Yee: Game bill will go to the Supreme Court

Last week, the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard the state of California's case in defense of its overturned violent game restriction law. While a ruling on that case might not come for months, the author of the bill thinks the judge's decision won't settle anything. Earlier today,...

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Last week, the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard the state of California's case in defense of its overturned violent game restriction law. While a ruling on that case might not come for months, the author of the bill thinks the judge's decision won't settle anything.

Earlier today, California State Senator Leland Yee visited GameSpot's offices for an appearance on Tuesday's HotSpot podcast. During more than a half-hour of conversation about the disputed law and the state's role in parenting, Yee said he doesn't believe either the state of California nor the Entertainment Software Association would accept defeat at this point.

"However the Ninth Circuit's going to rule on this matter, I think either side is going to appeal this," Yee said. "It's going to go to the Supreme Court. Hopefully, what we're going to end up [with] in California and throughout the nation is a balance. How do you protect the first amendment and ensure there's not going to be limitations on the free expression of individuals' desires and wants and creativity when developing these games but at the same time protect our kids and the general public?"

As for whether a flood of constituent complaints could persuade Yee to drop the matter, the politician suggested this was one issue where voter outcry would not change his mind.

"There is an organized effort to let me know very clearly that a lot of the gamers are not supportive of what I'm doing," Yee said. "I'm not trying to be arrogant or disrespectful toward them, but I am a legislator myself. And I need to look at what is also right. Leadership is sometimes not about simply putting your finger in the political wind and seeing how everybody feels. Rather, it's having some hard, core values as to what you think is appropriate and right and trying to do the right thing."

[UPDATE]: The full interview can now be heard in this week's edition of The HotSpot.

Discussion

297 comments
CY4N1D3_625
CY4N1D3_625

Aww man.....another case of "My son is being a bully, cause he plays violent video games." Parents need to ****ing grow up...just because your kid pushes other kids around and is being delinquent, doesn't mean parents are allowed to use video games as a scapegoat to mask their failure to teach their kids the most valuable thing known to man called common sense.

JohnnyDrama8
JohnnyDrama8

How about the senator focuses on getting a better first name than Leland what a lame name.

necronaux
necronaux

"How do you... protect our kids and the general public?" Isn't that what parents are for, not the government? You don't want your kids playing M rated titles, don't let them.

emptyjuicebox
emptyjuicebox

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

emptyjuicebox
emptyjuicebox

How about you listen to voter outcry and stop wasting my goddamn tax dollars on this unconstitutional law that will just get overturned like all the rest?

cloudstrife192
cloudstrife192

I agree but the whole reason of the ESRB being created was the thought that children were not mature enough to play these games which I have yet to see the facts they have found for this. All it really comes down to is two types of people: those who can tell real life from game life and those who can't.

The_Weekend
The_Weekend

To me, the game has nothing to do with one's maturity. I play a plenty violent game but have no real effect on real life because it's just a game. What bugs me is that people play games mindless and adopt the violence or the wrong contents in real life ... then push the blame to the game industry when it's really their own immatured fault. If you can't handle games like that, then stick to tetris until you're ready, just don't hamper the matured and good natured games like us from having a good time ...

cloudstrife192
cloudstrife192

All of you that are saying, letting children play M rated games is bad parenting or any other form of that sentence or closely related, I would like to ask what your reason for that is. What is wrong with letting your children play M rated games? I'm a freshman and I play rated M games and yet I still make As and Bs in school and I've never gotten a detention or other punishment since 5th grade. Also I agree with -P4R4D0X-. Once the "immature kids" like me get out of school and become "adults" most of this stuff will be fought against to give "more rights" to our children.

