A Legal Analysis of Brown v. EMA

July 8, 2011 -

            No doubt everyone has heard the good news out of the Supreme Court last week. Video games are saved from government censorship based on violent content, California’s law prohibiting the sale of violent video games to minors is invalid, good times had by all. This article is for those curious as to the how and why of this outcome, and will take readers through the Court’s principal opinion written by Justice Scalia (which is the governing law and will be used as precedent everywhere in the US from now on) as well as touch on a few points from other opinions penned by other Justices.

 

Lead Counsel In SCOTUS Violent Games Case Lays Out Arguments

October 7, 2010 -

The lead counsel for the video game industry in the upcoming Supreme Court fight against California’s proposed violent video game restrictions outlined the problems with the state’s legal arguments in a recent public appearance.

Speaking at an intellectual property forum at Chicago-Kent University last week, Jenner and Block LLP Partner Paul M. Smith said that no matter how a state defines "extreme" violence in such laws, they will run into constitutional problems with vagueness.

"I've litigated nine cases in a row where states have tried to define the category nine different ways – and they always lose when they make this case because violence is considered a perfectly appropriate and normal part of what we give our kids to see starting from a very young age," he said.

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Senator Rand Paul Gets Standing Ovation at Berkeley Forum

March 20, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

When the Daily Caller and the San Francisco Gate report a positive in the same story, it doesn't mean that the apocalypse is in full swing; it generally means that something particularly interesting and possibly good has occurred.

PSA: Today is 'The Day We Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance'

February 11, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Today is the day that advocacy groups and businesses have designated as a day of protest online against the NSA's unfettered surveillance and data collection practices. Led by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the collective are calling on websites and internet users to show their support by displaying special banners online and to contact their elected official in D.C. to let them know that the mass surveillance being conducted by the NSA needs to come to an end.

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Head of House Intelligence Committee Claims Journalist Glen Greenwald is 'Selling Documents'

February 5, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The head of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) has lashed out at one of the key journalists publishing stories about the documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. While not mentioning him by name, Rogers basically calls The Guardian's Glen Greenwald a thief, implying that he is committing some sort of crime and is selling the documents leaked by Edward Snowden. You may recall that Greenwald was one of the first journalists to break the story about Edward Snowden and his cache of NSA-related documents and materials..

James Clapper Refers to Media as 'Accomplices' in Edward Snowden's Leaks of NSA Documents

January 30, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper made headlines again this week when he intimated that certain unnamed journalists were accomplices in documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

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Google Urges Support of Electronic Communications Privacy Act Reform Petition

December 5, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Google sent out a call to action today urging internet users to sign a petition on Whitehouse.gov demanding that the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) be reformed to include more protections for online activity and to reflect the change in the way people use the Internet. As is the case with petitions on the site, the White House is only obligated to respond once the petition has reached 100,000 signatures. As of this writing the petition has 43,928 of the signatures it needs by Dec. 12.

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ThanksUSA Treasure Hunt Chooses 'Bill of Rights' Theme

November 26, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

ThanksUSA and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) Foundation announced the launch of the ninth annual ThanksUSA Treasure Hunt (TH9), a free, fully interactive digital trivia and puzzle game about U.S. history, culture and values. The annual hunt supports ThanksUSA's annual scholarship fund to benefit the children and spouses of active-duty military personnel by providing scholarships for two-year or four-year colleges, vocational or technical schools. The focus of this year's hunt will be the Bill of Rights.

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National Rights Groups Take Aim at Massachusetts Video Game Research Bill

November 19, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Berin Szoka, President of Internet rights organization TechFreedom has penned an interesting editorial over at the Huffington Post detailing his group's opposition to Massachusetts state lawmakers pushing for research on the connection between real-world violence and playing violent video games.

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YouTube Personality TotalBiscuit Claims ' Day One: Garry's Incident' Dev Made Copyright Claim Against Critical Video

October 21, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Update 2: A full explanation/apology from Wild Games can be read at Kotaku.

Update 1: Kotaku reports that Wild Games has decided to withdraw its YouTube copyright complaint. A statement from Wild Games:

"..after seeing all the negative impact today we decided to withdraw our complaint to YouTube."

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Lead Plaintiff in Heller v. District of Columbia Says Game Regulation Efforts a 'Back Door' to Regulating Guns

October 15, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

The plaintiff in the landmark gun rights Supreme Court decision that bears his name (Heller v. District of Columbia) warned that the effort to regulate violent video games in the U.S. Congress is "a backdoor attack on gun rights." The Supreme Court case, Heller v. District of Columbia, overturned D.C.'s handgun ban. In a report on conservative publication Human Events, Heller said that lawmakers are targeting video games as a way to get at the issue from behind.

