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Law and Order

Joe BaccaDemocratic Congressman Joe Baca -- that's his smiling mug to the right -- would like to introduce a health warning label to video games. He introduced the "Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2011," that would mandates that "all video games with an Electronics Software Ratings Board rating of Teen or higher" must be sold with a health warning label that reads: "WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior."

If you're a Republican who's firing up your comment finger to post something like: "See? Demo-RATS want to take ur gamez!!", don't bother. The bill is being co-signed by Rep. Frank Wolf, a Republican, who says...

"Just as we warn smokers of the health consequences of tobacco, we should warn parents – and children -- about the growing scientific evidence demonstrating a relationship between violent video games and violent behavior," Wolf said. "As a parent and grandparent, I think it is important people know everything they can about the extremely violent nature of some of these games."

...proving that dumb-osity is on all sides of the political spectrum.

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Fallout 3


The battle between Bethesda and Interplay continues as Bethesda filed a motion to dismiss Interplay's counterclaim. Bethesda stands by their initial claim that the contract for the Fallout MMO did not include any of the assets from previous Fallout titles. This is a response to Interplay's request to the courts for the chance to "present evidence to show the parties' intent with regard to the meaning of term "Fallout-branded MMOG," as the term was not clarified in the contract. Bethesda went on to say the contract was "clear and unambiguous" and they had "no contractual or other duty" to permit the use of any Fallout properties to Interplay. The motion to dismiss was denied.

Interplay has until February 7th to deliver the documents the court want which include.

  • The monthly sales of pre-existing Fallout games worldwide, including Fallout Trilogy, in dollars and units in order to establish any damages from Bethesda’s trademark infringement claim
  • A response to “contention interrogatory” that seeks to glean the factual basis for Interplay’s claim that it complied with the Trademark License Agreement’s (“TLA”) financing provision
  • Facts concerning any financing it secured after April 4, 2009 and any development efforts after the same date
  • Documents documenting the company's relationship with Interactive Game Group and Masthead Studios
  • The long-form agreement with Masthead Studios
  • Documents concerning packaging for the Fallout games
  • Documents concerning distribution for the Fallout games
  • Documents relating to Interplay’s affirmative defenses of estoppel, waiver, ratification, acquiescence, consent, laches, and unclean hands
  • Documents relating to Interplay’s counterclaim
  • Documents relating to Glutton Creeper, an Interplay licensee


Confused? Me too. Keep reading to get up to speed on the case.

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California Senator And Two Psychiatric Groups Petition The Supreme Court Over Violent Video Game Law

Respected Conservative columnist Phyllis Schlafly has some action items that she like to see the new crop of Republican senators focus on in 2011. While many of the New Year's resolutions in her recent column focus on actual policy ("Voting shall be on Election Day with photo ID required," "Out-of-pocket medical expenses shall be tax deductible," "We must build an army of atomic super-robots to enslave mankind") there is one item that sticks out:

"There shall be no sale, rental or arcade-playing of extremely violent video games by children without parental consent. Explanation: Video games are increasingly graphic and harmful."

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Morning Hangover #74 -- Patrick Asks For Your Best/Worst GameStop Experience, Andrew

Pro Tip: If you live in San Antonio, do not take a job at the GameStop. The chain has been robbed three times in the last week. The latest heist happened on Tuesday night when a couple of marauders busted through the doors, brandishing guns, and corralled the no-doubt terrified employees into a bathroom where they tied up them up with Duck Tape. The thieves vanished with a cash register, and it took the employees over 45 minutes to free themselves from their bonds.

On Tuesday, a different store was boosted when a persons unknown pried open the doors of the place in the early morning and absconded with a bunch of games. 

The third incident this week: On Monday afternoon, police say a criminal walked into a third Game Stop location and said he was  he was armed with a gun and knife. He left after employees handed over some games.

The police say these incidents are probably not related, but it begs the question: Is Game Stop a particularly attractive place to rob, and if so, why? I guess a staff full of gamed-out young people isn't too imposing to criminals...

Source: Ken5 News

Over 1 Million More People Playing Call of Duty: Black Ops On 360 Than PS3

The Activision/ex-Infinity Ward lawsuit is heating up again. Activision has filed an amended cross-complaint in the legal case between Call of Duty publisher Activision and Call of Duty creators (and Infinity Ward co-founders) Jason West and Vince Zampella. In the complaint filed today in Los Angeles by Activision's representative, the company amended their initial counter-claim to add Electronic Arts, asserting that EA "conspired" with West and Zampella to "derail Activision's Call of Duty franchise, disrupt its Infinity Ward development studio, and inflict serious harm on the company." The suit alleges a systematic "pattern of deception" by EA to "hijack Activision's assets for personal greed and corporate gain."

