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Thompson makes nice?

liquidloganliquidlogan Registered User regular
edited January 2007 in Games and Technology
"Thompson offers olive branch to ESA, ESRB" from GameSpot
Thompson offers olive branch to ESA, ESRB
Antigame activist suggests compromise with game industry which he says will eliminate the need for legislation and legal battles.
By Brendan Sinclair, GameSpot
Posted Jan 8, 2007 11:49 am PT

In the past, Florida attorney Jack Thompson has shown little interest in compromising when it comes to his efforts to keep violent games from being made, released, or sold to minors. Today, however, the controversial lawyer appears to be willing to bury the hatchet with the industry, and has proposed an agreement that he said would put an end to his efforts to have laws passed regulating the industry.

In a letter addressed to outgoing Entertainment Software Association president Doug Lowenstein and Entertainment Software Rating Board president Patricia Vance (and forwarded to GameSpot), Thompson suggested that the industry simply tell retailers that if they sell games rated M for Mature to minors, publishers won't ship them games to sell in the first place.

"All that is needed for the industry to get federal and state governments and activists like me off your back is to craft a written industry policy whereby all ESA members direct retailers to stop selling Mature-rated games to anyone under 17," Thompson wrote. "By private agreement rather than by legislation, if such sales occur, upon a factual showing on a case by case basis, then escalating commercial sanctions will be visited upon the offending retailer(s) by all ESRB members."

In his letter, Thompson notes that such an approach hasn't been tried before, but that it would "avoid the need for any future legislation or fights over legislation."

"It's your choice," Thompson wrote. "Let's get this done before it is too late for you all to avoid the legislation that nobody should want but which will, by necessity, come."

Thompson hasn't declared a cease fire as he waits for the industry's response, however. In his letter, he claimed to have helped an Eastern US state draft a new gaming bill just last week. While a Louisiana bill Thompson helped draft was recently overturned, he said this time it would be different, "because these people, unlike in Louisiana, know what they are doing and are prepared to prove to the court, unlike in Louisiana, that these games are harmful."

Representatives with the ESA and the ESRB did not immediately return GameSpot's requests for comment.

Thompson here really seems to be trying to bully the industry (though he has no real authority to be doing so in my estimation). Nevertheless, I don't think his desire in this case, though I'm certain this is likely the tip of the iceberg if he succeeds, is not altogether unreasonable in this situation in theory.

An agreement whereby game publishers and distributors have a private contract with game publishers to keep them out of legal trouble makes a lot of sense. The problem is I'm not sure its feasible. I mean, what if one clerk screws up and sells, say, GTA to a 16 year old by accident. I highly doubt that any publisher would threaten to yank its games off store shelves, let alone do it.

Overall, I think this is merely a ploy by Jack so that he can show that hey, I was reasonable, and its you pixelantes who are refusing to safeguard America's children. I tried to reach out to you, but if you want war, you'll get war, type bullshit.

So is Jack making nice or is this just some ploy for his next move?

liquidlogan on
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Posts

  • WeaverWeaver Who are you? What do you want?Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    How about just stop paying attention to this guy and let him fade off to be forgotten by history?

    Weaver on
  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    No publisher will go for that.

    But that's not to say, from a completely neutral point of view, that it's a bad idea. But again, a publisher would have to be fucking stupid to agree to that.

    More than likely, jack is just gonna turn around and say "See?! They're EVIL!" when publishers say no to this.

    TheSonicRetard on
  • YodaTunaYodaTuna Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    He's doing this because he knows he's losing and he's trying to save face.

    YodaTuna on
  • AlpineAlpine Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Personally I think this is a completely reasonable request, and would be great if it was used as a tactic to keep mature games out of the hands of small children.

    If a bar serves alcohol to minors, they lose their liquor licence. If a 7-11 sells cigarettes to minors, they get a huge fine. Why not this?

    Alpine on
  • RenzoRenzo Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    What he's suggesting is essentially what the movie industry has done for years. Does it work? Not really. Does anyone care? Not really. Wait long enough, and these ancient politicians will die off, along with all illusions that games are the downfall of humanity.

