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.

A Declaration of Internet Freedom

July 2, 2012 -

In an age where acronyms such as SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, CISPA, CSA, and more put fear into the hearts of Internet users all over the globe it's time that someone stand up and clearly define what rights we should have on the Internet. Like the Continental Congress did when America declared Independence way back in 1776, the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) and other advocacy groups have come up with our own version of a "Declaration" for the Internet age.

Happy Memorial Day

May 28, 2012 -

On behalf of everyone here at GamePolitics we wish our readers a safe and happy holiday. We hope you are enjoying your extended weekend (assuming you had an extended weekend and didn't have to work for the "man" today) and are out having fun on the unofficial start of summer.

I won't rehash it here, but if you want a detailed explanation of what Memorial Day is all about and why it is a very important holiday to a majority of Americans, then you should check out usmemorialday.org.

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New York State 'Anonymous Commenter' Bill Author Issues Statement

May 25, 2012 -

What a difference a few days makes for a politician with an "unconventional" idea. After getting a little pushback from constituents, New York State Assemblyman Dean Murray (R) issued a statement trying to clarify the intended purpose of his billing to deal with anonymous Internet comments. One could categorize his statement as more of a walk back than a clarification...

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New York Politicians Want to Ban Anonymous Internet Comments

May 23, 2012 -

A New York State Assemblymen wants to fight cyberbullying and “baseless political attacks" with a new bill that would ban anonymous web posts. The bill would make it so that all New York-based websites have to "remove any comments posted on his or her website by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post," according to Wired's Threat Level.

Arizona Anti-Online Bullying Bill Stifles Free Speech, Says Critics

April 4, 2012 -

A new bipartisan bill wants to combat online bullying but is so poorly defined in its wording that it goes too far, according to some critics. The legislation is co-sponsored by Arizona State Reps. Ted Vogt and Vic Williams, both Republicans representing Tucson, along with strong support from House Minority Leader Chad Campbell (D-Phoenix), Assistant House Minority Leader Steve Farley (D-Tucson) and Rep. Terri Proud (R-Tucson).

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California Agrees to Pay ESA $950k for Brown v. EMA Court Costs

January 26, 2012 -

The state of California has agreed to pay the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) $950,000 in legal fees related to arguing Brown v. EMA before the U.S. Supreme Court. When combined with reimbursements for the 2008 case (which the state already paid), the grand total that California paid the ESA comes to $1,327,000.

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EA Claims Fair Use in Textron Aircraft Dispute

January 9, 2012 -

After licensing talks broke down between Textron - the parent company of Bell Helicopter – and Electronics Arts, the company has decided to take the legal route to get around paying any licensing fees. Publishers are often pretty heavy handed when it comes to depictions of their work – even when the target claims fair use - but when the shoe is on the other foot, EA has a habit of seeking remedies through the court.

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DailyKOS Takes on SOPA, PROTECT IP

November 29, 2011 -

Left-leaning political blog DailyKOS joins the editorial pages of the New York Times and Los Angeles Times in opposition of the House's Stop Online Piracy Act and the Senate's Protect IP Act. In a post titled "Congress is close to destroying the internet (no hyperbole)," DailyKOS says that it is not hyperbole when they say that lawmakers, big Pharmaceutical companies, and the recording, and movie industries are out to destroy the internet.

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EFF Issues Appeal for Help to Fight Against SOPA and Protect IP

November 23, 2011 -

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is taking up arms against the PROTECT IP Act in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House and they want your help to do it. The advocacy that supports internet rights and freedom of speech online says that these new bills are "a threatening sequel to last year's COICA Internet censorship bill" and that this legislation "invites Internet security risks, threatens online speech, and hampers Internet innovation."

ECA: 'SOPA/PROTECT IP Would Be Hideously Bad For Video Gamers'

November 16, 2011 -

A new article over at TechDirt penned by the Entertainment Consumer Association's Vice President and General Counsel, Jennifer Mercurio, explains why the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP are bad for everyone - especially gamers. Mercurio lays out what this means to everyday internet users when it comes to video performance and fair use in the first paragraph:

NCAC to Honor Brown v. EMA Lawyer Paul M. Smith

November 9, 2011 -

Jenner & Block Partner Paul M. Smith will be honored by the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) at the “Annual Celebration of Free Speech & Its Defenders,” in New York City on November 29, 2011 at Tribeca Three Sixty°. NCAC is a coalition of more than 50 national nonprofit organizations, including civil rights, labor, education, artistic and religious groups dedicated to defending free speech through education and advocacy efforts.