Activision is seeking at least $400 million in damages from EA, West, Zampella and other parties, as well as a declaration that West and Zampella are prohibited from soliciting Activision employees, and an injunction against EA using any Activision confidential information.

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Xbox 360

The opening statements for the first Xbox 360 modding jury trial have been delayed. The overseeing judge stopped proceedings to spew a tirade of anger and confusion stating he had “serious concerns about the government’s case.” The defendant, Matthew Crippen, is accused of hacking and modding Xbox 360s.

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California Files Reply Brief In Violent Video Game Supreme Court Case

This morning in Washington D.C., the U.S. Supreme Court heard opening oral arguments in the case of Schwarzenegger vs. The Entertainment Merchants Association and Entertainment Software Association, a case that could decide the legal status of video games.

The issue at hand is whether a California law that punishes retailers for selling violent games to children is constitutional. The Supreme Court's ruling could ultimately determine whether video games are considered "speech," and afforded the same protection under the First Amendment that movies, books, music and other art forms.

California Attorney General Zackery Morazzini opened the Supreme Court proceedings, and was quickly interrupted by Justice Anthony Scalia who questioned how the State distinguishes violence in video games from the violence found in other mediums.

“Some of the Grimm’s fairy tales are quite grim," Scalia said. "Are they okay? Are you going to ban them, too?” To which Morazzini responded, "Not at all.”

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X-Play Supreme Court Coverage - Extended Ted Price Interview »


 

As you probably know, The United States Supreme Court is hearing a case this week with huge implications for the video game industry -- at issue: Whether states are legally allowed to set limits on the sale of video games to minors. Adam Sessler recently sat down with Insomniac founder Ted Price and got in depth about the issues at hand. Price, Insomniac Games founder and the Chairman of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, recently filed a declaration with the Supreme Court in support of the Entertainment Software Association.
 
Click the "Read More" tag below for an even more in-depth discussion with Price.

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If you've been following G4's coverage of the Supreme Court case you know how serious the upcoming decision is. If you haven't been following along, shame on you! Adam Sessler went on CNN today to talk about what tomorrow's decision means to gamers like you.

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California Files Reply Brief In Violent Video Game Supreme Court Case

Next week, the Supreme Court of the United States will begin hearing oral arguments in the case of Schwarzenegger vs. Entertainment Merchant Association/Entertainment Software Association, the case that will decide whether the government has the right to regulate video game sales to minors. If you’ve been following the case at all, especially over the past year or so, then you know that this case marks a significant moment in the history of video games, and as such, G4 will be bringing you all of the latest developments from the nation's capital as they happen starting on November 2.

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Video Game Voters

Political action is awesome and all, but it usually requires standing up, or marching or something -- you know, effort. And I'm just not about that. Video game activists at the Video Game Voters Network understand my needs though, and have declared today a day of action. But it's action that doesn't require me to leave my keyboard! Perfect!

Here's the deal: To spread the word about what's going on with the battle between The State of California (hereafter referred to as "The Man") and the gaming industry, Video Game Voters is urging you to man your preferred social network and post about what's going on. Here's how:

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California Files Reply Brief In Violent Video Game Supreme Court Case

The state of California on Friday filed its reply brief to the United States Supreme Court in the case of Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association/Entertainment Software Association, aka the case that will determine whether a California law prohibiting the sale of “violent” video games to minors is indeed unconstitutional.

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Video Games On Trial: Part One -- Assembly Bill No. 1179

This week, we’ve examined both sides of the upcoming Supreme Court case of Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchant Association and Entertainment Software Association, the case that will decide whether California’s law prohibiting the sale of “violent” video games is in fact, as deemed by lower court rulings, unconstitutional. The restrictions proposed in Assembly Bill No. 1179 appear straightforward, but as we’ve seen this week, those restrictions raise many serious First Amendment issues, not only for minors in terms of their rights, but most significantly for the video game industry as well.

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California Files Reply Brief In Violent Video Game Supreme Court Case

In part three of our on-going series examining the upcoming Supreme Court case Schwarzenegger v. Electronic Merchant Association/Entertainment Software Association, we will be looking at the arguments presented on behalf of the video games industry by the EMA and ESA (aka Respondents). If you need a refresher, be sure to check out Part One and Part Two to find out more about the bill that sparked this whole debate and California’s arguments in the case.

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California Files Reply Brief In Violent Video Game Supreme Court Case

In part one of our four-part feature on the upcoming Supreme Court of the United States case of Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Associations/Entertainment Software Association we walked you through the contents of Assembly Bill No. 1179, the bill responsible for sparking the upcoming Supreme Court case in the first place. For part two, we’ll look at California’s arguments in defense of the bill and how those arguments attempt to address the Ninth Circuit court of appeals decision, which upheld the decision that found the Act to be unconstitutional.

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