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Pressure mounts for a decision from Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger is still debating whether or not to sign the controversial violent videogames bill into law. Now there's renewed pressure for him to veto the bill.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is still debating whether or not to sign the controversial violent videogames bill into law. Now there's renewed pressure for him to veto the bill.

In a second letter to governor Schwarzenegger - who has provided voice talent and physical likeness for a number of videogames himself - the VSDA urged him to veto the bill, referring once again to the vagueness and subjectivity of the definition of a violent videogame. More specifically, what, according to the bill, constitutes content which is to be considered 'offensive' and therefore may lead to prosecution and hefty fines for retailers.

An except from the letter, sent on behalf of the 1,200 retail outlets in the California state, reaffirms the general consensus among industry bodies, in that the proposed test to decide whether or not a particular game is offensive or not is based on inappropriate and highly subjective principles. The VSDA writes:

"The three-part test for offensiveness is derived from the legal test for obscenity. It calls for determinations of what a reasonable person would think and what the prevailing standards of the community are regarding depictions of violence. In obscenity law, these are questions of fact that must be decided by the trier of fact, i.e. a jury. The prevailing standards of the community are ever-changing, and what is acceptable today may be unacceptable tomorrow, and vice versa. Likewise, the determination of whether a killing is heinous, cruel, or depraved for federal death penalty purposes is a question of fact for the jury. Because these terms must be interpreted by juries on a case-by-case basis, no-one could ever know with certainty whether a particular game would be found to be a violent video game."

The VSDA joins the ESA and the IMEA in protestation of the proposed law, with similar arguments put to the governor in the past few weeks. Schwarzenegger has also received some political pressure to sign the bill into law; the latest coming from Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. The California governor has until October 9th to make his decision, with every day that passes seemingly bringing renewed pressure from both sides.

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