California appeals game law, ESA demands reimbursement

Schwarzenegger files appeal to resurrect Yee-penned game-restriction law; game-industry lobby wants state to pay it $320,000 in legal fees.

Arnold Schwarzenegger made millions starring in some of the 1980s' and 1990s' most violent films. Whether it was gunning down unarmed housewives in The Terminator, skewering Martian spies in Total Recall, or taking out an entire armed compound with the contents of a tool shed in Commando, it seemed no act of brutality was beyond the muscular action-movie icon.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

However, this week Schwarzenegger gave the following statement to the Reuters news service: "We have a responsibility to our kids and our communities to protect against the effects of games that depict ultraviolent actions." But instead of a mea culpa for his celluloid résumé, the call to action was against another form of media: games.

"Many studies show the link between playing ultraviolent video games and violent behavior," he said. "We protect our children from buying inappropriate movies and ought to be able to protect them from buying inappropriate video games as well." Schwarzenegger himself has starred in several games, including Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

Schwarzenegger's comments accompanied an appeal his administration submitted to reverse a judge's decision to strike down a California law criminalizing the sale of M-for-Mature games to minors. Penned by California State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), the law had been suspended under an injunction granted in December 2005, just one month after Schwarzenegger signed it.

While beneficial for California game retailers, the bill's near-two-years in legal limbo didn't come cheap. The Entertainment Software Association, the nation's primary game-industry lobby, is claiming that the State of California owes it over $320,000 in legal fees. The ESA filed a motion seeking the financial recompense with Northern District of California judge Ronald Whyte, the same judge who struck down the law on first-amendment grounds in August.

"From early on, the industry warned Governor Schwarzenegger and Senator Yee that this bill was unconstitutional and would be thrown out by the courts, and that California taxpayers would pay the cost," said ESA president Michael Gallagher in a statement. "California citizens should be outraged at their elected leaders. Hard-earned tax dollars were spent on defending this law that California's state leaders knew was unconstitutional."

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Discussion

574 comments
evanparker2134
evanparker2134

He has no business injecting himself into this situation, and for that matter in politics as well. I just want to strangle those who voted for him. He was the leading Republican so every Republican HAD to vote for him. I hate the polarization and ignorance in this country. That's how Bush got elected, and that's why we have lost much of our respect. It was damn simple to impeach Governor Gray Davis, why is it impossible to impeach a president who has and is failing us? Isn't that our right?! sjadhjsahdh......... moving to England where the government is scared of the people, not vice versa.

Gorbichov
Gorbichov

I don't think that any government really has the right to censor what anyone sees. I think that the original Tomb Raider series (1 to 4) would be the perfect example of a game which is violent, yet wouldn't spill into real life. I mean, yes that tiger wants to kill you, but you really want to be able to cuddle it. I remember feeling despair every time i shot them one the Great Wall level of TRII. Video games aren't violent, life is violent.

mastersteve117
mastersteve117

thats funny because three years ago i could not buy gta4 because it was rated M and i was only 15

Neo1O1
Neo1O1

Says the guy that machined-gunned his way to stardom & needless to say, millions of dollars.

ScaryClownMan
ScaryClownMan

I wonder if the he let his kids play any of the terminator games... lol

coolcat888
coolcat888

Gotta love Canada! We don't have any crazy game laws up here, but I suppose were overdue for one.

Mochito26
Mochito26

...And with that, I have lost every tiny bit of respect I might've had for the Governator.

smzee27
smzee27

mhrnw I can see where you're coming from but I don't think this is just about responsibility. To me it seems that it's just ignorant politicians bullying the game industry in an attempt to gain favor with older people and get more votes. Are there as many restrictions on movies and TV? No way. If we let them put further restrictions because of M-rated stuff like violence and language, they'll just keep adding more and more restrictions. Why? Because there really won't be much difference in kids' attitudes. Most kids who can afford video games probably already have cable or dish, and it should be obvious that there's must worse stuff on TV. They'll just keep blaming games more and more because the television industry is a lot more important to them no matter what its effects.

goth555im666
goth555im666

WTF! there are too many problems already with games. there should be NO restrictions against games. 1. unconstitutional 2. ALL games are educational..ALL OF THEM. in some way the teach u something. Oblivion...really improved my vocabulary. oh, and killing some1 in a game is 100% better than in real life....no consequences and its stress-relieving.

Killer_priest03
Killer_priest03

Hey, that means there'll be less 12 year olds from California playing seriously decent M rated games, whoop-die do! Violent video games affect the young stupid minds that don't pay enough attention at school and are spoiled by their parents.

vanhalendlrband
vanhalendlrband

I thought they already had age restrictions. Either way, if they don't do it on movies maybe they should go after movies first, its trying to give bad publicity to games, like only games are violent. THere are plenty more violent episodes of CSI on tv that your kids are watching then video games. So before you go after games because its beginning to outsell movies in dirty buisness tactics go after yourself. Like that'll ever happen tho.

mhrnw
mhrnw

Having an age restriction on purchasing mature rated games is incredibly reasonable. I don't think that violent games make normal, rational people violent, but the restriction is for the few people who aren't normal and rational. If a game can make only one person in the whole world go on a shooting spree, then don't you think that something should still be done to stop it. Or is this an acceptable exception that we should just learn to deal with. Parents need to get more involved and if a teenager is mature enough to play a certain game then it shouldn't be a problem for his/her parents to purchase the game for them. I know that kids could always play the game at someone elses house with out their parents approval, but that isn't a good arguement against the age restriction. Kids might be able to watch porn at their friends houses does that mean that kids should be able to buy porn too.

934400
934400

about time they make a law about that

buzzard31581
buzzard31581

I think most people would agree that laws and enforcement of those laws by retailers is not the way to handle this. If parents really want to protect THEIR children then THEY need to get more involved in THEIR childrens lives. Don't just let YOUR children sit in front of a video game for hours on end without knowing what it is they're actually doing in the game. If you don't want YOUR child to play games where they are running around committing crimes, then be sure to supervise their gaming habits and remove those types of games from YOUR own home. Don't allow YOUR children to purchase those types of games without YOUR consent. Take a proactive stance and protect YOUR children. After all, they aren't the RETAILERS children. And as for playing violent video games and a link to becoming a violent person, I think it's all bull. I would wager that the majority of the people who play the violent types of games aren't deranged enough to commit the same acts in the real world knowing full well that there are real consequences. If you can't make the distinction between a fictional video game (sometimes based on actual events) and the real world, then you need to be locked up to begin with. Saying that people who play violent video games are violent natured is a very illogical argument. It's considered a generalization. You've seen a few people that it has applied to and then you apply that to a whole group of people. It's an invalid argument in that you take details of a small observation and apply them to a general populous. You can go from the general to the paticular, but not the paticular to the general. Say for instance 85% of people who play video games are non-violent. Now take everyone in that group and divide them into two groups. You would still be able to apply the 85% to each half of the group. However, you can't do it the other way. Example: Three people play video games and they are found to have violent behaviour. Everyone who plays video games must have violent behaviour. Now tell me, which one sounds like the logical argument?

ConCy-DonK
ConCy-DonK

I agree Fat_GoldFish, they should spend their time on something more important like ending the discrimination against illegal drug users, the vast majority of which are only harming themselves and not others. Better education is the key.

Jokis
Jokis

What violent games did Nazi Germany play?

Jokis
Jokis

What violent games did Nazi Germany play?

quiman12
quiman12

vat iz zee governator dooingz? E iz makingz big foolz ov 'imselv

Ratchetbuddy101
Ratchetbuddy101

I think it's the decision of the children to decide whether or not they can handle playing violent M rated games. They should inform their parents about how they understand the difference between game violence and real violence. It's the parent's responsibility to protect kids from violence either from games or from music, but parents should also know when their kid is mature enough to handle this content.

