California 2005 Video Game Law Ruled Unconstitutional

August 6, 2007 -

Read the ruling here

A federal district court judge has ruled California's 2005 video game law unconstitutional, ending a legal fight which lasted nearly two years.

The bill, championed by then-Assembly Speaker Leland Yee (D) was signed into law by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (left) on October 7th, 2005. The video game industry filed suit to block the law 10 days later.

Judge Ronald Whyte issued a preliminary injunction on December 22nd, blocking the California law from its planned effective date of January 1st, 2006. Since then, both sides have been waiting for Judge Whyte's final ruling. Today it has come.

A lot has happened since the suit was filed. The main plaintiff, the Video Software Dealers Association, no longer exists. The organization merged with the Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association last year and is now known as the Entertainment Merchants Association, representing video game retailers and renters.

Doug Lowenstein, of course, is no longer with the video game publishers' association, the Entertainment Software Association, another plaintiff in the case. Mike Gallagher now heads the ESA. And Leland Yee moved from the California Assembly to the State Senate in November, 2006.

From Judge Whyte's ruling:
 

The evidence does not establish that video games, because of their interactive nature or otherwise, are any more harmful than violent television, movies, internet sites or other speech-related exposures.

Although some reputable professional individuals and organizations have expressed particular concern about the interactive nature of video games, there is no generally-accepted study that supports that concern. There has also been no detailed study to differentiate between the effects of violent videos on minors of different ages.

The court, although sympathetic to what the legislature sought to do by the Act, finds that the evidence does not establish the required nexus between the legislative concerns about the well-being of minors and the restrictions on speech required by the Act.

 

Comments

Friendly Awesome Super Exciting Time

But totally expected/10

That really took the judge a very, very long time. I don't think anyone here is surprised about the final ruling.

I don't understand. The law is clearly constitutional:

"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, except in the case of interactive electronic simulations; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

I mean, it's right there.

In before lawyerman says this would have passed with him on board.

And, Mr Yee, if you see this, I certainly hope we don't see a repeat.

California, I have only three words for you...










Suck it, douchebags.

Nah, a certain lawyer we know would say that the court is in the pocket of the video game industry and then put on his tin foil hat.

Vote Shih Tzu for Comment of the Year 2007

As a senior, who in the past had to watch 'little' (mentally only)Arnold spend our tax payer money for unnecessary legal fees while I had to pinch pennies to pay for food and medication. I could have sworn that we, the tax payers had already made our feelings perfectly clear on this subject. When the courts haven't turned things around for him he hits the tax payer again by creating more legal expenses.

[...] California Game Law is Terminated [...]

[...] A win for video game fiends in California. [...]

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[...] After Federal Judge Ronald Whyte, declared California’s Anti-Video Game Bill, AB1179, unconstitutional as it would have regulated video games, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger now will appeal the ruling and wants the law back. He is completely disregarding the Constitution, court rulings across the country, and the ESRB’s successful progress in educating parents on how to protect their children. [...]

[...] Source: GamePolitics.com [...]

[...] via GamePolitics.com [...]

Im surprised that we havent heard from the pious Jack Thompson on this. Aint no fun when the rabbits got the gun, huh??

Gamers: 8

Anti-First Amendment Idiots: ZIP!

=D

Ok, that was a bad comment, but you would think that they would have learned by now that they cant ban gaming =/

[...] Since the great “Hot Coffee” scandal of 2005 — when a sex minigame was discovered in the code of “Grand Theft Auto III: San Andreas” — legislators have redoubled efforts to save the children from violent videogames. Everyone from Hillary Clinton to California state senator Leland Yee has attempted to regulate the sale of violent games to minors. Most efforts have died horrible deaths thanks to this little thing we like to call the First Amendment. Just last month California’s 2005 videogame law (which would require violent game packages to be marked “adult only” and be plastered with a giant “18,” and it would fine retailers who sell games to minors up to $1,000) was ruled unconstitutional in federal district court. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will have none of that. On Wednesday he appealed the decision, stating, “We have a responsibility to our kids and our communities to protect against the effects of games that depict ultraviolent actions.” Of course, for every study that “proves” violent videogames cause violent behavior, there’s a study debunking it. Never mind that the Governator is hardly the best antiviolence role model for kids. [...]

