In the midst of the assault on Fair Use in the US by the MPAA and the RIAA, and the assault on personal freedoms and privacy in the pursuit of security, itis sometimes easy to forget that other countries have their own bits of complete insanity. Fortunately, a ZDNet article reminded us of this fact. According to the publication, the country of Greece has outlawed computer games. All of them. Cell phone, PCs/Macs, consoles, and handheld units like GameBoys. If you get caught, you will have to pay a fine of several thousands of dollars. The law reportedly stems from a zeal to eliminate online gambling, and an admission from Greek police that they canit distinguish between gambling games and chess. From the ZDNet article:
Greek Law Number 3037, enacted at the end of July, explicitly forbids electronic games with "electronic mechanisms and software" from public and private places, and people have already been fined tens of thousands of dollars for playing or owning games.
The law applies equally to visitors from abroad: "If you know these things are banned, you should not bring them in," said a commercial attaché at the Greek Embassy in London, who declined to give her name.
Internet cafes will be allowed to continue to operate, providing no games-playing takes place. If a customer is found to be running any sort of game, including online chess, the cafe owner will be fined and the place closed.
The Greek government introduced the law in an attempt to prevent illegal gambling. According to a report in the Greek newspaper Kathimerini, Greek police will be responsible for catching offenders, who will face fines of 5,000 to 75,000 euros (about US$4,980 to US$74,650) and imprisonment of one to 12 months. "The blanket ban was decided in February after the government admitted it was incapable of distinguishing innocuous video games from illegal gambling machines," the report said.
The article goes on to say that gamers in Greece are rallying to fight the law, and we encourage you to read it. If you know of some of the sites online providing information on this subject, let us know, or drop a note in the comments below.