BlueKazoo20
BlueKazoo20

I'd have to agree with PixyMisao on this one. When it comes to teaching kids right from wrong in contrast from what they experience in video games (or any other media), the responsibility should solely be with the parent. They should be the ones telling their 14-year-old child that using a chainsaw to decapitate heads a la Manhunt is just wrong. Letting the government take over what the parents should be doing is going to mess things up entirely. It'll screw up both the kids and the parents. Oh, and Senator Yee? Honey, don't get too deep into this. If you get too anal about violence in games, you'll turn into another Jack Thompson. And lord knows we do NOT need another one of those...

Warped_Creation
Warped_Creation

"I believe that the rest of the nation are unintelligent blockheads and are unable to make choices for themselves. I however know better." Did anyone else get that message?

PixyMisao
PixyMisao

I still think it all boils down to parenting. If the government intervenes, that to me is the same as saying that parents aren't capable of raising their own children. It's the same thing as having a law that you have to wear your seat belt in a car. Sure the government is trying to act responsible, but really the decision should be up to the person driving to get everyone in the car to be safe. The government is the last area of knowledge that I look to when researching issues that might affect my well being. However I'm not going to tell my children that it's okay to treat anyone like they do in a Rockstar game, so the government is not only infringing on my privacy, but they are insulting my intelligence as well. Hopefully the Obama administration puts an end to this bs, and allows the ESRB to do their job.

tudyniuz
tudyniuz

These people need a life

elitefunk
elitefunk

its cause parents these days are too f**king lazy to be parents and actually pay attention to what thier kids are playing. EVER HEARD OF THE ESRB!? its not hard to see the big M on the game. im 24 and i got id'd when i bought fallout. so how do underage kids even get these games? this makes me so angry

McDog3
McDog3

"it's having some hard, core values as to what you think is appropriate and right and trying to do the right thing." I couldn't agree more, although my perception of "right" is nearly the polar opposite of what Mr Lee believes.....

Jim-BRAG
Jim-BRAG

California is just plain silly! It's the parent's job to regulate their kids exposure to this sort of thing, not to government. Just another example of the lack of parenting some do. Get out of my coffee Mr. Government!

-P4R4D0X-
-P4R4D0X-

It doesn't matter where you are in the world (I'm Australian btw, so I still have it worse than you Americans), legislation on gaming will not improve until the generation that grew up with games is the dominant one. Given that those people are in their 30s and 40s now, hopefully that shouldn't take too long.....

cloudstrife192
cloudstrife192

While I do agree that the ESRB is a useful tool for parents, I also hold onto my opinion that it is strict enough. If anybody has, for any reason disagreed with my previous posts in any way please message me and tell me your reason.

subrosian
subrosian

The real goal of such "morality" laws is to limit the content of the games. They're fully aware of the economic implications of rating a game AO. This is another attempt to bring big government into gaming - when the games industry has to ask Uncle Sam and every angry fundamenalist in the country for permission to publish games, artistic expression is dead. - All of these bills, even the ones that appear harmless, are landmines. For example, there was a bill on the table that would charge any clerk who sold an M-rated game to a minor with a felony. So, a Walmart clerk making $6 an hour gets tricked, makes a mistake, gets careless, or simply doesn't know, and sells a 17 year old an "M" rated game, they are now facing $10,000 fines and jail time. - These morality clauses are bull, pure an simple. Children under 16 can't drive alone, in some states that is now up to 18. So, how are these kids getting to the store? Where are the parents? And let's not lie to ourselves here - if the parents are really that confused or careless over what their kids are doing, or where they are going, then they're lucky the only thing that their child is doing is playing a violent videogame.

X-RS
X-RS

just wait. soon the rest of the world will wake up.

uuuhhhhh
uuuhhhhh

Chronikas, the difference between a M-rated game and Playboy or Hustler is that the magazines are defined as pornographic. To compare the two, you also must define a m-rated game as pornography, and regulate it as such. If a game is deemed to be pornography, would publishers be able to advertise it on TV? What next, treat R-rated movies as pornography too? "Most adults today have trouble discerning fact/ fiction or fantasy/ reality." Oh really? Please do elaborate with sources. About the "think of the children" argument. The fact is if you have children, you would not allow them to watch media you feel is objectionable. That is your job as a parent, and current consoles have parental controls for you to use at your discretion. Would you really want the government to decide for you what content you would allow your children to see? As a 25 year old gamer, I am not really affected by this legislation, but I am concerned by it. This type of legislation can easily turn into a slippery slope, and given the political climate and current culture war this country is involved in, it is not that difficult to image politicians trying to exploit it.

cloudstrife192
cloudstrife192

It is quite the opposite. Adults ARE affected by this. For example, when manhunt 2 first came out it was rated Adult not mature meaning wal-mart and other major stores wouldn't sell it. Due to that fact it was toned down in violence to make it rated M so it affected everyone. Again adults cannot measure kids maturity, yet they still think they can which ticks most kids off.

Chronikas
Chronikas

I'm 25 so I am not really affected, but as a gamer this does not bother me. I am currently playing Fallout 3 on my PC, it may be the most beautifully rendered gore-fest I have ever seen. When I have children, I don't want my 10-year-old playing that, or my 15-year-old for that matter. If American parents can't keep their act together and involve themselves in what their children are up to, then someone is going to do it for them. Most adults today have trouble discerning fact/fiction or fantasy/reality, I hardly expect it from an adolescent. It might be pitiful, but thats just the nature of our lazy, tv/internet culture. If I had a little boy or girl interested in video games, not only would they be restricted from such content, I'm not even sure I would have it in the household. We would be too busy playing Little Big Planet or Lego Star Wars, or a nice fluffy Mario game. As long as the original content of the game is not censored and still available to adults, I don't see any rights being violated here. Your 15-year-old can't buy a Hustler or Playboy Mag at a news stand, how is this any different? By restricting the purchase of these games to adults, it actually alleviates the gaming industry of a lot of pressures. No longer can parents blame developers for content, this way the parent would have to take resonsibility for the child possessing such content. Sounds like a good idea to me.

Chronikas
Chronikas

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

sublimeambition
sublimeambition

@FireMaker This year college student voter participation is at an all time high.. myspace as well as a lot of other media is increasing the awareness of "young adults" and we are speaking up more and more politically.

FireMaker005
FireMaker005

@Redrider25077 Yeah.. I agree, when I read that I thought "Is this guy for real?" But then I realized, the people who would want to overturn this are a: children and b: gamers. a: have no political voice b: adults and college students. Adults who are parents may support this bill.. and college students dont vote or speak up politically, not nearly enough as they should.. So the jerk essentially has nothing to fear. Hrmph.

redrider25077
redrider25077

he says that voter outcry will not sway his opinion... so basically he is saying "i do not want to be re-elected." as a senator, its his job to uphold the will of the people and it would seem that he is failing to do that. i say ge him out of there before the idiot makes things worse for game censorship.

Red122
Red122

Sounds a lot like socialism dont it? and just think we elected the biggest one of them all liberals and their liberal ways. Just wait folks the end of gaming and everything free is coming sooner then what people thought. Hilary Clinton on the supreme court and Oprah in his cabinet its going to be a sad time to be a gamer.

shadowblade99
shadowblade99

It could be worse. We could live in one of the countries that have banned violent video games. The US has yet to do that. But let's hope it doesn't come to that. Now I am going to back and play Custer's Last Stand.

sieg6529
sieg6529

I agree with the Senator's concerns, but does he have nothing better to do with his time and our money?

DucksBrains
DucksBrains

Why is it these clowns keep trying to end the philosophy of personal responsibility.

code523
code523

This assmonkey is just preparing to run for a higher office in the future. He doesn't give a crap about violent video games. Win or lose, he's doing this so he'll have something to point to during his next campaign saying, "See? I have high moral character. I stood up against the immoral majority, even though it was not the popular thing to do." I hope some photos surface soon involving Senator Yee, two transvestite prostitutes, a stun gun, and a tub of strawberry cream cheese, and end his little crusade... Anybody have photos like that?

