Supreme Court to hear gaming case Nov. 2

Oral arguments in dispute over California law banning sales of violent games to minors finally ready to proceed.

by

Written arguments in the Supreme Court battle over gaming legislation have already been made. Now it's time for the Entertainment Software Association and the state of California to plead their cases directly to the justices. California state senator Leland Yee--who wrote the law at the heart of the dispute--today said he would be in attendance on November 2 at 10 a.m., when the US Attorney General's office is scheduled to make its case before the court in Washington, DC.

Not pictured: David Robinson's Supreme Court for the Sega Genesis.

Signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005 but challenged in court before it could take effect, California Assembly Bill 1179 sought to ban the sale or rental of "violent video games" to children. A "violent" game was defined as a "game in which the range of options available to a player includes killing, maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being." Under the law, retailers that sold such games would be subject to a $1,000 fine.

The bill would also have required "violent" video games to bear a two-inch-by-two-inch sticker with a "solid white '18' outlined in black" on their front covers. That's more than twice the size of the labels that currently adorn game-box covers and display the familiar Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating.

In 2007, a circuit court judge struck down the law as unconstitutional but admitted he was "sympathetic to what the legislature sought to do." Last year, an appellate court judge backed up the original ruling. Months before the appellate court's decision, in an appearance on GameSpot's HotSpot podcast, Yee predicted that the dispute would be pushed to the Supreme Court.

Discussion

423 comments
SuperYeti22
SuperYeti22

I don't get it. If this law was once passed before but deemed unconstitutional... then why are people trying to get it in AGAIN?! Morons these days.

Ohaidere
Ohaidere

@steven141 Keep drinking that coolaid and having daddy gov'mnt take care of you. Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! I want the govn't givin' meh social laws that are based on absolutely 0 compelling research! Baaaaaaaaaaaa!

steven141
steven141

@SuperYeti22 So you see my point now, unfortunately, not all parents would do that. @Ohaidere The hell? have fun in you're country getting shot and whatnot

squarejp
squarejp

I'm in my late 20s and a gamer and I do agree that the government should ban sales of violent games toward minors. After playing Gears of Wars and GTA continuously for 10 hours during weekend, my mind subconsciously keep thinking of driving people over, using chain saw to kill criminals or people who are injustice to others. I have 1st person experience of influence from violent games. Violent games usually create a lot of adrenaline to stimulate the brain to react fast and also getting hyper. Minors that are trained to be violent with all these hyper feelings from games are very dangerous to the society. Honestly, if you give me a gun now, and I see an injustice event going on, I would definitely without remorse get hyper from my adrenaline to kill that person without a single conscience to stop me. That of course would get me to prison for the rest of my life but during that killing moment, I would be very hyper and agitated.

Ohaidere
Ohaidere

@steven141 Have fun in your cage, sheep. Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

SuperYeti22
SuperYeti22

@steven141 Maybe so, little kids aren't supposed to be watching porn or playing games like GTA4 or Gears, sometimes violent games can inspire kids if they're either crazy AND/OR if they weren't RAISED BY THEIR PARENTS!!!!!!!!!!! Parents need to sit down with their kids and explain to them that they're games, not real life, and stop letting the games raise their kids, and start raising their kids themselves.

steven141
steven141

@SuperYeti22 You fail to see my point. I really hope you arn't a parent if you let a child, say 8, watch porn or ultra violent films.

steven141
steven141

@Ohaidere Government parenting you? Countries need laws in order to avoid chaos

Sgthombre
Sgthombre

You can maime people in football, so I guess Madden's too violent for the little kiddies. The first time I bought a M rated game was when I was 12, and the first time I got a T rated one was when I was 7. No matter what law they write, people are still gonna get around it.

BlackBaldwin
BlackBaldwin

these sorta bills are just a waste of tax payers money... Just like all the people that support pro life and tries to get the government to pass a law that doesn't allow abortion... Helllo earth to pro life idiots out there... If a person wants to do something with their body they are going to do it plain and simple. The government shouldn't have a say in what you do to your body its not theirs its yours! I believe the same should go for gaming as well, its a industry that governments shouldn't have any say in. Just let the fools get their tax payers money and shut their mouths we all be more happier if they did...

zombehman
zombehman

So happy I live in Canada, but I am hugely sympathetic to those gamers down south, seriously this is totally wrong video games shouldn't be the scapegoat for bad parenting

shango2
shango2

I had this discussion with a coworker last week. It came down to one major point... you're walking home late at night in a bad part of town. You decide to take a shortcut through a dark alleyway and, OH NO! someone is lurking in the shadows! It's... my god.... IT'S A GAMER! Do you A) turn and run for your life, or B) laugh and make fun of him for living in his parent's basement. Yeah, that's what I thought. If we're throwing common sense out the window, why don't we ban unfit adults from raising children, I think that would have more results.

