Jordan: I'd like to bring the discussion to Strickland vs. Sony
Philip: last I recall, they hadn't won a single one.
Justin: the recent one in Alabama had that defense ruled out.
Jordan: For those that are unaware
Stephanie: Everyone that uses games as an excuse had a preexisting need to do their crime.
Jordan: This is the case going on in Alabama
Jordan: and as was just mentioned, the defense WAS tossed out in the criminal trial
Jordan: Now in the civil suit, everyone's favorite lawyer is attempting to push the argument that GTA trained Devin Moore to kill two cops and a dispatcher.
Justin: I'll hold my tongue for the moment.
Jordan: So I suppose..... have at him.
Philip: Why bother?
Philip: Why get distracted when the main point hasn't changed:
Philip: No one has ever won a case on these grounds.
Jordan: But the case was not tossed out on the first day.
Philip: Of course not.
Jordan: So this one is being legislated.
Jordan: The movement to dismiss on lack of merit has not been granted.
Philip: You never toss out a million dollar suit off hand on the first day.
Stephanie: You have to at least humor the subject.
Theo: The research does not exist yet. Maybe in 5 years we will know, one way or another, if video games do or do not cause violence, but it's impossible to say now.
Jordan: That actually has nothing to do with it.
Ryan: Vigi: The research DOES exist
Philip: Schubaal: But no one cares about it.
Jordan: Judge Moore has asked for a statement from both sides before he will rule on that movement.
Ryan: Crime from minors is at all-time lows
Philip: and it points a billion different ways.
Philip: Ah yes
Philip: the edge article.
Matt: What does it suggest? Yes, nothing at all conclusive
Jordan: Crime as a whole is
Philip: Crime specific to minors.
Jordan: But of the crimes that they are committing, violent crime has increased.
Philip: Not sure of that.
Philip: checks notes
Jordan: The percentage of violent crimes compared to all crimes is rising.
Jordan: This is fact.
Jordan: Crime as a whole is going down.
Jordan: I've seen that chart.
Janelle: But since the games are transforming so rapidly, there can't be any plausible long-term studies on the link between violence and games. Where were we five years ago?
Theo: I don't think it matters. Crime rate could be linked to a million and one other variables.
Jordan: My point is that violent crime in regards to all other crimes made by minors is increasing.
Matt: One study here, one study there... it doesn't really matter. Using violent games to excuse violent actions is ridiculous
Matt: Ultimately, if you do the crime, you're a criminal... and you should be punished for it. It doesn't matter where you got the idea from... video games, movies, TV
Philip: J: If the overall violent crime rate is still down, what does it matter that its percentage makeup isn't?
Jordan: The trend is negative, but the percentage of crimes that are committed being violent is on the increase.
Philip: Violent crime isn't dropping as quick as petty pickpockets~
Janelle: J: Percentages don't change the fact that there's 10 less violent crimes.
Theo: I think we can assume that there will always be a certain number of violent crimes, within reason. People tend to get drunk and beat someone up more than they get smashed and extort someone.
Stephanie: The percentages are going to increase because the total is lower.
Theo: Just because it isn't decreasing AS FAST as non-violent does not mean it is on the rise.
Ryan: Wonderslime: The argument is if developers are to blame for the crime.
Jordan: What that data seems to indicate is that if a minor is going to commit a crime, they are more likely to commit violent crime over non-violent.
Philip: We're all doomed, violent crime rate didn't drop as much as vandalism rate in committing a crime and GETTING CAUGHT
Philip: oh wait, that's part of it isn't it? =)
Janelle: "Hey, kid...dyou wanna buy thish...thish inveshtment plahn?"
Matt: Schubaal: Right, and I'm saying that developers aren't to blame: Criminals themselves are
Philip: A violent crime committed is significantly greater in likelihood of being connected with a criminal than say
Philip: graffiti or petty theft or etc.
Philip: Especially if someone is killed.
Ryan: Wonderslime: That's no so clear-cut. The up-front answer to that is that, no, developers are NOT to blame, and that is what is being questioned. Are they, in fact, blameless?
Justin: I agree with Slime there, Schubaal. You can't blame an artist (broad definition here) if one of their works inspires someone to do something stupid.
Jordan: Well, that is what is being tried right now
Philip: Therefore it is unsurprising that violent crime rates wouldn't drop as fast as other crime rates.
Janelle: Ahh, Crime and Punishment.
Ryan: But we are, in life, persuaded by subliminal messages at all times.
Jordan: Strickland vs. Sony is that very case.
Theo: Although, video games are somewhat different. By rehearsing violent algorithms to solve problems over and over again, it is logical that some children might emulate such behavior.
Philip: And it'll either get defeated or not
Janelle: Schubaal: Theme and subliminal messages are completely different things.
Philip: either way it'll go up another court level
Philip: or two
Philip: or three
Jordan: So if I can steer the topic back to that case....
Matt: All criminals are influenced by something... be it TV, movies, video games, or friends... going through with the action, though, is something that the perpetrator is directly responsible for (or should be)
Theo: "Rockstar made me do it" doesn't not cut it. The judge wouldn't even let the jury hear that evidence.
Jordan: That was the criminal case
Jordan: this is the civil case, and the rules for admissibility are different.
Theo: Ah. Yes.
Jordan: They are looking at OJ Simpson case
Jordan: He was found not-guilty in criminal court
Jordan: but guilty in civil
Theo: If the glove does not fit, you must acquit.
Jordan: The point is, if Sony/Rockstar/Take Two/Walmart/Gamestop are found to be liable
Jordan: it sets a large precedent.
Janelle: That's one precedent I'd rather not see.
Jordan: Regardless, it's a big case for gamers.
Matt: Well, what about the consequences of such a ruling? Why don't we chat about that?
