Last week, GamePolitics broke a story detailing California Assembly Speaker pro Tem Leland Yee's (D) plans to introduce legislation shielding college newspapers from faculty censorship.
Yee's bill was especially interesting in light of his status as architect of California's video game law, which currently faces a First Amendment challenge from the video game industry. The case should be decided sometime in May.
Over at 1UP, Luke Smith did some follow-up with Yee, asking for clarification on what at first glance might appear to be irreconcilable positions on a pair First Amendment issues.
"The difference," Yee told 1UP, "is that we are looking at children. And that's the major distinction. And what we are limiting with children are these ultra-violent video games. These kind of horrendous acts of violence that we are limited children's access to. That is the major difference."
Nor did Yee express confidence in the video game industry's ability to self-regulate.
"The Federal Trade Commission's undercover study (said) that nearly 70% of kids would be able to purchase an M-rated video game. More recently, the Harvard study says that the ESRB doesn't give accurate information," Yee remarked. "The content descriptor doesn't give accurate information about the material found within these games. The coup de gras was the 'hot coffee' incident where hidden sexual material was found in an M-rating game. It was failure upon failure of the ESRB to regulate itself that I felt I needed to step in..."
IEMA boss Hal Halpin was quick to issue a rejoinder, sending his comments to both 1UP and GamePolitics.
"It is unfortunate that Mr. Yee remains woefully uninformed regarding the FTC's findings with regard to voluntary retail efforts at self-regulation," Halpin said. "He is either quoting an out-dated several year-old study, or has missed the press regarding their latest findings: that the nation's leading retailers, our members, are successfully carding for M-rated games 65% of the time - which puts the games industry on par with his 'Gold Standard,' the movie theatre owners, who card at 69% of the time. While we appreciate Mr. Yee's convictions and his right to a perspective, we would appreciate an effort to, at the very least, represent the statistics correctly to his constituents. Misleading them must surely not be in anyone's best interests."