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Thread: US Supreme Court appears split on California game law

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    Default US Supreme Court appears split on California game law

    This morning, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Schwarzenegger v. EMA, the case that will decide whether a California law banning the sale of "ultraviolent" video games is constitutional. The one-hour session saw the justices of the nine-member panel express sympathy for the intent of the law, but also voice concerns about whether it violates the First Amendment.

    The US Supreme Court today heard arguments about California's controversial game law.

    According to a transcript of the hearing, California Deputy Attorney General Zackery Morazzini argued the case before the Court, equating ultraviolent games to sexually explicit material, which states are allowed to restrict the sale of. Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the more conservative members of the court, responded with skepticism, pointing out that many children's stories have violent undertones.

    "Some of the Grimm's Fairy Tales are quite grim, to tell you the truth" he said. "Are they OK? Are you going to ban them, too? … What's next after violence? Drinking? Smoking? … Are we to sit day by day to decide what else will be made an exception from the First Amendment? Why is this particular exception OK, but the other ones that I just suggested are not OK?"

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, part of the court's liberal wing, echoed her colleague's questioning tone, saying, "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?"

    However, Chief Justice John Roberts took issue with the content of Postal 2. "We do not have a tradition in this country of telling children they should watch people actively hitting schoolgirls over the head with a shovel so they'll beg with mercy, being merciless and decapitating them, shooting people in the leg so they fall down," he said. "I'm reading from the district court description: Pour gasoline over them, set them on fire, and urinate on them. We do not have a tradition in this country. We protect children from that. We don't actively expose them to that."

    As the law's author, California State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), explained to GameSpot last week, the law at the center of the debate would criminalize sales of games the state deems "ultraviolent." The sale of those games to minors would be punishable by a $1,000 fine under the law. The games would also need to bear special two-inch by two-inch warning labels.

    A decision in the case of Schwarzenegger v. EMA is expected by the end of June 2011, when the court recesses for the summer. Entertainment Consumers Association vice president and general counsel Jennifer Mercurio told GameSpot a ruling is most likely to come between March and June.

    Whatever the outcome, the legal fight that led to the Supreme Court has been long and hard-fought. Shortly after California Assembly Bill 1179 was signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005, it was challenged in court before it could take effect. In 2007, the circuit court judge who struck down the law as unconstitutional admitted he was "sympathetic to what the legislature sought to do." Last year, an appellate court judge backed up the original ruling.

    http://www.gamespot.com/news/6283406...es%3Btitle%3B4

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    DenSweeP's Avatar
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    Stupid. So even if they win the case to ban them, all the gamers will do is buy it online! Either digitally or via courier even. Stupid fucking politicians. How about concentrating on shit that will actually matter?

    How about improving the education systems so that little Timmy goes to school and learns right from wrong, so that when he goes home this afternoon and plays some COD, he knows it is wrong to then go and hurt his friends. Or improving the police. More manpower, better equipment? Or somehow putting systems in place so that single parents, both working parents or plain bad parents can also be taught how to better raise their kids so they don't turn into video game zombies.

    Politicians love going after the "evil video games" because they are a soft target and everyone loves to blame the games. Parents especially love it, because it deflects attention away from the true cause of kids going Columbine on their friends, namely their utterly useless parenting ability. Politicians thus love it, because it garners more votes for them when they can say I'm tackling this evil scurge blah blah.

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    The Legendary Troll Hunter OmegaFenix's Avatar
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    Its so tempting to get in on this subject but i fear i would be here all day and never get any work done.

    I will say that i dont think this case will be won by those looking to ban the sale of violent video game, as one of the judges hearing the case said: "We do not regulate music or movie industry or magazines, all of which offers similarly violent material."
    Another reason this ban wont be implimented is coz of possible escalation. Once the goverment starts telling people what they can and cant buy where will it stop, next they are regulating movies/tv/radio and that is something all those human rights and privacy activists will not stand for.
    And lastly, the video game industry brings in billions of $$$ a year on which the studios and publishers pay tax, and the consumer pays tax when buying it effectivly making money for the goverment. Why would they shoot one of their golden geece?
    "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn"


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    The Legendary Troll Hunter OmegaFenix's Avatar
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    Thumbs up How a 42-Year-Old Porn Might Screw Video Games

    As the Supreme Court grapples with the legality of selling violent video games to minors, a dissent from 1968 seems as relevant as ever.