    Renzo on
  • YodaTunaYodaTuna Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Alpine wrote:
    Personally I think this is a completely reasonable request, and would be great if it was used as a tactic to keep mature games out of the hands of small children.

    If a bar serves alcohol to minors, they lose their liquor licence. If a 7-11 sells cigarettes to minors, they get a huge fine. Why not this?

    Because playing M rated games isn't illegal dumbass.

    Most retailers do this anyway.

    YodaTuna on
  • RenzoRenzo Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Alpine wrote:
    Personally I think this is a completely reasonable request, and would be great if it was used as a tactic to keep mature games out of the hands of small children.

    If a bar serves alcohol to minors, they lose their liquor licence. If a 7-11 sells cigarettes to minors, they get a huge fine. Why not this?
    The liquor and tobacco instances are laws. There is no law concerning selling mature games to minors.

    edit: beat'd

    Renzo on
  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Alpine wrote:
    Personally I think this is a completely reasonable request, and would be great if it was used as a tactic to keep mature games out of the hands of small children.

    If a bar serves alcohol to minors, they lose their liquor licence. If a 7-11 sells cigarettes to minors, they get a huge fine. Why not this?

    Because, while alcohol and cigarettes have obvious and measurable negative effects, it's really an opinion as to whether or not video games are "bad for you."

    TheSonicRetard on
  • liquidloganliquidlogan Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Alpine wrote:
    Personally I think this is a completely reasonable request, and would be great if it was used as a tactic to keep mature games out of the hands of small children.

    If a bar serves alcohol to minors, they lose their liquor licence. If a 7-11 sells cigarettes to minors, they get a huge fine. Why not this?

    The difference here is that video games are not really on the same level at all as alcohol or cigarettes, really.

    Edit: Beat'd like 15 times

    liquidlogan on
  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Alpine wrote:
    Personally I think this is a completely reasonable request, and would be great if it was used as a tactic to keep mature games out of the hands of small children.

    If a bar serves alcohol to minors, they lose their liquor licence. If a 7-11 sells cigarettes to minors, they get a huge fine. Why not this?
    games!=alcohol

    Couscous on
  • BacklashBacklash Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Alpine wrote:
    Personally I think this is a completely reasonable request, and would be great if it was used as a tactic to keep mature games out of the hands of small children.

    If a bar serves alcohol to minors, they lose their liquor licence. If a 7-11 sells cigarettes to minors, they get a huge fine. Why not this?

    I agree completely that it's a reasonable request, but it will never happen.

    Basically because the retail environment for games is almost the exact opposite from liquor. Game retail is dominated by big chain stores who have much more power. Publishers would be much more scared of having their games pulled from the shelf than the store would be from losing the titles.

    Whereas with liquor, if one bar doesn't have any alcohol as a penalty, you can usually just go down the street to a different one. And we're talking just one bar usually, not a chain of a thousand stores across the country.

    I am completely for stopping the sale of M rated games to minors, though I think even if this were to happen, Thompson would use it as foot in the door.

    Edit: Well, Beat'd, but my reasons were different.

    Backlash on
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  • Mai-KeroMai-Kero Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    YodaTuna wrote:
    He's doing this because he knows he's losing and he's trying to save face.

    The perfect response would be "Hahaha fuck you."

    Mai-Kero on
  • GyralGyral Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Weaver wrote:
    How about just stop paying attention to this guy and let him fade off to be forgotten by history?
    Seriously. If people would just stop paying Thompson any attention at all, his antics might fade away. He really only shows his ass to get more attention.

    Gyral on
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  • VoroVoro Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Alpine wrote:
    Personally I think this is a completely reasonable request, and would be great if it was used as a tactic to keep mature games out of the hands of small children.

    If a bar serves alcohol to minors, they lose their liquor licence. If a 7-11 sells cigarettes to minors, they get a huge fine. Why not this?

    Because only AO games are illegal to sell to anyone under 18. And anyone under 18 is going to be living with their parents or legal guardian, so the legislation accomplishes nothing. Simply require stores to accept returns of M rated games by parents for a full cash back refund, and there is no situation to address.