KTfreak4Jesus2
KTfreak4Jesus2

I bought a playboy game when i was 12. when i went to sell it back (to the same store who sold it to me) they wanted my id. What a sad end this is coming to. F U government

anthonycg
anthonycg

Parents aren't doing their jobs and now the government will step in. If you don't use your freedom it WILL be taken away. Video games aren't babysitters and now the government is gonna show you....

chg3
chg3

Pssh! I used to play Turok 2 on the N64, back when I was....4. Nothings wrong with me. Well, that depends on who you ask. You know whats funny about this, any little kid could walk into a store and buy Communist Propaganda, erotic romance novels, Buckcherry by Buckcherry (thats the one with the song about cocaine), a Nickleback album (they shouldn't hear that), 70's horror movies, an Uwe Boll film (Nooooo! They can't watch one of those!), and all sorts of other things like that. Actually, one of the most read books in the 90's was Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. Crichton isn't always PG, they should ban him, too. -.- Might as well ban the planet, right? Can't see that, it has people in it, and people do stuff.

AuronTsubaki85
AuronTsubaki85

Time, money & manpower...all gone to waste over a ridiculous law without any evidence. How much more of the tax payers hard earned dollars will be wasted by Yee & his pathetic law.

ptown58
ptown58

How is pro sports not violent but playing video games (pushing kb keys and muse buttons) ....is ?

ptown58
ptown58

"You Don't Know Jack" the movie, falls into the same category, a must see for anyone who cherishes their actual personal freedoms. Jack K. wanted it to go to the supreme court , with the current SC we might be in big trouble with a "we will tell you what is free speech and what is NOT free speech" gaming bill.

ptown58
ptown58

This is a ban on your rights , nothing less.

Gooshnads
Gooshnads

@MattyWoah What's wrong with a 12 year old playing GTA 4? Compared to me back then playing GTA 3 and VC? People are going to be exposed to it sooner or later and imo, sooner is better. As long as parents tell them that those ppl are idiots because as you said, yes, it is down to the parents to decide what "substance" they come in contact with, but think about it, if you try to make a child read something they don't enjoy reading, what's the point? Let them have their games, and all parents need to do is just be more aware, because we've all seen parents who don't seem to give a crap about their children.

Frostyballoon
Frostyballoon

This is one step forward for the government to complete ban the bill of rights...I can see it already 2020 The US isnt going to be the land of the free...

krytorii
krytorii

I dont know the specifics of the law, but in the UK, the same organization that do the film age ratings. On games they can give either a 12, 15 or 18 rating, so you have to be that age or higher to buy it legally. Same goes for films (but films have a few more, non-restrictive ratings). These take precedent, if they dint get a rating they get a european pegi rating. These were only guidelines last time I checked. Thyey are alot stricter though (sims lifge stories, which happens to be infront of me, is a 12+ according to them).

Maverickx25
Maverickx25

Does this mean I can't play Looney Tunes or Madden anymore? :'(

MervinBunter
MervinBunter

This isn't about whether kids should or shouldn't play games. This is simply about the law in the United States. Unless the government can clearly prove that mature video games cause a demonstrable health risk OR that it violates the common standards of decency (as in the case of pornography), then the government CAN NOT touch it. Period. There's a very good reason for this: without this protection, the government could place sanctions against any art form that contains a message that the government doesn't like. Normally businesses voluntarily set up rules for themselves, because businesses are subject to the normal economic forces (i.e., if you do something that people don't like, they won't buy things from your store). So that's why we have: Movies = self-regulated by the movie industry Television = partly regulated by the government, but only because it's considered "publicly available" (and only when it violates the "common decency" legal standard... as in the case of "wardrobe malfunctions") Porn = runs afoul of "common decency" Cigarettes = demonstrable health risk Games = none of the above.

silvajason
silvajason

If they eant to fix the problem go after the parents who buy them the games

jimbo102671
jimbo102671

A problem (if not THE problem) with laws like these is that they have "Double Standard" written all over them, applying to only one form of media most (if not all) the time. BTW, has anyone else noticed the recent trend of appellate courts and the Supreme Court, holding off high-level Constitutionality cases so their rulings would be AFTER the upcoming Elections (including this case's hearing actually SCHEDULED for Election Day)? I hope it's just me because, given the current political atmosphere, I don't like the possible implications of this.

