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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EFF Files Amicus Brief Supporting EA in 'Davis v. EA'

February 3, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Organization for Transformative Works have jointly filed an amicus brief in Davis v. Electronic Arts currently before the Ninth Circuit court. In its brief the EFF says that "bad facts are making bad law," referring to several court rulings related to celebrities using lawsuits about "rights to publicity" against creative works to trump free speech.

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EFF Calls On Americans To Contact The FEC Today About Online Political Speech

January 13, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is urging U.S. citizens to contact the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to let them know that the long-held hands-off policy related to free and low-cost political speech online should remain unmolested by new regulations.

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Justice Elena Kagan Questions Her Decision in 'Brown v. EMA'

December 30, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan says that she still isn't sure if she made the right decision in Brown v. EMA, which brought the law sponsored by California State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) before the highest court in the land. Ultimately the court sided with the video games industry and free speech advocates, saying that video games are protected speech under the First Amendment.

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Actor Sues 'The Simpsons' Maker For Infringing on His 'Goodfellas' Character

October 21, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Actor Frank Sivero, who played Frankie Carbone in the popular movie Goodfellas, has filed a lawsuit against the creators of The Simpsons, seeking $250 million for "ripping off" the character he played in the 1990 film (the lovable gangster Louie).

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U.S. Supreme Court Denies EA's Motion to Appeal Ruling in 'Keller v. EA'

October 3, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The U.S. Supreme Court has chosen not to hear a "rights of publicity" case - a topic it hasn't addressed for decades involving Electronic Arts. The Supreme Court on Thursday denied EA's request to appeal a 9th Circuit Court ruling for a class of college athletes led by former Nebraska and Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller (Keller v. EA).

Keller sued the company and the NCAA in 2009 for using his image and likeness without compensating him in EA's NCAA-branded football and basketball games.

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Davis v. EA Argued Before Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

September 12, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Yesterday Electronic Arts took its case defending itself against former NFL players (Davis v. EA - PDF) to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (as detailed by The Recorder). EA Games argued Thursday before U.S. Court of Appeals that its portrayal of retired National Football League stars is protected by the First Amendment under "transformative use."

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EFF Pioneer Awards Honor U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Trevor Paglen, and Frank La Rue

August 20, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The Electronic Frontier Foundation will honor former U.N. Special Rapporteur Frank La Rue, U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, and artist Trevor Paglen during its annual EFF Pioneer Awards in San Francisco. The award ceremony will be held the evening of October 2 at the Lodge at the Regency Center in San Francisco. Keynote speakers will be Jacques Servin and Igor Vamos, better known as the Yes Men, who are known for their elaborate parodies and impersonations to fight government and corporate malfeasance

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Ironclad's 'Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion' Is Protected By First Amendment, Judge Rules

June 26, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Ironclad Games and publisher Stardock Entertainment are free to use the word "rebellion" in the name of its latest real-time strategy game (Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion) because it is protected by the First Amendment, a U.S. judge ruled last month. The news of the ruling was revealed by Ironclad co-owner Blair Fraser in a forum post celebrating the victory - as reported on by Polygon.

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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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Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/03/13-year-old-minecraft-player-confesses-to-swatting-police-say/ not surprised.03/27/2015 - 3:51pm
Matthew WilsonI know most of my friends first saw robotech when it was on Toonami in the mid 90s, but it is possible that a fan who watched it in the 80s are in a position to do it.03/27/2015 - 1:04pm
Andrew EisenRobotech was mid 80s. Fans of the show (who were kids when it aired) are my age and older.03/27/2015 - 1:01pm
Matthew Wilsontiming. anime only really became widely known in the US in the mid 90s. if we assume it was mostly kids watching it, they still wouldnt be high enough in managment to be given full creative control yet. it would still be another 5 to 10 years for that.03/27/2015 - 12:59pm
Andrew EisenI agree. Now what makes you think that there is no one in power who cares about (or has the ability to) make a good adaptation?03/27/2015 - 12:47pm
Matthew Wilsonits not about pratice, it is about people who understand it getting in to positions of power.03/27/2015 - 12:34pm
Matthew Wilsonallot of the comic book characters that have been turned in to good movies started in the 70s or earlier.03/27/2015 - 12:32pm
Andrew EisenWell, if it really does take two generations of practice to get it right, we'll never get good live action adaptations of anime if no one starts making them.03/27/2015 - 12:31pm
Andrew EisenWhat have you seen that would make you say that?03/27/2015 - 12:30pm
Matthew WilsonIt took 2 genarations of comic book reader before we got good comic book movies. I imagine that will be the case for anime as well.03/27/2015 - 12:28pm
Matthew Wilson@AE yes if they have people that understand the content give it a shot, but as far as I can tell that does not look like it is happening in this case.03/27/2015 - 12:26pm
Andrew EisenI understand the skepticism but I don't think "this will never work" and "no one should even bother" are very healthy attitudes.03/27/2015 - 12:11pm
Andrew EisenWhy would you doubt that? A lot of writers are my age and older, the perfect age to be fans of the content. All I'm saying is it's not impossible to get a good Robotech movie. In fact, it's more likely today than any other time.03/27/2015 - 12:11pm
Matthew Wilson@AE the difference is in the case of marvel the writers and directors clearly understand the source content. I doubt many of any of them are that way with robotech, or any anime for that matter.03/27/2015 - 11:10am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.playstationtrophies.org/news/news-15838-Sony-Cuts-the-Price-of-PlayStation-TV-Today.html Sony cuts the price of the Vita TV in the UK, still wont force developers to make their stuff compatible with it.03/27/2015 - 10:49am
Andrew EisenMechaCrash - It's true, there are a lot of examples of crap adaptations. But there are increasing numbers of great adaptations such as the Marvel movies. That said, it's certainly going to be an uphill battle at Sony, especially with Tom Rothman around.03/27/2015 - 10:45am
ZippyDSMleeOh live action crap...I dunno with hollywood being stuck in the 90s grimdarkblack mode I can not see how anything would work well other than SNK or Akira.. then again Akira is a bit of head trip...03/27/2015 - 10:11am
MechaCrashI meant Hollywood in general. If they did a Robotech movie, it'd just be a slightly tweaked Macross, because usually when people talk about Robotech, they just mean the first third. Nobody cares about the Masters/Southern Cross or Invid/MOSPAEDA stuff.03/27/2015 - 9:36am
ZippyDSMleeYes Macross is good..... robotech....not so much..... Now Pizza Cats that's the definitive TV dub, if not best dub ever I'd put it up there with COwboy Bebop just becuse the Pizza Cats dub is fun as heck and crazy,Medabots and Fighting Foodons are decent.03/27/2015 - 9:20am
InfophileAged well plot-wise, I mean. The animation is showing its age, but if you don't mind that, the plot holds up quite well03/27/2015 - 6:52am
 

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