Immediate News Release – March 3, 2009
Video Game/Movie Bill Passes in Utah House, 70-2
A bill drafted by Miami attorney Jack Thompson and sponsored by Utah Rep. Mike Morley, has today passed the Utah House of Representatives by a vote of 70-2. That’s seven touchdowns against one safety.
The measure, which was helpfully amended before it went to the full House, now goes to the Utah Senate for a vote without any Senate committee hearings.
The bill imposes sanctions against video game retailers and movie retailers and cinema operators who claim to age ID customers but do not uniformly do so. The bill amends Utah’s already existing Truth in Advertising Law, by making it an offense for a retailer to say it always age ID’s when it does it. Thus, the bill avoids all content-based, First Amendment arguments. This is a new and unique approach which should pass constitutional muster in any federal court challenge, unlike other “video game” laws.
Indeed, cinema owners, movie rental/sale retailers, and video game retailers all dropped their opposition to the bill. Key in this were recent United States Federal Trade Commission findings that movie and video game retailers routinely ignore their public promises to age-ID for purchases of Mature-rated games and a Restricted (R-rated) movie tickets and movies.
Presently, BestBuy.com, WalMart.com, Target.com, GameStop.com, and other major on-line retailers make absolutely no attempt whatsoever to verify the age of on-line customers. This reckless practice must now stop in sales to Utahns.
Testifying in the House Committee for the bill was Alan Osmond, the eldest of the Osmond brothers. This was sweet irony, as the Osmonds’ song “Traffic in My Mind” was once sought by the makers of the hyper-violent and pornographic Grand Theft Auto games for use in their games routinely sold to children. The Osmonds appropriately declined.
This vote today is particularly gratifying to Jack Thompson, who has been under constant siege by the video game industry since his appearance on 60 Minutes on March 5, 2005. Thompson is preparing a state lawsuit in that regard, and he has just filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme to challenge his disbarment at the request of the makers of the Grand Theft Auto games.
This legislation will likely become a model for federal legislation on this issue. It threatens the entertainment industry’s long-standing assault upon minors with its adult products. More coverage: http://www.gamepolitics.com/
He who laughs last laughs best, and nobody at Take-Two, the makers of the Grand Theft Auto games, is laughing this evening.
Contact Jack Thompson for more information at 305-666-4366, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:amendmentone@comcast.