February 25th, 2009

Jack Thompson Is Back!...and he's proud of it.

Published at 4:18 AM PST

It's no secret that we quite enjoy reporting on the now disbarred Jack Thompson. Why? Well frankly, we like a bit of comedy relief every now and then. This news isn't really in relation to Rockstar, however Grand Theft Auto IV is mentioned.

Now, being JT has been disbarred for several months now, you wouldn't think he would be practicing much law, right? No, no, not Jack Thompson, he's different, as we all know. His recent game bill, which he authored with Representative Mike Morley, was passed at an astonishing 10-3 by the Business and Labor Committee of the Utah House of Representatives this week. Now, for the moment this doesn't mean much for Utah, as the bill will now headed off to the full Utah House of Representatives for further consideration.

If it is passed there though, things will be a little interesting. The bill will mean that retailers in Utah, from the large scale shopping malls to local theaters will have to pay a fine of $2000 for every documented sale of mature-rated content to somebody under the legal age. Okay, so that doesn't make much sense, luckily Joystiq was in contact with Thompson on what exactly the bill was all about.

You can read what Jack told Joystiq below:

Could you explain the bill that you and Mike Morley drafted for the state of Utah please?

The concept is this: If you, the retailer, say that you don't sell mature rated games to someone under 17 then you're in effect engaging in communications with the public and assurances to the public which is definitely advertising, then you have to adhere to that policy.

The issue becomes the truthfulness of the corporate representations. We're addressing the fraud of deceptive trade practices issue rather than the nature of the product itself. It's an across the board attempt to hold to their word the retailers of music, movies and video games [in any format].

There's a recommendation on a T-rated game but no one says they're not gonna sell it to an underage youth. That's not a rating, that's an advising.

Are you equating the sale of alcohol with the sale of mature content to underage youths?

I didn't equate it but I said it was analogous. Am I equating playing Grand Theft Auto 4 with drinking a six pack? Some would say it's worse. Some might say it's not.

The point is they say they don't sell this stuff to kids and they do. All they have to do is opt out of the system and say, "We're going to sell whatever we want to anybody and no one's going to tell us we're not." But don't tell us you're going to do something and then do something else.

Now, from my understanding ratings have always been an advising. The decision to watch a film or play a game thats rated mature comes down to what the parent of the child sees as appropriate. Ratings are agurably different for me here in Australia, as long as you purchase a game with a parent or guardian your allowed to purchase a game of any rating. In most cases, the person selling you the game will check that the parent is aware of the rating before making the sale.

My favorite part of the entire discussion would have to be...

Is there anything else you'd like to tell us today?

I think it's great that we're living in a country where a lawyer who's been targeted by the [video game] industry can come back around and get these suckers. As Mark Twain said, "Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated."

It's nice to see that Jack is proud of his come back. What I can't really get my head around is if he is being sarcastic and having a go at America for allowing him continue to practice, or if he's glad America is making the mistake. Either way, there's no doubt that we're all overly excited to see Jack Thompson attempting to run our lives, and decide what we can and can't see again. Now that, I'm completely sure, is definitely sarcasm on my part.

Credit goes entirely to Joystiq.com for the interview and story.