It's a big victory for the industry and further legitimizes video games.

Today, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) is toasting the U.S. Supreme Court "landmark ruling" that upheld constitutional protections for game designers and artists. The issue was a 2005 California statute restricting the sale and rental of video games; the ESA contended that such a rule "presented unconstitutional limitations on expression."

Well, by a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court agreed and cited many of the same reasons that some of the lower courts cited when striking down this statute. The bottom line is that video games contain expression, which falls under the same protection "as the best of literature." Various studies could not prove that games were harmful to minors and furthermore, it's up to the parents – not the government – to decide what minors can and can't play. By the way, the ESA sorta helps with that. You know, the ratings?

Said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the ESA:

"This is a historic and complete win for the First Amendment and the creative freedom of artists and storytellers everywhere. Today, the Supreme Court affirmed what we have always known – that free speech protections apply every bit as much to video games as they do to other forms of creative expression like books, movies and music. The Court declared forcefully that content-based restrictions on games are unconstitutional; and that parents, not government bureaucrats, have the right to decide what is appropriate for their children."

In order for California to uphold the statute, they would've had to "prove a compelling government interest for the law and also that California’s proposed remedy was the narrowest possible way of furthering that interest." The Supreme Court ruled that the state failed in both respects and Justice Scalia, writing for the majority, provided these statements:

"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.’"

Lastly, in regards to the "least restrictive" point, the majority opinion said California couldn't verify that "the Act’s restrictions meet the alleged substantial need of parents who wish to restrict their children’s access to violent videos. The video-game industry’s voluntary rating system already accomplishes that to a large extent." Boy, we couldn't have said that better ourselves.

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jimmyhandsome
jimmyhandsome
9 years ago

Also a big win for people who like to take responsibility as parents and guardians. Don't want your kids playing a certain game? Don't let them buy it. We don't need our government to do that, silly.

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

Unfortunately there is a segment of our population who feels that people are too stupid to make decisions for themselves and wish to use the Government as means to force us to live with the decisions our Overlords impose on us. I fear for our future.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Given the % of the US population currently in jail, or serving a suspended sentence, there can in fact be no doubt that "people are too stupid to make decisions for themselves". Sad, but true.

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

Which pales in comparisons to those who are not in jail, those who make a decent honest living and raise their kids in happy homes so your point is moot.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Not really, look at the prison populations in other western democracies and see whether you think there is a problem. People are, unfortunately, often extremely stupid in their judgement, often they show no judgement at all. Sometimes laws are needed to proactively enforce a sense of judgement. For example speed laws. After all, by your logic we should all be able to choose our driving speed, and having signs and law enforcement stopping use from driving at 100 mph in a residential area is just burdensome and wrong.

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

So what are you getting at then? Because of a few screw ups the majority of should suffer under the State's idea of what is right for us instead of it being left up to us to choose for ourselves?

No offense, but that is utter nonsense and it's the antithesis to the American ideal. I'm not going to debate this any further with you as you seem incapable of viewing these issues without your Government Rose Colored glasses. We are a nation of Free men/woman Highlander. Your big government philosophy has failed throughout history and it will fail again.

mk ultra
mk ultra
9 years ago

I'm sorry Highlander but choosing your own driving speed which could put you and everyone around you in immediate danger is very different then the government telling you what video games your child can play.

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
9 years ago

Well guys, whether we like it or not, Big Government is here, and it's going to run our lives to the point of almost being forced.

kevinater321
kevinater321
9 years ago

Maybe having a bit of both? I don't want the government choosing my meals for me, but i don't want people speeding past my house. How about an equilibrium?

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

Incarcerated felons in prisons by and large lose voting privileges. Their say doesn't amount to much in America.

MyWorstNightmar
MyWorstNightmar
9 years ago

The government provides and maintains the roads that we drive on, so yes, they get a say as to how fast we get to drive on them.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

People ARE too stupid to make decisions for themselves. Evidence: CoD.

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
9 years ago

World, you forgot one.

As evident by the purchase of the 360.

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

Nothing is true. Everything is permitted. We are all being run by a big government under capitalist ideals!!! We just don't know it!!!! YES! If there's anything I've learned from the 100% non-fictional Assassin's Creed series, it's that teaching of freedom's Jawk talks about is exactly what enslaves us! UNWITTINGLY!!!! Jawk!!! The piece of Eden! IT CONTROLZ YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!


Last edited by Underdog15 on 6/27/2011 7:54:34 PM

mindmurderer69
mindmurderer69
9 years ago

uderdog you forgot 1 thing our capitalistic ideas are falling and there is a sub communist rise in the government.the increase in laws (which limits our freedoms) the bigger the government is further from the original ideas of our fathers where the federal government is the so called spine which connects the body (states) the more the federales get involved the further from a true republic we become. yes we are a republic not a democracy.

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

jeeze, I was just making a joke via video game reference.

mindmurderer69
mindmurderer69
9 years ago

its all good underdog, it just saddens me that such a great country from a great idea has turned to crap from power hungry obtuse imbeciles. and how everyone wants more and more laws that limit our personal freedoms and people dont care anymore…..its very saddening

pillz81
pillz81
9 years ago

It was private citizens who decided that violent video games are dangerous to the youth and told their representatives to do something about it. Am I right or am I wrong?