Stiler
Stiler

[QUOTE] vivendidoom Posted Aug 31, 2010 10:33 am PT I actually agree with the law. The material that is sold to today are ideas of gamers yesterday. So as a traditional gamer that came up from the retro...its an engageing medium for the brain and it sucks people in, therefor i agree with the idea to cut out the under 18 because legally they are still kids, and not 21. even though they can get beer at that age illigeally, it does not mean its smiled upon[/QUOTE] So you think that games should be treated in the same way as Firearms, Tobacco, and Alcohol and NOT in with Movies, Art, Music? Does that seem right to you? That games be put in with dangerous things that have a physical risk/danger to using them?

vivendidoom
vivendidoom

I actually agree with the law. The material that is sold to today are ideas of gamers yesterday. So as a traditional gamer that came up from the retro...its an engageing medium for the brain and it sucks people in, therefor i agree with the idea to cut out the under 18 because legally they are still kids, and not 21. even though they can get beer at that age illigeally, it does not mean its smiled upon

Ohaidere
Ohaidere

@steven141 It's not the governments job, period. In America, we generally don't believe in the government parenting us. And I don't claim it's a breach of the 1st amendment for everything the government does, I claim it when it is... like this law for example.

SuperYeti22
SuperYeti22

I know a lot of good people who play violent games, and there are a lot of serial killers that don't play violent games at all! There are only two reasons why one would kill another: 1) They was raised badly as kids. 2) They have some kind of mental disorder. Imagine all the lives that would've been saved if Jack the Ripper didn't play GTA4, or if Hitler and Saddam Hussein didn't play CoD, or if Gordon Northcott didn't play Heavy Rain, or if Jeffery Dahmer didn't play Fallout 3, or if the Roman gladiators of the collesseum didn't play God of War. Or if Julius Ceaser's assassins didn't play Assassin's Creed. Or if those dinosaurs didn't play Turok... Seriously, violent games don't kill, PEOPLE do! Plus, its up to the parents to decide what to get for their kids, NOT the government! Its a waste of tax money, it violates the constitution, people failed trying to do what Yee is trying to do many times for years! I personally think that people should stop taking games so seriously and turn them off once in a while, and realize, that they're just games, they're not real. If kids get their hands on games, I think that their parents should sit down with them, and talk, and explain to them what I just said in my last sentance. Why are parents so concerned with video games and TV raising how their kid should be? Why don't they actually raise their kids themselves?! And why isn't the government focusing on IMPORTANT things? Like the BP oil spill, Iraq, Al Queada, and the Recession?

SuperYeti22
SuperYeti22

And to you stupid politicians, ask yourself this. Have you ever thought about that video games didn't cause violence, in fact that it was the other way around? There was violence since the dawn of humanity. If there was no such thing as violence, there would be no war in Iraq, no 9/11, no WW2, no terrorists, no executions, no murderers, OJ Simpson wouldn't have killed his wife, there would be no nukes, John Lennon wouldn't have been shot, there would've been no Hitler no Saddam Hussein, no Jeffery Dahmer, no Gordan Northcott, there wouldn't have been gladiators in ancient Rome. Violence runs deep within the human race, video games didn't cause violence. Even if video games and movies don't exist, there would still be violence. There always has, is, and always will be violence. PS: This reminds me, check out this funny video! http://www.southparkstudios.com/episodes/103531/

SuperYeti22
SuperYeti22

This is stupid! They're just pointing fingers at video games because they did a bad job raising THEIR kids, and can't admit they screwed up. Avenged Sevenfold said it well. You know, the song Critical Acclaim. Two minutes into the song, M. Shadows said it all: "Well, where I'm from, we have a special salute we aim high in the air towards all those pompous a**h**es who spend their days pointing fingers: F*** YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Here's the link to the song in case you ask: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThwSWIXhiRw

SuperYeti22
SuperYeti22

@steven141 This violates 1st ammendment rights! This was emplaced in California before, but it was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court! "So you would let an extremely young person play a game that had lots of nudity, cursing and gore in it? Because that would just be irresponsible." Games (especially nudity and cursing, HOW THE F*** IS THAT HARMFUL?! What is wrong with people!?) don't kill, PEOPLE DO!

steven141
steven141

@Ohaidere So you would let an extremely young person play a game that had lots of nudity, cursing and gore in it? Because that would just be irresponsible. People have a right to freedom of speech but you can't claim that it is being beached for every single thing that the government tries to do.

Ohaidere
Ohaidere

@steven141 How exactly is the government limiting someone's access to media and art not an infringement on free speech?

cheater87
cheater87

@ Steven141 If video games are stripped of free speech that means the government and each state can make laws saying what ever content they deem evil as illegal to put into video games.

steven141
steven141

@Ohaidere But it is not infringing on freedom of speech, they are not banned from making the games or anything, minors just arn't allowed to buy them. If movies are not exempt, pornography shouldnt either, since some films contain pornography

tomcrole
tomcrole

the problem with letting the perents descied is that they will chose to show a 17+ to a 11year old because the11 year keeps whining about it . not because they made an informed dession and secondly do you think were that free. where as free as they let us be or as free as we they tell us we want to be.

cheater87
cheater87

If stores do NOT allow AO games because they are 18 and over why would they be ok with selling government regulated 18 and over games?

hunter8man
hunter8man

I guess I just don't understand the urgency of getting this law passed. Stores already have rules that state they do not sell M-rated games without checking ID or accompanied by a parent, and if they do they could get fined and the person who made the transaction punished. I'm sick of the government attempting to raise our children due to incompetent parenting

Sirbobislost
Sirbobislost

so all this so they put a 2inch sticker on the front of all violent games.............maybe they could put it over the original smaller ones

Alkpaz
Alkpaz

Actually it does involve pornography, "The People vs Larry Flynt", inciting violence? Doesn't the media already DO that? :P

Ohaidere
Ohaidere

@Steven141 1) 224 years ago is not a very long time when it comes to founding a new version of a government. Not to mention one of the things we're talking about is DIRECTLY related to the fact that we have the 1st amendment and the UK doesn't. 2) The first amendment applies to all forms of art, expression and speech (With so far the exception of pornography and SPECIFICALLY inciting violence). That includes video games and movies, and there have been two courts before on this specific law that agree.

steven141
steven141

@Ohaidere 1) Yes it was, you should know this 2) I don't see how it applies to games. I doubt your founding fathers ever considered that when writing up the constitution

Ohaidere
Ohaidere

@steven141 "You do realise that was a long time ago right?" 1) No, it's really not that long ago to someone with any education and/or historic perspective. 2) It's still completely relevant. The constitution doesn't expire.

jedi-james
jedi-james

music, movies, games its all the same. when will they give up?! its pretty rich coming from a nation that runs fear tactics through there own dam media anyway.

yeebsey
yeebsey

kids will always find a way of buying these games be it an older friend or that grandparent that doesnt quite understand life or age systems (at least that was my way of doing it when i was younger). even though i do disagree with the extremnity of the law i still think it pointless people saying that parents should take responsibility as you imply that they should know what there kids are doing 24/7/365. when i was a kid and my mum said "i dont want you buying gta 3" i just went and found an elderly relative that would buy it on my behalf because i sorted out there pc. i think that shops have a responsibility to not sell 18/15 rated game to minors as this is the law but you cant pawn this off entirely as the parents responsibility as i think youd get pretty sick if your parents knew what you were doing 24/7

ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

is it to hard to leave it to the parents.... Just saying if they dont want to get involved with their kids life there are much worse things than video games out there.

videogameking25
videogameking25

@tomcrole most of the people i meet say i act mature enough that i could be 18, plus i know how to seperate games from real life

delcidanddarth
delcidanddarth

hahaha... "Yee predicted that the dispute would be pushed to the Supreme Court." Yeah, that's because you just won't LET IT GO. I hope Yee does attend the hearing, the the supreme court plays him the dub "We got 99 problems, but Yee ain't one".