Former college basketball player Ed O’Bannon says that his class action lawsuit related to various EA Sports games against the National Collegiate Athletic Association isn't about getting rich - it's about what is fair. The former University of California-Los Angeles forward says that lawsuit is about establishing the rights of players of the college sports’ governing body to keep proceeds from selling the rights to athletes’ likenesses used in TV broadcasts, video games and clothing lines.
Gail Markels (left), a New York attorney who formerly served as VP and General Counsel with game publishers' trade group ESA, has been elected to chair the board of the National Coalition Against Censorship.
Most recently, NCAC was active in the successful fight against Utah's Jack Thompson-authored video game bill, HB 353.
Markels (left), who worked for the Motion Picture Association of America before her stint with the ESA, commented on her new duties:
Unfortunately my experience in both the video game and film industries has taught me that censorship is alive and that we cannot take the freedom to read, watch and play the books, movies or video games we choose for granted.
The NCAC plays a vital role in protecting the freedom to decide for ourselves what we want to read, see, say, hear, and think.
Before leaving the ESA in early 2008, Markels compiled an umblemished string of court victories against states which attempted to enact video game legislation.
Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman's dramatic veto of the Jack Thompson-conceived HB 353 has drawn reaction from a variety of quarters:
We support the efforts of the Entertainment Merchants Association and other industry groups in battling this legislation. It was extremely broad and could have fostered ancillary anti-consumer consequences, such as pushing retailers and publishers to stop promoting and using ESRB ratings, which have been extremely effective in educating consumers about game content. Jennifer Mercurio, Director of Government Affairs, Entertainment Consumers Association
A very laudable decision. National Coalition Against Censorship
This is an absolute win for families. Utah’s parents will benefit from Governor Huntsman’s leadership and thoughtfulness on this issue. His decisive action helps caregivers and prevents businesses from being opened to unproductive, wasteful civil litigation and needless expense. Parents can be assured that the strength of the ESRB rating system remains intact and continues to serve as a valuable resource and will continue to effectively serve them. Michael Gallagher, CEO, Entertainment Software Association
EMA and video game retailers are grateful to Governor Huntsman for his courageous veto of this ill-conceived and inappropriate initiative. We are heartened to see an elected leader look beyond the emotion, rhetoric, and distortions surrounding video games and evaluate a proposal on its merits. As we have consistently noted, House Bill 353 would have been counterproductive for the consumers of Utah, because it would likely have led retailers to abandon their commitments to enforce the video game and motion picture ratings at the point of sale. Sean Bersell, VP of Public Affairs, Entertainment Merchants Association
We appreciate Governor Huntsman’s decision to defend the Constitution and protect retailers by vetoing this bill. The bill may have been well intentioned but it would have undermined the video game and movie rating systems and possibly book age recommendations while leaving local businesses with the constant threat of frivolous lawsuits. David Horowitz, Executive Director, Media Coalition
GP: Via e-mail, we've asked Utah Eagle Forum boss Gayle Ruzicka for her reaction. We've asked HB 353 sponsor Rep. Mike Morley, too. So far, we've received no response from either.
(more to follow as we receive them...)
FULL DISCLOSURE DEPT: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.
Joining those who have called upon Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman to veto HB 353 is the National Coalition Against Censorship.
A post on the NCAC website says that the Jack Thompson-conceived bill "takes a voluntary effort by manufacturers to provide consumers with information about their products and turns it into a mechanism to deprive minors of their First Amendment rights."
More from the NCAC:
This bill would hold retailers responsible for selling minors material labeled for mature audiences. Sellers of books, movies, video games, and music could be penalized up to $2000 for “violating” age guidelines created voluntarily for informational purposes only.
This bill takes a voluntary effort by manufacturers to provide consumers with information about their products and turns it into a mechanism to deprive minors of their First Amendment rights. By incorporating the private voluntary ratings system, it also constitutes an unlawful delegation of legislative authority to a non-governmental entity...
The bill may result in consumers getting less information. Stores not willing to risk lawsuit or fines for violating age restrictions may simply decide not to display ratings information. The industry as a whole could even consider dispensing with its voluntary rating system if the result is to make retailers vulnerable to lawsuits and judgments.
We urge Governor Huntsman to veto this problematic bill.
UPDATE: The NCAC has written a letter to Gov. Huntsman urging a veto of HB 353.