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Super Podcast Action Committee - Episode 72

October 8, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

On this week's show, hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight are joined by Ben Hayward, who wrote an interesting article last week about how video game players are often gun owners too, and how the government often tries to pit one group against the other. Andrew also reveals the results of last week's poll concerning the Mighty No. 9 and the possibility that the developer behind the game might get sued by Capcom.

StopWatchingUs to Hold D.C. Rally Oct. 26

September 19, 2013 - James Fudge

On October 26 organizers of StopWatchingUs will hold a rally in Washington D.C. on the anniversary of the Patriot Act. StopWatchingUs is a nonpartisan coalition of organizations, individuals, and companies that oppose the unconstitutional mass surveillance being conducted by the National Security Agency. The collective seeks "a full Congressional investigation of America’s surveillance programs, reform to federal surveillance law, and accountability from public officials responsible for hiding this surveillance from lawmakers and the public."

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2009 Order From FISA Court Slams NSA Data Collection Practices Over a Three-Year Period

September 11, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

According to newly declassified documents, a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge slammed the National Security Agency in 2009 for what he called "flagrant violations" of the privacy rights of U.S. citizens over a three-year period of searches of telephone records.

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Former Vice-President Walter Mondale and Sen. Gary Hart Testify on Behalf of ACLU in NSA Lawsuit

September 6, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Earlier this week we reported that Patriot Act chief author Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) had come out against the NSA in ACLU v. NSA, a lawsuit that seeks an immediate injunction that would halt all spying activity on American citizens, among other things. But what we didn't report is that a former Presidential candidate (and former Senator) and a former Vice-President have also sided with the ACLU.

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Keller v. EA Delayed for Supreme Court Review Petition

August 22, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

It looks like Electronic Arts is getting a little breathing room from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco this week concerning Keller v. Electronic Arts.

On July 31 the Ninth Circuit ruled that the company wasn’t protected by the First Amendment from former college athletes’ claims that the company violated their rights by using their likenesses in its NCAA Football games without paying compensation or getting permission.

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Free Speech and Lap Dances: NY's Exotic Dancing Tax May Get Supreme Court Review

August 8, 2013 -

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a review of the 677 New Loudon Corp. v. State of New York Tax Tribunal, following a decision from the New York Supreme Court that the state government may tax exotic dancing but not other forms of dancing. Free speech advocacy group Media Coalition thinks that if the Supreme Court were to review this decision, it would likely overturn it because it violates the First Amendment. The group recently filed an amicus brief with the court urging it to review the case.

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ACLU Case Against NSA over Phone Data Collection Moves Forward

July 26, 2013 -

On Thursday the U.S. Justice Department was rebuked by a U.S. District Court Judge for seeking to delay proceedings in a case against the NSA brought forward by the American Civil Liberties Union. The Justice Department had asked the court for an extension of time in the case so that it could declassify related documents, but U.S. District Judge William Pauley rebuked the agency, telling lawyers for the DOJ that it was in a courtroom and not some sort of marketplace.

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Super Podcast Action Committee - Episode 61

July 22, 2013 -

In Episode 61 of the Super Podcast Action Committee, hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about the First Amendment, if Microsoft will cooperate with the government to allow access to the Kinect's various features (for the purposes of spying on us), Forza 5 requiring a 'day one' update, and a whole lot more. there's even some talk about Howard the Duck, LEGOs, the new Avengers movie, Hank Pym, Comic-Con and more. Download Episode 61 now: SuperPAC Episode 61 (1 hour, 10 minutes) 64 MB.

Thirty-Four Percent of Americans Think the First Amendment 'Goes Too Far'

July 18, 2013 -

The results of a new survey released today by the Newseum Institute shows that roughly 34 percent of Americans think that the First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees, up from 13 percent in last year's survey. This is the largest single-year increase in the history of the State of the First Amendment national survey. The survey has been conducted since 1997 to determine public opinion about First Amendment rights and issues. The results were released today by First Amendment Center President Ken Paulson and Newseum Institute Chief Operating Officer Gene Policinski.

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EFF Files Lawsuit Against NSA Over Associational Tracking Program

July 16, 2013 -

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed a lawsuit against the National Security Agency (NSA) today for violating the First Amendment right of association by illegally collecting the call records of 19 groups. The Internet advocacy group has filed this lawsuit on behalf of 19 groups and organizations that in any other situation would make for strange bedfellows.

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Two Years Ago Today, Video Games Won In The Supreme Court

June 27, 2013 -

Two years ago today, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of the First Amendment rights of gamers and the games industry. This ruling came about after years of legal battles between the games industry and various states. This particular ruling was over a legal dispute between the state of California and the games industry.

