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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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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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.

 
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Andrew EisenNow, having said that, what sites are you reading that are claiming that if "you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem" or that gamers are "obligated to stop harassment"? Or was that hyperbole too?09/21/2014 - 1:03am
Andrew EisenFirst of all, ONE person in the Shout box suggested an obligation to call harassers out on their harassing but only after YOU brought it up. Plus, Techno said "when you see it happening." If you don't see it, you're not under any obligation.09/21/2014 - 1:02am
Sleaker@Craig R. - at this point I don't even know what the hashtags are suppsed to be in support of. what does GamerGate actually signify.09/21/2014 - 12:21am
Sleaker@AE - Hyperbole for the first 2, but it seems like some of the comments in the shout are attempting to place blame on fellow gamers because they aren't actively telling people to stop harassing even though they don't necessarily know anyone that has.09/21/2014 - 12:16am
Andrew EisenSleaker - Who the heck are you reading that is claiming "all gamers are bad," we "need to pass laws or judgement on all gamers," that if "you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem," or that gamers are "obligated to stop harassment"?09/20/2014 - 9:44pm
erthwjimhe swatted more than just krebs, I think he swatted 30 people http://krebsonsecurity.com/2014/05/teen-arrested-for-30-swattings-bomb-threats/09/20/2014 - 9:31pm
Craig R.Btw, the guy who swatted security expert Brian Krebs? He got picked up recently. It can be done.09/20/2014 - 8:55pm
Craig R.Such things are not done in a vacuum... hence why the 4chan and other logs show what fools you've all been, tricked into doing the trolls' work09/20/2014 - 8:49pm
Sleaker@Technogeek - How do you call someone out that anonymously calls in a SWAT team, or sends threats to people?09/20/2014 - 7:04pm
Technogeek"It also doesn't mean you're obligated to stop harassment from all gamers that are doing so." I'd say you're certainly obligated to call them out when you see it happening.09/20/2014 - 5:17pm
SleakerNow if you disagree with anything in my last 2 posts then we obviously have a difference in world view, and wont come to any sort of agreement. I'm fine with that, maybe some people aren't?09/20/2014 - 5:09pm
SleakerIt also doesn't mean that just because a news outlet says that Gamers are the problem and you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem. It also doesn't mean you're obligated to stop harassment from all gamers that are doing so.09/20/2014 - 4:59pm
SleakerJust to re-iterate: People getting harassed is wrong. Just because someone is harassed by so called 'gamers' doesn't mean that all gamers are bad. nor does it mean that you need to pass laws or judgement on all gamers.09/20/2014 - 4:56pm
SleakerAnd furthermore just because someone doesn't 'crusade against the evil' that doesn't make them the problem. You can have discussion with those around you. There's a thing called sphere of influence.09/20/2014 - 4:54pm
Sleaker@Conster - one person getting harassed is a 'problem' only so far as the harassee's are doing it. Just because a select few people choose to act like this doesn't make it widespread. Nor does it immediately make everyone responsible to put an end to it.09/20/2014 - 4:54pm
james_fudgeno worries09/20/2014 - 4:15pm
TechnogeekI misread james' comment as "we can't have a debate without threatening" there at first. Actually wound up posting a shout about death threats and "kill yourself" not technically being the same thing before I realized.09/20/2014 - 3:59pm
james_fudgeDon't hit me *cowers behind Andrew*09/20/2014 - 3:20pm
ConsterYou take that back right now, james, or else. *shakes fist menacingly*09/20/2014 - 3:00pm
james_fudgeOur community is awesome. We can have a debate without threatening to kill each other.09/20/2014 - 2:50pm
 

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