Nine States Support Game Industry Against California

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
45,698
1
0
Nine States Support Game Industry Against California


Nine U.S. states have filed a brief with the Supreme Court in support of the videogame industry's fight against a California law that would prohibit the sale of M-rated games to minors.

It's easy to think sometimes that the relationship between government and the videogame industry is one of "us vs. them," as legislatures at all levels do their worst to stifle the First Amendment rights of a medium they just don't get. But the reality is a little more complicated than that, and while 11 states have come out in support [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/102204-Eleven-States-Join-California-at-the-Supreme-Court] of California's contentious videogame law, nine others have just signed up to oppose it.

Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch filed a brief with the Supreme Court on behalf of Arkansas, Georgia, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Utah, Washington and his own state, pointing out that the Supreme Court itself has warned that previous cases setting specific exceptions to free speech "cannot be taken as establishing a freewheeling authority to declare new categories of speech outside the scope of the First Amendment."

"The road to unconstitutional and unwise over-regulation is paved with good intentions," the brief states. "Though [the California law] fixes nothing, it raises the specter of censorship for any media that finds itself at the center of a politically charged societal debate. This Court has consistently recognized that the Constitution blocks entry to this slippery slope."

The brief cites data indicating that in spite of the hysteria over a presumed "causal connection" between videogames and real-world violence, the reality is entirely different. "In the videogame era, adult and juvenile crime rates have steadily declined nationwide," it says.

On top of everything else, there are also pragmatic problems with allowing the law to stand. "In addition to the unenviable task of determining which games meet the highly subjective standards of violence (without artistic merit) disapproved by the Act and the burden of prosecuting costly criminal suits, state officials will run the risk of civil liability resulting from the classification of certain games as 'patently offensive' and lacking any 'literary, artistic, political or scientific value for minors'," the brief warns.

"Those aggrieved by a negative classification will doubtless run to court and force States to incur significant additional costs by claiming not only constitutional violations but business damages through overweening governmental interference as well," it continues. "The law enforcement cost outstrips the questionable benefit of having the government itself dictate and enforce another minimum age requirement in retail stores." It even suggests that the law could "unintentionally turn a baseless 'Twinkie Defense [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twinkie_Defense]' into an increasingly functional criminal defense."

The willingness of various States to wade into the fray reflects the fact that this case is really about more than just videogames; it's about the sanctity of the First Amendment. The Motion Picture Association of America [http://www.mpaa.org/] stated as much in its own brief to the Court in support of the game industry. "If the Court's reasoning is not confined to the particular medium of video games, state and local governments could attempt to impose similar restrictions on depictions of violence in other media, including motion pictures," it said. "Such restrictions would have an obvious chilling effect, particularly given the inherent amorphousness of restrictions of that type and the potential for a patchwork of nationwide regulation."

Whatever their reasons, I have to admit that it's kind of comforting to have a few old dudes in nicely pressed suits on our side of the aisle. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on California's law banning the sale of videogames to minors on November 2.

Source: GamePolitics [http://legaltimes.typepad.com/blt/2010/09/states-file-brief-opposing-californias-violent-video-game-ban.html]


Permalink
 

RobotNinja

New member
Aug 2, 2009
415
0
0
Yay, Nebraska is my home state. Its good to see them supporting (at least indirectly) the game industry.
 

Jesus Phish

New member
Jan 28, 2010
751
0
0
Can someone tell me why it's wrong of California not to want to see Mature games to minors?

I must be missing something here
 
Jun 26, 2009
7,508
0
0
Yes! Finally they realize that videogames lower crime rates! Half the time I go on them it's to blow off steam, better then me say, getting into a fight with the person that made me angry no?
 

FinalFreak16

New member
Mar 23, 2010
98
0
0
I dont get it. Surely preventing minors from getting their hands on M rated games is a good thing?
 

Jack and Calumon

Digimon are cool.
Dec 29, 2008
4,190
0
0
I can't be bothered for another big rant anymore. Let's just leave it at "Yay" and call it a day. I want to see how things go.

Calumon: Aren't States in America as big as countries? They basically have 9 countries backing them?
 

