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Rich Taylor's Avatar + Posted by Rich Taylor on Nov 02, 2010 // Entertainment Software Association

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in the case of Schwarzenegger v. EMA/ Entertainment Software Association. They’ll decide whether a California law, which would restrict the sale of “violent” computer and video games, is constitutional.

What does this mean to you, PlayStation fans?

This case could have huge implications for the industry. No one is sure what counts as a “violent” game, so the California law would suppress game developers’ imagination and right to self-expression. It would also prohibit retailers from selling the games that might be perfectly legal, “just in case.” It could mean an environment where “God of War” is banned from retail shelves, but the sometimes violent written works detailing Greek myths are still available on bookstores shelves and taught in classrooms.

It’s a slippery slope, and the California law is similar to what Congress tried to do to comic books over fifty years ago. In a letter of support for video games, comic book legend Stan Lee explained:

“A Senate subcommittee investigated and decided the U.S. could not “afford the calculated risk involved in feeding its children, through comic books, a concentrated diet of crime, horror and violence.” Comic books were burned… Looking back, the outcry was — forgive the expression — comical. Substitute video games for comic books and you’ve got a 21st century replay of the craziness of the 1950s.”

If the Supreme Court sides against the video game industry, developers could experience a creative chilling effect, because the government could essentially tell determine what games could and could not be created. It would also open up states to pass a patchwork of legislation around the country, requiring publishers to release many different versions of each game they publish. And, these same restrictions could eventually be applied to other creative mediums like movies, books and music. The result would be a huge foot on the brake for innovation in one of our nation’s most dynamic economic sectors.

But there are common-sense reasons to oppose this law as well, most importantly this: The decision over whether to buy a video game or a book or a movie should be made by responsible parents, not the government.

Fortunately, the courts have historically aligned themselves on the side of video games. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals already ruled that the California law is unconstitutional, and every other state and federal court case has ruled in favor of video games as protected speech.

Video_Game_Voters_Network

But what can you do while we wait for the Supreme Court’s ruling?

The most important thing you can do is join the Video Game Voters Network.

The Video Game Voters Network is a place for voting age gamers to organize and defend against threats to video games. Video games are fully protected speech under the Constitution, and receive the same First Amendment protection as books, movies, music and cable television programs. The VGVN opposes efforts to regulate the content of entertainment media, including proposals to criminalize the sale of certain games to minors, or regulate video games differently from movies, music, books, and other media.

Join the VGVN today, tell your friends to do the same, and stay current on your gaming rights.

//Add Your Own

86 Comments

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1

+ nino1911 on November 2nd, 2010 at 7:03 am said:

im been in for quite a while


2

+ MetalGearCrysis on November 2nd, 2010 at 7:03 am said:

Definitely a worthwhile cause.


3

+ bh-alienux on November 2nd, 2010 at 7:08 am said:

While I certainly don’t agree with some of the content that some video games contain, a law like this would clearly be a violation of freedom of speech. As said, this is definitely a worthwhile cause and b/c of the political implications, the principal of opposing this for freedom is far more important than video games will ever be.


4

+ LightAce on November 2nd, 2010 at 7:09 am said:

Joined a while ago


5

+ ForgiveMyAim on November 2nd, 2010 at 7:11 am said:

@4 same, but I thought Schwartzeneger was cool *_*


6

+ Kingdomkeeper12 on November 2nd, 2010 at 7:13 am said:

You make it sound smaller then it is. Sony and Microsoft may need to close there gaming branch. Closing all …GOOD Console Gaming *Cough* *Cough* *Wii* *Cough*


7

+ TUSTIN1 on November 2nd, 2010 at 7:15 am said:

Schwarzenegger v. EMA

I get a kick out of this alone, because someone lobbying to restrict the sale of one type of ‘violent’ media surely wouldn’t have anything to do with another form of ‘violent’ media, say films…surely if it’s important for one type of media, it’s equally important for another, unless of course you stand to profit…

The time for blaming video games, music, movies, pornography, etc., for all of society’s ills is long in the past…should be well gone the way of the witch-hunt by now…except when narrow minded individuals keep using it to boost their own agenda.


8

+ Rikith on November 2nd, 2010 at 7:20 am said:

Hope they do put more restrictions on sales to minors, tired of buying 60 dollar Mature games to come home and get stomped by a spoiled rich kid with way to much free time to get Lite.


9

+ designheadache on November 2nd, 2010 at 7:25 am said:

If I am reading the link correctly, this bill will restrict the sale of violent games to minors, correct?

If that is the case, how is that any different to the laws in the UK & Europe, where video game sales have similar certification?

I must have this backwards, because honestly, stopping young kids playing games not appropriate for them is only a good thing and how any of this can be construed as “bad” is baffling.


10

+ Kokuro-Kun on November 2nd, 2010 at 7:27 am said:

I dont see how they think this will better California, or anyone for that matter. Video games are a work of art and expression. It’s easy to take something you misunderstand and not see it for what it really is. The only thing the supreme court will see is a violence.

As a gamer, i’d hate to see this right taken away from my fellow men and women.


11

+ thelookey6 on November 2nd, 2010 at 7:28 am said:

where do i go and where to vote


12

+ Link01 on November 2nd, 2010 at 7:29 am said:

I’ve supported against this from day one, followed G4 coverage, and signed petitions. This is ridiculous and is repeating past media based mistakes ( like the fight against movies, banned books, banned art ). You think people would learn, but then again … it is the actor who played “the terminator” that was elected to run California….


13

+ Asane on November 2nd, 2010 at 7:32 am said:

Soo…. This is bad and crap, but um GT5 was suppose to come out today.

Can Sony at least give out a date for when GT5 is releasing?


14

+ DestructoKING420 on November 2nd, 2010 at 7:34 am said:

hey im all for this, but i got a problem to, i cant sign in to playstation network, even though it says i got internet conncetion. I got one of the newer ps3 modles, the 120 gb (It keeps timing out). Can anyone help me, or is the playststion network down for some reason. Please inform me on any news you may have. Thank you for your help.


15

+ PuppetShoJustice on November 2nd, 2010 at 7:43 am said:

I can’t help but /facepalm at the idea that Conan the Barbarian is telling us that fantasy violence is bad.


16

+ perrandy on November 2nd, 2010 at 7:49 am said:

there’s nothing that we cant do right now. its all on the supreme court’s hands.so, i dont think beign a member or not would affect anything.it is what is going to be!


17

+ poweredbyzen on November 2nd, 2010 at 7:50 am said:

it’s all about balance – it’s also the game developers’ responsibility to not glorify violence. i’ve played some games where you can “toggle” off blood splatter. maybe make something like that a staple in games. for the under-age, it boils down to parental control. for those of right age, well, there’s just nothing right when you want to see darkspawn blood fill your screen – hahaha! i’m guilty!


18

+ XxDeathDoctorxX on November 2nd, 2010 at 7:51 am said:

i support against it and @destructoking420 go to ur comp and go to cmd and type in ipconfig scroll up u will see an ip numb well go to that and change the last 3 numbers on the ps3 go to custom and put ur own ip address to match that but changed the last 3 numbers to like 118 or 119 somethin like that than click save dont test connection yet turn ps3 off by holdin ps button than dont turn back on untill u reset ur comp and its back on that should put ur ps3 in dmz mode which will stop the problems and also there r videos on youtube go put in how to put ps3 in dmz mode it will help u out let me know if it works for u it worked for me it opens all ur ports and than w.e the ip address under cmd saids type that in the address bar and it will bring up ur router page and turn off the fire wall and if u can find dmz click on


19

+ jimbobb23 on November 2nd, 2010 at 7:53 am said:

This is getting way out of control. This is not a freedom of speech issue. This is not some moral stand. This is a silly little law that will have no long term impact. Shame on Playstation and all these gaming sites for going crazy extreme on this issue.

The issue at hand is whether minors should be able to buy video games with lots of violence. Their parents can buy them and give them to them. Their older friends can, ect.

Guess what? Minors cannot buy R rated movies on their own. They cannot buy cigarettes or alcohol. Minors cannot do a whole list of things because they are minors! They lack judgment so society restricts them. Big deal.

Now, the actual federalism issues here are interesting but have nothing to do with this nonsense all the gaming sites are talking about.

This is much ado about nothing and most gamers have been misled about what this is about. I love video games, but this law is not a big deal either way it goes.


20

+ whitwhit on November 2nd, 2010 at 7:56 am said:

@13 your wrong, if we as gamers can come together, then we can have a force that will be heard in the proceedings! Don’t let anyone tell you different, change can only happen when we as people and gamers combine our forces to show the government that we mean business! I will most definitely be signing up as soon as i leave work. I encourage everyone to go and sign up.


21

+ ArcaneAltair on November 2nd, 2010 at 7:56 am said:

It’s ridiculous how they’ll completely ignore movies, books, and music, but go after games that are clearly rated with a rating that tells you only a certain age group should be playing these kinds of games.


22

+ Stalker666_ on November 2nd, 2010 at 7:57 am said:

videogames don’t make you violent
it’s the mental state of the person that causes problems
like that mother who killed her child for disturbing her playing Farmville
yes that’s right, Farmville, what they gonna do? make planting virtual crops 18+?


