Good Violence -vs.- Bad Violence?

Video Game Law Blog

January 25, 2006

 Another attempt to regulate bad video game content by our neighbours. Utah's Bill HB 257 aims to modify the Criminal Code and stop access to 'inappropriate violence"? by minors. The Bill toes the line of proposed or existing Federal and State legislation, some of which has been declared inoperative or unconstitutional.

The Bill defines 'inappropriate violence"? as

'Any description or representation, in any form, of violence when it

"(a) is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable material for minors;(b) taken as a whole, does not have serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors;(c) is glamorized or gratuitous;(d) is graphic violence used to shock or stimulate;(e) is graphic violence that is not contextually relevant to the material;(f) is so pervasive that it serves as the thread holding the plot of the material together;(g) trivializes the serious nature of realistic violence;(h) does not demonstrate the consequences or effects of realistic violence;(i) uses brutal weapons designed to inflict the maximum amount of pain and damage;(j) endorses or glorifies torture or excessive weaponry; or(k) depicts lead characters who resort to violence freely."

If passed, the Bill would make it illegal for anyone to show, sell or give games, movies, or any other media containing inappropriate violence to minors and punishment would be harsh.

Utah's Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel declares in its Legislative Review Note that 'Based on limited legal review, this legislation [i.e. the Bill] has not been determined to have a high probability of being held unconstitutional"?.

Utah is joined by Iowa, which is considering similar legislation tabled this week.
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