Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych Associations

July 22, 2009 -

As GamePolitics indicated yesterday, an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief has been filed in support of California's petition requesting that the U.S. Supreme Court review the constitutionality of the state's 2005 violent video game law. To date, two lower federal courts have deemed the measure unconstitutional.

The brief was filed today on behalf of State Sen. Leland Yee (D), the sponsor of the contested statute as well as the California Psychiatric and California Psychological Associations. Yee himself is a child psychologist by profession. He also notes in the brief that he has authored several bills protecting free speech rights in circumstances other than violent games.

In seeking to explain to the Supreme Court why it should approve California's petition for a full hearing, the 15-page document maintains that the state has a compelling interest in restricting children's access to such games. The oft-heard argument about the interactivity of video games is among the theories put forth:

The interactive nature of video games is vastly different than passively listening to music, watching a movie, or reading a book. With interactive video games, the child becomes a part of the action which serves as a potent agent to facilitate violence and over time learns the destructive behavior.

 

This immersion results in a more powerful experience and potentially dangerous learned behavior in children and youth...

The brief also suggests that video games present a new type of challenge for parents in their efforts to monitor their children's media diet:

Parents can read a book, watch a movie or listen to a CD to discern if it is appropriate for their child. These violent video games, on the other hand, can contain up to 800 hours of footage with the most atrocious content often reserved for the highest levels and can be accessed only by advanced players after hours upon hours of progressive mastery.

And, while federal courts have not to date been swayed by research suggesting that violent video games lead to real-world violence, the brief points to such studies in support of its position:

Just as the technology of video games improves at astonishing rates, so to does the body of research consistently demonstrate the harmful effects these violent interactive games have on minors. Over three thousand peer-reviewed studies, produced over a period of 30 years documenting the effects of screen violence (including violent video games), have now been published...

 

These data suggest very strongly that participating in the playing of violent video games by children and youth increase aggressive thought and behavior; increase antisocial behavior and delinquency; engender poor school performance; desensitize the game player to violence...

Surprisingly, GamePolitics comes in for a mention in the brief. GP's Legislation Tracker feature is referenced as a means of pointing out the wide variety of legislation aimed at video games around the United States.

Sen. Yee's office has issued a press release on the filing of the amicus brief, including a link to the brief (15-page PDF). The Supreme Court is expected to consider California's petition in the fall.


Comments

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

 

"Parents can read a book, watch a movie or listen to a CD to discern if it is appropriate for their child. These violent video games, on the other hand, can contain up to 800 hours of footage with the most atrocious content often reserved for the highest levels and can be accessed only by advanced players after hours upon hours of progressive mastery."

 

3 Things.

1. If I had 0.1% of a penny every time Yee has said either "Level" or "Levels", I would have enough money to pay off the National Debt ten times over.

2. He says "Footage", not Gameplay. Does he have ANY I-FUCKING-DEA how big the filesize would be?(Odds are he wouldn't because he most likely doesn't know what a computer file is)

*Activating Insanity Mode* 3. Music and Movies are just as bad as games. With music, you can sing every filthy lyric just as it is sung on the CD. With movies, it goes into extreme detail. It shows EVERY LITTLE BIT OF GORE CLOSE UP, for the viewers entertainment, easilv able to copy every move done.(Slight Sarcasm)

 

Final Words: The last game Yee played was Pong.

 

 

-------------------- Making the world a better place... one Headshot at a time...

-------------------- Making sure I retain my INSANITY

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

3000 studies over 30 years=100 studies every year=100 studies in 52 weeks= 1 new study demonstrating a causal effect roughly every 2 weeks???

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

Your math is off.  100 studies in 52 weeks = 2 studies demonstrating a causal effect a week, not one every two weeks.

---

Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone's feelings.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

crap, you're right. Still makes the idea even more absurd

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

So the studies started in the 1970's, before Sinclair had even released the ZX80/81?

That smells a bit funny to say the least.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

The idea that books have less of an affect on children because they aren't interactive is false. They are interactive, just not in the same way as games. They are active in an even more dangerous way. Mentally. When reading a book you create the characters with whatever details are given and fill in the rest. Each person will have a different idea of what a character looks like, sounds like, and acts like. Each person will create different details for scenarios played out in a book. This is interaction and some people will make a book darker than intended while others will make it more light-hearted. Couldn't a child's imagination make the book harmful to them. Some people will even look deeper into the story and see if there are hidden meanings and messages. Couldn't these hidden messages be harmful to children, and some parents aren't smart enough to find these hidden meanings, which makes it impossible to protect their children from the meanings.

The whole idea that games are dangerous because you are physically interacting with them is misleading at best. All art forms require some sort of interaction between the art and the viewer, whether it is physical or mental.

Parents can read a book, watch a movie or listen to a CD to discern if it is appropriate for their child. These violent video games, on the other hand, can contain up to 800 hours of footage with the most atrocious content often reserved for the highest levels and can be accessed only by advanced players after hours upon hours of progressive mastery.

Or you could read the content descriptor on the back of the box that describes why a game is rated the way it is. Or Google™ the game title looking for information. Even the ESRB's website has resources for parents to help make decisions about games. Quit trying to get the government to make decisions for you on how to raise your kids.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

Some books are interactive on an even deeper level.  Take John Antal's book 'Armor Attacks'.  In this book, you take on the character of a tank platoon commander and take the decisions that get you to one of the book's multiple endings.  What happens is up to you.  Great book by the way.

My point is that books can be interactive in the same way games are.  But no one is calling for books to have ratings or limits on sale.  Why?  Because books are hundreds of years old while video games are only a couple of decades old.  Irrational fear of the former died out hundreds of years ago, but the witch hunt for the latter is still going strong.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

 

There is an egregious misstatement in the brief.
 
On page 4, Yee et al state, “In 2006, a Federal Trade Commission study revealed that nearly 70 percent of 13 to 16 year olds are able to successfully purchase Mature or M-rated video games.” In fact, the FTC’s 2006 secret shopper survey found that 13- to 16-year-olds that it sent into stores were able to purchase Mature-rated games only 42% of the time. Besides being patently false, this statement ignores the fact that last year the FTC found that the purchase rate for Mature-rated games had fallen to 20%.
 

 

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

Either Yee did not do his research or he (may have) comitted perjury.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

Perhaps he was too harried (you know, like the "harried Parents" he's always going on about)?

Nightwng2000

NW2K Software

http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000

 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

I don't think he was harried, as there was nobody flanking him in opposition with which to make him harried.  I think he just rolled a one on his Int check.

---

Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone's feelings.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

nah, Bluff check, or in my D&D group: Roll a bullshit check. "1" The Honorable Court beats you over the head with tha Gavel of Law. YEA HAVE FAILED!

Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

Either way, he's an idiot.

---

Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone's feelings.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

Unfortunately, if there are no amici filing briefs in support of the Respondent's side of the matter (and there are none that I'm yet aware of), then these sorts of misstatements may well go unchallenged.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

They don't really need to be challenged at this point.  The amici briefs are in support of granting cert--that is, whether the Court will hear the case, not briefs on the merits.  And in light of the unanimous nature of the existing caselaw on the subject, it's already an uphill battle for CA to get cert grantd in the first place.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

Why not? If the Petition for Certiorari is denied, then the merits of the case are thereby rendered moot. They'll never be heard. That's called "heading them off at the pass" in the legal profession. Why wouldn't it be prudent to ensure to the fullest extent possible that Petitioner is headed off at the pass? And just because I'm confident that I can single-handedly whup your ass doesn't mean that I shouldn't have a buddy or two covering my back just in case the tide of the battle suddenly turns against me. Or should I leave myself open to the possibility, no matter how remote, that I've miscalculated my ability to whup your ass and then end up the one with the whupped ass? 

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

I don't disagree in principle. But given that (1) none of the amicus briefs filed actually make a cogent legal argument and (2) the ample caselaw from the circuit courts already benchslaps the studies, I think filing responsive briefs is unecessary. Personally, I'd rather see the money saved towards a few more billable hours on a merits brief.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

My philosophy has always been that while wearing both a belt and a pair of suspenders at the same time is, I'm told, a fashion faux pas, on those occassions where I'm decidely interested in not being seen with my pants fallen around my ankles, I do so, anyway.

 

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

I suppose, in their defence, it's like squaring off with someone for a fist-fight, and they suddenly rip off their clothes and start dancing the twist. It's kind of hard to prepare for someone doing something that involves no basis in fact or common sense. You can't really pre-empt Yee lying about those figures,so there was no point filing an amicus brief in preperation for it.

This, quite possibly, explains why Yee waited till the last moment to file.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

"Misstatement" is not harsh enough, it's an outright lie is what it is

"Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend. Do it in the name of Heaven, Jack Thompson'll justify it in the end." - nightwng2000

"Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend. Do it in the name of Heaven, Jack Thompson'll justify it in the end." - nightwng2000

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

And lying to the court under oath is perjury, so if Amicus briefs count as sworn statements (it's been a while since I had that basic law course), this could be a criminal offense.

 

"That's not ironic. That's justice."

"That's not ironic. That's justice."