[...] Since the great “Hot Coffee” scandal of 2005 — when a sex minigame was discovered in the code of “Grand Theft Auto III: San Andreas” — legislators have redoubled efforts to save the children from violent videogames. Everyone from Hillary Clinton to California state senator Leland Yee has attempted to regulate the sale of violent games to minors. Most efforts have died horrible deaths thanks to this little thing we like to call the First Amendment. Just last month California’s 2005 videogame law (which would require violent game packages to be marked “adult only” and be plastered with a giant “18,” and it would fine retailers who sell games to minors up to $1,000) was ruled unconstitutional in federal district court. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will have none of that. On Wednesday he appealed the decision, stating, “We have a responsibility to our kids and our communities to protect against the effects of games that depict ultraviolent actions.” Of course, for every study that “proves” violent videogames cause violent behavior, there’s a study debunking it. Never mind that the Governator is hardly the best antiviolence role model for kids. [...]

[...] Since the great “Hot Coffee” scandal of 2005 — when a sex minigame was discovered in the code of “Grand Theft Auto III: San Andreas” — legislators have redoubled efforts to save the children from violent videogames. Everyone from Hillary Clinton to California state senator Leland Yee has attempted to regulate the sale of violent games to minors. Most efforts have died horrible deaths thanks to this little thing we like to call the First Amendment. Just last month California’s 2005 videogame law (which would require violent game packages to be marked “adult only” and be plastered with a giant “18,” and it would fine retailers who sell games to minors up to $1,000) was ruled unconstitutional in federal district court. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will have none of that. On Wednesday he appealed the decision, stating, “We have a responsibility to our kids and our communities to protect against the effects of games that depict ultraviolent actions.” Of course, for every study that “proves” violent videogames cause violent behavior, there’s a study debunking it. Never mind that the Governator is hardly the best antiviolence role model for kids. [...]

I'm sorry, but I have to agree with the legislature on this one.
theyre not banning the sales of violent video games to everyone, just minors.
while I enjoy them personally, and as I know many people also do,
I do NOT like the idea of my neighbor's nine-year-old son getting his paws on a game like grand theft auto, where picking up a whore and then killing her is rewarded. We have laws preventing children from getting their hands on disgustingly graphic or morally bankrupt movies, there should be a similar law for games. While there is NO proof that violent games cause violence in your average Joe, there is DECADES worth of proof that graphic images and ideals CAN disrupt a YOUNG and naive mind. I myself became prone to beating people up after becoming addicted to "Ninja Turtles" at the age of six, which my mother put a stop to. While I do not think it fair to limit sales, we need to find some way to keep VERY young children, like my nine-year-old neighbor, from buying games along the lines I formerly described.

As I stated before, while stating that video games cause violence is total bullshit, we really should be upholding laws that prevent young children from playing graphically horrendous video games. unfortunately, I personally know a GOOD few children who have grown up with these kinds of games. I wouldn't call them violent, but theyre about six times as jaded as most children their age usually are, and most of the ones I have known have become depressed early in their lives. This material should be for people who can handle it, and while i don't think theres anything wrong with a fourteen year old playing a game like this, it could have serious repercussions when played by a child of seven or eight.

@Gamer81
sorry for the multiple posts!
gamer, there IS a restriction on underage persons when it comes to movies!
it is illegal for someone under the age of seventeen to go to a movie that is rated R unless accompanied by an adult, and a person under the age of seventeen cannot purchase nor rent a rated R movie without an adult present.

[...] Suck it, Leland [...]

[...] En Estados Unidos se intentaron aplicar este tipo de leyes. La más reciente fracasó en California hace unas semanas. Un fragmento de la sentencia del juez, que traduciré a continuación, es especialmente significativo: [...]
 
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