Woodsey

New member
Aug 9, 2009
14,553
0
0
Jesus Phish said:
Can someone tell me why it's wrong of California not to want to see Mature games to minors?

I must be missing something here
I keep forgetting the reasons everyone gives, but it's almost a technicality.
 

Dogstile

New member
Jan 17, 2009
5,093
0
0
Jesus Phish said:
Can someone tell me why it's wrong of California not to want to see Mature games to minors?

I must be missing something here
Because the way its worded actually censors freedom of expression. At least that's what I think it is.

Either way, the game industry already moderates itself, the government can fuck right off. Its already done effectively.
 

T-Bone24

New member
Dec 29, 2008
2,339
0
0
Jesus Phish said:
Can someone tell me why it's wrong of California not to want to see Mature games to minors?

I must be missing something here
It'll open the floodgates for "games are bad" bashers and they will all point at this and say, "See? We were right!". Games are already regulated by the people who make and care about them.

Take a look at this [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/extra-credits/1961-Free-Speech] and then come back.
 

Nevyrmoore

New member
Aug 13, 2009
783
0
0
I still don't see what's so bad about this, but then again I do come from a country where it's illegal for stores to sell officially rated products to those under age.
 

Smits090

New member
Aug 13, 2009
21
0
0
Coming from Canada, my views might be little bit off from everything, But I do Greatly like the idea that there are some states and people in the head of states who are not so narrow minded on the matter of video games as a medium.

I'm just glad that we; as consumers, players, writers, game industry people, and generally lovers of video games, Are not alone in this fight!

So, now the best we can do right now is really sit and wait on this for a bit. But the outcome does seem not quite so bleak as it did before!
 

Booze Zombie

New member
Dec 8, 2007
7,416
0
0
FinalFreak16 said:
I dont get it. Surely preventing minors from getting their hands on M rated games is a good thing?
It shouldn't be a crime and it shouldn't stifle the industry because some people are complete idiots and buy their 8 year old "Murder-Shoot-Skullfuck 10".
Is it the manufacturer's fault when someone buys a fork and kills someone with it or a fruit grower's fault when someone eats one of their bananas and someone slips and breaks something?

Individuals buy products, if they won't pay attention when looking at a shelf and then again pay attention when spending money on something they looked at on a shelf... it is their fault for buying something they did not understand.

KnowYourOnion said:
That's what I thought but apparently little kids getting their mitts on GTA and Gears of War is a good thing.....................
See above.
 

cobrausn

New member
Dec 10, 2008
413
0
0
Jesus Phish said:
Can someone tell me why it's wrong of California not to want to see Mature games to minors?

I must be missing something here
It's not that. It's that it allows California (and other states, if the supreme court allows it) to classify specific forms of 'speech' as a 'threat to minors', which places them in a new category that is separate from other forms of speech. This new category could then be restricted according to standards deemed necessary to prevent 'the children' from getting access to it.

It starts with videogames, but once the example is made, it could extend to any current 'hot issue' as decided by, you guessed it, the government.
 

KnowYourOnion

New member
Jul 6, 2009
425
0
0
FinalFreak16 said:
I dont get it. Surely preventing minors from getting their hands on M rated games is a good thing?
That's what I thought but apparently little kids getting their mitts on GTA and Gears of War is a good thing.....................
 

thenumberthirteen

Unlucky for some
Dec 19, 2007
4,794
0
0
Seems we may have another American Civil War. What we need is another Abraham Lincoln to fight for freedom; though to be honest I'd settle for Cliffy B in a Stovepipe hat.

Geography may not be my strong point, but how long has Puerto Rico been a State?
 

10BIT

New member
Sep 14, 2008
349
0
0
Andy Chalk said:
Nine States Support Game Industry Against California

Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch filed a brief with the Supreme Court on behalf of
1.Arkansas, 2.Georgia, 3.Nebraska, 4.North Dakota, 5.Oklahoma, 6.Puerto Rico, 7.South Carolina, 8.Utah, 9.Washington and 10.his own state [i.e. Rhode Island],
Anyone else count 10 states? Or is one of these listed not a state?

EDIT: Guy above me answered as I was posting, but I also ask why is Puerto Rico listed? Do they have say in U.S law making?

OT: Good news!