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

"Parents can read a book, watch a movie or listen to a CD to discern if it is appropriate for their child. These violent video games, on the other hand, can contain up to 800 hours of footage with the most atrocious content often reserved for the highest levels and can be accessed only by advanced players after hours upon hours of progressive mastery."

How the hell did this idea come about in the last 10-15 years that it's so difficult for a parent to determine what media is acceptable for their child?  It didn't seem that difficult for my parents in the 80's and early 90's.  They would read the back of the box of movies and games, look at the screenshots provided there and that was all you needed to know.  All the information a parent needs to make an informed decision exists on that 7"x5" rectangle.

Not to mention the fact that if his argument is that it takes so much time for a parent to vette something for their child, why even list reading a book?  Does he not even realize how long it takes the average person to read a book?

Oh, and I would love to know what this 800 hour game is, that'd be a good deal for sixty bucks.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

Let's not forget that parents are already given a comprehensive checklist of the types of content in the game, with the ESRB "content descriptors."  Even if you fool someone into believing that a parent is faced with the daunting task of reviewing "800 hours of footage," they don't even need to view it personally.  Just flip the box over and read the label.

It is in no way hard for a parent to be proactive in their child's video game usage.  At least on this point, there is no need for legislation.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

Let's not forget that most people find out about games through gaming magazines or the internet.  What's stopping parents from reading the same thing their kids are?

---

Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone's feelings.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

Let me add this: yes, the state has a compelling interest to protect children from psychological harm.  However, if you want to restrict speech in order to do that you have to first do three very important things: 

1. Prove there’s something out there that’s psychologically harming children that the state needs to protect them from. (Sorry, increased aggression doesn’t constitute psychological harm.)

2. Prove that your law will actually protect children from psychological harm. (Does the law keep kids from playing the games? No? Then it fails.)

3. Prove that your law would be more effective then the measures already out there. (Will a sales restriction work better then game ratings, parental involvement, parental controls, and the oodles of readily available information? No. Especially considering that well over ninety percent of the time, kids aren’t the ones buying the games anyway!)

 

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

"These violent video games, on the other hand, can contain up to 800 hours of footage with the most atrocious content often reserved for the highest levels and can be accessed only by advanced players after hours upon hours of progressive mastery."

Absolutely, completely, totally false.

Yee has been saying this for years which proves he still knows nothing about video games and hasn't done a thing to educate himself on the subject nor has he listened to the multiple criticisms pointing out how misinformed he is.

Or he's simply lying and thinks we're all too stupid to know better.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

I think the important comment there is "up to"- until somebody makes a game with over 800 hours of content, he's not incorrect.

Unless you consider taping the analogue stick that controls the camera down so it rotates round and round for 33 weeks "footage". :D

/b

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

Seriously, I've never heard of a game with more than sixty hours of gameplay.  Where the fuck did this guy pull out 800?  Do the math.  If you played a game with 800 hours of gameplay straight through without sleeping, eating, using the bathroom or going to school or work, it would still take you 33 days and eight hours to complete, if you never did anything wrong in the game.  I doubt even the hardest of the hardcore have that kind of an attention span.

---

Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone's feelings.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

I think BGII had over 100, but that may have been with the expansion pack.

 

Saying that Jack Thompson is impotent is an insult to impotent men everywhere. They've got a whole assortment of drugs that can cure their condition; Jack, however...

Saying that Jack Thompson is impotent is an insult to impotent men everywhere. They've got a whole assortment of drugs that can cure their condition; Jack, however...

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

Maybe they're talking about MMOS, but "atrocious content"? Never seen any.

also: http://img22.imageshack.us/i/runningw.jpg/

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

But none of the popular MMO's even have M-rated gameplay.  The only reason they would have anything atrocious is because of the people who speak on it, which is also why they include player-activated chat filters.

---

Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone's feelings.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

And why the "Experience may change during online play" ESRB descriptor exists.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

Television was supposed to be evil because it was specifically non-interactive.  Methinks the censorship crowd needs a new approach.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

"The interactive nature of video games is vastly different than passively listening to music, watching a movie, or reading a book. With interactive video games, the child becomes a part of the action which serves as a potent agent to facilitate violence and over time learns the destructive behaviour."

Funny, they said the same thing about the interactiveness of dancing and how Rock and Roll promoted promiscuity and violence...

Let's not forget about the Censorship of Elvis' hips because of the adverse effect it might have on young girls.

 

I suppose if Hollywood can keep regurgitating stuff from several decades ago in the hope it'll work this time, so can Yee.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

Got any sources about Elvis and the evils of Rock and Roll? I'd love to read about it.

Also:
These violent video games, on the other hand, can contain up to 800 hours of footage with the most atrocious content often reserved for the highest levels and can be accessed only by advanced players after hours upon hours of progressive mastery.

...