23

+ bbonds_007 on November 2nd, 2010 at 8:07 am said:

The law is screwed up. The goverment can not and will not do a better job at defining whats “inappropriate” then what the ESRB is already doing. Their “definition” is so vague its a joke, heck I guess according to them LittleBigPlanet will be 18+ because you can torture and electrocute innocent sackboys!

Gata love how rated T war games such as MAG would probably be classified as 18+ and illegal to sell to minor yet any minor can can then legally buy Machete or Sin City without a problem.

Screw these corrupt politicians! Vote them out today and make a difference! It is NOT the governments right to control what we can or can no do.


24

+ TUSTIN1 on November 2nd, 2010 at 8:20 am said:

@17 – it’s not that they’re ignoring books, movies and music – they’ve already tried restricting them, video games are just the new kid on the block…


25

+ XxNo0b_H8rxX on November 2nd, 2010 at 8:33 am said:

ban god of war for ever? wha???? now that’s unconstitutional, bsnning the sale of a rated m game to a 6 year old, that makes sense… but call of duty would take a huge hit in sales cause those are the only people who play it


26

+ Sanador62 on November 2nd, 2010 at 8:34 am said:

Don’t forget that it is gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown who is suing the EMA! Gamers in California – one of your gubernatorial candidates is already attacking your hobby!


27

+ KAPADO on November 2nd, 2010 at 8:54 am said:

It’s time we made gaming a religion, that way the government can’t control the Church of Sony, may Lord Kutaragi as well as the divine Jack Tretton guide us .Blu Ray upon us the faithfull


28

+ JKar275 on November 2nd, 2010 at 9:02 am said:

I’d like to see more articles on this very important subject. I joined the VGVN & will give them my full support. I don’t want to see the courts or the legislative bodies of government prohibiting what kinds of games can be made or sold in the USA.


29

+ rofajole on November 2nd, 2010 at 9:02 am said:

Hey Sony! It’s Nov 2nd. Where’s my copy of GT5?! -__-


30

+ FreshRevenge on November 2nd, 2010 at 9:04 am said:

You know we have mature ratings for a reason! I really don’t see this a threat to gaming, It just means that you need to enforce a law not to sell to minors! Developers should keep this in mind when making their games. Developers have been making games regardless of who gets their game, rather legal or illegal! They know some parents will buy their children violent content, they depend on this! We have age limits in this country for a reason, most teenagers aren’t mature enough to tell the difference of reality to fiction!

Honestly Developers should know when making a game who their target audience is before they make that game!


31

+ xiiego on November 2nd, 2010 at 9:32 am said:

this is 100 percent crazy, the government cant tell us what we can and cannot buy! heck, were lucky enough to be voicing our opinion right now! it is in our own logic to buy a violent game and our own logic to emulate what happens, the devs create that to go along with the story, character/s! not for us to emulate and perish/perish others.! god of war for example, you think it wont be violent? and that game is hard to replicate so its our own logic to buy it and emulate what happens in a game, not the devs, but us!


32

+ FormerPSfan on November 2nd, 2010 at 9:37 am said:

This is BS, with all the problems us PS3 owners have had this year we don’t need more alamrist propogananda. This is nothing more than Frederick Warthams “seduction of the innocent” from the 60s. It was stupidity then & stupidity now. Its obviously unconstitutional and just as obviously wont pass. Signing petitions or marching with signs outside the supreme court won’t do any good and will just reinforce the right wing nuts allegations that gamers are a bunch of foaming at the mouth lunatics.


33

+ jimbobb23 on November 2nd, 2010 at 9:56 am said:

@32

This is not a right wing thing. I know its tough to think outside the simpleton right-left world view, but plenty of issues have no clear connection to that spectrum. Hilary Clinton and Lieberman are the two most active politicians in this area. That does not make this a left-wing issue.

Its just an issue like many others with people all over the political spectrum all over on different sides of the issue.

By the way, thoughtless phrases like “right wing nuts” in connection with an obscure video game law really suggest you are a foaming at the mouth lunatic who looks for political demons to justify your world view. There is no monolithic right wing view on this law, just like there is no monolithic left wing view.


34

+ Skater_Ricky on November 2nd, 2010 at 10:24 am said:

I Hope we win because it not only counts but for our kids kids and there kids.

I for one are on the gaming side and care about free speech and freedom to express our art in video games


35

+ Cyb3rfr34k-iso on November 2nd, 2010 at 10:26 am said:

Schwarzenegger ~ Hitler
lol


36

+ hardvibes on November 2nd, 2010 at 10:29 am said:

We don’t care about this stuff. All we want is Gt5 release date….NOW. And the game, before christmas!!!
It was supposed to come out today!!!!!


37

+ Sponge-worthy on November 2nd, 2010 at 10:32 am said:

So, minors should be allowed to purchase ‘M’-rated games??

I’m over 18 already, so this won’t affect me either way.