Fat_GoldFish
Fat_GoldFish

games dont make kids violent the way the parents raise the kid does!! i should know ive been playin gta games since i was 9 and im a good person i make good grades, i dont cause any trouble in school or at home and, i get along with my parents.schwatzneggar sounds a little like a hippocrite in this after he was in all those movies now hes speakin out against violence in games what a moron!!! i hate people who do this kind of stuff why cant people leave video games alone? focus on something more important like illegal drugs. now thats all im gonna say before i get really fired up.

grifter_tm
grifter_tm

I don't know what it is with Americans, violence and violent video games. You don't see as many Asian or European kids (living in Europe and Asia) going ape after playing GOW, MK or Doom. Or is it just because CNN tends to broadcast more of those type of stories from the US?

mhrnw
mhrnw

I think that the sale of Mature rated games should be regulated. R-rated movies are regulated. Even music with explicit content is regulated to an extent. I bet that most people that say that it shouldn't be regulated are minors or at least under 20. When I have kids I'm not gonna let them play certain games when I feel that they are too young and immature to play. Games with foul language and excessive violence, like GTA, are not made for children. And they should not be sold to children plain and simple.

darkscorcher
darkscorcher

The ESRB should be shut down and replaced with the MPAA. This is ridiculous, M rated games = pg-13 rated movies, what more does he want. The only game that deserved the M rating was soldier of fortune. other than that , i have never seen a game that is M rated and is comparable in violense, sex and language to their m rated movie counter parts.

BetMonty
BetMonty

The quote that lead me to this was the "Many studies show the link..." line up there. You know, even if that was true (which, it is NOT - read the studies yourself, don't buy the hype), showing a link does in any way prove that link is CAUSAL. Correllation != Causation. (!= means "is not equal to") Stop making up facts, Mr. Schwarzenegger. We get that you're a politician and lying comes naturally, but I thought you were supposed to be different. Isn't that why so many of us Californians voted for you?

smbius
smbius

While "M" rated games and "R" rated movies share the same age "restrictions", it is sort of sad that movie theaters will not have the same strict guidelines as games do. The California law is not the first law to restrict violent game sales to be tested in courts. Eight other laws outside California have been challenged in other parts of the nation and every one of them have also ended in the video game industry's favor. Schwarzenegger shouldn't waste his time trying to appeal. Even now, there are many game retailers in our area (Northern California) who are strict about selling games to minors. If anything, he should team up with the ESA to come up with a solution that will satisfy both parties.

smbius
smbius

McAndrew_basic, you are confusing game violence with game addiction. He died because he was addicted to WoW.

McAndrew_basic
McAndrew_basic

Anyone remember the story of that Asian kid that died from exhaustion from playing WOW to much. Isn't that game rated T ? So what constitutes violence?

PuffstaJones
PuffstaJones

Arnold Shwarzeneggers movies are violent. Ironic?

majestikk
majestikk

Hey that's BS*!!! I dispayed violent behavior after having my undeafeated record violated by Manchester United in FIFA 06 for the XBOX, that's not a violent game!

BewilderedRonin
BewilderedRonin

The Supreme Court was already pretty clear on this. YOU CANNOT CREATE A STATE OR FEDERAL BOARD TO RESTRICT SALES OF ENTERTAINMENT! Movies are rated by the MPAA, TV programs are rated by the TV networks themselves and video games are rated by the ESRB. None of these are government entities, and they shouldn't be. Way to go Governator! Wasting taxpayer money on a law that has already been decided in 1952, no less! to be unconstitutional. After a series of meetings with government representatives, the Motion Picture Association of America and National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) agreed to provide a uniform ratings system for all of its constituents' movies, a system that would be theoretically enforced by the film exhibitors. Film production companies that were not members of the MPAA were unaffected, and the ratings system had no official governmental enforceability due to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution as interpreted in regards to matters of sexuality, violence, and profanity in the media dating back to 1952's Joseph Burstyn, Inc v. Wilson decision. - Wikipedia So, unless the Governator wants to try and state that games cannot be and are not a form of art, merely a business, then he needs to drop the appeal. It won't fly. To those who want links to studies showing causal relationships between violent video games and real-life violent acts; VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES CAN INCREASE AGGRESSION Violent video games alter brain's response to violence However, I think the real crux of the issue is this: Study finds STABLE personalities unaffected by violent games Of course those who are mentally unstable or unable to properly discern reality from fantasy are going to act out some of those fantasy acts. It happens. The way to prevent that is for parents to teach their kids the difference and restrict their access until they are old enought to understand the difference. Unfortunately, many parents today don't want to bother trying to teach their kids anything and think the state should simply do it. If anything, the rate of teenage childbirths despite the idiotic notion of injecting of faith-based curriculum into Sex Education should be an indicator of how well the state teaches our children. The state will not empower you, it will only complacent you. Empower yourselves.

