce them.07/11/2014 - 7:44am
MechaTama31I do mean the developers/governmet. And money is not the only thing of value. I am including the food, housing, etc that everybody is supposed to get for free under this system. In the real world, those things don't exist merely because an authority has07/11/2014 - 7:43am
InfophileAs automation gets better and better, the number of jobs absolutely required keeps diminishing. How many people these days do you think are actually needed to keep everyone alive? Most people just make our lives more convenient and entertaining.07/11/2014 - 4:43am
Matthew Wilsonthat kind of system only works when most people (around 70 to 80 percent ) do not need to work.07/11/2014 - 1:21am
TechnogeekConjured up by who, though? If by the players, then it's not really "on a whim" since they're kind of putting work into it. If you mean the developers/government, then hello and welcome to monetary sovereignty.07/11/2014 - 12:34am
MechaTama31I'm just saying, when everything of value can be conjured up at a whim, that's not an economy. That's a fantasy.07/11/2014 - 12:15am
TechnogeekHonestly, though, what I find most thought-provoking about the article isn't the guaranteed minimum income aspect at all, but a more fundamental point: that we treat poverty as a moral failing on the individual, rather than a design flaw in the system.07/10/2014 - 11:53pm
 

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