Autolycus
Autolycus

As i've stated already, any law they impose against video games they will have to impose across the internet, since that too is a form of media, and against the move industry (its not illegal for a child to watch it, its just the theater's policy). Nothing will happen as any law they do pass is IMPOSSIBLE to enforce. That would be like saying "its illegal to hold your breath". who is going to stop you or for that matter catch you. Just look @ seatbelt laws, even those are poorly enforced...or drunk driving for that matter. its all about $$$$

decoy1978
decoy1978

Its BECAUSE of parents not doing their parental job that we have this coming to our doorstep in the gaming world. IF all minors would NOT imitate what they see in video games onto real life, then this would not even be an issue. Kids today see more M-rated stuff in TV than their parents did or even their grandparents. BUT, so long as there are a few BAD and DUMB apples who like to mimic CS or GTA then it only taks those few to ruin it for the rest of us. I support what Senator Leland Yee is trying to accomplish. He is not asking for the decimation of all M-rated games. Rather he is seeking the ban of selling those games to minors. Bring accountability to retailers and more importantly, have these slacker parents start doing their JOB. This isn't a battle of free speech. You already are restricted to what you can say in real life. And though you can technically carry any weapon, there are PENALTIES you will incur if you get caught. The same should be said in selling M-rated games to minors. PUNISH those who would sell these games to minors.

jkool_247
jkool_247

How convenient... "some hard, core values and doing what you think is right". As if his paradigm is the only right one. Subjectivity at its best.

aequitas31
aequitas31

This is complete garbage, government shouldn't be able to tell me what video games I can and can't play. The responsibility to watch what their kids play fall on the parents. Violent video games dont make kids violent, is it possible that violent kids are attracted to violent video games. But we have to have idiots running our country.

CamiKitten
CamiKitten

Some, not all parents, really need to pay more attention to what they're kids play ~ until those children reach adulthood. It just seems like lazy parenting to just go by what a label says. And if you're gonna be lazy and not raise your children....then why did you have children to begin with? And what will become of them once they're old enough to have kids of their own?....The evolution of ruining our society even more yay. Stop blaming the games.

jaxsickboy87
jaxsickboy87

In the words of some great California residents(NOFX) "F--K The Kids!" We as a society should not have to limit what adults do between adults because someone's little brat might be "negativly influenced." So whether its films or games, as long as no one is harmed in the production/enjoyment of these, it should be up to parents to keep their kids away from mature content.

eagles_band
eagles_band

Protect the kids? That's why games have ratings

mikemaj82
mikemaj82

"How do you protect the first amendment and ensure there's not going to be limitations on the free expression of individuals' desires and wants and creativity when developing these games but at the same time protect our kids and the general public?" Hmm....gee...you let the parents worry about their kids?

Mystearical
Mystearical

@frazzle00 I agree! Bills, rules etc - just don't work. Honestly if people younger than 16 can get their hands on drugs then I'm sure they can easily find their games.... Stricter parenting - at least when they are very young is effective. And in all honestly, society is going down the drain. More teenage females are getting pregnant, more teenage suicide, teenage drug abuse, teenage death due to drinking... in other words parents need to ACTUALLY be part of their kids' lives and teach 'em right from wrong instead of just having more of them.

dubel_07
dubel_07

@ Canadianjunkie: I really wish I could disagree with you but you're exactly right. We're not trying to protect ourselves, just trying to protect our children. BUT! I feel that banning games of any type is like censoring books or movies, it's just wrong.

Canadianjunkie
Canadianjunkie

I wish there was a law like this proposed in Canada. It's not about censoring what I, as a 33 year old gamer and parent of two, is allowed to play. It's about protecting my children when I'm not around. Every child tests the boundaries of what parents will allow and tries to sneak something past us. I think games like GTA and Manhunter are distasteful and would love to see merchants held responsible for selling them to my 9 year old if she tried to buy them behind my back because her friends thought they were "cool" and had them. These types of laws aren't just to take responsibilty away from parents as to the upbringing of their children. They are also to help the decent parents protect their children from inappropriate game content when we aren't around.

