MSU Professor Backs California in Upcoming Videogame Law Fight

May 28, 2010 -

In what can only be categorized as "no great shock to our readership," Michigan State University law professor Kevin Saunders will help the state of California when the Supreme Court revisits Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association later this year. Saunders will help co-author an amicus brief to help California’s position when arguing its case before the U.S. Supreme Court during its 2010-11 session, which begins in October. As you probably already know, Saunders testified during the 2005 California State Assembly Judiciary Committee hearings on the issue at the invitation of Leland Yee. His arguments were obviously against the industry and for the law written by Yee.

Saunders' statements on the matter almost sound like the ECA's, EMA’s or the ESA's position:

"Parents need to play an active role in deciding what is appropriate for their children."

No disagreement there. But then he makes it sound as if the law helps to insure that universal truth:

"This law would leave it to parents to buy the games they will allow their children to play, taking the decision out of the hands of retailers."

This is an odd statement considering that the decision has always been with the purchaser and not the retailer - especially parents. No laws are required to make this possible. Retailers follow ESRB guidelines and require proof of age - as warranted - to buy "Mature" rated games. In fact, data from the Federal Trade Commission's Dec. 2009 news release, "FTC Renews Call to Entertainment Industry to Curb Marketing of Violent Entertainment to Children," indicates that the industry and retailers are doing a pretty good job of self-regulation:

"..Further, retailers are enforcing age restrictions on the sale of M-rated games to children, with an average denial rate of 80 percent. The report notes, however, that children may be able to obtain M-rated games by, for example, using retailer gift cards online."

Other entertainment industries had lower rates of rejection, according to that same release: the movie industry turned away 72 percent of underage movie goers from "R" rated movies; while seven in 10 underage shoppers were able to buy CDs with a Parental Advisory Label from retailers.

None of that matters to Saunders; this is a way to help execute a long-held belief that the First Amendment should have an exception when it comes to violent content, just like the court has recognized sexual content in some cases. Saunders has argued for years that the "obscenity exception" to the First Amendment should be extended to violent material.

Likewise, the State of California argues that violent games have "no redeeming value and should not be entitled to constitutional protection." The Yee authored law restricted the sale or rental of violent video games to anyone younger than 18. The law broadly classified violent content as "depictions of violence in games that are offensive to the community" or violence in an "especially heinous, cruel or depraved’ manner."


Comments

Re: MSU Professor Backs California in Upcoming Videogame ...

The law broadly classified violent content as "depictions of violence in games that are offensive to the community" or violence in an "especially heinous, cruel or depraved’ manner."

& isn't it only offensive when the community complains about the content numerous times? But it would also be wrong to let the parent play the game, but then get mad at the child(ren) for playing the game or else them using offensive language.......then that would be wrong. B/c the child(ren) is only seeing & doing & saying what the parent is doing. Monkey see, monkey do.

 

 

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Re: MSU Professor Backs California in Upcoming Videogame ...

Translation: "I am going to help California spend more money it doesn't have to defend a useless law that a government official is trying to pass only for brownie points with lazy parents"

Re: MSU Professor Backs California in Upcoming Videogame ...

"Parents need to play an active role in deciding what is appropriate for their children."

Last time I checked, Parents already had the ability to do this.

Re: MSU Professor Backs California in Upcoming Videogame ...

Yup and even if your kids gets their hands on an innappropriate game there's things you can do to make sure they can't play it (at least at your house).

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Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: MSU Professor Backs California in Upcoming Videogame ...

Unless you don't give two craps about your kids and are too worried with your own life than your childs.....

Re: MSU Professor Backs California in Upcoming Videogame ...

The unspoken assumption here is that violent videogames are harmful - an assertion that has never been shown to be true in any study whatsoever. You can care a lot about your kids and still let them play a violent videogame, because we have no evidence showing that violent videogames are any more harmful than cuddly teddy bears.

This is a witch hunt mania. We should not be encouraging the witchfinders by agreeing with their premise.

Re: MSU Professor Backs California in Upcoming Videogame ...

This is the same moron who created a Book about Regulating Violence as obscenity

Watching JT on GP is just like watching an episode of Jerry springer only as funny as the fights

America has just became its own version of the Jerry Springer Show after a bizarre moment in Florida involving a carnival worker.

 
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Matthew Wilsonthe lose of nn would not be good for us, but it will not be good for verizion/comcast/att in the long run ether.04/24/2014 - 2:16pm
Matthew Wilsonsadly yes. it would take another sopa day to achieve it.04/24/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoI am also confused. Are you saying NN would only become law if Google/Netflix pushed the issue (against their own interests)?04/24/2014 - 2:10pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, you are saying a lot of things but I am still unclear on your point. Are you saying that the loss of Net Neutrality will be good in the long run?04/24/2014 - 2:06pm
Matthew WilsonOfcourse it does I never said it did not.though over time the death of NN will make backbone providers like Google, level3 and others stronger becouse most isps including the big ones can not provid internet without them. they can peer with smaller isps04/24/2014 - 1:54pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, and that still plays in Google's favor over their smaller rivals who don't have the muscle to stand up to ISPs.04/24/2014 - 1:45pm
Matthew Wilsongoogle wont pay becouse they control a large part of the backbone that all isps depend on. if verizon blocks their data, google does the same. the effect is Verizon loses access to 40% of the internet, and can not serve some areas at all.04/24/2014 - 1:14pm
Neenekolack of NN is in google and netflix interest. It is another tool for squeezing out smaller companies since they can afford to 'play'04/24/2014 - 12:57pm
Matthew WilsonI have said it before net nutrality will not be made in to law until Google or Netflix is blocked, or they do what they did for sopa and pull their sites down in protest.04/23/2014 - 8:02pm
Andrew EisenGee, I guess putting a former cable industry lobbyist as the Chairman of the FCC wasn't that great of an idea. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/24/technology/fcc-new-net-neutrality-rules.html?_r=204/23/2014 - 7:26pm
Andrew EisenIanC - I assume what he's getting at is the fact that once PS3/360 development ceases, there will be no more "For Everything But Wii U" games.04/23/2014 - 5:49pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - Yes, obviously developers will eventually move on from the PS3 and 360 but the phrase will continue to mean exactly what it means.04/23/2014 - 5:45pm
IanCAnd how does that equal his annoying phrase being meaningless?04/23/2014 - 5:09pm
Matthew Wilson@Andrew Eisen the phrase everything but wiiu will be meaningless afer this year becouse devs will drop 360/ps3 support.04/23/2014 - 4:43pm
Andrew EisenFor Everything But... 360? Huh, not many games can claim that title. Only three others that I know of.04/23/2014 - 3:45pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/23/another-world-rated-for-current-consoles-handhelds-in-germany/ Another World fulfills legal obligations of being on every gaming system under the sun.04/23/2014 - 12:34pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/04/steam-gauge-do-strong-reviews-lead-to-stronger-sales-on-steam/?comments=1 Here is another data driven article using sales data from steam to figure out if reviews effect sales. It is stats heavy like the last one.04/23/2014 - 11:33am
Andrew EisenI love RPGs but I didn't much care for Tales of Symphonia. I didn't bother with its sequel.04/23/2014 - 11:21am
InfophileIt had great RPGs because MS wanted to use them to break into Japan. (Which had the side-effect of screwing NA PS3 owners out of Tales of Vesperia. No, I'm not bitter, why do you ask?)04/23/2014 - 10:52am
RedMageI'm still disappointed the 360 never broke into Japan either. It had a bevy of great RPGs in the late 2000s.04/23/2014 - 9:48am
 

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