    By Jared Newman, Technologizer Nov 3, 2010 7:09 pm
    "Censors are, of course, propelled by their own neuroses. That is why a universally accepted definition of obscenity is impossible. Any definition is indeed highly subjective, turning on the neurosis of the censor."
    So said U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Douglas in 1968, arguing against most of his colleagues who felt that selling nude magazines to minors should be a criminal offense. The courts, he said, should not decide what's suitable for people to read. That decision is best left to parents or religious groups.
    As today's Supreme Court grappled with the legality of selling violent video games to minors, Douglas' dissent in Ginsburg v. New York seemed as relevant as ever.
    The state of California wants an exception to the First Amendment for excessively violent video games, making their sale to minors a crime. Not surprisingly, California's deputy attorney general, Zackery Morazzini, said the case is similar to Ginsburg v. New York, except that the exception applies to violence instead of sex. (You can read the whole transcript at Scribd.)
    Here's the problem: No one in court could define what level of violence qualifies as excessive. Morazzini couldn't say off-hand whether Mortal Kombat is obscene under California's law, and the state only pointed to one game as an example in its briefs, the long-forgotten Postal 2. In the end, Morazzini proposed that jurors could decide on what's passable, and that the games industry would surely figure out the answer on its own.
    Read that Douglas quote again.
    I don't think kids should watch porn or play violent video games. Neither did Douglas, but he felt that the government shouldn't have a role in the decision, lest the world's anti-obscenity crusaders someday decide that adults need "protecting" as well. Had Douglas' fellow justices agreed, the U.S. Supreme Court probably wouldn't have considered violent video game laws today. Instead, much of today's hearing was spent fumbling over what, exactly, constitutes "deviant or morbid" violence.
    It's certainly possible that the court won't be satisfied with California's vague definition, and will overturn the law. Maybe I'm just a free speech nut, but I'm no less settled by the idea that the court would accept a line in the sand.
    Source

    I think this guy has the right idea and is basically saying what gamers have been saying for ages. The responsibility to protect children from these "violent" videogame lies with the parents.
    "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn"


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    Debates such as this should be seen in a personalized manner. Imagine you're a parent of a young boy or girl who has access to the internet and loves gaming. Instead of trying your butt of to protect them against pornography, which has become ridiculously easy to access, you now have to worry about them getting their hands on games which they really shouldn't be playing.

    I'm not saying "blame video games". Because then I'll have to rightfully say "blame pornography", "blame movies" and "blame music". All of those media have a part in forming your child's personality - so I think to voice your opinion simply based on JUST video games is stupid. You should be blaming a whole lot more.

    What will happen if, by accident for example, they manage to successfully ban porn and violent games/films/music from being sold in stores? Yeah, you'll feel like your "freedom" is somehow being cramped, but at least your risks as a parent will end up being considerably less in protecting your child against this material.

    I agree that the responsibility of protecting a child against the FILTH that is available today lies square on the shoulders of the parents; but I also feel like production houses are not giving two damn cents of respect to you, as a person OR as a parent. All they want is money - and they don't care what they have to sell to get it.

    Everyone is shouting "booooo! bad politician" - but what will happen if this rainfall of filth keeps flooding our stores like it has done to the internet? You won't be able to turn your head without seeing naked women, swear words, blasphemy or some sort of violent act being depicted. I don't want to live in a world like that, and I'm sure my kids one day will agree.

    So I'm saying "YAY Mr. Governer!". He's trying to do something positive for an entire community and obviously doesn't give a crap about some emo-gamer's nerd-rage. I say GOOD FOR HIM.
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    The Legendary Troll Hunter OmegaFenix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neo View Post
    Debates such as this should be seen in a personalized manner. Imagine you're a parent of a young boy or girl who has access to the internet and loves gaming. Instead of trying your butt of to protect them against pornography, which has become ridiculously easy to access, you now have to worry about them getting their hands on games which they really shouldn't be playing.

