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High court strikes down California video game ban

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Bob, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. Bob

    Bob Well-Known Member

    WASHINGTON, Updated at 7:43 a.m. PT — The U.S. Supreme Court struck down on Monday a California law banning sales or rentals of violent video games to minors as a violation of free-speech rights, its first ruling in a video game case.

    By a 7-2 vote, the justices upheld a ruling by a U.S. appeals court that declared the law, which also imposes strict video-game labeling requirements, unconstitutional.

    The law was challenged by video game publishers, distributors and sellers, including the Entertainment Software Association. Its members include Disney Interactive Studios, Electronic Arts, Microsoft Corp and Sony Computer Entertainment America.

    The law, adopted in 2005, has never taken effect because of the legal challenge. It defines a violent video game as one that depicts "killing, maiming, dismembering or sexually assaulting an image of a human being." Retailers who sell or rent a violent video game to a minor could be fined as much as $1,000.

    The nation's video game industry has about $10.5 billion in annual sales. More than two-thirds of U.S. households include at least one person who plays video games.

    Six other states have adopted similar laws, and all were struck down in court.

    The Supreme Court rejected California's argument that the Constitution's free-speech guarantees under the First Amendment do not prevent a state from prohibiting the sale of violent video games to minors under 18.

    "Our cases hold that minors are entitled to a significant degree of First Amendment protection. Government has no free-floating power to restrict the ideas to which they may be exposed," Justice Antonin Scalia said in summarizing the court's majority opinion from the bench.

    (Reporting by James Vicini; Editing by Will Dunham and Vicki Allen)

  2. tonjohn

    tonjohn Member

    Steam celebrated this by adding the following image to their main rotating capsule and including a link to the ruling PDF.

    Darkimmortal likes this.
  3. MGSteve

    MGSteve Well-Known Member

    hmm, seems a bit odd. Don't you guys have a rating system for games over there, similar to films = i.e. 18 / 12 rated games etc.

    i.e. over here an under 18 can't buy an 18 rated game, just as they can't buy an 18 rated film.
  4. jmurrayhead

    jmurrayhead Well-Known Member

    I support this decision. Although, I'm biased because I'm in the mindset of, "Let me determine what is right or wrong for my child to see. I'm a good parent, I can handle this without government involvement."

    Here is the rating system: http://www.esrb.org/ratings/ratings_guide.jsp

    Without knowing the details, I'm guessing they are talking about games that are rated "M" for mature audiences, which includes 17+.
  5. Kim

    Kim Well-Known Member

    Seems very odd to me.

    It would appear to me that Games are no different to movies and should be categorised the same way.. so something inappropriate for children on film should be no different on a computer monitor.

    I am glad we have Games ratings here in Australia.
    JVCode and Renada like this.
  6. jmurrayhead

    jmurrayhead Well-Known Member

    I don't find it odd at all. This is the way it should be. California was banning sale of games that were violent to minors. Many of these games fall under the rating of "M", which is 17 and up. 17 is still considered to be a minor.

    On top of that, the government is finally telling parents to be parents. It is NOT the responsibility of anyone else to teach your child right from wrong, real from unreal, etc. I'd like to see more of this in our country.
  7. Kim

    Kim Well-Known Member

    Well unfortunately a lot of parents just have no idea about games and how violent they are, my son is 15 but I still won't let him have some games that I know to be ultra violent from a Games review show we watch, but if I didn't watch that, I would have no idea of just what is out there. It doesn't make you a bad parent if you want someone else to review things your children might be exposed to and objectively rate them based on what's in them.. we have all had this for films for years, We want toys to be safe, we want car child seats to be safe, and rely on Government or regulatory bodies to look out for our kids in those cases... really not sure what is the difference myself.

    I don't live in the USA, so it is really none of my business, but I do find it odd, not sure at all how "Freedom of Speech" covers the sale of what can with some games effectively be Gornography to children.. but not allow for example Pornography. What's the difference I wonder (I mean legally according to the Judiciary). Rhetorical question btw.

