Category Archives: Law

Jack threatens criminal charges and cake against whole Utah Legislature

From the readership figures, a lot of you can’t get enough of lifetime-disbarred Florida attorney, Jack Thompson. So, here’s an update.

Thompson doesn’t like the suggestions (“threats”) that the Utah Senate President and State Attorney General are investigating the possibilities of prosecuting Thompson as a spammer, and in a measured response has threatened to have the entire Utah Legislature added to a criminal complaint that he has filed with the FBI.

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California wants Supreme Court to hear case on failed violent gaming bill

The state of California has now spent rather more than half a million US dollars on its violent video games. The bill would make the renting or sale to minors of video games unlawful, if ‘the state’ determines those games to be ‘violent’. Note that that violent rating seems to be entirely independent of the existing ESRB ratings system.

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RU SB152?

Remember the failed Utah bill created by Florida ex-attorney Jack Thompson? It was designed to make the sale of mature-rated video games to minors (by retailers if they also advertised that they did not do so) a deceptive trade-practice.

As it panned out, the bill was denied by the governor on constitutional grounds. Thompson raised the ire of the Utah legislature, and has been having another go-around with the bill in Louisiana as SB152.

It hasn’t fared so well there, either.

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Valve suing Activision. Obligation shouldn’t be that difficult a concept

Back in 2002, Valve had a bit of a dustup with Sierra over royalties. The original lawsuit went to arbitration, and after reviewing the case the arbitrator decided that Sierra should pay Valve US$2,391,932. It was less than Valve wanted to get, and more than Sierra wanted to pay, but everyone signed off on it anyway.

Fast-forward. Sierra was a part of Vivendi, and as a part of the merger last year, that debt is now a part of Activision-Blizzard.

So, Activision cuts the cheque to Valve, but for only US$1,967,796, basically because they felt that they’d overpaid Valve US$424,136 in previous years. Valve, for their part is filing a suit because Activision is not paying the agreed-on amount.

Now, that’s a classic piece of stupid on Activision’s part. The smart way to go, if they have indeed overpaid Valve previously, is to pay the originally agreed-on amount (US$2,391,932). That immediately closes their obligation with respect to the 2002 decision. Then they can file a lawsuit, or seek arbitration, or get Valve to agree to pay up, or to take a lesser sum of future payments. Whatever. They’re in the clear, and their legal position is solid.

But, no. That would be too easy.

Instead they short-pay, essentially failing to meet their legal obligations, which opens them up to a lawsuit — and potentially to the forfeiture of the US$424K (and perhaps more).

It makes me wonder if Activision’s suddenly so desperate for cash that the US$424K is just out of their reach — or if Big Bird is making the calls here. Actually, no – getting this right just isn’t that complicated. It’s at the Sesame Street level of responsibility and obligation. Big Bird could probably have handled this one just fine and still managed to sing an uplifting song about it.

Thompson loses appeal

Judging by the reader figures, Florida ex-attorney Jack Thompson is a popular topic among readers. Given a lifetime disbarment in September 2008 for 27 counts of professional miscondunct, Thompson appealed to the Supreme Court.

Now, these sorts of disbarment appeals happen from time to time. The appeal is first heard by a panel of judges who decide if the appeal will take place. Less than one in 25 are actually permitted so it represented some pretty long odds.
Well, it seems that Thompson doesn’t get to be one of the special snowflakes this time around. I can only wonder what he’s going to do next. I’m pretty sure he’s not going to just let it slide. I can’t imagine why you’d want to be a part of a professional association that doesn’t want you as a member, though.

Jack spams Utah legislature?

Unhappy with the fate of his the bill he drafted, disbarred Florida attorney Jack Thompson apparently sent enough emails to the Utah senate president Waddoups that he was asked to stop, including an image of GTAIV’s protagonist character getting a lap-dance, essentially calling it pornography.

Interestingly enough, the Utah legislature might agree with him in part, because when he sent that to the whole legislature, Waddoups decided to pass the matter on to the State Attorney General to see what action may be taken.

In a sense, Waddoups might be playing into Jacks hand (argh! Did anyone else just go to a scary visual place just then?) with this one. Is it offensive material, or is it not? Or is it just that it is inappropriately out-of-place?

See also:

Utah Senate President Wants to Prosecute Jack Thompson Under CAN-SPAM Act

http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_12142617

How much do all those unconstitutional video game laws cost, anyway?

Around the USA, umpty states (it must be about a dozen now) have passed gaming bills that seek to impose fines for minors purchasing mature-rated video games and computer games. Every single one of these has been found to be unconstitutional, yet what is functionally the same bill keeps popping up in US state legislatures.

If you’re a US taxpayer, and your state hasn’t yet tried one of these – or is going around again, you may wish to speak with your congressman about this:

  • Each of these bills is expensive to pass. If they’re being really cheap and lazy and just copying a bill that was already struck down on constitutional grounds, that costs around US$50,000 from State taxes. If the bill isn’t passed, you’re looking at maybe half of that just for the attempt.
  • If they’re actually coming up with a modification or a new bill, you’re looking at about US$250,000 from State taxes.
  • When the bill is inevitably overturned for the simple reason that it violates the US Bill of Rights, it’ll cost State taxpayers another US$250,000 or so, if the State decides to appeal.

So, everyone involved in passing the bills knows the bills cannot stand. If they don’t, then you might want to find yourself another representative next time the elections roll around.

But if everyone knows – why spend all this money and fuss on them? Well, votes, really. This is all about public image. The whole thing is supposed to show that they care about your kids. If some of that money was going to potholes or schoolbooks or park maintenance, I might believe it, but no — it’s being burned, pretty much.

Be sure to tell your representative how you expect her to vote when it comes to your taxpayer money on the line here. A half a million or so buys a lot of schoolbooks, and fills a lot of potholes. You might think that the money was rather better spent than on vain posturing about video games.

As for any talk about red states or blue states or political affiliations… I don’t really care. And neither should you, if your representatives aren’t… you know… representing your state and community’s best interests — regardless of which party they are a member of — then they’re not really doing the job now, are they?