1
   

Germany: law proposed to criminalise violent games

 
 
Reply Tue 12 Dec, 2006 01:56 am
Even though we already have some of the toughest laws in Europe that address video game violence, Germany could soon get even tougher and even completely ban some game titles. A group of conservative German politicians have drawn up legislation that apparently could see developers and retailers penalized with prison sentences of up to 12 months.
The bill, which was presented by the states of Bavaria and Lower Saxony will be debated next year in the federal parliament. (Criminal law is federal law in Germany.)

It refers specifically to games that feature "cruel violence". This comes after a school shooting in the last month in the town of Emsdetten, where an 18 year old injured 11 people before shooting himself. The local media emphasized the point that he was an avid player of Counter Strike. A survey taken after the shooting found that 72% of respondents attributed such crimes to video game violence and 59% were in favor of a ban.


Quote:
German gamers face jail for acts of virtual violence

Bobbie Johnson, technology correspondent
Tuesday December 12, 2006
The Guardian

Players and creators of video games could face imprisonment for acts of virtual violence under draft legislation being drawn up by two of Germany's state governments.
Politicians in Bavaria and Lower Saxony have proposed a new offence that will punish "cruel violence on humans or human-looking characters" inside games. Early drafts suggest that infringers should face fines or up to 12 months' jail for promoting or enacting in-game violence.

The scheme comes in response to a shooting last month in the town of Emsdetten on the Dutch border, where Sebastian Bosse, an 18-year-old games fan, stormed into his former school and wounded 37 people before killing himself.

The incident caused outrage and the bill's sponsor, the Bavarian interior minister G√ľnther Beckstein, claimed there was a direct connection between Bosse's actions and his love of the game Counter Strike. "It is absolutely beyond any doubt that such killer games desensitise unstable characters and can have a stimulating effect," he said.


Germany already has drastic censorship laws for games, and industry officials are preparing organised protests against the proposals. Research has yet to show a link between violence in video games and violent acts in the real world.
Source

I think, this is the wrong way and very populistic: we've got a rather good law for the protection of the youth - it only must be used better.
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,093 • Replies: 17
No top replies

 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Dec, 2006 02:02 am
I see the attraction of the law.

I have the ordinary free expression reasons not to be for the law.

Still, I'd like to hear pros and cons.
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Dec, 2006 03:55 am
It's unfortunately always been true that most people don't believe in freedom of speech, assembly, the press, expression, etc., especially outside of America. Let's stop people from playing those nasty games for their own good.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Dec, 2006 06:01 am
Brandon9000 wrote:
It's unfortunately always been true that most people don't believe in freedom of speech, assembly, the press, expression, etc., especially outside of America. Let's stop people from playing those nasty games for their own good.


Pardon?

You might not be aware of it, but we have a Basic Law which includes freedom of the press etc. .

But - especially pressed by the USA - article 5 got sentence two:
Quote:
These rights shall find their limits in the provisions of general laws, in provisions for the protection of young persons, and in the right to personal honor.


Which, I think, is really something excellent since the protection of the children is something worth to have in the constitution.

But it seems, you don't like that, Brandon.
Which, I think, is awfull.
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Dec, 2006 09:27 am
Walter Hinteler wrote:
Brandon9000 wrote:
It's unfortunately always been true that most people don't believe in freedom of speech, assembly, the press, expression, etc., especially outside of America. Let's stop people from playing those nasty games for their own good.


Pardon?

You might not be aware of it, but we have a Basic Law which includes freedom of the press etc. .

But - especially pressed by the USA - article 5 got sentence two:
Quote:
These rights shall find their limits in the provisions of general laws, in provisions for the protection of young persons, and in the right to personal honor.


Which, I think, is really something excellent since the protection of the children is something worth to have in the constitution.

But it seems, you don't like that, Brandon.
Which, I think, is awfull.

You're simply inventing my opinions and then criticizing them. I never said any such thing. If you want to take exception to what I said, how about doing the honorable thing and taking exception to what I actually said? I made no reference whatever to the German consitution.