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United Nations Report Calls for More 'Anti-Terror' Internet Surveillance

October 23, 2012 -

A new United Nations report calls for internet surveillance in the name of fighting terrorism, reports C|Net. The report points out the lack of international agreements on the retention of data, and concerns about open Wi-Fi networks in places like airports, cafes and libraries that are likely prime spots for terrorists and cyber terrorists chatter.

Reddit CEO Discusses Free Speech and Gawker Ban in Internal Memo

October 17, 2012 -

A war of words between Gawker Media and the Reddit community might make for some marvelous online drama, but it doesn't sit well with Wishan Wong, chief executive of Reddit. An internal memo obtained by Gawker and attributed Wong, reveals that Reddit's CEO thinks free speech is paramount to the community but that the ban on Gawker links is not a good idea.

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Philippines Supreme Court Issues Preliminary Injunction against New Cyber Crimes Law

October 10, 2012 -

Yesterday the Philippine Supreme Court issued a preliminary injunction against a recently passed anti-cybercrime law that had harsh penalties for violators of various statutes within the law. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said that the court issued the temporary restraining order to keep the government from enforcing it while the courts decide if it is legal on the country's constitution. Despite public protests and pressure to lawmakers who supported the bill, it managed to gain passage in the legislature and was signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III last month.

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The Reddit Declaration of Internet Freedom Bus Tour Begins in Early October

September 27, 2012 -

The Declaration of Internet Freedom may not be getting as much national attention as it should from the mainstream media (despite several members of Congress and the Senate strongly and publicly supporting it), but Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian (who also had a hand in helping draft the document) has some plans to get it noticed by the general public.

ACLU Calls TPP a 'Threat to Free Speech'

August 31, 2012 -

In a new blog post, Sandra Fulton, a member of the ACLU's Washington Legislative Office, describes the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement as the "biggest threat to free speech and intellectual property that you’ve never heard of." Fulton makes a good point because U.S. trade Representatives negotiating the treaty and other countries are doing a hell of a job keeping the details of this trade treaty a big secret.

Google Plays Internet Cop for Rights Holders

August 13, 2012 -

Google has decided to play ball with rights holders, according to this Politico report. The world's biggest search engine revealed that it will now make search results from sites with "frequent copyright removal notices" appear lower in Google search rankings. Google announced late Friday that web sites with high numbers of "valid" removal notices would be affected by this new policy.

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EA Motion to Dismiss Counter-Claims in Battlefield Helicopter Lawsuit Denied

July 31, 2012 -

A federal judge has denied a motion by Electronic Arts to dismiss counter-claims in a trademark lawsuit filed by Textron Innovations and Bell Helicopter Textron related to helicopters depicted in its popular Battlefield games. Textron Innovations and Bell Helicopter Textron make the AH-1Z, UH-1Y and V-22 helicopters. They filed a lawsuit in 2008 claiming that the game's depiction of these helicopters infringed on Bell-manufactured vehicles in the "Battlefield Vietnam," "Battlefield Vietnam: Redux" and "Battlefield 2" video games.

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How the Internet Helped Shape Opinions on Brown v. EMA SCOTUS Decision

July 9, 2012 -

In the old days, Supreme Court Justices had very little information to turn to outside of legal briefs presented by combatants and case law when making a ruling, but a new study by William & Mary law professor Allison Orr Larsen finds that justice are increasingly turning to information on the Internet to shore up their opinions. According to research from Larsen, there were more than 100 instances where justices used information on the Internet in their opinions.

 
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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
TheSmokeyhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/22/call-of-duty-swatting-hoax_n_5195659.html?utm_hp_ref=canada&ir=Canada CoD loser calls SWAT on person who beat him04/23/2014 - 7:13am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/23/xbox-one-reaches-japan-on-september-4/ Just give it up, Microsoft. You're NEVER going to be big in Japan, especially now that the notoriously clunky in Japan Kinect is MANDATORY.04/23/2014 - 7:10am
Cheater87Has this been posted yet? http://www.destructoid.com/blogs/Lord+Spencer/ssv-saudi-arabia-bans-bravely-default-because-it-promotes-pedophilia--272016.phtml04/22/2014 - 9:31pm
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/133898-Fatal-Frame-V-Coming-Exclusively-to-Wii-U04/22/2014 - 8:50pm
Matthew Wilsonit is a game worth playing if you have a pc/360/ps304/20/2014 - 9:34pm
MaskedPixelantehttps://twitter.com/IGLevine/status/457552538343325696 The Lutece Twins show up in some of the most unlikely of places.04/20/2014 - 2:44pm
Andrew EisenAs it happens, Chinatown Wars is the only GTA game I've played.04/19/2014 - 10:43am
Papa MidnightWith GTA5 (to date) failing to even provide indication of a PC release, I'm realising that this might be the first GTA game that I have not played (outside of Chinatown Wars) since the series inception.04/19/2014 - 8:14am
 

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