Rockstar in trouble over pron mod

Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman are "incensed" at Rockstar over an unauthorized hack called "Hot Coffee" that allows players to have sex with their girlfriends in the game. The senators seem to have missed the point that this was a player-made modification and not anything released by Rockstar.

Clinton is arguing that that the game should have been released under an AO (adults-only rating) instead of M (mature) because of this hack. Does anyone else find this absurd?

I hope that Clinton and Liberman aren't successful at causing much trouble here, because if Rockstar can be made liable (or even pressured to "crack down" on the modding community), it can only mean bad things for the creative communities building up around game modifications of other kinds. Indeed, I'd go so far as to say that game modding should be protected as freedom of speech.

This could indeed be a landmar...

This could indeed be a landmark case, and I agree with you that it's an issue of free speech. I think Rockstar's stance so far is telling. The fact that they're blaming the presence of the content on modders (implying that the modders put it there, not them) looks like they're just trying to make the modders the scapegoats. I for one believe the modders who say that they simply unlocked something that was there, whether it was meant to be found or not.
It's interesting that in this case and in the "Kill the Haitians" controversy with Vice City, Rockstar scurries to comply with public concerns. In one sense, it demonstrates that Rockstar isn't committed to GTA because of its offensive content (in other words, it's not party to whatever "speech" the game constitutes), but it also becomes the agent of the "chilling effect" that the protection of free speech is supposed to protect from.

I think the part of the politi...

I think the part of the political issue stems from the fact that politicians don't understand technology. Do they actually understand what hacking means and that non-trivial effort is required and not just a push of a button? I wonder largely because of the music file sharing hearings, when I saw senators explain file sharing in the most bizarre ways that had little to do with how file sharing works.
This could be compared to the images embedded in other media. You can't see them unless you search for them, and I don't know of any cases where "The Little Mermaid" was threatened with the loss of its G rating because the cover had a penis image on it. The modding as freedom of speech is definitely a larger issue, but it seems as though freedom of speech is being attacked more vehemently now than it was prior to the terrorist attacks. While I think the Rockstar case is ridiculous, current politics cause me to worry.

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