California outlined its case for a law that would make it a crime to sell violent videogames to minors in a 59-page brief filed on Monday with the U.S. Supreme Court.
Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo managed to get his hands on some, or all, of the document and pulled out some of the more interesting pieces.
Once again, the actual text of the currently blocked law at the heart of Schwarzenegger v. EMA:
1. California Civil Code sections 1746-1746.5 (the Act) prohibit the sale or rental of "violent video games" to minors under 18. The Act defines a "violent video game" as one that depicts "killing, maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being" in a manner that meets all of the following requirements: (1) A reasonable person, considering the game as a whole, would find that it appeals to a deviant or morbid interest of minors; (2) it is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the community as to what is suitable for minors, and; (3) it causes the game, as a whole, to lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors. The Act does not prohibit a minor's parent or guardian from purchasing or renting such games for the minor. Pet. App. 96a.
The Act provides for a penalty of up to $1,000 per violation, which may be lowered in the discretion of the court. The penalty does not apply to any person who is employed solely in the capacity of a salesclerk or other similar position, provided he or she does not have an ownership interest in the business in which the violation occurred and is not employed as a manager in the business. Pet. App. 98a.
Kotaku writes that the brief specifically mentions only a few videogames. Exhibit A in the brief however, is the Running with Scissors game Postal 2, which was released over seven years ago in 2003:
The ESRB gave this game a rating of M (Mature) and provides the following description: "Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Mature Humor, Strong Language, Use of Drugs."7 But the industry's attempt at self-regulation does not begin to describe the game's violent content. As demonstrated in Petitioner's Video Game Violence video compilation (lodged with the Court by Petitioners), the violence in Postal II includes torturing images of young girls, setting them on fire, and bashing their brains out with a shovel, for no reason other than to accumulate more points in the game. In one scene in Postal II, the player (who sees through the eyes of the shooter) looks through a scope on an assault rifle and sees a very realistic image of a person's face. The player then shoots the victim in the kneecap. As the player watches the victim attempt to crawl away, moaning in pain, the player pours gasoline on the victim and lights him on fire. As the burning victim continues to crawl, the player urinates on the victim, and says "That's the ticket."
After noting that it "smells like chicken," the player again looks at the victim through the scope on the gun, and again sees a realistic human face, on fire, crawling toward him. The player then shoots the victim in the face, which turns into charred remnants of a human image. In another scene, the player hits a woman in the face with a shovel, causing blood to gush from her face. As she cries out and kneels down, the player hits her twice more with the shovel, this time decapitating her. The player then proceeds to hit the headless corpse several more times, each time propelling the headless corpse through the air while it continues to bleed.
More excerpts can be found over at Kotaku, dealing with the lack of a direct link between “offensive material” and its “physical or psychological harm to minors,” First Amendment interpretations and equating sex with violence.