Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
October 31, 2014
arrowPress Releases
October 31, 2014
PR Newswire
View All





If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


Supreme Court Decision: 'Video Games Qualify For First Amendment Protection'
Supreme Court Decision: 'Video Games Qualify For First Amendment Protection'
June 27, 2011 | By Kris Graft




The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the video game industry in a 7-2 vote on Monday morning, striking down a hotly-debated California video game law that sought to place government restrictions on the sale of violent video games to minors.

The long-awaited, landmark ruling sets a precedent for the government's role in the regulation of the video game industry, and helps place the video game industry on equal ground with other forms of media in terms of government regulation.

The Court stated that the California law "violated the First Amendment."

"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," the ruling states [PDF].

The Court also said that "Psychological studies purporting to show a connection between exposure to violent video games and harmful effects on children do not prove that such exposure causes minors to act aggressively. Any demonstrated effects are both small and indistinguishable from effects produced by other media."

"Since California has declined to restrict those other media, e.g., Saturday morning cartoons, its video-game regulation is wildly underinclusive, raising serious doubts about whether the State is pursuing the interest it invokes or is instead disfavoring a particular speaker or viewpoint," according to the ruling.

The Court also said that California failed to show that the law met an "alleged substantial need of parents who wish to restrict their children’s access to violent videos. The video game industry’s voluntary rating system [the Entertainment Software Rating Board] already accomplishes that to a large extent."

"Moreover, as a means of assisting parents the Act is greatly overinclusive, since not all of the children who are prohibited from purchasing violent video games have parents who disapprove of their doing so," read the ruling. "The Act cannot satisfy strict scrutiny."

Gamasutra will have more on the landmark ruling later today. [UPDATE: Highlights from Scalia's lead opinion which rejected the law are now available in a separate article; supporting opinion from Justice Alito is also available, as well as dissenting opinions.]


Related Jobs

Next Games
Next Games — Helsinki, Finland
[10.31.14]

Senior Level Designer
Activision Publishing
Activision Publishing — Santa Monica, California, United States
[10.31.14]

Tools Programmer-Central Team
Vicarious Visions / Activision
Vicarious Visions / Activision — Albany, New York, United States
[10.31.14]

VFX Artist-Vicarious Visions
Magic Leap, Inc.
Magic Leap, Inc. — Wellington, New Zealand
[10.30.14]

Level Designer










Comments


Maurício Gomes
profile image
WOORAY!!!

R G
profile image
*cue Ewok celebration*

Alex Leighton
profile image
Very good.

Joshua Sterns
profile image
Excellent news! Glad to see this country still has some semblance of sanity.

Philip Michael Norris
profile image
Agreed, some semblance. Now I guess it's time to push the envelope?

Joshua Sterns
profile image
Who's envelope are we pushing?

Daniel Kinkaid
profile image
Who were the dissenters? [Though I can guess; probably Thomas and Schalia]

Rob Wright
profile image
Thomas and Breyer. The dissenting argument was that the freedom of speech shouldn't supersede parents' rights to protect their children potential harmful content. Or in other words, game publishers don't have the Constitutional right to sell their wares directly to minors without the consent of parents/guardians.



Scalia, FYI, was actually the author of the majority opinion and probably the biggest critic of the proposed California law.

Ardney Carter
profile image
Is there a link to the dissenting opinion?

Mike Siciliano
profile image
A dissenting opinion always comes after the majority opinion and any concurring opinions (in the same document. A court releases one document that contains all of the differing opinions).



Click on the .pdf file above and skip to page 38 to see the first dissenting opinion.

Ardney Carter
profile image
My bad. Hadn't gone far enough through it yet. Thanks

Megan Fox
profile image
Not just a ruling, but a strong ruling - 7-2, hard to beat that. YAY!

Henry Schmitt
profile image
Great news! Good to see how strong the ruling was too!

wes bogdan
profile image
I wonder if extreme conservatives or simply those unfamiliar with gaming will cease and deist or simply re-double their efforts @ censorship of gaming.



Personally I think a 7-2 ruling is great news and hope the aforementioned groups find better ways to spend their time.

Rob Wright
profile image
Already wrote it but it bears repeating: Breyer and Thomas were the dissenters, and Breyer is one of the more liberal justices on the court. Meanwhile, Scalia -- arguably the most conservative justice in recent history -- wrote the majority opinion and strongly criticized the proposed law.



In any event, I don't think you can safely say that anti-gaming legislation is heavily titled toward one end of the political spectrum. Democrats and Republicans alike are hitting this issue with stunning regularity these days.

Cody Scott
profile image
As an extreme conservative, most likely not, and it was liberals wanting this law passed in CA. Not conservatives, and Schwarzenegger (even though he was a republican) was not a conservative, he was a moderate at best.

Dennis Groenewoud
profile image
This certainly is wonderful news, maybe now games will be less the subject of hate from the press. The game industry ,like the film and music industry did, is growing up and people seem to begin to recognize that.

John McMahon
profile image
YAY! I'm a very happy at this news. I saw the headline on CNN, but I had to read the details here at gamasutra first. 7-2, great victory.



Course this will not stop the accusations, like movies and rock-n-roll it will only stop when the current generation is older and those that accept gaming are the majority. But this gives game developers a lot of power to protect their messages or lack thereof.

Richard Lackinger
profile image
Congrats game industry, YOU ROCK! Perhaps we can stop wasting money on game censorship and start spending it on something worthwhile. I hear the tribble population is getting out of control again.

Jerry Hall
profile image
Nice icon Mr. Lackinger

Richard Lackinger
profile image
Thank you, sir. One of my favorites :)


none
 
Comment: