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Thursday, May 1, 2003
Selling Games to Kids Could be a Crime
9:02 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Wired has recently published a piece examining a bill currently making its way through the political system of the state of Washington. In a nutshell, the bill will make it illegal for vendors to sell or rent games with violent content in them to those 17 years of age or younger. Those caught breaking the law could be slapped with fines as high as $500.

While legislation against video games is nothing new to gamers, it should be notes that the bill has already been unanimously agreed on by the state House and Senate, and Governor Gary Locke is expected to sign off on the measure later this week.

The issue touches on several points of law, including the First Amendment, which guarantees the right of free speech. The bill itself is not without opposition:

Several groups have asked Gov. Locke to veto the bill on First Amendment grounds. The Washington chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Media Coalition (which represents publishers, bookstores, librarians and magazine distributors, as well as recording, movie and video-game manufacturers and retailers) and the Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association argue the legislation represents an attack on freedom of speech.
As games continue to push the envelope in terms of adult content, they will not doubt continue to garner more attention from both the press and the government. The article at Wired brings up several good points, including statements from a lawyer as well as from a resident game company.

Wired - Video-Game Merchants Under Fire

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