An effort to impose fines and even jail time for selling mature games to underage kids has reached Rhode Island's legislature. "The bill won't survive a court challenge, nor should it," says a certain disbarred Florida lawyer.
Yes, when Jack Thompson, the bête noire of the video game culture wars, calls this one a dumper, it truly is time to go back to the drawing board. Which Thompson admits he's helping Rhode Island lawmakers do. But since we raised the question of the bill's constitutionality yesterday, let's have the definitive smackdown on it today. This was a statement from Thompson to Game Politics:
Since 1930, it has been unconstitutional to restrict the sale of entertainment products to anyone based upon a private sector standard, which the ESRB ratings are. There has to be a definition, description of the material and why it is offensive in the statute itself, so that a jury can apply a state/governmental standard, not a private sector rating. The Bill won't survive a court challenge, nor should it.
I actually have litigated these issues. Seems to me you should report the fact that even Jack Thompson knows this one won't fly. Think I'm not going to help the legislature get it right?
Then if that's the case, I don't see how the scrapped Utah legislation of 2009, which he also advised on, could have survived a court challenge, either.
For its part, the Entertainment Software Association says: "This bill is the same as all the other legislative proposals found unconstitutional by numerous federal courts." Pretty wild when you've got the ESA and Jack Thompson going "Yeah, what he said!"
Unlikely Pair Come Out Against RI Adult Game Bill [Game Politics]