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Madison, WI. Officials Propose Database for Tracking Second-Hand Sellers

September 21, 2011 -

A new proposal before the City Council of Madison, Wisconsin has some residents and civil rights groups up in arms this week. An effort to collect the personal information of individuals who sell various used items (books, DVD's, music CD's, iPods, games, and more). Under the proposed Madison city ordinance, if someone sells items to a second-hand store they will have to provide personal information and a photo will be entered into a police database. Local business owners, civil rights advocates and the public are not pleased.

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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.

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Expert Analysis: Bill S. 978

July 11, 2011 -

GamePolitics Contributing Editor and Maryland intellectual property attorney Daniel Rosenthal offers and in-depth analysis of Bill S. 978 (also known as the "anti-streaming bill") in this guest editorial.

S.978, the "anti-streaming bill" has been introduced in Congress, apparently in response to the White House's Intellectual Property Enforcement Legislation Recommendations white paper (PDF), which recommended to Congress that they should amend the Copyright Act to "clarify that [copyright] infringement by streaming . . . is a felony in appropriate circumstances." While that seems innocuous enough on its face, the bill presented by the bipartisan trio led by Sen. Klobuchar is deeply flawed for a number of reasons.

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Report: Sonderkommando Revolt Mod Shelved

December 20, 2010 -

Sonderkommando Revolt, the Wolfenstein mod that reimagined an 1944 Jewish uprising against the camp guards at Auschwitz, has been shelved. One of the key developers on the homebrew project, Maxim Genis, said that online criticism about the subject matter, and an abusive response from the internet community have made working on the project too difficult.

"I did a lot of research for the game," said Genis. "I wanted to show the Jews really did fight back against the Nazis. I wanted to honour them. My intentions were pure and pro-Jewish in every way."

In a response to a Kotaku inquiry about the game last week, the Anti-Defamation League had urged Genis to cancel the launch in January, calling it "a crude effort to depict Jewish resistance during this painful period." As we pointed out last week the ADL praised the film Inglorious Basterds for doing basically the same thing.

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President Obama Signs Crush Video Ban Law

December 13, 2010 -

President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill that outlaws the creation and distribution of so-called animal crush videos, a response to an April 20 Supreme Court decision (United States v. Stevens) that struck down an earlier federal law that banned a more broadly defined description of animal cruelty. The court was concerned that the law could be applied to hunting and fishing videos. The new law specifically addresses creating and distributing videos and ties it to obscenity - saying that these kinds of videos - involving burning, crushing and mutilating animals appeal to a particular sexual fetish. Why would the law say that? To tie the act to obscenity and make it an exception to the first amendment.

"This [new] law protects both animals and free speech by focusing specifically on crush videos, which clearly have no place in our society,” said Randall Lockwood of ASPCA.

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Video of ECA SCOTUS Rally

November 29, 2010 -

As readers of GamePolitics well know, November 2 was a momentous day for the videogame industry as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Schwarzenegger vs EMA case.

That same day the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) held a rally on the steps of the Supreme Court steps in which gamers from all walks of life stood up for their favored medium.

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Facebook Flick Prompts SCOTUS Philosophical Debate

November 18, 2010 -

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer recently saw The Social Network and admitted that the film puzzled him.

But, according to an MSNBC article, he used the film to claim that modern conditions and technologies should be considered by Justices when they are interpreting the U.S. Constitution, as in the case of Schwarzenegger vs. EMA.

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North Carolina Tenth Graders Ape SCOTUS, Rule for Game Industry

November 17, 2010 -

On the same day (November 2) the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Schwarzenegger vs. EMA in Washington D.C., students at Pinecrest High School in North Carolina took part in their own reenactment of the landmark videogame case.

Tenth graders from a civics class took part in the faux-trial, with eight students taking on the role of Associate Supreme Court Justices while a local attorney named Bruce Cunningham assumed the role of Chief Justice. Four students argued for each side.

One student, arguing for California, stated that “When you're a child, your brain hasn't developed that part where you don't understand the consequences,” while a counterpart on the EMA side contended that, “Speech, even though it is not pleasing, is still entitled to freedom.”

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Professor: SCOTUS Should Use Schwarzenegger Case to Fix its “Extreme” First Amendment Stance

November 17, 2010 -

In an opinion piece appearing in the Los Angeles Times, Pepperdine University constitutional law professor Barry McDonald argues that the Supreme Court should use Schwarzenegger vs. EMA to “adjust its severe approach to content-based regulations of speech.”

