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California Versus Entertainment Software Association - Supreme Court says FREE SPEECH!!


Brushfire
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http://kotaku.com/5795472/video-games-defeat-california-in-supreme-court-battle-over-violent-video-games

Hooray for the Supreme Court. In a 7 - 2 ruling on the case California v. Entertainment Software Association, they found that a law that would censor violent videogames is unconstitutional because it hinders free speech!

Way to go old people!!

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conservative chief justice john roberts rattled off a description of the game postal and said there's an american tradition to protect children from content like that, while left-leaning stephen breyer wondered why it wasn't "common sense" for the state to require that parents be the ones buying those games, should a kid wind up with one.

thank you.

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And we can all rest assured that this will stop similar laws from being made in the future, right?

Right?

Guys?

Anyone?

A 7-2 Victory in the US Supreme Court?

Yes. That's precedent. That CANT be overturned lower courts will rule the way the Supreme Court did. No state's going to be able to get a law like that through with this kind of precedent.

That's the kind of victory this is. The only thing that could disrupt this kind of ruling would be a US constitutional amendment.

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The majority opinion was written by Justice Scalia, one of the most conservative justices, and he was joined by 4 liberals. Most people in the legal community anticipated the outcome, but no one saw this lineup of justices coming.

By the way, if you care, the gist of the decision is that since this is a content based regulation of speech (only restricting the sale of "violent" games is de facto content-based), California had the almost insurmountable burden of showing that it had a "compelling interest" that it was trying to achieve with the law, and that the law is the least restrictive means ("narrowly tailored") to achieving that objective. When that analysis is applied, the states never win. Scalia noted California failed to show that violent games cause violent behavior. It's the parents' responsibility, not the state, to regulate this access to content.

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See, on one side I see it being the parents responsibility to restrict access to certain video games. On the other hand when are we gonna gonna conclude that a lot of the times parents are too stupid to hav such responsibilities. They may call it common sense but that isn't gonna stop parents from buying their screaming child the next call of dooty.

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^^ Not quite :)

*EDIT* Dammit, BlackPanther, you just had to sneak in there and prevent my little arrows from pointing directly to The Damned's post.

The rule is that the government cannot, as a matter of law, place restrictions on selling violent video games to minors. I still think the industry has a self-regulation element in place through the ESRB or something along those lines. I know when I worked at GameStop, we had to vigorously card anyone who looked under 30 trying to buy an M-rated game despite my state not having a law.

Under this decision, self-regulation is fine (as it should be). State regulation is impermissible. Realistically, this decision is more of a victory for the First Amendment and private citizens' rights than it has anything to do with games. Games just happened to serve as the medium at issue.

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Everyone whines about 12 year olds on their games swearing at them and calling them racial slurs, then when the government tries to criminalize selling games to these same maladjusted kids, you go OH YAY FREE SPEECH? Well screw you hypocrites, next time a tween is calling you the N word on XBL I hope you remember this. :-P

I just take it as playful banter and either laugh to myself or play along and return the gestures.

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BTW, I think you quoted one of the dissents...

The man hit the nose on the head here though. At least, in a roundabout way.

Basically, if you let your kid go off and buy GTA 4 and then get butthurt over how violent and shocking it is, don't go blaming the company for it. Its the responsibility of the parents to decide what is appropriate for their kids to buy and play, and if you don't police it then its your own damn fault.

I very much support this ruling wholeheartedly, and while a part of me is hoping it'll force parents to take a closer look at what their children buy, I very much doubt it.

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Meh, didn't think it would go through. None of the bills that have ever been presented has passed. Any bills after this probably won't pass either.

But I have to say, if it did, I would have loved to see them try and make games under the limitations that would have been imposed, if for the laughs. Especially to hear all the whining from the game making "artists"....

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FYI - The opinion is precedent only so long as SCOTUS wishes it to remain so. They could overturn it tomorrow if they so chose.

Just because the California law was invalidated, doesn't mean that future laws won't be able to restrict access of violent games to minors. While the holding was 7-2, two justices concurred in judgment only (Roberts and Alito), finding that had the law not been unconstitutionally vague, they wouldn't have supported overturning it. A read through the concurrence demonstrates their opposition to violent video games, and had the law been written better, the outcome may have been different.

The California law was very poorly written because the bill's author, Leland Yee, was a child psychologist before becoming a state senator. Thus, he had no background in constitutional law. He basically just took the Court definition of "obscenity" from Miller v. California and adopted it to fit violent video games.

What he also didn't anticipate was that the justice system has long regarded nudity and sex as far more dangerous than violence could ever be. Obscenity was only meant to apply to sex (or material appealing to the "prurient interests"). Apparently, it's okay for a minor to control a character in a video game who tortures and kills a police officer, but it isn't okay for that same minor to watch a video of two consenting adults having sex. Or even see a pair of tits in a magazine.

I'm not making a judgment on the ruling as to whether violent video games are protected speech. I am making a judgment on the hypocrisy of the Court in continuing to uphold laws that restrict material that arguably fosters less destructive and anti-social attitudes than violent video games.

Compare: Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, just decided last year.

The Supreme Court ruled a USA PATRIOT Act provision (that prohibits material support to groups designated as terrorists) is not unconstitutionally vague for prohibiting individuals from providing any literature or materials on methods for peacefully resolving conflict to listed terrorist organizations. Really?

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