I said that it has always been true that most people do not support freedom of expression, and that that is especially true outside of the US. The US Constitution says:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Most Americans will claim that they believe in freedom of expression, but if you press them, you discover that what they really mean is, "I should have the right to say what I think because I'm right." That is generally even more true elsewhere.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Dec, 2006 10:43 am
Thanks for clarifying.

I'd thaught. it was a response re video game violence and laws in Germany.
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Dec, 2006 11:19 pm
Walter Hinteler wrote:
Thanks for clarifying.

I'd thaught. it was a response re video game violence and laws in Germany.

An attempt to prohibit violent video games from being sold is an attempt to prevent people from expressing themselves as they wish to, i.e. the people who want to play those games. I'm not surprised it's happening, because, as I said, it has always been true that most people don't respect the individual's right to think, speak, assemble, practice religion, and express himself as he wishes. They want to save a person from his own "bad judgement."
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Dec, 2006 01:08 am
You don't have any laws preventing youth from bying porn etc? Shocked
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Dec, 2006 01:13 am
Walter,

The term "violent games" is surely extendable beyond electronic media.
What about boxing, wrestling or even football ? Indeed to some extent all competitive games are "proxy warfare".
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Dec, 2006 01:46 am
I don't know at all what the conservatives (here: two state governments) want to inlude. (Surely none of what you suggested.)

There isn't even a bill by the administrations to be discussed.
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Dec, 2006 06:17 am
Walter Hinteler wrote:
You don't have any laws preventing youth from bying porn etc? Shocked

We do, but this law would ban everyone from playing these games - indeed would ban them from being manufactured or sold. These laws are clearly attempting to criminalize personal expression that harms no one.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Dec, 2006 02:41 pm
Here's a video game I find troubling - for reasons expressed by some in the article.

http://www.freenewmexican.com/news/53592.html

'Left Behind' mixes God, warfare

David Crary | The Associated Press
December 13, 2006

NEW YORK -- Targeted largely at conservative Christians, it's a violent video game with a difference: Combatants on one side pause for prayer, and their favored interjection is "Praise the Lord."

Critics say Left Behind: Eternal Forces glorifies religious violence against non-Christians. Some liberal groups have been urging a boycott, and on Tuesday, they urged Wal-Mart to withdraw the game from its shelves.

However, Troy Lyndon, chief executive officer of Left Behind Games Inc., defended the game as "inspirational entertainment" and said its critics were exaggerating.

Lyndon's company has a license to develop games based on the popular Left Behind novels, a Bible-based end-of-the-world-saga that has sold more than 63 million copies.

Lyndon, in a telephone interview, said Eternal Forces has been distributed to more than 10,000 retail locations over the past four weeks.

The real-time strategy game has received a T (for teen) rating, as its makers had hoped.

"Our game includes violence, but excludes blood, decapitation, killing of police officers," the company says on its Web site, noting a player can lose points for "unnecessary killing" and regain them through prayer.

The game's story line begins after the rapture, when most Christians are transported to heaven. Earth's remaining population is faced with a choice of joining or combating the Antichrist, as embodied by a force called the Global Community Peacekeepers that seeks to impose one-world government.

The game's critics depict the ensuing struggle, set in New York City, as one fostering religious intolerance.

"Part of the object is to kill or convert the opposing forces," said the Rev. Tim Simpson of Jacksonville, Fla., who heads the Christian Alliance for Progress. "It is antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

Simpson, a Presbyterian Church USA pastor, said he was dismayed by the concept in Eternal Forces of using prayer to restore a player's "spirit points" after killing the enemy.

"The idea that you could pray, and the deleterious effects of one's foul deeds would simply be wiped away, is a horrible thing to be teaching Christian young people here at Christmas time," Simpson said.

Simpson's group was formed last year to counter the influence of the religious right, joined in a news conference Tuesday at which he and other speakers urged Wal-Mart to discontinue sales of Eternal Forces.

Wal-Mart indicated it would continue selling the game.

