Archive for the ‘Violent Video Games Law’ Category
February 24th, 2015 at 7:10 am
Typically when people think of criminal cases, they think of things like theft or murder or drug dealing. However, each state also criminalizes some relatively inoffensive conduct. For example, Illinois has made it a criminal offense to sell or rent certain violent video games to minors.
What Illinois Considers to be a Violent Video Game
The Illinois legislature took it upon itself to define what constitutes a “violent” video game. It crafted a law that defines a violent video game as any video game that depicts human-on-human violence where a player kills or otherwise causes serious physical harm to another human. This serious physical harm includes things like death, dismemberment, decapitation, mutilation of body parts, amputation, or disfigurement. It also includes rape. What this means is that games where the player’s character is human and the player kills another human character, would be covered. Meanwhile, games where the player kills other characters, but those characters are aliens, would not be covered.
Illinois Prohibits the Sale or Rental of “Violent” Games to People Under Age 18
Section 12A-15 of the Violent Video Games Law restricts the sale or rental of violent video games to people under the age of 18. If you sell or rent one of these covered games to an underage person, you are guilty of a petty offense and a court can impose a $1,000 fine. If you own a business that uses an electronic scanner to sell these games, and your system does not prompt your sales clerks to check ID, then you are guilty of a petty offense and can be fined $1,000. You are also guilty of such an offense and can be fined $1,000 if you allow these games to be sold through a self-scanning checkout device. Retail sales clerks are not fined unless they have complete knowledge that the person they are selling the game to is underage and they do it anyway.
Affirmative Defenses to Prosecution for Selling a Game
The law does allow for certain defenses in these cases. It is a defense if you are a family member of the child for whom the game was purchased. It’s also a defense if the minor showed you an official document that purported he or she was 18 when he or she actually was not. For retailers, if the sales clerk had complete knowledge that the buyer was under 18 and the clerk sold the game anyway, this is a defense for the retailer. Finally, if the allegedly violent video game is rated EC, E10+, E, or T, this provides a defense against prosecution.
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