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.
so they are fining people that are under 18 if they sell a mature game to someone whose 17 or under? i agree to disagree with this one. I agree with the aspect that there are a lot of 10-14 year old kids who play online like Black Ops and other MA rating games and they are just annoying as hell and really have no business playing those games, but it still wont stop their parents to buy that game for them. Now in that state, if you look like your under 18 and the person Id's you and your 21, but you look young, then your going to be offended. Its a double edge sword, but that is why there is rating on games.
Good. The criminalization of games based on their mature content, but making it legal for a minor to buy a book, or go to a R rated movie creates a double standard (granted some stores/theaters do card). Games aren't forced on anyone, they're a commodity. If a parent doesn't want their kid exposed to violent content in a video game, then it's their responsibility to try and prevent it, not the industry's.
YEA!!!! the government finally got something right!
Don't law makers have something else to do other than mess with our video games?
Once again the Supreme Court sided with corporations, it just so happens that these corporations make products we value. Seems like many supporters of the videogame industry don't see the double standard here, or at least don't want to.
Good. Let the parents parent, instead of the gvmt. My parents never would've let me buy M-rated games when I was a kid. It's called being a parent--don't complain about your kid playing violent games if you're the one who bought him/her a game that has a crime in the title (I'm looking at you, GTA).
I'm glad to see the government is respecting video games as a federally protected medium. As a fan of this medium since I was a minor, I'm glad that it was my own parents, and not that government, that dictated my access to mature content.
Personally I feel that any individual that feels a need to tell other parents what to do should take it up with other parents, NOT the government, on a family to family basis. There is varying maturity in all minors and to have the government step in and say you all minors can't play X is an affront to the parenting capability of Americans.
Don't let the government raise our kids. Parents - do some parenting!
*** *** them fools tryin to push that law it a good thing they didnt pass it fools need to back off an just let fools buy an play watever games they want
Such a stupid thing. These kids would play the games anyway. What's so hard about having your 18+ year old friend/family member buying it for your? It would be like a black market of M rated games....
Well I'm not a lil kid so this really does not affect me. As for my son already watches me play video games weather they are violent are not so what am I gonna tell him that he can't play lol. He will be okay lol
Anyone else feel like this took forever to get decided? I mean, I understand the need to be thorough in deciding cases, particularly such as this, but does the "due process of law" really take this long to settle a case? A million little things could happen in the time it takes to get through cases.
politicans actually do something good... wow im immpressed
Dang it GIO, you beat me to the punch (I was gonna tell about this on my blog, but mine probably would've sucked miserably)!
HA! Video-gamers win yet again!!!
Now I hope parents will start doing some parenting and research what their kids are asking for before they buy it so we wont have to go through this nonsense again
"BOOM! HEADSHOT! Court is adjourned."
Anyways, videogames are a form of art and entertainment. The studies done to confirm that violent videogames present a danger to children are controversial and vague at best. Many times news stations will leave out the fact that the kid who ran rampant because of a certain game, was actually mentally ill prior to the incident.
What I've said during this whole debacle still stands afterwards: You're a parent, so act like one. If your child cannot discern between reality and fantasy, it's time to get them admitted into a psych ward.
Finally a win for the people.
video games are art and as such are protected under the first amendment and that is all there is to it.
The reason why this was brought up still eludes me. Wasn't it proven in a study that violent video games do nothing to encourage violence?
Anyway, SUCK IT GENERATION W!!!