The 9th Circuit Court has affirmed a U.S. District Court decision which struck down California's 2005 violent video game law.
As GamePolitics reported last November, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit heard the state's appeal in Sacramento. In upholding the District Court's 2007 ruling, the 9th Circuit rejected several research studies presented by the states as failing to demonstrate a causal link between violent video game play and negative behavior:
Nearly all of the research is based on correlation, not evidence of causation, and most of the studies suffer from significant, admitted flaws in methodology.
The Court also rejected as unconstitutional a section of the law requiring retailers to label violent games with a four-inch square label with "18" printed on it.
Reactions to the ruling are beginning to come in. Jennifer Mercurio, Director of Government Affairs for the Entertainment Consumers Association, said:
We couldn’t be happier. Federal courts have found all nine legislative attempts to curtail the sale of violent video games invalid under the First Amendment, definitively showing that video games are protected speech, just like other content such as books, comic books, movies and music.
Bo Andersen, CEO of game retailers' group the Entertainment Merchants Association, said:
Retailers are committed to assisting parents in assuring that children do not purchase games that are not appropriate for their age. Independent surveys show that retailers are doing a very good job in this area, with an 80% enforcement rate, and retailers will continue to work to increase enforcement rates even further. The court has correctly noted that the state cannot simply dismiss these efforts.
I understand that some government officials will push for the state to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review this decision. The state should not acquiesce in this demand, particularly in light of its budget difficulties. The state has already wasted too many tax dollars, at least $283,000 at last count, on this ill-advised, and ultimately doomed, attempt at state-sponsored nannyism.
ESA CEO Mike Gallagher called the ruling "a win for California's citizens."
With the 9th Circuit's rejection of the California video game law, the question now becomes whether Gov. Schwarzenegger will appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.
FULL DISCLOSURE DEPT: The Entertainment Consumers Association is the parent company of GamePolitics.