Mark Methenitis finally delivers a Law of the Game column over on Joystiq that tackles the Brown v. EMA Supreme Court decision. First he apologizes for the delay, then jumps right into the important take-aways that impact the industry and the public.
First he points out that the Supreme Court decision was the "best possible outcome, both for the game industry and for the public at large" and that the opinion "was the most consistent with existing case law and contemporary First Amendment legal theory." In other words, it's a decision that was actually born out of the application of constitutional law and earlier precedents set by the court. He also notes that it was a very good thing that the Supreme court ruled that new types of media - interactive or otherwise - should not be treated any differently than past or current forms of media like books and movies.
Next he talks about obscene content and how the definition has been set for very many years. This excerpt below is pretty compelling on that subject:
"The law in the United States has been pretty well settled on what we consider 'obscene' for quite some time, and the Court's continued stance that those boundaries should not be changed was quite reassuring to the preservation of free speech. To be frank, the Court's discussion of violent content in children's material was more or less perfect, as was the indication that interactivity in media does, to some degree, pre-date the game industry. With this opinion, it seems unequivocal that violent speech, in the Unites States, is simply off the table for regulation at all levels, provided the means of production are not illegal already."
Methenitis goes on to analyze the opinion of Justice Alito and the dissenting views of Justices Thomas and Breyer in great detail. As is the case with Law of the Game columns on Joystiq, this latest edition is thoughtful, in-depth and informative, even if it is a slight bit tardy. You can read the whole thing here.