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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Andrew EisenThe humor reminds me a lot of Axe Cop.05/29/2015 - 1:37am
WymorenceOh sweet god, Kung Fury is freaking awesome...05/28/2015 - 10:03pm
E. Zachary KnightWonder, I know you can revise content and resubmit it, but I can't findany information about a formal appeals process.05/28/2015 - 7:27pm
Wonderkarpever wonder if there's an appeals process for AO?05/28/2015 - 6:55pm
Matthew WilsonDanny and Andy play the first couple of levels of the upcoming Hatred http://www.gamespot.com/videos/hatred-gamespot-plays/2300-6425016/ imho it does not look like it should be AO.05/28/2015 - 5:57pm
Andrew EisenHey, remember Kung Fury? That short film that was funded via Kickstarter a few years ago? You can watch it now. I suggest you do. It's fun! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bS5P_LAqiVg05/28/2015 - 5:14pm
Goth_SkunkOriginally, yes. Some content was cut out in order to reduce its ratign from AO down to M, but PC users could work around that an unlock the full content by means of a patch. Which is what I did. :D05/28/2015 - 3:56pm
Andrew EisenKarp - Yes, for strong sexual content. Although the recent remaster contains all that content and was rated M.05/28/2015 - 3:54pm
Andrew EisenDepends on if you consider Hatred misrated. I haven't played the game or seen the ESRB's rating summary so I'm undecided.05/28/2015 - 3:53pm
WonderkarpDidnt Fahrenheit have an AO?05/28/2015 - 3:52pm
Matthew Wilson@AE that is why I said it seems more moral panic to me.05/28/2015 - 3:51pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - From what I've seen (just the trailers) the game is nowhere near as gory as many, many other games. But again, I'm guessing the AO rating comes from theme and tone rather than outright gore.05/28/2015 - 3:50pm
Andrew EisenKarp - It didn't show penetration or nudity.05/28/2015 - 3:50pm
WonderkarpI'd say Mortal Kombat X has more Gore and Violence than Hatred.05/28/2015 - 3:50pm
Matthew Wilsonwhat I mean by worse in this case its not more gory/violent than others.05/28/2015 - 3:48pm
WonderkarpI forget....did Hot Coffee actually show Penetration?05/28/2015 - 3:48pm
Andrew EisenKarp - The Skyrim mods are external mods. The Hot Coffee mod unlocked content on the disc. Big difference. Still, the content that was unlocked was still perfectly in line with an M rating in my opinion.05/28/2015 - 3:47pm
Andrew EisenThemes are factored into ratings, not just mechanics. Still waiting for ESRB's rating summary. Very curious to see what it has to say.05/28/2015 - 3:46pm
Matthew WilsonHatred is a top down shooter though, and isnt any worse than other top down shooters?05/28/2015 - 3:45pm
Wonderkarpyeah, San Andreases rerating was ridiculous. Why not rerate Skyrim with all its crazy sex mods out there? But yeah, ESRB is good as policing itself. 05/28/2015 - 3:45pm
 

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