Janelle: Dare we imagine?
Theo: It's not about guilt...it becomes about levels of liability. They could rule (at least in Canada) that Moore is 50% and the plaintiffs are 50% responsible.
Theo: That would complicate things.
Matt: Any "percentage" of liability is bound to have some sort of impact
Theo: Certainly. The results would be catastrophic, except for gamers with good lawyers.
Janelle: I foresee a whole new avenue of pointless lawsuits opening up.
Stephanie: So, what *would* happen if a ruling would go in favor of everyone's favorite lawyer?
Matt: Well, I assume that developers would lose lots of money
Ryan: It would lead to nothing more than a further basis for higher rulings
Janelle: Precedents can snowball, though.
Stephanie: But they can also open up new arguments.
Matt: And if a snowball occurs, developers could lose even more than that
Philip: Tiptail: It can also be overruled by the very next judge to hear a case.
Janelle: Whether or not we know how civil law cases affect cases elsewhere, one successful case provides basis for another.
Philip: as, with technology, is almost universally the case.
Jordan: Well if game makers are found to be liable
Ryan: Draco: Judges are more hard-pressed to overturn a previous ruling than to set a precedent
Jordan: it opens up the doors for other people to use the 'games made me do it' defense
Stephanie: I agree with J.
Theo: Unless they have a team of psychologists who swear on their mother's graves that the games made them do it, I don't think the ruling will go in JT's favor, anyway.
Janelle: If more cases are opened up by the success of the first, the probability that the cases will be heard may increase, and those successes could exponentially increase.
Matt: If such a string of games-made-me-do-it civil suits were to hurt the industry profoundly enough, I think it is imaginable that some developers could change the things they publish
Matt: ...to avoid further damage
Philip: Again this leads back to the foreign developer deal.
Philip: Those folks really aren't going to get touched easily.
Ryan: Well, developers could sidestep the problem and make an interactive DVD rather than a game :P
Janelle: But how about the localizers/publishers for the NA market?
Theo: Well, a foreign developer can make whatever they want, but they can't publish it where the rules forbid.
Janelle: Still, I don't imagine that the publishers of foreign games localized here are going to be obsolete that quickly.
Stephanie: It would take several years to do that.
Theo: The rules do not forbid it here...yet. If, for whatever reason, the rules were changed, then it would be perfectly within reason to litigate foreign developers for content published locally.
Matt: Yeah, I think that's key: The way things are NOW might not always be
Janelle: But if the foreign games are going to be censored through whatever method, some companies will certainly go belly-up, and we might lack our Japanese based RPGs.
Theo: As someone mentioned off the start, one media softens the blow for the next. This whole thing could become a moot point if the technology changes drastically.
Philip: These kinds of defenses were thrown out there. The difference would be that they'd become the only offense in a free speech debate.
Theo: But if legislation sneaks in now, defining just what can and cannot be published, it will shape that future development to no end.
Philip: It's inevitably a problem.
Matt: Tiptail's right... companies aren't going to want to pump the extra money into "cleaning up" every single game that makes it over the Pacific, so they're just not going to bother
Janelle: I don't think so, but I'll ask it anyways: Would censorship laws on such things affect import laws for foreign games?
Philip: Worst case is that the 'LOCAL' game industry gets smashed by overaggressive legislation
Philip: external countries go on making games
Janelle: Importing is kind of an awkward, non mainstream sort of issue, but you never know.
Philip: folks import them
Philip: and you know?
Philip: 30 years down the line said legislation vanishes
Philip: Just like it tends to.
Philip: When the folks playing such when it was made are now the fifty year old fogies sitting and dictating the laws.
Janelle: But, but I'll be OLD then...
Philip: Or the companies that do survive get tired of it.
Philip: Yeah, I know, thus the point that censorship in this regard is bad and robs our culture of a number of things.
Philip: That said, that's the worst case scenario
Philip: That they smash the American game industry
Philip: It wouldn't be a fight they'd win easily.
Stephanie: Tiptail: We'll all be old then.
Janelle: And of course, Canada would follow suit. Which would be entertaining since our government just made a deal with UbiSoft in Montreal, I believe.
Philip: And really, in the end, all it would do is cede superiority in another realm to foreign countries =)
Philip: Canada might.
Philip: It might not.
Janelle: But then you'd get people buying over the border and the US would crack down.
Philip: It's more likely that they'll just shake their heads at any such foolishness and continue making money and taxing it.
Janelle: If we didn't.
Philip: Oh, that'd be hilarious.
Theo: I'd hate to have a cavity search for DVD-Roms.
Justin: I don't see video games being smuggled into the country like drugs.
Philip: It'd be the stuff to make me wish it happen just to fall over laughing.
Stephanie: It'd be like the people buying pharmaceuticals in Canada all over again. ^_~
Justin: THey'd have to crack down on Japanese Cartels to stop the influx of electronics!
Theo: It's a long way off. And considering most Canadian retailers are American firms, I think we'd encounter similar problems.
Ryan: They'd be downloaded illegally before anyone would bother smuggling them through customs.
Philip: I thought we were busy making me laugh by pointing out absurd possibilities of the worst case scenario of legislation of censorship.
Stephanie: Maybe we were.
Ryan: It's conspiracy, I say.
Theo: Is that a wrap?
Jordan: It looks like it
Janelle: Do we get our last words?
Jordan: Any parting comments?
Stephanie: Did we manage to finish that without mentioning JT?
Jordan: pretty much
Justin: Yeah, I don't think anyone outright said his name.
Stephanie: As anything but "our favorite lawyer"?
Janelle: I'm astonished.
Justin: Of course "our favorite lawyer" was mentioned
Stephanie: We all voted to stay off of it.
Stephanie: I didn't think it was possible though.
Jordan: This Roundtable discussion is now closed