McDonald opined that the California law in question “puts teeth” in the attempt to stop kids from buying violent games, and he notes that the plaintiffs in the case “are not minors who are eager to receive the ‘speech’ in question,” but game manufacturers themselves.

He continued:

Despite the fact that it seems the 1st Amendment is being used to protect the manufacturers' purses rather than their ideas, lower courts across the country have uniformly invalidated such video-game restrictions on free-speech grounds.

Editorial Hopes Law against “Poison” Games Sets Precedent

November 12, 2010 -

An article penned by the Editorial Board of the Oregonian calls violent games “poison to the teen mind,” and cites “a fragmented but growing body of research,” to back its hopes that the California legislation will at least “find footing” in order to “set a promising example.”

The opinion piece states that Schwarzenegger vs EMA is not exclusively about free speech, since the law does not seek an outright ban on violent games.

The California law, according to the Oregonian, would “simply prevent the neighborhood video store clerk from deciding to sell ‘Postal 2’ to a 14-year-old.”

The editorial continued, stating:

 
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Matthew Wilsonthis is a nice video on P.T https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-85jO6nRNQ05/25/2015 - 11:57pm
Matthew Wilsonmaybe, but its still kinda sad even as a joke.05/25/2015 - 11:51pm
Goth_SkunkThe best commentary is delivered through humour.05/25/2015 - 11:36pm
Andrew EisenIt's not needed. It's a joke. Albeit one with quite a bit of commentary packed into it.05/25/2015 - 10:59pm
Matthew Wilsonmot game related, but still interesting. http://www.polygon.com/2015/5/25/8654983/jurassic-world-chris-pratt-apology the fact that this is even needed in modern culture is a embarrassment.05/25/2015 - 10:26pm
Matthew Wilsonyeah, but with no voice chat its doa.05/25/2015 - 9:48pm
TechnogeekYet, you're going to be hard-pressed to find anyone other than insecure 2EDGY4U teenagers seeing it as anything other than an extremely fun game.05/25/2015 - 8:36pm
TechnogeekSplatoon's probably the best example at this point. Gameplay-wise, it's a team-based third-person shooter with a significant online component. It's rated E10.05/25/2015 - 8:36pm
TechnogeekThe silliest thing about most of the Nintendo hatred is that they may be the last company that interprets "family-friendly" as meaning "fun for more than just the really young kids".05/25/2015 - 8:33pm
ZippyDSMleeWell it could be worse, like skyrim out of the box, a shame DAI dose not have that level of editing...05/25/2015 - 5:58pm
Zenpretty well without getting "nasty". Many people are disappointed in the decision and the about face on the status of the games development.05/25/2015 - 4:22pm
ZenEvery market has horrible people...but being like this towards all of them in a group is not a way to garner support and can make people more hostile towards you. Ironically his response was to someone that wanted to state a disagreement, but worded it05/25/2015 - 4:22pm
Goth_SkunkAs demonstrated by Ian's remarks, that 'market of possible fans' is apparently negligible.05/25/2015 - 4:18pm
Zeninformation while other versions had everything talked about openly.05/25/2015 - 4:15pm
ZenYeah, I've read through it and wanted to make sure I had it quoted correctly. I get there are issues, but this is horribly unprofessional and just burning a market of possible fans..many of which supported them and were waiting while getting little to no05/25/2015 - 4:15pm
Goth_SkunkOh wow. That's not even misquoted, he actually said that. Though for additional context in previous pages, he truly does not think highly of Nintendo console owners, and claims that in the industry, he's not alone.05/25/2015 - 4:12pm
ZenI also took a screenshot of the statement in case it is taken down (via my Twitter): https://twitter.com/zenspath/status/60293960536562483205/25/2015 - 4:05pm
ZenLink for my previous post - http://forum.projectcarsgame.com/showthread.php?27584-Project-Cars-Sales-figures&p=942776&viewfull=1#post94277605/25/2015 - 4:03pm
ZenProject Cars basically canceled for Wii U, Slightlymad Studios Head, Ian Bell, states "Yup, and if you need to pass this on, we really dislike Nintendo users" on Forum to Wii U players waiting for the game and disappointed in the news.05/25/2015 - 4:03pm
Goth_SkunkAnd now, a humorous gif. Oblivious Otter is Oblivious. http://i.imgur.com/zdUZOWo.gif05/25/2015 - 3:49pm
 

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