The lights are on
The Supreme Court has finally ruled on the constitutionality of the California law (Brown v. EMA) that would have banned the sale of violent video games to minors.
The court struck down the law 7-2 using the First Amendment as the reasoning. Justice Scalia wrote the majority opinion, with Justices Thomas and Breyer in dissent.
"The act does not comport with the First Amendment," opens the opinion's syllabus. "Video games qualify for First Amendment protection. Like protected books, plays, and movies, they communicate ideas through familiar literary devices and features distinctive to the medium. And 'the basic principles of freedom of speech . . . do not vary' with a new and different communication medium."
In 2005, the state of California passed a law that banned the sale of violent video games to anyone under 18, and required a warning sticker on the package beyond the normal ESRB rating. The law stipulated a maximum fine of $1,000 for each infraction. Then governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law. The case previously bore his name because he represented the state of California, which is why current governor Jerry Brown's name is now on the case.
Proponents of the law claim that violent video games can be harmful to minors and should be specially treated as such, while opponents rally under the First Amendment banner and that the ESRB's ratings are sufficient.
What's next? Nothing for this particular law says Tom Goldstein, publisher of the court analysis SCOTUS blog. "For those waiting on the video games case, if your side loses, you cannot just hit restart, respawn, and try again."
Still, that doesn't mean that other states could try and pass similar, but differently worded laws to try and re-state their case. However, by the Supreme Court ruling on it, it wouldn't seem to give future laws a lot of wiggle room.
We'll have more info and analysis as we get it, so stay tuned!
To read the full opinions, head over to the Supreme Court's webpage (check on the right-hand site).
Email the author Matthew Kato, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
Freedom of Speech FTW!
Got the e-mail from ESA this morning with the subject "Victory!" :) Was pretty cool to read
Woah wait the supreme court just made a good decision?
I've been waiting for this article for a while and so glad to hear finally hear the outcome in favor of common sense. Thanks for the link for the full opinions also.
Dose this mean that i can't cuss out lil kids on call of duty anymore...? Idk if that's a good or bad thing... =/
I just hope they didnt put that law into action.
+1 to the USSC.
Huzzah! At last electronic gaming has gained the protection it deserves as a form of free speech under the first amendment!
awesome, im glad things turned out good
Yes! so excited!
I don't see how proponents of that law ever thought they could win in the first place. Like it was said, video games deserve the same protections that the First Amendment allows to literature, press, speech and film. I don't see why some people seem to think that video games aren't deserving of those same protections.
go supreme court
Best news this week.
im so proud they didnt regulate gaming..if its a minor they can I.D them but its not to say a parent wont buy it for thier kid anyways...its the parents choice what thier kids play..NOT the government....i play all kinds of games while my kids watch and i havent seen any problems cuz of it! im glad thats one less thing the government can control over us...freedom to the gamers!! :)
I'm not about to read this whole article on stupidy. I find it stupid how California doesn't want kids to have mature games in their possession; that's for the parents to decide and not the state. California makes stupidity a reality.
wait so wats the law now?