The Government isn't only the slave of the capitalist special interests, but the people as well.

Sometimes it isn't government that comes up with ways to enslave the citizens, it is the citizens themselves.

If parents were omniscient regarding their kids' they wouldn't be calling on the government to help them control what their kids watch and play.


Last edited by pillz81 on 6/30/2011 12:19:01 PM

PANICinc
PANICinc
9 years ago

Sheesh! It's about time! This is awesome news, and we all should be grateful that the "Govenators" agenda failed! Long live the Bill of Rights!
You can take my violent video games when you pry my controller from my cold dead hands!

OK, so this comment borders on disturbing, but you get the point!

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

I remember signing their petition. It was for the state of California, but all Americans, and even Canadians, were allowed to sign the petition.

Can't say I'm surprised, but I am happy to hear it's at least gone as well as it has.

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

While I agree there should be some limitations on what kids are viewing, I do not feel the State should set those limitations. We live in a free society(supposedly)and decisions like this should be left up to the parents and the retailers selling the content(Walmart and Target and most Gamestops in my area already refuse M rated game sales to minors without burdensome laws and regulations),NOT our Overlords who work for State and Federal bureaucracies.

jimmyhandsome
jimmyhandsome
9 years ago

Agree 100%. There is very little accountability and responsibilty these days. If you're a parent you have every right to deny what your kids watch/play/are exposed to. Unfortunately it seems quite a few are too lazy to actually act as a parent, and want their governments to do it for them.

JMO_INDY
JMO_INDY
9 years ago

While I do agree about movie and game sales, I don't believe censorship of Books and Music should be. I absolutely hate listening to a Radio Friendly version of any song. I mean if the artist wanted me to hear what they said, that is their right to say it and my right to hear it. I remember an interview with a local resident calling a local radio station here in Indiana and she was complaining because the songs were getting to risque for tastes and the DJ went off on her and told her it was her responsibility to watch what her kids listen to.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

"Walmart and Target and most Gamestops in my area already refuse M rated game sales to minors without burdensome laws and regulations"

Jawknee, if by this you mean that they card you – the purchaser – then I fail to see how this is burdensome. Carding is voluntarily done already in most places, how is it more burdensome if it's the law?

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

It's burdensome to me as the consumer and burdensome to those employees who don't feel comfortable asking a 30 year old man with a beard for his ID when buying a video game. I'm not saying it shouldn't be done, all I am saying is the State doesn't need to impose such regulations with new bureaucracies being funded by tax payers. The stores do it just fine by themselves. More Government isn't the answer Highlander.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Yeah, real burdensome, you already have your wallet out to pay. Gee, what does it take, 10 seconds. Wow, that's one heck of a burden you're under there my friend. Seems to me that your perspective might be a little distorted if you think that's burdensome. Now, if they were making you endure an enhanced pat down prior to buying the game, I could see your point, but a 10 second task of showing the ID in your wallet that is already in your hands? Not so much.

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

And who will enforce this if not another government agency funded by tax payers? Doesn't matter if it takes me 10 seconds or 20 minutes. It's still a burden we should haven't to bare living in a free society. We make our own choices in life the United States Highlander. The state doesn't get to make them for us.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

I wish they wouldn't card me. Bystanders are all like "jeesh, what's this pervert buying?"
Then I turn around and show them my copy of Catherine and I instantly confirm their condeming convictions.

Seriously, though. I find it annoying like Jawknee does.

*Temjin will never buy Catherine. example was used for demonstration purposes only.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Jawknee,

The point of this discussion has long since been lost in your absolutist sense of freedom, but I do note that you maintain your outrage over being carded for a game purchase, truly a significant stand for civil rights. I'm out, this is ludicrous.

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

Riiiiiight, you presume the Statists should dictate how the majority lives their lives based on the size of our prison population(which is minuscule in comparison to the rest of the population who follow the laws and are productive) and you think not wanting to show an ID to buy a video game is analogous to removing speed limits which can, will and have killed people and I'm the one who is being ludicrous? LOL!

You take note of what you precieve to be my "human rights causes", I'll take note of your eagerness to use the State to impose your world view on the rest of us who do not agree and to use tax payer funds to do it.


Last edited by Jawknee on 6/27/2011 3:46:03 PM

mindmurderer69
mindmurderer69
9 years ago

if you really want to go into the prison thing than highlander your point is flawed for one reason true prison pop is high but over 25%is not even legal u.s citizens so you should not compare that with the rest of the legal u.s citizens and the other half is from gangbangers and now state and federal politicians, and true there are petty crimes people do go to prison for homeless people in winter try going to jail sometimes to get out of the cold and how about the gentleman who robbed a bank for a dollar so he could go to prison to receive health care?

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

That is one long-ass sentence!