    Anyway, I know this is a highly emotive issue, so I will butt out now [​IMG]
  8. jmurrayhead

    jmurrayhead Well-Known Member

    This isn't about changing the rating. The rating is still there. It's about the sale of the games. Let me demonstrate how simple this is:

    Pa: "Junior, I don't want you buying any games without my approval. Got that?"
    Junior: "Awe, shucks pa! It's just a game!"
    Pa: "Junior!" *scornful look*
    Later on...
    Junior: "Pa! I want this game! It's called Demons from Hell: Unleash the Fury of Satan."
    Pa: "Hmm...it says it's rated M for mature audiences only. Let's see what Google has to say about this."
    Later on...
    Pa: "Junior, I watched a few trailers on this game and this is something that definitely isn't appropriate for you. If you purchase this game, I will simply have to get rid of it and you lose your allowance for a month."
    Junior: "But Pa! That's not fair! Jimmy and Steve both have it!"
    Pa: "Junior!" *scornful look*

    That statement is true...however, you are free to express your opinion :)

    I'm not sure how Freedom of Speech covers this, either, other than I think there is more to it than simply stating "Freedom of Speech".
  9. MGSteve

    MGSteve Well-Known Member

    I agree that Parents should have the final choice (which they would do even with a ban, they could buy it themselves and let their child play it), but its a question of guidance I guess.

    But I still don't get why a rating system for games is any different to a rating system for movies. Does this mean that now minors can buy 18/m rated movies too?

    It just seems very odd that the law would differentiate between the two and allow one but not the other.
  10. Russ

    Russ Well-Known Member

    I'm one that doesn't believe video game violence leads to real life violence, my brothers and I started off playing Grand Theft Auto III when I was like 13, it was a gift from my aunt who was shocked when she found out exactly how bad the game was :) but... never-the-less I was still raised proper knowing good from bad.
    jasetaro, jmurrayhead and Slavik like this.
  11. Slavik

    Slavik XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    This, people claiming video games lead to violence don't look at the real problem, the parents not teaching their children correctly.

    I was raised that if I wanted something, I had to earn it myself, if that meant saving up 10 weeks of pocket money to buy a game, thats how it was done. I was never restricted in my purchases because of this, if I wanted an 15/18 game/movie and I had saved up the money, my parents would buy it for me.

    But they taught me very strongly about right and wrong, which, did mean a few harsh punishments (this domething realy bad), but it only took one to get the message.

    I even remember my first summer job, 9-6 in an IT company fixing computers for £10 a day when I was just 14.

    I think if kids are raised to understand the value of something with a strong ethic, then the only reason a game or movie would make someone more violent would be if the person was predisposed (mentally or otherwise) to that behaviour in the first place.
    Russ likes this.
  12. jmurrayhead

    jmurrayhead Well-Known Member

    Not very sure why different rating systems are used other than they are different industries (gaming versus film). However, they are similar. In gaming, M (17+) is the same as the film R (17+). In gaming, A (18 +) is the same as the film NC-17 (no one 17 an under admitted). That's how I understand it, anyway.
  13. grant sarver

    grant sarver Well-Known Member

    Aren't movie ratings just "self-policing" by the film industry? Game industry can do the same if enough pressure is applied.
  14. Forsaken

    Forsaken Well-Known Member

    Depends on the country, but in the US it is policed by the industry so they cover their ass.

    The game industry already has its rating, and they've had them for a while. Most retailers just do not check the age of the buyer, and most parents do not pay attention.
  15. jasetaro

    jasetaro Well-Known Member

    Last I checked the video game industry does have a voluntary ratings system in place, that's not enough some of our big government nannies though... I could go on, but I'll save you the rant. :)

    Edit: I should add the Supreme Court going to review the constitutionality of the FCC's rules against nudity and profanity on broadcast television in its next term.

    See: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304447804576411592601653106.html?mod=djemITP_h
  16. jmurrayhead

    jmurrayhead Well-Known Member

  17. tonjohn

    tonjohn Member

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found that, as a
    result of this system (ESRB), “the video game industry outpaces
    the movie and music industries” in “(1) restricting targetmarketing of mature-rated products to children; (2) clearly
    and prominently disclosing rating information; and (3) restricting children’s access to mature-rated products at
  18. Jaxel

    Jaxel Well-Known Member

    The 2 supreme court judges who voted for the ban need to step down.
  19. pk698

    pk698 Active Member

    glad to see it got struck down. ****ing ridiculous.

    that's like blaming a pencil for misspelled words.
  20. Onimua

    Onimua Well-Known Member

    And actually, there was a new recent report that playing violent video games tends to make an individual less likely to actually commit violent acts, mainly because they vent such frustration in the game and loosen some of that energy out, and by the time they finish playing they don't carry that frustration/anger with them.

    I know when I get mad at things I lose myself in games and I relax.
    EQnoble and jmurrayhead like this.

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