Curfews for Gamers in LA

Looks like those teenage Everquest players have been getting out of hand – after a report found that 86% of people arrested in cybercafes were juveniles, the city of Los Angeles has cracked down hard with a curfew.

New city ordinance, to come into effect in two months, bans kids under 18 from the city’s 30 or so cybercafes after 10pm on weekdays – and they won’t be allowed in between 8.30am and 1pm either.

Los Angeles is also looking to regulate the growing cybercafe business, and now requires premises with five PCs or more to have a police license, and video cameras for security.

The new legislation is the result of a review instigated after a brawl in a cybercafe last year. Two groups of kids got out of hand after a particularly energetic bout of Counter Strike. Evidently, the post-match recriminations went a bit further than just typing “omfg i pwned u!!!!! i r0x0r!!!111!” to their victims.

Dennis Zine – the councillor responsible for the law

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?