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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Demuzio Law Review

Just one final word(s) on this before I try to ignore it forever (until it effects me directly).

Of all the things which are somewhat disturbing about the Illinois Law, and there are several, the one I find the most is that it's still almost completely unknown to the general gaming public. Blogs have picked up on it far more the mainstream media ... and the gaming media is just completely void on the issue from what I can see. The problem with that is this was a law made for political reasons and unless we remind these people that gamers are parents AND voters in more and more numbers every day then this issue will continue to just steamroll on until the industry starts to actually assume self-censorship.

Much of what the law is about is ill-informed and some parts are just plain wrong. It passed not based on it's merits - but based on it's feel-good nature (think of the kids!) and almost complete lack of opposition from the public.

Will it destroy mods and indies? OK, probably not. I agree with the consensus that some relatively basic consent agreements can probably shield those not already protected. Course, there's a couple logistical problems there. One - people need to be aware that they should be doing that, and the same failure to communicate which allowed this bill probably won't be there to pass that message along. Then, of course, there will be those who won't believe they need to do it.

Heck, many modders are minors ... so how complicated would that get?

Hopefully the ESA will be able to slap this down. It's vague, it's relatively hard to enforce and it's pretty ineffective. I don't think ESA will be able to fight this on First Amendment grounds but I think the public safety stuff won't stick together the way it's framed this time around.

What's disturbing about the general lack of hurrumph on this issue is that there will be another time around and I don't know if anyone will be watching or caring. If most attitudes are "those kinds of law will never be upheld" or even "the industry deserves it" and big press game media don't even want to touch it, this will always be a fluff issue politicians and lawyers will use to make their case, career or election year.

And if we aren't careful, they'll eventually slip it right past us. And when some small studio gets served for taking part in some youth crime in a state they've never set foot in ... we'll probably have to blame ourselves.


Winkyboy said...

HRMPH. Well, just goes to show that law makers are, still, often out-of-touch with reality, driven by impossible ideals, or desperate to look good in the light of the media...

...and in a better-safe-than-sorry move, I'm adding a violence-disclaimer to my site...


Unknown said...

It's interesting that it's very similar to the attack on comic books in the 50s, another media that was not considered an art form and was also responsible for corrupting America's youth. Comics responded with the CCA (? I think that's what it was . . .) Which made comics vanilla for 30 years, until the media became recognized as an art form and the publishers realized that Congress was not going to come get them if they threw out the CCA.

So, why don't the parents just parent? Why does the State of Illinois have to protect children from a lack of supervision?

What prompted all of this? The last few teenage killing sprees I've read about haven't even mentioned video games . . .

Josh said...

As far as I can tell, there wasn't any precipitating factor to this ... no huge wave of youth violence or Halo-related deaths. And this is Chicago ... one of the most violent and populous places on the planet.

But it's got support from the conservative side of the field, which I'm sure Blagoyo needs badly this coming election. And since there isn't anyone crying foul, there doesn't seem to be any "victim" here. Apparently if you voted against this you were promised to have your contigency bombarded with flyers but if you voted for it there's nothing. So lawmakers just voted for the least painful path, not the logical or rational one.

Corvus said...

Evidently, the impetus had something to do with the JFK game. Go figure. I'm sure we could weave it nicely into the tapestry of conspiracy surrounding the assassination.

Josh, I sketched a little something for you. You can pick it up over here: