Mock Trials Split Between Schwarzenegger and EMA

Greg Tito

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Sep 29, 2005
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Mock Trials Split Between Schwarzenegger and EMA



Two law schools tackled the issues in the controversial Schwarzenegger v. EMA case in mock trials, but they each favored a different side.

It's a staple of law schools and debate teams around the world to conduct mock trials, or moot courts, to teach students about the inner-workings of the court room. This week, the results of two moot courts were released that portrayed how the participants believed the Supreme Court would decide on the proposed law in California which would restrict the sale of videogames like porn or guns. The moot court at the Institute of Bill of Rights Law (IBRL) at William & Mary Law School included several notable journalists and appellate judges acting as the Supreme Court, and they upheld the California law as Constitutional with a vote of 6-3.

The IBRL case was heard by USA Today's Joan Biskupic, The Wall Street Journal's Jess Bravin, the New York Times' Adam Liptak, University of California, Irvine School of Law Dean Erwin Chemrinsky, Jeffrey Sutton from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and U.S. Department of Justice Deputy Assistant Attorney General Beth Brinkman.

An attendee said that the only videogame that was mentioned during the proceedings was Postal, implying that all games are similar. Perhaps that's why the court voted that the law was Constitutional if it prevented Postal from getting into the hands of a child.

In contrast, the New York Law School held a moot court that contained evidence about the sexual content of games, as opposed to violence. No decision was given, but a source said that the evidence needed to be fudged in order for the State of California's position to hold any weight at all.

At the New York Law School, third year law students Andrew Blancato and John Hague wrote the bench brief to submit to a moot court competition. The brief describes a fictional game called Adventures in Chebowski Land, which is just as silly as it sounds. Most of the brief is legal jargon that admittedly makes little sense to me, but some of the statements are undeniable:

Respondent should focus on the possibility of a small jurisdiction acting as a censor for the entire Internet. They should argue that anything less than a national standard could potentially suppress an inordinate amount of expression.

If the local standard was permitted, the application of a local Amish community's understanding of obscenity would act as a censor on the whole of the nation in terms of material published on the Internet.

I don't know about you, but my idea of obscene differs greatly from most people I meet, let alone what Amish think. So if I'm ok with my son buying games that an Amish person doesn't want to be sold, then I'm out of luck? How does that work?

And because the New York Law School's case was about sexual content in games, this little quote from the lawyer arguing for the censorship position was amusing. When asked if there was any evidence of females being susceptible to deviant behavior when exposed to games, the lawyer responded:

Your Honor is correct that the study in Exhibit B does not contain effects on women. However, the article in Exhibit B does contain anecdotal evidence from a teenage girl who played the game and subsequently got pregnant because the game awoke something in her.

Which is just pure comedy gold.

Here's hoping that the real Supreme Court takes this issue seriously when it hears arguments on November 2nd. Click here to find out [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/101654-When-Games-are-Sold-Like-Guns-An-Interview-with-the-ECAs-Hal-Halpin] more about the case from Hal Halpin, ECA President.

Source: ECA [http://www.gamepolitics.com/2010/09/27/moot-court-renders-schwarzenegger-v-ema-opinion]

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nolongerhere

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Nov 19, 2008
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Greg Tito said:
Your Honor is correct that the study in Exhibit B does not contain effects on women. However, the article in Exhibit B does contain anecdotal evidence from a teenage girl who played the game and subsequently got pregnant because the game awoke something in her.
That guy had to be out on the piss the night before, and I mean the kind of heavy drinking where you're still half-cut the next day. I can see no other way that anyone could bring themselves to present that as evidence.
 

Banana Phone Man

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May 19, 2009
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Aww man. Why are American mock trials more fun than the one I had over here. I had to do one in a magistrates court about a woman who smashed a window. Not fun at all.
 

Therumancer

Citation Needed
Nov 28, 2007
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The 6-3 ruling doesn't sound good given that they took it most seriously and apparently had some real judges acting the part.

We'll see what happens, but I'm increasingly concerned about this entire thing.
 

RoyalWelsh

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Feb 14, 2010
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theflyingpeanut said:
Greg Tito said:
Your Honor is correct that the study in Exhibit B does not contain effects on women. However, the article in Exhibit B does contain anecdotal evidence from a teenage girl who played the game and subsequently got pregnant because the game awoke something in her.
Bwahahahahahahaha...

Funniest thin i've heard all day, all week even. Surely that's not credible evidence.
 

dalek sec

Leader of the Cult of Skaro
Jul 20, 2008
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Therumancer said:
The 6-3 ruling doesn't sound good given that they took it most seriously and apparently had some real judges acting the part.

We'll see what happens, but I'm increasingly concerned about this entire thing.
Count me in as well, if it does pass we can pretty much kiss any M-rated games ever being made again and the slow chipping away at free speech.
 

SilentHunter7

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Nov 21, 2007
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Puddle Jumper said:
It's clear that said girl was playing Dead Rising. Because Frank West is just that much of a man. #FrankWestFacts
I'm not so sure it wasn't the PAX demo of Duke Nukem Forever. The Duke is the only man I know of that could impregnate women through a TV.
 

Matt_LRR

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Nov 30, 2009
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Greg Tito said:
An attendee said that the only videogame that was mentioned during the proceedings was Postal, implying that all games are similar. Perhaps that's why the court voted that the law was Constitutional if it prevented Postal from getting into the hands of a child.
That sounds like a significant failure of the EMA side's counsel to adequately defend the medium.

-m

incidentally, how much would it suck to have been on the development team of Postal if Postal is the game that ultimately becomes the lynchpin in games having first amendment protections revoked.
 

Electrogecko

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Apr 15, 2010
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I wonder what factual and statistical evidence anyone could POSSIBLY use against video games. All these studies that show causation between violent games and real life violence could be applied to movies, books, music, paintings, and sculptures with the same results. Every little thing in this world affects whether you act out violently/sexually or not- even the type of chair you sit on at your work desk or your favorite food. It'll either make you less likely or more likely- there is nothing that has no effect.
 

Arcanist

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Feb 24, 2010
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Matt_LRR said:
Greg Tito said:
An attendee said that the only videogame that was mentioned during the proceedings was Postal, implying that all games are similar. Perhaps that's why the court voted that the law was Constitutional if it prevented Postal from getting into the hands of a child.
That sounds like a significant failure of the EMA side's counsel to adequately defend the medium.

-m

incidentally, how much would it suck to have been on the development team of Postal if Postal is the game that ultimately becomes the lynchpin in games having first amendment protections revoked.
Damn, I made myself a little sad realizing how much this would make me despised by the gaming community...

Also, 100th post! Woo!
 

dannymc18

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Dec 15, 2009
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Isn't it all just about stopping 18-rated games being sold to under 18s? Blown completely out of proportion, and things like this don't exactly help it. It's not some sort of contentious law, it's common sense.
 

ProfessorLayton

Brotha That Will Smotha Yo Motha
Nov 6, 2008
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Hey, it will be on my birthday. In that case, all I want for my birthday is for video games to survive this.

But of course, when we have real lawyers working on this, let's hope that they can defend video games better than whoever convinced them the law in question made any sense.

dannymc18 said:
Isn't it all just about stopping 18-rated games being sold to under 18s? Blown completely out of proportion, and things like this don't exactly help it. It's not some sort of contentious law, it's common sense.
It's not just that, it's making games with "violent content" illegal to sell to minors. So that would mean Call of Duty 1, a T (13+) rated game to be illegal for anyone under 18 to buy depending on what the government considers violent. This really isn't a matter of the games being illegal, it's just that games like Fallout 3 and Left 4 Dead will just simply stop getting made because they won't make enough money so the market will be filled even more with "games for kids." Even Professor Layton had violence in it. And plus since this is coming from Arnold Schwarzenegger, the guy who's been in more ultra-violent movies than I can count, is the one behind this.

And by the way, I doubt that when you were under 18 (assuming that you aren't right now) you never played an M rated video game or at least watched an R rated movie. Ratings are just parental guidelines.
 

dannymc18

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Dec 15, 2009
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ProfessorLayton said:
This really isn't a matter of the games being illegal, it's just that games like Fallout 3 and Left 4 Dead will just simply stop getting made because they won't make enough money so the market will be filled even more with "games for kids."
It is 100% illegal to sell Fallout 3 or L4D to anyone under 18 here, yet they're still being made, and still making money. If a kid wants it, that's something the parent has to decide on. Which is the way it should be. And is. Except in America, of course.

ProfessorLayton said:
And by the way, I doubt that when you were under 18 (assuming that you aren't right now) you never played an M rated video game or at least watched an R rated movie. Ratings are just parental guidelines.
Of course I did, it was legal to do so. It just wasn't legal to buy them myself.
 

ProfessorLayton

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Nov 6, 2008
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dannymc18 said:
It is 100% illegal to sell Fallout 3 or L4D to anyone under 18 here, yet they're still being made, and still making money. If a kid wants it, that's something the parent has to decide on. Which is the way it should be. And is. Except in America, of course.
But is it illegal to sell T rated games to minors? And in America, right now it's mostly different stores' policies to choose who to sell to. In GameStop a minor has to have direct parental permission to buy an M rated game and in other places people don't care and you can buy whatever you want. But this law would make it illegal for even someone with parental permission to buy a game like Call of Duty 1 or even Ratchet & Clank. As in a criminal offense. I personally don't agree with selling Gears of War to a 9 year old and I think it's just bad parenting to let your child play something like that but it's not up to me to decide something like that and it's certainly not up to the government who know as much about video games as I do the French stock exchange.

And out of curiosity, what country are you from?
 

hudsonzero

what I thought I'd do was,
Aug 4, 2009
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Greg Tito said:
Mock Trials Split Between Schwarzenegger and EMA
Your Honor is correct that the study in Exhibit B does not contain effects on women. However, the article in Exhibit B does contain anecdotal evidence from a teenage girl who played the game and subsequently got pregnant because the game awoke something in her.


Source: ECA [http://www.gamepolitics.com/2010/09/27/moot-court-renders-schwarzenegger-v-ema-opinion]

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to be fair the game shouldn't have came with a cup of sperm
 

dannymc18

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Dec 15, 2009
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ProfessorLayton said:
But is it illegal to sell T rated games to minors?
http://www3.hants.gov.uk/underagesales/underagesales-videosales.htm

The maximum fine for selling or hiring an age-restricted video, DVD or computer game to someone who is under the age specified by the BBFC is £5,000 (and/or six months? jail).

Some computer games have a Pan European Games Information logo (PEGI) which is a voluntary rating. It is advised this rating is always observed and it is best practice to comply with this in the same way the BBFC rated games are controlled.
Age groupings are Universal, Parental Guidance (12), 12, 15, 18, R-18 (Porn).
 

Saucycarpdog

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Sep 30, 2009
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ProfessorLayton said:
It's not just that, it's making games with "violent content" illegal to sell to minors. So that would mean Call of Duty 1, a T (13+) rated game to be illegal for anyone under 18 to buy depending on what the government considers violent. This really isn't a matter of the games being illegal, it's just that games like Fallout 3 and Left 4 Dead will just simply stop getting made because they won't make enough money so the market will be filled even more with "games for kids."
I am against this law and all but, do you really think that that many kids buy games behind their parents back? Many kids just have their parents buy the games for them. So, I think Fallout 3 and Left 4 Dead are going to be fine.