Over three thousand peer-reviewed studies, produced over a period of 30 years documenting the effects of screen violence (including violent video games), have now been published...

...

These data suggest very strongly that participating in the playing of violent video games by children and youth increase aggressive thought and behavior; increase antisocial behavior and delinquency; engender poor school performance; desensitize the game player to violence...

I'm apalled at each of these statements (i.e. "WTF?!"). What game has 800 hours of footage? Thousands of studies have evidence that screen violence directly has effects on people? Video games are a direct cause of the list of ills and anti-social behaviour?

I don't know where to begin. Like Elvis, people will one day look back and be astonished at the absolute nonsensical worrying about gaming from alleged experts of some sort.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

Didn't Arcanum or a similar game released around that time average out 120 hours of play? Something like that.

Anyway, the 800 hours is a lie, when considering conventional gaming. Even WoW addicts have to struggle for a while to clock in that much - and it's not 800 hours of play, it's more like a few hundred, but lots of the same play. In any case, the whole thing is a baseless argument - this is why we have the ESRB, we -don't- expect parents to play through the entire game first.

On the other hand, I have few qualms with games being subjected to a similar array of laws to those that movies are.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

To be fair, I've put in at least 1000 hours into L4D.  That game is fucking fantastic.  However, I don't find the violence ever really changes; i'm shooting the same zombies with the same equipment.  It's not like after playing online for 900 hours, I get a magical chainsaw or something.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

When he is referring to games having 800 hours of footage (or maybe he means gameplay) he sounds mistaken in the depth involved in playing a game. All video games have near infinite decision paths, and thereby probably presumes you have to look into as many as possible. Maybe he's thinking "hey game tester, for each time you play through this game, do something slightly different, and bam! we have 800 hours of play in no time". But that reasoning doesn't apply to scanning a game for content.

Saying that most games have "the most atrocious content often reserved for the highest levels" shows his ignorance on why people follow through in a game in the first place. Any game using violence as progress would probably have you doing most of what that violence has to offer in the first hour. 

In a good action game, violence is the first allure, but it quickly steps aside to let a developing story or engaging atmosphere take hold for the rest of the experience. Games that sell on shock value alone usually never sell well (see manhunt 2 or BMX XXX).

I also believe that both sides need to be heard, especially when Yee is being like a carpenter telling  electricians how to do their jobs. Have peers that are actually in the core gamer demographic doing some of the reviews. Or use unbiased research groups that are not forced to fill an "agenda quota" for any party.

And when he says that the games "engender poor school performance" that's another way of saying "video games have replaced school as an incentive to do various tasks". In that case, schools have to just try harder because children are just raised in environments different from a generation ago. Teachers should see it as a new challenge to adapt to. And if teachers don't like facing new challenges around the corner, well, go flip some burgers at McDonald's. Things will rarely change there an you'll rarely get to do anything new.

GameSnooper

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

I actually took a class at Delta College, "History of Rock and Roll" and some of the stuff against Elvis was mentioned. I want to say, it was either Ed Sullivan or the Milton Berle Show; he was doing a performance with his usual dance, but the camera stayed above his waist at all times.

Note: I think it was Milton Berle. If I recall, Ed Sullivan did not like Elvis at all, and didn't have him on until he was already quite famous.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

Edit: Misread it first time...

Yup, it was that, Ed Sullivan only signed Elvis after his rival doubled his viewer figures by including him.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

But Ed Sullivan was notorious for imposing his peculiar brand of censorship on the acts appearing on his show. He told the Rolling Stones that the lyric "let's spend the night together" was objectionable and also told the Doors that "girl, we couldn't get much higher" was similarly objectionable.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

And in both cases the bands sang the lirics anyway.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

I'm pretty sure the Stones changed the lyrics. If I'm not mistaken it's been a blot on their history ever since.

 

Saying that Jack Thompson is impotent is an insult to impotent men everywhere. They've got a whole assortment of drugs that can cure their condition; Jack, however...

Saying that Jack Thompson is impotent is an insult to impotent men everywhere. They've got a whole assortment of drugs that can cure their condition; Jack, however...

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

I've seen Mick Jagger being quoted as saying that he "mumbled" it. Not that's there's much practical difference between "changed" and "mumbled." 

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

Thereby proving the futility in misguided attempts at censorship.

Re: Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed by Sen. Yee & Psych ...

Here's a good history of the treatment of Rock and Roll, and how heavily 'dancing' featured in the excuses:

http://www.classicbands.com/banned.html

As for Elvis' hip dilemmas, try in the last third of this, it makes interesting reading :)

http://www.elvispresleymusic.com.au/pictures/1956_1957_elvis_ed_sullivan...

 
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