Posts Tagged ‘first amendment

04
Nov
10

UPDATE: Supreme Court Seems to Favor Games Industry

Order of the highest, most awesome court. Justice Scalia FTW!

It looks like the Supreme Court is a bunch of gamers at heart. At the end of Tuesday’s hearing for Schwarzenneger vs. EMA, which concerns First Amendment protection for video games, the judges picked away at Attorney General Zackery Morazzini’s ill-constructed arguments.

Claiming that some games are examples of “deviant violence,” Morazzini struggled to define what exactly the term meant. He contended that any depiction of a human being mamed, tortured, or sexually assaulted in a video game would apply.

Below is the transcript for part of the hearing. Kudos to Rock, Paper, Shotgun for getting this out on the web.

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Justice Scalia: What’s a deviant violent video games? As opposed to what? A normal violent video game?
Morazzini: Yes, your honor. Deviant would be departing from established norms.
Justice Scalia: There are established norms of violence? … Some of the Grimm’s fairy tales are quite grim, to tell you the truth.
Morazzini: Agreed, your honor. But the level of violence ….
Justice Scalia: Are they okay? Are you going to ban them too?
Morazzini: Not at all, your honor.

Justice Ginsburg: What’s the difference? I mean, if you are supposing a category of violent materials dangerous to children, then how do you cut it off at video games? What about films? What about comic books? Grimm’s fairy tales? Why are video games special? Or does your principle extend to all deviant, violent material in whatever form?
Morazzini: No, your honor. That’s why I believe California incorporated the three prongs of the Miller standard (for identifying porn in legal cases). So it’s not just deviant violence. It’s not just patently offensive violence. It’s violence that meets all three of the terms set forth in … The California legislature was presented with substantial evidence that demonstrates that the interactive nature of violent — of violent video games where the minor or the young adult is the aggressor, is the — is the individual acting out this — this obscene level of violence.

Justice Kagan: Well, do you actually have studies that show that video games are more harmful to minors than movies are? Continue reading ‘UPDATE: Supreme Court Seems to Favor Games Industry’

02
Nov
10

The Game Industry Visits the Supreme Court

Just a couple of gamers reppin' the constitution

Today is important for a number of reasons. While everyone is out exercising their right to vote, the highest court in the land is busy reviewing if video games should be protected as free speech.

During the hearings, the judges will determine if the First Amendment should be stripped from certain video games that are believed to negatively influence minors.

One of the main arguments is the unfair representation of video games when other mediums (books, film, music, etc.) are equally protected under the First Amendment. It is believed by supporters of the state ruling that video games encourage a more intimate interaction that may be hazardous to the mental health of adolescent players.

However, the supporters lack strong evidence that is necessary to win the hearing. Currently, the web is buzzing with facts that disproves the long constructed myth that playing violent video games leads to violent behavior.

Here is a excerpt from an editorial by the Wall Street Journal

“Such censorship is not only dangerous, it’s completely unnecessary. More than 80 scholars and researchers from schools such as George Mason University and Harvard Medical School have written an extensive friend-of-the-court brief in opposition to the law, noting that California failed to produce any real evidence showing that video games cause psychological harm to minors. And even if there was harm, the law’s supporters have not shown that the statute could alleviate it.

The game development community has worked hard on creating a rating system that clearly discloses games’ content. Even our critics, such as the Federal Trade Commission, have praised our efforts. The FTC’s own survey shows that 87 percent of parents are satisfied with the rating system.”

It is my hope that the Supreme Court arrives at an effective ruling in support of the gaming industry. As an art form, video games are expanding into new and intelligent fields. Suppressing it will only initiate a slow demise for such an impressive tool of creation.