Thompson offers olive branch to ESA, ESRB

Antigame activist suggests compromise with game industry which he says will eliminate the need for legislation and legal battles.


In the past, Florida attorney Jack Thompson has shown little interest in compromising when it comes to his efforts to keep violent games from being made, released, or sold to minors. Today, however, the controversial lawyer appears to be willing to bury the hatchet with the industry, and has proposed an agreement that he said would put an end to his efforts to have laws passed regulating the industry.

In a letter addressed to outgoing Entertainment Software Association president Doug Lowenstein and Entertainment Software Rating Board president Patricia Vance (and forwarded to GameSpot), Thompson suggested that the industry simply tell retailers that if they sell games rated M for Mature to minors, publishers won't ship them games to sell in the first place.

"All that is needed for the industry to get federal and state governments and activists like me off your back is to craft a written industry policy whereby all ESA members direct retailers to stop selling Mature-rated games to anyone under 17," Thompson wrote. "By private agreement rather than by legislation, if such sales occur, upon a factual showing on a case by case basis, then escalating commercial sanctions will be visited upon the offending retailer(s) by all ESRB members."

In his letter, Thompson notes that such an approach hasn't been tried before, but that it would "avoid the need for any future legislation or fights over legislation."

"It's your choice," Thompson wrote. "Let's get this done before it is too late for you all to avoid the legislation that nobody should want but which will, by necessity, come."

Thompson hasn't declared a cease fire as he waits for the industry's response, however. In his letter, he claimed to have helped an Eastern US state draft a new gaming bill just last week. While a Louisiana bill Thompson helped draft was recently overturned, he said this time it would be different, "because these people, unlike in Louisiana, know what they are doing and are prepared to prove to the court, unlike in Louisiana, that these games are harmful."

A representative with the ESA has not returned GameSpot's request for comment on the proposal, while an ESRB representative declined to comment.

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