The US Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the video game industry in a legal battle over the sale of violent computer games in California.
In the Brown vs. Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) case, the US Supreme Court voted 7-2 in favor of the EMA, affording video games the same protected status as books, plays and movies.
The case relates back to a 2005 law introduced in California, which imposed stricter rules on the sale of violent video games throughout the state.
(Edited by chirinea (31389), Jun 30, 2011)Re: US Supreme Court Rules in favor of Video Games
chirinea (31389), Jun 30, 2011
Re: US Supreme Court Rules in favor of Video Games
Daniel Saner (2319), Jul 03, 2011
A few excerpts very much worth reading, for those who don't want to go into the whole document:
«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. [...] California’s claim that “interactive” video games present special problems, in that the player participates in the violent action on screen and determines its outcome, is unpersuasive.»
«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.»
Opinion of the Court:
«California correctly acknowledges that video games qualify for First Amendment protection. The Free Speech Clause exists principally to protect discourse on public matters, but we have long recognized that it is difficult to distinguish politics from entertainment, and dangerous to try. “Everyone is familiar with instances of propaganda through fiction. What is one man’s amusement, teaches another’s doctrine.” [...] Like the protected books, plays, and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas—and even social messages—through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot, and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player’s interaction with the virtual world). That suffices to confer First Amendment protection. Under our Constitution, “esthetic and moral judgments about art and literature . . . are for the individual to make, not for the Government to decree, even with the mandate or approval of a majority.”»
«California’s argument would fare better if there were a longstanding tradition in this country of specially restricting children’s access to depictions of violence, but there is none. Certainly the books we give children to read—or read to them when they are younger—contain no shortage of gore. Grimm’s Fairy Tales, for example, are grim indeed. As her just deserts for trying to poison Snow White, the wicked queen is made to dance in red hot slippers “till she fell dead on the floor, a sad example of envy and jealousy.” Cinderella’s evil stepsisters have their eyes pecked out by doves. And Hansel and Gretel (children!) kill their captor by baking her in an oven. High-school reading lists are full of similar fare. Homer’s Odysseus blinds Polyphemus the Cyclops by grinding out his eye with a heated stake. In the Inferno, Dante and Virgil watch corrupt politicians struggle to stay submerged beneath a lake of boiling pitch, lest they be skewered by devils above the surface. And Golding’s Lord of the Flies recounts how a schoolboy called Piggy is savagely murdered by other children while marooned on an island. This is not to say that minors’ consumption of violent entertainment has never encountered resistance. In the 1800’s, dime novels depicting crime and “penny dreadfuls” (named for their price and content) were blamed in some quarters for juvenile delinquency. When motion pictures came along, they became the villains instead. “The days when the police looked upon dime novels as the most dangerous of textbooks in the school for crime are drawing to a close. . . . They say that the moving picture machine . . . tends even more than did the dime novel to turn the thoughts of the easily influenced to paths which some-times lead to prison.” (Moving Pictures as Helps to Crime, N. Y. Times, Feb. 21, 1909) For a time, our Court did permit broad censorship of movies because of their capacity to be “used for evil,” but we eventually reversed course. Radio dramas were next, and then came comic books. But efforts to convince Congress to restrict comic books failed. And, of course, after comic books came television and music lyrics. California claims that video games present special problems because they are “interactive,” in that the player participates in the violent action on screen and determines its outcome. The latter feature is nothing new: Since at least the publication of The Adventures of You: Sugarcane Island in 1969, young readers of choose-your-own-adventure stories have been able to make decisions that determine the plot by following instructions about which page to turn to. As for the argument that video games enable participation in the violent action, that seems to us more a matter of degree than of kind. As Judge Posner has observed, all literature is interactive. “[T]he better it is, the more interactive. Literature when it is successful draws the reader into the story, makes him identify with the characters, invites him to judge them and quarrel with them, to experience their joys and sufferings as the reader’s own.”»
«The State’s evidence is not compelling. California relies primarily on the research of Dr. Craig Anderson and a few other research psychologists whose studies purport to show a connection between exposure to violent video games and harmful effects on children. These studies have been rejected by every court to consider them, and with good reason: They do not prove that violent video games cause minors to act aggressively (which would at least be a beginning). Instead, “[n]early all of the research is based on correlation, not evidence of causation, and most of the studies suffer from significant, admitted flaws in methodology.” Video Software Dealers Assn. 556 F. 3d, at 964. They show at best some correlation between exposure to violent entertainment and minuscule real-world effects, such as children’s feeling more aggressive or making louder noises in the few minutes after playing a violent game than after playing a nonviolent game.»
«JUSTICE ALITO accuses us of pronouncing that playing violent video games “is not different in ‘kind’ ” from reading violent literature. Well of course it is different in kind, but not in a way that causesthe provision and viewing of violent video games, unlike the provision and reading of books, not to be expressive activity and hence not to enjoy First Amendment protection. Reading Dante is unquestionably more cultured and intellectually edifying than playing Mortal Kombat. But these cultural and intellectual differences are not constitutional ones. Crudely violent video games, tawdry TV shows, and cheap novels and magazines are no less forms of speech than The Divine Comedy, and restrictions upon them must survive strict scrutiny. Even if we can see in them “nothing of any possible value to society . . . , they are as much entitled to the protection of free speech as the best of literature.”»
«California’s legislation straddles the fence between (1) addressing a serious social problem and (2) helping con-cerned parents control their children. Both ends are legitimate, but when they affect First Amendment rights they must be pursued by means that are neither seriously underinclusive nor seriously overinclusive. As a means of protecting children from portrayals of violence, the legislation is seriously underinclusive, not only because it excludes portrayals other than video games, but also because it permits a parental or avuncular veto. And as a means of assisting concerned parents it is seriously overinclusive because it abridges the First Amendment rights of young people whose parents (and aunts and uncles) think violent video games are a harmless pastime. And the overbreadth in achieving one goal is not cured by the underbreadth in achieving the other. Legislation such as this, which is neither fish nor fowl, cannot survive strict scrutiny.»
Re: US Supreme Court Rules in favor of Video Games
Scaryfun (11105), Jul 08, 2011
I found this Daily Show report on it very funny about the hypocrisy of judgements - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDT3c1LpvZw&hd=1
And don't movie theaters not allow kids in R-rated movies? Couldn't that Mortal Kombat clip render psychological harm to a kid that isn't ready for such gruesome violence?
Remember that while we may feel an issue is obvious, a case doesn't get to the Court without some major controversy or glaring issue. That ultimately means there is evidence to support the decisions of the Justices, regardless of the side of the issue they support.
That's not to say Daily Show didn't do a great job.
There deffo needs to be some new AO games on the 360 Kinect an ps3 Move, BRING ON MANHUNT 3 N ANOTHER SAW GAME!