    Voro on
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  • darleysamdarleysam On my way to UKRegistered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Violent adult games should not be sold to kids. That is all.

    darleysam on
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  • ScrumtrulescentScrumtrulescent Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    ackbar_l.jpg

    Scrumtrulescent on
  • AthenorAthenor Battle Hardened Optimist The Skies of HiigaraRegistered User regular
    edited January 2007
    darleysam wrote:
    Violent adult games should not be sold to kids. That is all.

    What about to parents getting them for their kids?

    Athenor on
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  • YodaTunaYodaTuna Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    darleysam wrote:
    Violent adult games should not be sold to kids. That is all.

    Thank you for telling the entire world how to raise their children!

    YodaTuna on
  • BacklashBacklash Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Athenor wrote:
    darleysam wrote:
    Violent adult games should not be sold to kids. That is all.

    What about to parents getting them for their kids?

    If the parent wants to buy it for their kids, then who cares. It's like movies, if you drop a 14-year-old kid off at the movies with some friends, they shouldn't just be able to walk into Sin City.

    If the parent wants to buy them the tickets first and send them on their way, then whatever, they cant come running complaining that entertainment is corrupting their youth.

    edit:
    YodaTuna wrote:
    Thank you for telling the entire world how to raise their children!

    I'd say there's quite a bit of difference between stopping the sales of violent games to kids and telling parents how to raise their children.

    Backlash on
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  • YodaTunaYodaTuna Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Backlash wrote:
    Athenor wrote:
    darleysam wrote:
    Violent adult games should not be sold to kids. That is all.

    What about to parents getting them for their kids?

    If the parent wants to buy it for their kids, then who cares. It's like movies, if you drop a 14-year-old kid off at the movies with some friends, they shouldn't just be able to walk into Sin City.

    If the parent wants to buy them the tickets first and send them on their way, then whatever, they cant come running complaining that entertainment is corrupting their youth.

    edit:
    YodaTuna wrote:
    Thank you for telling the entire world how to raise their children!

    I'd say there's quite a bit of difference between stopping the sales of violent games to kids and telling parents how to raise their children.

    You know every major video game retailer already does this voluntarily? Did you know it's also voluntary at a movie theatre? A movie theatre could let 5 year olds into Sin City if they wanted too.

    YodaTuna on
  • JWFokkerJWFokker Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    The ESA and ESRB aren't going to compromise due to anything Thompson has done because he has been unsuccessful in all his attempts to change how the industry operates. If you look at his Wikipedia entry, it's like he lives a life of failure, aside from the medical malpractice business (which is likely all that keeps him gainfully employed), with the constant threat of disbarment in multiple states. There isn't that much news to report in the games industry aside from development announcements, so I guess they have to report this non-news.

    JWFokker on
  • jwalkjwalk Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    At least he admits nobody wants his proposed legislation.

    jwalk on
  • EinhanderEinhander __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2007
    In other words, he's back in the news again.

    Scrumtrulescent has the right idea, I think.

    Einhander on
  • BacklashBacklash Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    YodaTuna wrote:
    Backlash wrote:
    Athenor wrote:
    darleysam wrote:
    Violent adult games should not be sold to kids. That is all.

    What about to parents getting them for their kids?

    If the parent wants to buy it for their kids, then who cares. It's like movies, if you drop a 14-year-old kid off at the movies with some friends, they shouldn't just be able to walk into Sin City.

    If the parent wants to buy them the tickets first and send them on their way, then whatever, they cant come running complaining that entertainment is corrupting their youth.

    edit:
    YodaTuna wrote:
    Thank you for telling the entire world how to raise their children!

    I'd say there's quite a bit of difference between stopping the sales of violent games to kids and telling parents how to raise their children.

    You know every major video game retailer already does this voluntarily? Did you know it's also voluntary at a movie theatre? A movie theatre could let 5 year olds into Sin City if they wanted too.

    It's only voluntary in the loosest definition of the word. If theaters across the country just started allowing kids into R rated movies, the uproar would be enormous.

    As for video game retailers, last I heard enforcement was pretty lax. Either way, it still doesn't change the fact that they shouldn't be sold to minors, which was all that was said. Thompsons method is obviously completely impractical. Whether enforcement is voluntary or mandated, it doesnt change the fundamental idea.

    Personally I think it needs to be brought closer to the movie industry, where it's voluntary yet everyone still does it, cause I don't think we're quite there yet.

    Backlash on
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  • AntishowAntishow Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Am I missing something here? What exactly puts JT in a position to compromise?

    Here's a compromise, Microsoft, you give me a million dollars and I'll stop stealing bricks from your campus one by one. Deal? Deal.

    Antishow on
  • JihadJesusJihadJesus Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I love how everyone who actually has anything to do with producing, selling, or purchasing video games just totally ignores Jack Thompson unless they're trying to make a joke. I suppose if I'd dedicated my life to something only to have everyone who cares about the topic at all use my name only as a synonym for 'gender confused geriatric retard' I'd be pretty pissed off and aggresive most of the time, too. He seems to keep the threats implied rather than screaming them this time around, though. Maybe senility is tightening its already crushing grip on his feeble mind.

    JihadJesus on
  • jwalkjwalk Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    His threats are pretty hollow. Has he ever won a single case or gotten a single one of his laws passed (and had it survive the inevitable Constitutional challenge)? Ever??

    jwalk on
  • BacklashBacklash Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    jwalk wrote:
    His threats are pretty hollow. Has he ever won a single case or gotten a single one of his laws passed (and had it survive the inevitable Constitutional challenge)? Ever??

    Nope, that's why he has to keep making threats. It's the only thing that keeps him at the forefront of the issue.

    Backlash on
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  • FreddyDFreddyD Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    YodaTuna wrote:
    Backlash wrote:
    Athenor wrote:
    darleysam wrote:
    Violent adult games should not be sold to kids. That is all.

    What about to parents getting them for their kids?

    If the parent wants to buy it for their kids, then who cares. It's like movies, if you drop a 14-year-old kid off at the movies with some friends, they shouldn't just be able to walk into Sin City.

    If the parent wants to buy them the tickets first and send them on their way, then whatever, they cant come running complaining that entertainment is corrupting their youth.

    edit:
    YodaTuna wrote:
    Thank you for telling the entire world how to raise their children!

    I'd say there's quite a bit of difference between stopping the sales of violent games to kids and telling parents how to raise their children.

    You know every major video game retailer already does this voluntarily? Did you know it's also voluntary at a movie theatre? A movie theatre could let 5 year olds into Sin City if they wanted too.
    I noticed that movie theatres don't post an usher at the line for R-rated movies anymore. It kind of amounts to the same thing.

    Also, if an unsupervised kid has $70 in his pocket there are much worse things he could be buying with it than video games. If a kid has unsupervised time on a machine with internet access playing violent games is not the worse thing he could be doing.

    FreddyD on
  • RohanRohan Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Dammit! If an idiot like Thompson leaves the bashing of the video game industry to someone else, that someone else might just be competent at it. This isn't good.

    Rohan on
    ...and I thought of how all those people died, and what a good death that is. That nobody can blame you for it, because everyone else died along with you, and it is the fault of none, save those who did the killing.

    Nothing's forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten
  • FyreWulffFyreWulff YouRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2007
    Voro wrote:
    Alpine wrote:
    Personally I think this is a completely reasonable request, and would be great if it was used as a tactic to keep mature games out of the hands of small children.

    If a bar serves alcohol to minors, they lose their liquor licence. If a 7-11 sells cigarettes to minors, they get a huge fine. Why not this?

    Because only AO games are illegal to sell to anyone under 18. And anyone under 18 is going to be living with their parents or legal guardian, so the legislation accomplishes nothing. Simply require stores to accept returns of M rated games by parents for a full cash back refund, and there is no situation to address.

    AO games are not illegal to sell to children. It's usually against company policy to do so, and some chains (like Wal-Mart,Blockbuster) refuse to sell them in the first place.

    FyreWulff on
  • XagarathXagarath Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    The UK system gives games film ratings of 15 and 18 if violent enough, and then penalises retailers for selling them to minors
    I recommend this practice, although the US'd need a better film ratings system to pull it off first.