snakenamedjoe
snakenamedjoe

"Many studies show the link between playing ultraviolent video games and violent behavior," I hear politicians talking about these 'studies' and these 'links' all the time, but I have yet to see anything that links violent video games with violence in real life beyond mere speculation. As a college student, if I were to make a statement like that in one of my reports I would be required to back it up with facts or I would get an F on the paper. Apparently, the requirements to be California's state governor aren't as strickt.

dirty55409
dirty55409

it's not a criminal offense to sell a rated R movie to a minor, nor is it a criminal offense to sell a ticket to see a rated R movie to a minor. so why should it be a criminal offense to sell a minor a videogame rated M?

vahid_xbox_360
vahid_xbox_360

i,m a 18 years old boy. I have played M rated games from 13 but for the records i,m not a criminal or something. these are all games . these are all unreality . the matures really enjoy the game but they won,t accept it as reality. they fear in horror games but not in the bed at nights. they enjoy killing peoples in the game but they don,t like to see any bloods in real world. so the games are not the problem the game sellers are.

SemiMaster
SemiMaster

Way to take what he said out of complete context Gamespot... The Governator Said : "Many studies show the link between playing ultraviolent video games and violent behavior," he said. "We protect our children from buying inappropriate movies and ought to be able to protect them from buying inappropriate video games as well." I was going to jump to conclusions. Still, people need to stop making it like video games are something new and now the cause of all evil, seeing as TV and Music are done being scapegoated.

torakain
torakain

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

StarFox-Elite
StarFox-Elite

Before people bash Arnold here, he's not banning games... He's saying that with all his experience in violent scenes and media material, he's got enough right to say that his work aswell as others should not fall into the wrong hands...kids games should be for kids and anybody else who happens to want to play them, adult games should be for adults...thats what he's saying... I think the man is onto something here...he should be listened to, the man who was the cause of violence in films himself, should have right to enforce, nevermind act as a figure of importance in where his work is veiwed.

Coco_pierrot
Coco_pierrot

"We protect our children from buying inappropriate movies and ought to be able to protect them from buying inappropriate video games as well." He talks about not selling violent videogame to kid underage , like they do for movie. You can't buy 16+ movie if you d'ont have 16+ the same goes with videogames , if you don,t have 17+ then you can't have it. Yes he plays in violent film but he knows that they won't sell them to minor so their is not problem at all. He plays in violent videogames , ok , but retailler let minor get them , this is where the problem is.

BringTheBlood
BringTheBlood

Why are we worried about freaking video games when we have a war going and poverity in our country. They need to get their priorities striaght.

imnotwhite
imnotwhite

Cali bad for gaming? ......well although that's hard to believe im goin up to new york!

The_Weekend
The_Weekend

I'm never popping by Cali !!! It's a anti-gamer zone!!!! Stay away! Causes stains!! I can't believe Gov.Schwarzenegger's words ... especially watching his old movies ... and I'm not talking about Kidnegarden cop!

hegetshiskeys
hegetshiskeys

I guess it sux to be a gamer in Cali right now, lol!!! Oh, and @ jono69830 and all you other politicians, this ain't a heated debate about Iraq and war politics! Take that BS elsewhere!!

jknight5422
jknight5422

This from the guy who acted as a Terminator & killed everyone in a police station. I'd hate to be a taxpayer in Kalifornistan right now, they'll have to foot it.

feuer0frei
feuer0frei

MyAvatar : How many deaths (American, British, Iraq) since the beginning of this "6 days, maybe 6 weeks, ... i doubt 6 months" conflict ? How close are you to ending it and making Iraq safe ?

Ychi
Ychi

With the right lobby yes you too can stuff his pocket with dollars and he will represent your issue and make it a top priority. The bottom line is he is wasting tax dollars on both sides and it costs us in the end. We have far, far bigger issues to deal with vs some kid in Idaho gets his hands on GTA 5 months too early when he/she was not of legal age...

bmaisey
bmaisey

its a pity really, he seemed really foward thinking and progressive, especially for a well known republican. When people stop blaming everything else EXCEPT the person who decided to do the bad thing, itll be a happy day for all.