Focus on the Family, a Colorado-based Christian ministry often critical of violent video games, published a positive review of Eternal Forces on one of its Web sites.

"Eternal Forces is the kind of game that Mom and Dad can actually play with Junior and use to raise some interesting questions along the way," wrote the reviewer, Bob Hoose.

Other online reviewers have been less impressed.

"Don't mock Left Behind: Eternal Forces because it's a Christian game. Mock it because it's a very bad game," wrote GameSpot reviewer Brett Todd.
0 Replies
 
Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Dec, 2006 03:26 pm
very thoughtull topic and posts W sorry cant respond right now
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Dec, 2006 03:58 pm
Brandon9000 wrote:
These laws are clearly attempting to criminalize personal expression that harms no one.


Some think differently. Especially anyone who is close to the murdered victims, murdered by people influenced through such games.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Dec, 2006 04:00 pm
Brandon9000 wrote:
These laws are clearly attempting to criminalize personal expression that harms no one.


That are only discussions about possible laws, btw: even no bills are worked out yet.
0 Replies
 
Madisonian Dilemma
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Dec, 2006 12:07 pm
Brandon9000 wrote:
Walter Hinteler wrote:
Thanks for clarifying.

I'd thaught. it was a response re video game violence and laws in Germany.

An attempt to prohibit violent video games from being sold is an attempt to prevent people from expressing themselves as they wish to, i.e. the people who want to play those games. I'm not surprised it's happening, because, as I said, it has always been true that most people don't respect the individual's right to think, speak, assemble, practice religion, and express himself as he wishes. They want to save a person from his own "bad judgement."


Quote:
They want to save a person from his own "bad judgement


This is plausibly one justification which must at the very least be inferred from the information provided in the OP, although I doubt such an inference is accurate. However, the primary and explicitly stated reason is to protect "others," i.e. other people, the community, etcetera. There is a belief the violent video games are in the possession of people which are "unstable" and when the two mix, unstable person with a violent video game, becomes a recipe for disaster, such as the school shooting. So to protect society, its institutions, and the people belonging to the community, from unstable people whose lack of stability is exacerbated by violent video games thereby constituting a threat to the public, the answer comes in the form of "fines and potential imprisonment" for the makers/players of "cruel violent" video games. (Their argument summarized. Not saying I agree with it).

Since the primary, and quite possibly exclusive motive, for this proposed legislation is to protect the community and other people in the community, then your characterization of this has, " I'm not surprised it's happening, because, as I said, it has always been true that most people don't respect the individual's right to think, speak, assemble, practice religion, and express himself as he wishes. They want to save a person from his own "bad judgement is dubious, at least in regards to these facts as they are presented in the OP.

Quote:
These laws are clearly attempting to criminalize personal expression that harms no one.


Well assuming a commercial transaction can constitute as "expression of speech," I am not so sure it does, it seems to me the law "attempts" to preclude those acts of violence which transpired at the school as a result of exposure to the violent video game. I do not think they are "attempting" to criminalize personal expression but rather are seeking to abate the serious consequences of "personal expression," again assuming a commercial transaction constitutes as "expression."

Of course any expression which causes harm can be rightfully "censored." The U.S. Supreme Court, in the case of Bradenburg vs. Ohio, articulated the "incitement test" to justify state censorship of speech which advocates violence. Once the incitement test is satisfied, then the state's censorship of the message is said to not implicate the First Amendment.

In the case of U.S. vs Schenk, the issuance of anti-war pamphlets by socialists party members to those men at strategic deployment ports during WWI was found to be prohibited by a Congressional statute and that such a prohibition was "permissible" and did not implicate the First Amendment.

So in the U.S., and Germany at least, the principle the state can rightfully censor speech/expression because of the harmful effects/potential harmful effects of the message has long been recognized in the U.S., not sure about Germany but they are operating off of similar rationale and justification. The "attempt" is to preclude some dangerous effect as opposed to infringing upon "speech."

