Louisiana passes game bill

Victory for Thompson.

The Lousiana Senate has passed HB1381, a bill designed to restrict the sale of games with violent content which was co-authored by notorious anti-videogames campaigner Jack Thompson.

HB1381, which Thompson wrote together with Representative Roy Burrell, would make it illegal to sell or rent out a game to a minor if it met three conditions. Namely, if an "average person" would consider that it "appeals to the minor's morbid interest in violence"; if the game "depicts violence in a manner patently offensive to prevailing standards"; and if it "lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value for minors." Anyone violating the law could face a fine of up to USD 2000 and a maximum 12 month prison sentence.

The bill was approved by a key committee last week and has now been unanimously passed by the Louisiana State Senate. It's now up to Governor Kathleen Blanco to sign the bill into law - which seems highly likely.

It's also likely that the Entertainment Software Association will respond with the threat of legal action, as in the case of the bill passed in Minnesota recently.

Meanwhile, New York Senator Hillary Clinton has called for the US Government to support further research into the effects of electronic media on children - including TV and the Internet as well as videogames.

"We don't know the effects," Clinton told the audience at an event organised by the New America Foundation.

"Never have children been raised in such a media-saturated environment. How do we get more research, better facts and evidence?"

Clinton is hoping Congress will approve a bill she has co-authored which, if it became law, would impose fines on anyone selling or renting Mature or Adults Only-rated games to minors.

Earlier this week, her office released a downloadable "media guide" designed to help parents understand the ratings systems used for TV and games, and how to make use of the parental control option featured in many electronic entertainment devices. "Obviously parents are on the front line, but a lot of them need help," Clinton commented.

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