Simcoe
Simcoe
9 years ago

Wow, that's pretty depressing (and sad) if what you are saying is true mindmurderer. In this day and age, someone could be so desperate for medical attention that they feel they have no other choice but to commit a crime in order to get adequate health care. He's lucky he didn't get shot!

mindmurderer69
mindmurderer69
9 years ago

Hoping for three-year sentence
James Verone said he doesn’t have medical insurance. He has a growth of some sort on his chest, two ruptured disks and a problem with his left foot. He is 59-years-old and with no job and a depleted bank account, he thought jail was the best place he could go for medical care and a roof over his head. even free clinics are not free. this homeless kid went to one around where i live and they wanted $300 just to look at his teeth, where as my woman who had a crappy min wage job 10hrs a week or less had to pay $20 dollars

Simcoe
Simcoe
9 years ago

Wow…that's pretty sad.
Thanks for taking the time to explain the situation with that man, mindmurderer.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

Awww man. Just when I thought we were going to be one step closer to being serialized with only a number as our identity and grown in governmental test tubes.

=p

JMO_INDY
JMO_INDY
9 years ago

Last time I checked, it's been illegal to sell a rated M game to minors forever. Well at least in Indiana you have to be 18 to purchase M rated games. I don't see it any different than porn, which I mean come on the internet lets you have it for free anyways. IDK maybe it's how I comprehended this article, but it sounded like You can now sell Rated M games to kids under 18, please someone help me here, I'm just a little confused with this. I'm all for the freedom to create the game however you want, but is this case referring to Which games are sold in stores or how the game themselves are made?

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

The case refers to selling games. In my mind the thing is, I have no problem with states of the government applying the same rules to M rated games as apply to R rated movies. To me they are essentially the same thing and the same problems and issues surround them. But it stops there. The M rated games are just like R-rated movies. They belong on sale for mature adults to enjoy, but not kids. I don't know the specific provisions of the law that California passed, but as far as I can see, the problem was that the law was attempting to treat M rated games differently from R Rated movies. That effectively holds games to a different standard than other forms of expression.

Once you're beyond the point of sale, it's down to the parents. If the parents decide to buy an M-rated game for their 14-year old, let them deal with the consequences.


Last edited by TheHighlander on 6/27/2011 1:43:18 PM

JMO_INDY
JMO_INDY
9 years ago

OH gotcha thanks for the answer instead of a thumbs down Highlander haha Yeah I had to have my brother buy my video games forever. You can get fined as a video game retailer for selling rated M games in Indiana, IDK about other state laws, but that's the way it's always been here.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Does Indiana treat R-rated movies sold on DVD/BluRay in the same way? If not, things could change there too, since this decision sets a very clear precedent.

As it happens, I think that just as is the case in some states for R rated movies and for the sale of other things like cigarettes and alcohol, you should be carded to purchase an M-rated game. But the key thing is that games should not be held to a stricter interpretation of the law than other forms of expression such as music, motion pictures or video.

Personally, I have no problem at all with the idea of people being carded before being sold an M rated game. It's M rated for a reason, and it would serve the gaming industry to keep a clear line between games suitable for kids and games suitable for others.


Last edited by TheHighlander on 6/27/2011 1:50:25 PM

JMO_INDY
JMO_INDY
9 years ago

Rated R movies kind of slip through the cracks as it's not really held in high focus here. Movies don't sell well here. I had a friend in the electronic department of Wal-Mart here in Greencastle and he said he never gets people who buy physical movies, it came up in an discussion about digital distribution and how secure he felt about his job a few months back. It serves well to evidence that movies aren't really as hawk eyed by parents coalitions trying to stop the distribution of violent movies. Games however are still bought pretty heavily, and therefore still heavily watched over. We never have to sign anything, just show them the ID for a birthdate. It's not a real hassle. Hell I even get away with buying cigarettes here and I'm 17, though I'd credit that to the atmosphere in which I live.

AnonWTF
AnonWTF
9 years ago

Yes, OWNED!

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

…the majority opinion said California couldn't verify that "the Act’s restrictions meet the alleged substantial need of parents who wish to restrict their children’s access to violent videos. The video-game industry’s voluntary rating system already accomplishes that to a large extent."

So basically, after reaffirming that games are just as valid an form of expression as movies, the justices also say that parents can apply parental control based on the existing rating system without the need for some additional external legislation that treats games differently to movies. Throwing the responsibility for a child's entertainment choice back onto the parent – where it belongs.

Nice.

Nynja
Nynja
9 years ago

Now I can't wait to see what Rockstar does next.

Claire C
Claire C
9 years ago

hee hee ūüėČ

556pineapple
556pineapple
9 years ago

I'd like to think this will shut up the rabble-rousers for good, but sadly I know this isn't the case. Unfortunately, they're probably just going to try to come up with another solution and waste all sorts of money trying to push it through when it's just going to get turned down again. Well at least this sends a message that it's not the government's responsibility to raise children for lazy parents.

sirbob6
sirbob6
9 years ago

V for Victory!!

Nice choice of pictures Ben.

Claire C
Claire C
9 years ago

A good day for America. =)

DeadReaper
DeadReaper
9 years ago

I think Jack Thompson just threw up in his mouth a little bit

faraga
faraga
9 years ago

Ahhh, good ol' Jack Thompson, haven't heard from him for a while.