Now the difference is, however, the incitement test in Bradenburg vs. Ohio is a very demanding burden and is not often, if ever, satisfied. I cannot recall ANY cases where the issue of incitement was presented and the state satisfied the burden.
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Dec, 2006 12:37 pm
Madisonian Dilemma wrote:
Brandon9000 wrote:
Walter Hinteler wrote:
Thanks for clarifying.

I'd thaught. it was a response re video game violence and laws in Germany.

An attempt to prohibit violent video games from being sold is an attempt to prevent people from expressing themselves as they wish to, i.e. the people who want to play those games. I'm not surprised it's happening, because, as I said, it has always been true that most people don't respect the individual's right to think, speak, assemble, practice religion, and express himself as he wishes. They want to save a person from his own "bad judgement."


Quote:
They want to save a person from his own "bad judgement


This is plausibly one justification which must at the very least be inferred from the information provided in the OP, although I doubt such an inference is accurate. However, the primary and explicitly stated reason is to protect "others," i.e. other people, the community, etcetera. There is a belief the violent video games are in the possession of people which are "unstable" and when the two mix, unstable person with a violent video game, becomes a recipe for disaster, such as the school shooting. So to protect society, its institutions, and the people belonging to the community, from unstable people whose lack of stability is exacerbated by violent video games thereby constituting a threat to the public, the answer comes in the form of "fines and potential imprisonment" for the makers/players of "cruel violent" video games. (Their argument summarized. Not saying I agree with it).

Since the primary, and quite possibly exclusive motive, for this proposed legislation is to protect the community and other people in the community, then your characterization of this has, " I'm not surprised it's happening, because, as I said, it has always been true that most people don't respect the individual's right to think, speak, assemble, practice religion, and express himself as he wishes. They want to save a person from his own "bad judgement is dubious, at least in regards to these facts as they are presented in the OP.

Quote:
These laws are clearly attempting to criminalize personal expression that harms no one.


Well assuming a commercial transaction can constitute as "expression of speech," I am not so sure it does, it seems to me the law "attempts" to preclude those acts of violence which transpired at the school as a result of exposure to the violent video game. I do not think they are "attempting" to criminalize personal expression but rather are seeking to abate the serious consequences of "personal expression," again assuming a commercial transaction constitutes as "expression."

Of course any expression which causes harm can be rightfully "censored." The U.S. Supreme Court, in the case of Bradenburg vs. Ohio, articulated the "incitement test" to justify state censorship of speech which advocates violence. Once the incitement test is satisfied, then the state's censorship of the message is said to not implicate the First Amendment.

In the case of U.S. vs Schenk, the issuance of anti-war pamphlets by socialists party members to those men at strategic deployment ports during WWI was found to be prohibited by a Congressional statute and that such a prohibition was "permissible" and did not implicate the First Amendment.

So in the U.S., and Germany at least, the principle the state can rightfully censor speech/expression because of the harmful effects/potential harmful effects of the message has long been recognized in the U.S., not sure about Germany but they are operating off of similar rationale and justification. The "attempt" is to preclude some dangerous effect as opposed to infringing upon "speech."

Now the difference is, however, the incitement test in Bradenburg vs. Ohio is a very demanding burden and is not often, if ever, satisfied. I cannot recall ANY cases where the issue of incitement was presented and the state satisfied the burden.

So, then, would you support making it illegal to ban novels with plots which the community deems to be too violent? If it's morally justifiable on the grounds of public safety to prevent people from playing the video games which they wish to play, then it must also be morally justifiable on the same grounds to prevent people from reading the fiction which they wish to read.
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Dec, 2006 12:53 pm
Walter Hinteler wrote:
Brandon9000 wrote:
These laws are clearly attempting to criminalize personal expression that harms no one.


Some think differently. Especially anyone who is close to the murdered victims, murdered by people influenced through such games.

Yes, freedom is messy. You'd better also prevent people with very unpopular opinions from holding public demonstrations on the grounds that the community will have to pay a lot of money to have the police present to prevent violence.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

 
  1. Forums
  2. » Germany: law proposed to criminalise violent games
Copyright © 2022 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 09/27/2022 at 07:42:47