NEWS - Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Calif. Reconsiders Violent Game Ban

Calif. Reconsiders Violent Game Ban February 15, 2005 - The California legislature will once again consider new limitations on the sale and rental of violent video games, as well as harsh penalties for retailers who sell such games to minors. According to a Reuters story today, California Assemblyman Leland Yee is reviving proposed legislation which would ban the sale of violent games to minors, levy fines of up to $1,000 on retailers who violate the ban, and allow District Attorneys to close repeat offenders. A similar bill failed legislature last year. The proposed legislation would also add to California’s definition of harmful material to include games that "depict serious injury to human beings in a manner that is especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel." While Yee’s 2004 bill did not make legislative vote, the new proposal’s revised wording -- as well as a different Assembly composition -- may give the bill a chance this year. Additionally, Yee’s bill reportedly has support from the Girl Scouts and the California Parent-Teachers Association. The Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association (IEMA), a game retail trade association, was quick to question the necessity and prudence of Yee’s proposal. "The newly proposed violent video game legislation in California smacks of me-too politics in a vein effort for local politicians to garner some perceived moral high ground when clearly there is none to be had," IEMA president Mark Halprin commented in a statement today. Video games currently carry content ratings by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), designed to guide parents on possibly offensive material. Many retailers have already agreed to begin carding customers to ensure Mature-rated games aren’t sold to minors.


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