Paul Smith and Gaming the Courts

August 4, 2011 -

Metro weekly profiles Paul Smith, one of the leading Supreme Court litigators in the country, and particularly his noteworthy work on Brown v. EMA. But before tackling that landmark case, Smith has (and still does) fought to advance gay equality in the courts. Smith was a key factor in successfully arguing Lawrence v. Texas before the Supreme Court in 2003, which resulted in ending sodomy laws.

Smith began his work on technology issues with a prominent First Amendment case involving the Communications Decency Act or, Reno v. ACLU. The law required "all communications on the Internet, even like email, to be suitable for young children unless … screened away from children." The law "was thrown out by the Supreme Court ultimately unanimously in 1997." Smith has spent most of his career arguing against similar regulations including those applying to video games.

The Reno case, caught the attention of the video game industry, and saw him arguing cases for the video game industry for about 10 years all around the country - including the case decided earlier this year, Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association.

"States and cities have tried to pass laws limiting which games can be sold to minors based on their content," says Smith. "Our position has always been, 'there's a ratings system, and people should be able to make choices about these things themselves.' It's not obscenity, it's protected speech."

"And we had always succeeded in having the laws thrown out under the First Amendment, including in California, which is the case that went to the Supreme Court," he continued. "The alarming moment was when they took the case at the Supreme Court. There was no apparent reason why they should."

"But it led to quite a First Amendment confrontation...which had the attention of not just the video game manufacturers, but the moviemakers and the television producers and all sorts of people who were worried that we were suddenly going to have a new exception to the First Amendment for violence and kids."

"But it didn't turn out that way," Smith added.

Smith's advocacy for free speech and gay rights will continue, but gamers are in his debt for his work on Brown v. EMA.

Metro Weekly is a Washington, DC area publication that covers issues and people important to the gay and lesbian community. It has been in operation since May 1994.


Comments

Re: Paul Smith and Gaming the Courts

He's a legal genius, and now a hero to the video game community.  Hats off to you, Mr. Smith, for protecting free speech.

Re: Paul Smith and Gaming the Courts

But he promotes sodomy and wants kids to have access to violent games!!

I'm making this up but I bet some pundits say so to similar effect...

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
ZippyDSMleeShout box sttasahhppppp!!05/22/2015 - 10:47am
Andrew EisenOh, here it is. I thought it was gone. Yeah, I'm experiencing the same issue. Sent a note to tech.05/22/2015 - 10:43am
E. Zachary KnightAnyone else have the shout box pushed down to the bottom of the site?05/22/2015 - 10:38am
MattsworknameAndrew and EZK help me pull back a bit , still working on it05/22/2015 - 7:06am
ConsterI think IP is the only person here who doesn't think IP needs to dial it back several levels.05/22/2015 - 6:14am
Mattsworknamehttp://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/05/22/fec-backs-off-flirtation-with-regulating-internet/05/22/2015 - 1:34am
MattsworknameWell, on another subject, Saw this, and while I know it's fox news, thuoght I should share it05/22/2015 - 1:34am
MechaCrashYeah, even I think IP needs to dial it back.05/22/2015 - 12:35am
Mattsworknamesays05/21/2015 - 11:17pm
MattsworknameRE doc, everyone has a tendancy to let emotion get ahead of them, especially in an annoymous forum like the web. We have have those moments. Ip however has nothing but those moments. it's why I stopped responding to him, regardless of what he thinks or05/21/2015 - 11:17pm
DocMelonheadNo offense, but I see your behaviors in the comment sections uncalled for.05/21/2015 - 8:51pm
DocMelonheadHell, I could use both Goth_Skunk and IronPatriot as an example of such behavior between the two.05/21/2015 - 8:43pm
Andrew EisenMock? Ridicule? No, we're talking about serious threats and abuse, not people being cheeky or mean. Big difference.05/21/2015 - 8:42pm
DocMelonheadIn fact I see both mocks and ridicule between both the GamerGate Supporters and GamerGate Critics.05/21/2015 - 8:41pm
DocMelonheadAs for the Harassment, well, this is the internet; people will mock and ridicule whoever they want, whenever they want, at all times.05/21/2015 - 8:40pm
Mattsworknamegoth I think all media news outlets have that disclaimer05/21/2015 - 8:39pm
Andrew EisenThat's an... interesting way to interpret that.05/21/2015 - 8:36pm
Goth_SkunkAnd re BBC vs Rockstar: Ahh. I missed that. Woops!05/21/2015 - 8:33pm
Goth_SkunkAE: The entire disclaimer is a valid reason why I don't take it seriously. Particularly the part where they say "the information contained herein may not be necessarily accurate or current." Because fact-checking, like math, is haaaaaaaaard!05/21/2015 - 8:32pm
MattsworknameI take all media reporting with huge skepticism. the Mary sue Included. that said, there not as bad Jezebel.05/21/2015 - 8:27pm
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician