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Supreme Court invalidates law banning sale of violent video games to minors
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Editor
June 27, 2011, 19:41:57
 
In a case decided today, the Supreme Court invalidated a California statute banning the sale of violent video games to minors. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority in a 7-2 decision and held that video games are protected speech under the First Amendment. Due to this constitutional protection, the law faced a heightened "strict scrutiny" standard, under which the state needs to show that a law is justified by a compelling government interest and that it is narrowly drawn to serve that interest. Since the state was unable to show the existence of a direct link between violent video games and violent actions by minors, and since the law did not seek to restrict access to other violent media, the law did not reach the necessary standard. The Court rejected the argument that the interactive nature of video games distinguishes it from other forms of violent media.

Source: 2011 WL 2518809 United States Supreme Court

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Posted: 06/27/11, 19:41:57  - Edited by 
 on: 06/27/11, 19:48:08    
 
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@Oldmanwinter
If you're going to criminalize selling M-rated games to minors, why stop at games? Why not criminalize letting under-age kids into rated-R movies? Or selling a rated-R DVD to a minor? And why not extend it to books too? Graphic novels even? How about a rating system for that too with criminal action taken against retailers who sell "adult" comic books to under-age kids? I'm sure all the comic book fans would love having laws and gov't regulation on their favorite hobby. Where does it stop?

The SCOTUS made absolutely the right decision. You cannot regulate free speech under the Constitution. Parents need to parent. The government needs to govern.


Posted by 
 on: 06/28/11, 04:53:59  - Edited by 
 on: 06/28/11, 04:54:40
Oldmanwinter said:
@Xbob42

Rofl. Show me the study that says it's harder for a pre-teen to get alcohol than it is to get the newest Call of Duty.

In fact don't. That's so ridiculous I don't care what blog you quote I'm not going to believe it's factual.

As to Ken Levine the guy has a proven, vested interest in not diminishing the number of people that can buy his products. He is obviously very talented and respected, I wont deny that however he has a horse in the race that is worth millions. I really put about as much stock in his opinion on this as I would a card carrying NAMBLA member ranting about the restrictive laws regarding child pornography... and yes that's a horrible example however it made me giggle when I typed it.

Your friend's dad probably doesn't have the newest Call of Duty sitting in his fridge, so there's that.

Here's a study showing that it's harder to get an M-rated game than any other item of similar media:

via ars technica



Of course, they could just have an adult friend go buy it for them, which wouldn't change at all if it was illegal.


Posted by 
 on: 06/28/11, 04:54:22  - Edited by 
 on: 06/28/11, 04:54:44
@WrathOfSamus777

This is just me being a smart ass, but show me the text in the Constitution that says a state can't regulate free speech.


Posted by 
 on: 06/28/11, 06:57:50
Mr_Mustache said:
No, -- good point -- you go out and get pregnant because MTV has shows like "16 and Pregnant" which glamorizes the whole thing and makes it look great to dumb girls.

Actually teen pregnancy rates have dropped since that show came out.

@Xbob42 Well, there haven't been many legitimate studies on the effects of violent video games period. I think it's way too early to say "no effect". Personally I wouldn't let my kids play them because I think it is very likely that there is some effect. I pretty much don't think anything in life is totally neutral.


Posted by 
 on: 06/28/11, 07:29:07  - Edited by 
 on: 06/28/11, 07:32:02
@Jargon
Umm....what? If the state regulates free speech, then it's not free speech anymore by definition.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

There ya go.


Posted by 
 on: 06/28/11, 07:30:06
@WrathOfSamus777

That says Congress, as in the United States Congress, part of the federal government. This is a state law.


Posted by 
 on: 06/28/11, 07:37:57
WrathOfSamus777 said:
@Jargon
Umm....what? If the state regulates free speech, then it's not free speech anymore by definition.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

There ya go.

And the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates those rights found in the First Amendment to apply to the states (rather than just Congress).

There ya go.


Posted by 
 on: 06/28/11, 07:40:46  - Edited by 
 on: 06/28/11, 07:41:16
@EagleC83

Boo, you're ruining my fun.

But seriously, states CAN regulate free speech under the Fourteenth Amendment through the legislative process (due process of law), it just has to be done to serve a compelling interest and has to be narrowly drawn in order to survive the Court's scrutiny. Not that I don't agree thoroughly with this ruling, I do.


Posted by 
 on: 06/28/11, 07:41:48  - Edited by 
 on: 06/28/11, 07:47:40
YEA! I'm glad little kids can play slash and hack games!

Why, you may ask?

Cause I just like to be different!


Posted by 
 on: 06/28/11, 07:43:45
[ref=id=5964&pagenumber=4#158984]Zero said:[/ref][quote][ref=id=5964&pagenumber=3#158908]Mr_Mustache said:[/ref][quote]No, -- good point -- you go out and get pregnant because MTV has shows like "16 and Pregnant" which glamorizes the whole thing and makes it look great to dumb girls.[/quote]
Actually teen pregnancy rates have dropped since that show came out.

[ref=id=5964&pagenumber=3#158909]@Xbob42[/ref] Well, there haven't been many legitimate studies on the effects of violent video games period. I think it's way too early to say "no effect". Personally I wouldn't let my kids play them because I think it is very likely that there is some effect. I pretty much don't think anything in life is totally neutral.[/quote]
Oh certainly things you interact with have an effect on you, your entire life is the sum of your total experiences and all that jazz.

The point is... would playing violent video games inherently make you a worse person? What if it was proven they made you a better person? Maybe letting out all that stress makes you less of an asshole elsewhere. Or maybe you get into violent video games that aren't just about violence but the consequences as well, wouldn't that potentially make you more sensitive towards the issue rather than desensitizing you?

There's been nothing found to show any causation or even correlation between video game violence and real violence, same with other media. Sure, maybe you watched Wrestlemania and got amped up and suplexed your brother, but that's a temporary spark of excitement brought on by the moment, not a permanent shift in your personality. You also probably feel like kickin' some ass when you listen to your favorite music. But listening to sexual healing 24/7 probably won't turn you into a ladies' man.

There's certainly no merit to trying to BAN or RESTRICT something that hasn't in any way been proven harmful, though. That's completely illogical and not good for anybody. I'm more concerned that shit like tobacco is still legal when the few benefits it gives (There are a couple here and there.) are outweighed by the horrible horrible side effects. But hey, free tax dollars. Same with alcohol. A few good benefits outweighed by a bunch of bullshit. Then you've got the people who'd be pissed that they only drink here and there with buddies and don't cause any trouble.

All in all, these things are restricted by age... arbitrarily, rather than outright banned for being pure, murdering bullshit. And people are worried about Timmy playing video games. Ugh.


Posted by 
 on: 06/28/11, 09:16:27
@Zero

Figures, please? The Teen Pregnancy one. Yahoo always bombards me with kids getting pregnant. Someone is wrong.

@Xbob42

Doesn't Grand Theft Auto have banging in it? And strip clubs? How can a tiny kid benefit from that? Aren't here boobs in a LOT of games now? When do games become pornography?

-----------------------

I thought the rating system was fine. Why are WE getting upset? Shouldn't the only people upset by the laws that were in place (restricting games from 12 year olds) be 12 year olds? Same thing with comics mentioned earlier (graphic novels), books, and movies. Why should you, 30 year old guy, care what a 12 year old CAN'T buy on his own? He shouldn't be reading that stuff anyways, and you know that. Why does everyone want kids to grow up so fast? As much as I hate Disney [now], there is a time for that and Sesame Street, and Power Rangers (no blood), and Transformers (talking cartoon robots..that are also awesome cars...and they're awesome).


Posted by 
 on: 06/28/11, 13:05:18
Some of you make good points.

I still however am going to say that I was all for having a ban on extremely violent and sexual games being sold to children. I don't really see a whole lot of negatives associated with that, however like WrathofSamus said I suppose if you extrapolated that to books and all other forms of media we'd have a 1984 situation on our hands which wouldn't be good either.

Also this:


I thought the rating system was fine. Why are WE getting upset? Shouldn't the only people upset by the laws that were in place (restricting games from 12 year olds) be 12 year olds? Same thing with comics mentioned earlier (graphic novels), books, and movies. Why should you, 30 year old guy, care what a 12 year old CAN'T buy on his own? He shouldn't be reading that stuff anyways, and you know that. Why does everyone want kids to grow up so fast? As much as I hate Disney [now], there is a time for that and Sesame Street, and Power Rangers (no blood), and Transformers (talking cartoon robots..that are also awesome cars...and they're awesome).
-Mr. Mustache

Is pretty much exactly how I feel. Some of you are turning this into an assailant against you, as an adult, having personal freedoms in this country. It's not. I don't think a child should have access to the same material I do. I'm also not an idiot and realize that in this day and age an 8 year old probably has a better idea of sex than I did at 14 thanks to the internet, however I also don't think having some minimum standards as a society on what a child... not 30 year old Jason... a 10 or 11 year old... can have access to.

In the end however I'm going to assume the Supreme Court has a far better grasp on the issue than I do. I'm just sharing my opinion;)


Posted by 
 on: 06/28/11, 14:09:23  - Edited by 
 on: 06/28/11, 14:10:19
@Mr_Mustache LINK. The show is often actually credited for changed attitudes towards teen pregnancy. It doesn't really glorify it at all.

@Xbob42 Well, like I said, there hasn't been much real data either way. And barring real data, I'd stick to my instincts as a parent and say that excessive violent imagery is probably a negative factor on a child's developing mind. I'm not advocating government intervention, I'm talking about my own views as a (potential, in the future) parent.


Posted by 
 on: 06/28/11, 16:15:16
@Zero

Inconceivable! I move that most of these unknown teen pregnancies are still in the 1st Trimester!...??


Posted by 
 on: 06/28/11, 22:22:11
@Mr_Mustache
@Oldmanwinter

Because the content of games would be necessarily affected. It would become a major concern during the making of pretty much any game, and you can bet your ass game-makers would censor themselves, and if they didn't, their publishers certainly would do it for them.

And then we'd get the equivalent of Live Free or Die Hard with PG-13 lines obviously dubbed over swear words.


Posted by 
 on: 06/28/11, 22:28:41
@Guillaume

So you're again saying "this is a bad idea?" Who here thinks this is a GOOD idea?

Nothing about this sounds inviting. And I'm talking as an adult male, not an 8 year old who needs the coolest game.


Posted by 
 on: 06/28/11, 22:35:39
@Mr_Mustache

I don't understand what you're saying. What's "this"? The censorship or the law?


Posted by 
 on: 06/28/11, 22:41:19
As much as I enjoy seeing the government be a little hands off on something, I don't like this decision. While yes, parents are responsible for their kids, they don't see what their kids are doing 24 hours a day. A rule like they had was just in place to reinforce the rules that a parent wants to enforce, but cannot enforce 24/7.

I think they should just have it the way it was and bump the age down to 17. I think there really should be parity between all of these different media.


Posted by 
 on: 06/28/11, 23:09:55
@PogueSquadron I dunno... parents can certainly monitor whatever they feel like. My mom was super strict and it was nearly impossible to sneak anything in and play it because we only had the one family room TV and my mom didn't leave us home alone very often. If she did, there are all kinds of parental options on TVs and game consoles nowadays. Not to mention spy cams and the likes (not that I think spy cams are great parenting...)


Posted by 
 on: 06/28/11, 23:17:52
@PogueSquadron

Parity?

No other media has laws about this.

It's all self-regulated, just like video games and the ESRB.

This law being struck down won't change the way things work currently. They haven't made it illegal for a business to refuse to sell M-rated games to children as a policy. And all of the major chains have such policies.

What improvement exactly would that law have brought to the way things work currently?


Posted by 
 on: 06/28/11, 23:19:26
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