Violent Videogames and The Law
posted Saturday Feb 25, 2012 by Scott Ertz
The state of Oklahoma, or more their House Revenue and Tax Subcommittee, tried to pass a law adding a 1% sales tax to videogames sold within the state that are rated T (Teen) or higher. The bill was defeated in committee, but the fact that they thought about this is concerning. There was some discussion from Representative Pat Owenby (R) which made the committee seem less crazy:
Why just video games? Why not French fries or rap music or movies? We could have a task force on a multitude of reasons children are obese.
The idea that one of the members found it ridiculous that they were singling out videogames is a positive sign. The fact that the law would have affected Mass Effect and Zumba Fitness the same is still a little odd. It is still surprising that the law got even this far considering the now famous California battle that led to a major public defeat in the Supreme Court.
Oklahoma's not the only gaming law in the news. Hit the break to find out what is new in California's battle.
Speaking of California and their legal disaster, the numbers have been made public and the cost of the failure is pretty intense. When all is said and done, the failed law will have cost the already nearly bankrupt state $1.8 million in legal fees. This includes almost $1 million to the Entertainment Merchants Association and Entertainment Software Association, who argued against the law, for legal fees, as well as $300,000 in early battles and $500,000 to its own legal team.
The original sponsor of the bill, Leland Yee, said,
When you fight the good fight for a cause you know is right and just, and it's about protecting kids, you don't ever regret that.
It would seem that, with a 7-2 loss in the Supreme Court, granting full 1st Amendment rights to videogames by a Supreme Court who isn't all that thrilled with the Constitution in general, you probably should regret that. Also, with such a clear defeat, it would seem states like Oklahoma wouldn't waste their time trying to fight it, especially so close to the decision.