    Xagarath on
  • FyreWulffFyreWulff YouRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2007
    The last thing we need is goverment regulation of games and movies.

    FyreWulff on
  • EinhanderEinhander __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2007
    FyreWulff wrote:
    AO games are not illegal to sell to children. It's usually against company policy to do so, and some chains (like Wal-Mart,Blockbuster) refuse to sell them in the first place.

    Unless I'm wrong, the only console game to ever be rated AO was the first edition of GTA: San Andreas (the validity iof which is a completely different argument), so it wouldn't really matter anyway.

    Speaking of which, I kind of want to create a new game that heralds back to the mascot platformer era, basically it would be something along the lines of Barney's Hide and Seek in 3D with a few jumping puzzles, and release it. It'll even have an edutainment side.

    So you see a game on the shelves that has a cuddly cover with flowers and smiles all over it rated E for everyone with a five star rating blurb from Parents Magazine.

    Later I'll post a patch on the 'torrents that inserts a scene of graphic hardcore furry porn, changes the background music to rythmic moans and slap-splorch-slap noises, and changes the models so that the main character and all NPCs are nude, fully aroused, and have realistic depictions of herpes and gigantic genital warts. Then I will offer retailers reissue versions with Goatse on the cover (with the AO rating symbol placed right in the middle of his gaping asshole) in exchange for their original copies.

    Einhander on
  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    edited January 2007
    FyreWulff wrote:
    The last thing we need is goverment regulation of games and movies.

    Also, retailers do card people for M rated games. However, it's like anything else... if the person looks 17, or has someone with them that is 17, then there's nothing the retailer can do.

    Interesting story, which is related. On friday morning, a guy came in and bought Gears of War. Good times, it was 11am... I took his money, and he pre-ordered Lost Planet too. Awesome, boss is happy.

    4 hours later, mommy calls. The person was apparently 15. She's mad we sold a mature rated game to him. When I pointed out that he looked 17, and it was at 11am when school was in session, she informed me that was none of my business and that his skipping class was no big deal. Gears, though? Bad bad bad.

    So yea.. not sure where I'm going with this, other than people possibly needing a license to reproduce...

    Shadowfire on
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  • HozHoz Cool Cat Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Alpine wrote:
    Personally I think this is a completely reasonable request, and would be great if it was used as a tactic to keep mature games out of the hands of small children.

    If a bar serves alcohol to minors, they lose their liquor licence. If a 7-11 sells cigarettes to minors, they get a huge fine. Why not this?
    Because video games are protected by the first amendment maybe?

    Hoz on
  • EndomaticEndomatic Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    No publisher will go for that.

    But that's not to say, from a completely neutral point of view, that it's a bad idea. But again, a publisher would have to be fucking stupid to agree to that.

    More than likely, jack is just gonna turn around and say "See?! They're EVIL!" when publishers say no to this.

    I think you're probably right here.

    Endomatic on
  • stigweardstigweard Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    He wants this for two reasons:

    1. it will legitimize his claims
    2. it will make it easier for him to bring civil suits against places like EB/GS and Walmart.

    stigweard on
  • ZephosZephos Climbin in yo ski lifts, snatchin your people up. MichiganRegistered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I will not sell an M rated game to someone younger than 17, if a child is with the parent i always try to make sure to read what the game has in it to the parent.

    I do not think children under 17 should be buying these games without parental permission.

    i however also see why you could or would leave that up to the retailer. We are supposed to follow the guidelines at EBstops, as it is store policy to follow the ratings guidelines, i know the computer always prompts us to ask the birth date if its M or R rated.

    Zephos on
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  • DigDug2000DigDug2000 Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I don't quite get his point. He's trying to get publishers to force retailers to not sell to minors. What publisher is going to punish a retailer for selling their game? Seems like this letter and his energy would be far better spent talking to retailers directly.

    There really is no need for a law for something like this. Retailers agree to ID all sales of M rated games. They advertise this and make parents/customers happy. Everyone profits... unless sales to minors are really that big of a factor... are they?

    DigDug2000 on
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