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The Courts Games

Supreme Court To Rule On State Video Game Regulation 278

Posted by Soulskill
from the incrementing-scalia's-frag-count dept.
DJRumpy sends in this quote from an AP report:"The Supreme Court will decide whether free speech rights are more important than helping parents keep violent material away from children. The justices agreed Monday to consider reinstating California's ban on the sale or rental of violent video games to minors, a law the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco threw out last year on grounds that it violated minors' constitutional rights. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who signed the law in 2005, said he was pleased the high court would review the appeals court decision. He said, 'We have a responsibility to our kids and our communities to protect against the effects of games that depict ultra-violent actions, just as we already do with movies.'" SCOTUSblog has a more thorough legal description of the case.
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Supreme Court To Rule On State Video Game Regulation

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  • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@noSPam.gmail.com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @05:07PM (#31989096) Homepage Journal

    The charge for video game censorship has been led by Democrats in California and New York. Hillary Clinton has considered it one of her personal crusades.

    I won't begin to suggest all Democrats are evil. I'm a middle of the road guy. But suggesting that this is a Republican issue just isn't factually correct.

  • by Hognoxious (631665) on Monday April 26, 2010 @05:09PM (#31989124) Homepage Journal

    I don't want the goverment to tell me how to raise my kids.

    They aren't, they're telling your kids how [not] to raise themselves. There's nothing to stop you buying restricted games for them, if you want.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @05:21PM (#31989282)

    Productivity from too much masturbation.

  • by BaronHethorSamedi (970820) <thebaronsamedi@gmail.com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @05:54PM (#31989860)

    The Supreme Court will decide whether free speech rights are more important than helping parents keep violent material away from children.

    The summary is actually lifted directly from the linked article. What a sterling piece of objective, non-editorial journalism.

    The Supreme Court will of course decide no such question. Measures are already in place to help parents keep violent content away from children; those parents that care to keep informed about the sorts of entertainment that their children consume have more resources and information available to them now than they have ever had. The question becomes whether the state can hold retailers criminally liable for failing to fill a role that the parents have apparently abdicated. Also from TFA:

    The supporters of the law say the same legal justifications for banning minors from accessing pornography can be applied to violent video games.

    This isn't clearly the case at all. The case will revisit the issue of whether violence (not sex) can constitute regulable obscenity under the First Amendment, a parallel that courts have repeatedly refused to draw.

    They point to recent Federal Trade Commission studies suggesting that the video game industry's rating system was not effective in blocking minors from purchasing games designed for adults.

    Largely because that isn't what the rating system was designed to do. The whole point to the ESRB is to allow parents to make informed decisions as to what their children can watch, play, etc. The ESRB was never intended as a deterrent against children consuming that content without parental knowledge, or with parental consent. The notion behind the California law (and others in many other states that have been struck down) is that because the ratings aren't doing something that no one ever expected them to do, the state needs to have power to punish retailers for selling a product that (unlike tobacco or alcohol) has a strong component of judicially-recognized speech. I'll be interested to see what SCOTUS does with this...

  • No, that's not the point of the bill. The point of the bill is that the Gov't knows better than the parent what is or is not appropriate for their child.

    No, it doesn't. The bill doesn't prevent a parent from buying any game they want for their child. It merely prevents a store from selling directly to the child without parental permission. You want your 10 year old to play GTA, then go buy a copy for them.

  • by DeadboltX (751907) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:42PM (#31990730)
    They aren't making it illegal for kids to play M rated games, nor are they making it illegal for parents to buy M rated games for their children. They are preventing M rated games from being sold directly to minors, just as R rated movie tickets are. If you are a parent and you find it ok for your minor to see an R rated movie then you are more than able to purchase the R rated ticket for them, just as you are more than able to purchase the M rated game for them.
  • by bigbigbison (104532) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:43PM (#31993270) Homepage
    However, film ratings are enforced by the movie industry not the law. If a kid can't get into an R-rated film then it is because the theater won't let the kid in not because there is a law prohibiting it. Videogames are the same in this regard. Are there kids buying M-rated games? yes but there are also kids getting into R-rated films. Some undercover stings have found it easier to get into an r-rated film than to buy an m-rated game. There's no reason to single out games.
  • I think this [ftc.gov] is the most relevant link there.

    35% of underaged teenagers who walk up to a movie theater and try to buy a ticket for a R-rated movie got one. 56% who tried to buy a PAL-rated CD got one. 47% who tried to buy an R-rated DVD got it. 50% who tried to buy an unrated DVD got it.

    Only 20% who tried to buy an M-rated video game got one.

    Anyone who thinks there's any sort of problem in the game retail industry is an idiot. The game industry is, by a vast majority, currently the most responsible entertainment industry when it comes to not selling products to children that have been marked as 'not for children'.

    It is more than twice as easy for a 15 year old to buy Apocalypse Now than Fallout 3.

    And note how fast the game industry has improved, and note the last poll was in 2008. It's probably even better now. Also note the more generic the retailer got, the more likely it was to fail the test...Game Stop was best at 6%, then Best Buy at 18%, and then other stores that aren't used to selling games near 30%. (Which the exception Circuit City, which was operated by morons, being higher, and Walmart, operated by prudes, being lower.)

    I.e., the 'game industry' is fine, but electronic stores sometimes overlook checking, and giant chain stores that sell everything overlook even more. But even they overlook it a hell of a lot less than movie theaters do restricting movies! (And movie theater clerks, obviously, should actually know the rating of the ten movies they're currently selling, whereas some clerk in a Target can be forgiven for missing an M-rated video game they've never heard of in a store with a bajillion items in it.)

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