    I'm not saying "blame video games". Because then I'll have to rightfully say "blame pornography", "blame movies" and "blame music". All of those media have a part in forming your child's personality - so I think to voice your opinion simply based on JUST video games is stupid. You should be blaming a whole lot more.

    What will happen if, by accident for example, they manage to successfully ban porn and violent games/films/music from being sold in stores? Yeah, you'll feel like your "freedom" is somehow being cramped, but at least your risks as a parent will end up being considerably less in protecting your child against this material.

    I agree that the responsibility of protecting a child against the FILTH that is available today lies square on the shoulders of the parents; but I also feel like production houses are not giving two damn cents of respect to you, as a person OR as a parent. All they want is money - and they don't care what they have to sell to get it.

    Everyone is shouting "booooo! bad politician" - but what will happen if this rainfall of filth keeps flooding our stores like it has done to the internet? You won't be able to turn your head without seeing naked women, swear words, blasphemy or some sort of violent act being depicted. I don't want to live in a world like that, and I'm sure my kids one day will agree.

    So I'm saying "YAY Mr. Governer!". He's trying to do something positive for an entire community and obviously doesn't give a crap about some emo-gamer's nerd-rage. I say GOOD FOR HIM.
    We've gone throught this before, all companies are there to make money. That is a fact and its not going to change.

    Why should they stop producing products there is a damand for simply coz parents have grown lazy and no longer take the intrest in their childrens past times. If you fear porn on your home pc, there are heaps and heaps and HEAPS of software available that sucsessfully block the content. DSTV has a parental lock which will block any program above the age you as a parent set. The xbox has a parental lock that will block any games with an age restriction above a specified age. Im almost 99% sure the ps3 has something similar.

    But how many parents actually take the time to go and set there parental locks on little jonnys xbox? Too few because its easier to cry "These "things" should be banned." coz that removes the responsibility from the parents shoulder and places it on the retailer.

    I am not a minor, i can go out and buy what ever I want and even if they DO ban the sales of violent games to minors it wont affect me in the least. However next some religious nut bag will start pushing for all porn to be banned to help "protect" the adults or they will remove violent shows, where does it stop?

    And the only reason Mr Governer is doing this is to get votes to stay in office.
    "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn"


  9. #9

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    Actually pornography is a subject which I feel gets taken very lightly on this forum, and a bigger mistake couldn't be made. It's not just some "religious nut jobs" that are crying for pornography to be banned, a lot of other folks who you might even consider "normal" are calling for the very same ban on the material. Pornography has been strongly linked to any sort of moral decay you can think of. I'll give you an example: Charles Manson (the serial killer) admitted that pornography was the key thing that made him into the person that he was. You might try and argue the point, but the fact is, a convicted serial killer admitted that pornography played a major role in what he did - and you cannot argue with the cold, hard facts.

    So ANY person that tries to get pornography banned has my vote and my unconditional support - religiously based motives or not - that stuff needs to be removed from society.

    But this topic is about violent video games - so we shouldn't detract from the topic.

    I guess any topic has 2 sides to it, and I have to side with the Governator's point of view here. I agree parents have a major role in protecting their kids, but I also believe that getting the crap that we have so abundantly available today off of our streets is a very good starting point. Once we limit the amount of negative materials that come into our every day lives, then only can we start to focus more closely on the family and proper parenting. You can be the BEST parent in the world, but if your kid gets bombarded with sex, violence and general obscenities outside of your control - you cannot possibly blame the parents - you can blame, pretty solidly, the stuff I've mentioned above.
    Last edited by Neo; 05-11-2010 at 09:09 AM.
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by OmegaFenix View Post
    And the only reason Mr Governer is doing this is to get votes to stay in office.
    Yeah, I would hope so! Because he's doing the right thing! Or would you rather have a person running your state that promotes violence and sex? If that's the case you should be THRILLED to live in South Africa because that's what your president promotes above all else. And South Africa is such a lovely country, isn't it? So little crime and violence....
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