YourChaosIsntMe
YourChaosIsntMe

....their.... It can't be boiled down to simplistic sloganeering or biased tantrums. If you read either California or Illinois recently overturned laws, you will find no article or ammendment that pertains to the development, marketing, or sale of "violent video games"(sic) to anyone over the age of 18. Furthermore, where the ESA and publishers are concerned, the yearly profit margin is their primary concern. The fact that 15 year olds get to play totally hardcore games is a means to an end. Something that needs to be addressed in tandem with legislation is the ESRB rating system. This would seem to be obvious given the vague nature of each rating. Why shouldn't a 12, 14, or 16 year old kid be allowed to play Halo? In terms of psychological research, the effect of video games on an individual's personality is marginal, and that theory is grounded in a lot of valid research. The idea that 1 out of 10 Jimmys that play Manhunt will become a sociopath is absurd. In contrast, of course, is the way in which all media effects children-adolescents with various psychological disorders, as well as the concern for the general effect of media on all age groups. Everyone seems to parrot variations of the phrase "It's the parent's responsibility"! Yes, it's also their responsibility to provide nutritional food, emotional support, intellectual support, guidance, and boundaries. At least 40% of them do not do so. That percentage could go as high as 80%, depending on criterion. People, as a group, are not intelligent or astute enough to regulate or govern themselves; this relates to Bewildered Ronan's post, hahaha. The distribution of any form of media to children needs to be regulated for the same reason your vote for president didn't mean anything. Also, as adults, keep in mind that the archaic ESRB rating system and unregulated distribution of product does have an impact on what types of video games can be made, and how "mature" their content can be. Given the growth of the industry (and it's demographic), the current business model in terms of regulation is becoming an anachronism. Maybe if parents weren't idiots they would realize that a video game series based on the works of the author of "The Antichrist" was published worldwide with a T rating. Sorry kids, you don't get Manhunt, but Friedrich Nietzsche? Go for it. You see, this is the perfect example of A. a franchise that should not have been available to minors due to it's themes but was, and B. A game that could have benefitted by being developed exclusively for the 18+ demographic and C. a game that would not even be recognized by the vast majority of parents as "controversial" because most of them are morons. If you were wondering, the franchise is Xenogears/saga. If all parents were like you, Joful, then the government wouldn't need to regulate the sale of any items to children, save for alcohol and tobacco. Alas, they are not you. The pornography industry is the most heavily regulated and culturally censored segments of the entertainment industry. Furthermore, sexuality is a reflection of what is inherently a positive aspect of the human condition, while violence is not. Though, I guess when BDSM is concerned...the lines get blurred...

JofuInSpace
JofuInSpace

I'm going to restrict my kids from playing violent games until I feel that their mature enough. No Xbox Live for sure until they're 13 or so. I don't need the government to parent for me.

frazzle00
frazzle00

Here's how you protect the kids and the general public Mr. Yee: Make sure that the parents of America take responsibility for their decision to have children. It's not enough to just procreate, and then let Ma TV and Pa Playstation do the nurture for you ;).

animeownage
animeownage

The problem isn't the video games it's the parents who use them as babysitters then when they wander by 16 hours later are appalled by an M rated game being played by there're 8 year old. It's not the game industry's fault they have a rating system it's the parent's who don't use it. It's always the same thing parents are lazy and don't take care of there're kids so when they get in trouble they blame everything but themselves comic book's, cartoon's/anime, TV, video games. I'm sick of it pay attention to your kids and stop subverting the first amendment.

phase4illini
phase4illini

Yeah, hard to understand where this senator's hard, core values are when pornography is mass produced in his state and excessively accessible to children of all ages on the internet (again... all the answers still lay in proper parenting). Maybe his hard, core values are simply XXX hardcore?