The poorly written and rather pointless HB 353, a videogame/movie bill intended for Utah by Jack Thompson, has been vetoed by Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, thanks to the sloppy writing of the bill itself, and some clever lobbying from the games industry.
"While protecting children from inappropriate materials is a laudable goal, the language of this bill is so broad that it likely will be struck down by the courts as an unconstitutional violation of the Dormant Commerce Clause and/or the First Amendment," explained Huntsman. "The industries most affected by this new requirement indicated that rather than risk being held liable under this bill, they would likely choose to no longer issue age appropriate labels on goods and services.
"Therefore, the unintended consequence of the bill would be that parents and children would have no labels to guide them in determining the age appropriateness of the goods or service, thereby increasing children’s potential exposure to something they or their parents would have otherwise determined was inappropriate under the voluntary labeling system now being recognized and embraced by a significant majority of vendors."
That's really quite a masterstroke on the part of the games industry. Choosing to pull out of a voluntary rating system rather than risking the wrath of this silly bill was slick, and while Huntsman would likely have vetoed the thing anyway, it still hammers home something important that anti-games lobbyists have forgotten -- the games industry voluntary decided to stick to age restrictions. Nobody made publishers do it, and nobody is saying they have to stick to it.
Those that moan about how videogames set out to corrupt young minds ought to remember that.
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