38

+ perrandy on November 2nd, 2010 at 10:34 am said:

@20 dude, just tell me what banding together would do AFTER the fact that the issue is over the supreme court.once they reach a desicion is over.period!

now, if the issue were only up to the california supreme court then the people suing this would have a chance but like i said now that its up over the higher court of the land means that there’s no much to do.

i dont want to sound unkind or impolite but how do you know this organization is going to faithfully represent us in upcoming legal challenges since to be honest here they didnt care about us comsumers when sony took out the other os feauture and ps2 BC.btw,i like sony just like most guys here but what they did just was wrong.also, will this company side with the consumers with the current DLC rip off that is going on so rampant these days…..i’m talking about the type of DLC that is already on the disk that you payed for but if you want to enjoy gotta pay more just to get the key…


39

+ perrandy on November 2nd, 2010 at 10:38 am said:

just to be fair, this organization didnt care about consumer’s rights when the other company where having high failure rates and people were left in the dark for awhile…


40

+ SkyNet003 on November 2nd, 2010 at 10:39 am said:

I agree with all that freedom of spech stuff you say, but your general message tends to say “violence=innovation”; you need something way stronger than that if you are to defend freedom of speech.


41

+ Bravo3120 on November 2nd, 2010 at 10:40 am said:

Yes, and seeing how this is so important, I do hope they take a hard charge against alcohol, tobacco, pornography, etc…. My FPS is way more damaging to society than the above. Please.

Censorship at it’s worst. The focus should be on how to make it even tougher for underage gamers to get their hands on “M” games, and severe penalties to outlets that sell to them. I agree with that. It’s no different than dealing with underage drinking or smoking. You don’t see “government” putting a halt to the production of alcohol or shutting down tobacco plants, even though we all know the harmful effects of those. Unlike these industries, the “government” has probably just seen a sales report in the gaming industry and realized they aren’t receiving any of it. Time to regulate…

Nah, let’s get that father that’s been glued to his chair for 7 hours, trying to rank up in BC2 on his day off from work.(guilty) He looks like a troublemaker and a deviant.
*rolls eyes, picks up controller*


42

+ DXG on November 2nd, 2010 at 10:46 am said:

How about parents be more responsible on what games they buy for their kids and let the developers make what they want. Games are a digital media, just like movies and TV shows.


43

+ Blaketoberfest on November 2nd, 2010 at 10:52 am said:

The government is corrupt. Thank Barack Obama and the rest of the Democrats…


44

+ gillettjoe on November 2nd, 2010 at 10:52 am said:

They should ban terminator sequels first, on the basis of being crap.

I’m not aloud to join the video game voters site because i’m an immigrant and can’t vote, and i’m here to take your jerbs.


45

+ E-Phoenix- on November 2nd, 2010 at 10:53 am said:

lol i just moved from california to nevada.


46

+ imtooseryas on November 2nd, 2010 at 10:54 am said:

@designheadache #9 because if it is illegal, mature games will be hidden and relegated to the back and will carry a certain stigma, thus giving developers less incentive to develop mature games. Big stores like Wallmart and Target will stop carrying it, or keep it very hidden. Just like in my country, when they banned the release of R18 movies in cinemas, all the movies that are released here are either super super edited to fit the R13 bill, or not even shown at all. Thats why the indie movie scene in the Philippines is a small niche market that has no chance of growing.

the only movies coming out now produced by the country are stupid, D level, for the masses type. I see this will happen as well to games. Videogames should be self regulated, not by the government.


47

+ imtooseryas on November 2nd, 2010 at 10:55 am said:

@42 actually is Arnie doing this, and if I am not mistaken on American politics, isnt he a conservative republican? correct me if I am wrong


48

+ imtooseryas on November 2nd, 2010 at 10:56 am said:

actually I wikied it, and yes, Arnie is a Republican, so dont go off blaming Obama again, because clearly he is the Republicans no.1 enemy


49

+ imtooseryas on November 2nd, 2010 at 11:01 am said:

Stupidity in this thread is strong apparently, EMA has nothing to do with DLC, BC or fanboy hate against Sony. This isnt about violence = innovation. This is about how the whole industry will take a creative shift when and if this things hits. So saying things like…”oh im 18 this wont affect me!”.. “kids shouldnt play violent games!”.. all gamers shall be affected.

Big chain stores will not highly advertise “illegal” games, they can get in alot of trouble, so they will either stop carrying it, or just hide it all together. Thus affecting sales, so the industry as a whole, will shift to “family friendly” games.
or in short.. stupid easy shovelware


50

+ EVanHelsing on November 2nd, 2010 at 11:01 am said:

This is the repercussion of the push to make gaming appear “mature” and “hardcore”. Guess what? When you go around bragging “games are mature”, some people might take it literally.


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