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Advocacy Groups Express Support For California Game Legislation

Advocacy Groups Express Support For California Game Legislation

July 20, 2010 | By Tom Curtis

July 20, 2010 | By Tom Curtis
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Advocacy organizations Common Sense Media and Eagle Forum have submitted amicus briefs in support of California's Supreme Court battle regarding a struck-down California law that restricts violent game sales to minors.

These organizations follow in the wake of eleven states who offered their own briefs in favor of the law, which has been struck down by lower courts as "an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech."

Common Sense Media, a conservative advocacy organization focused on informing parents about the media their children consume, comments in its supporting document that it believes that minors exposed to video games are more vulnerable than older players.

The organization argues “children can be harmed by their media experiences in ways that go far beyond any impact on adults,” and under the new law, “it is the parent who decides whether or not the child may purchase a game, since the direct sale would be prohibited.”

According to Common Sense Media’s brief [.PDF] , found on Media Coalition, “Children are more likely to be harmed by the effects of exposure to violent video games than adults, and the potential damage to their psychological development differs from any damage caused to adults.”

The organization explains, “Denying the existence of a right of children to obtain violent video games would strengthen parents’ ability to determine what content is appropriate for their children, and would be consistent with the Court’s precedents.”

In a separate amicus brief, Eagle Forum, a self-proclaimed “conservative and pro-family” organization, asserts that “playing a video game is conduct rather than constitutionally protected free speech,” and that violent games may be a danger to minors.

The Eagle Forum’s brief [.PDF] states, “The risk of harmful effects from being exposed to violent video games is far greater than many other risks that receive more attention and regulation, such as exposure to lead, second-hand smoke, and asbestos.”

The respondents in this Supreme Court battle, the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) are expected to submit responses to these briefs on or before September 10 -- with briefs from third parties supporting the EMA/ESA's views on the matter due by September 17.


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