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.

 

Twitch bans 'Adults Only' game streams

May 28, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

Game streaming powerhouse Twitch has updated its rules of conduct on streaming games rated "Adults Only" by the ESRB (or games with an equivalent rating under other ratings systems like PEGI, etc.). Under the new rules of conduct games rated "AO" cannot be streamed on Twitch, but games rated 18+ in other regions are fine (as long as they do not have an ESRB rating of AO in the North America).

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Poll: Is it censorship when a private retailer decides not to sell a particular video game?

May 27, 2015 - Andrew Eisen

The GamePolitics weekly poll has returned!

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Academics in Turkey call for 'Minecraft Report' to be released

April 27, 2015 - James Fudge

A petition signed by academics who are part of the Turkish Chapter of DiGRA called on the country's Ministry of Family and Social Politics to release its "Minecraft report" to the public. It further notes that academics and experts who study video games should evaluate it before any attempts to seek court actions against the game takes place.

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'Postal' rejected from Google Play for 'gratuitous violence'

April 8, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

According to this forum post over at the official Running With Scissors forums, Postal won't be making it to Android devices. Why? Because apparently it has been rejected from the Google Play Store because it contains "GRATUITOUS VIOLENCE." While the Postal series is known for its outlandish levels of violence, Running With Scissors makes a valid point when it notes that other equally violent games are already available in the marketplace.

From the post:

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'Turkey Not Banning Minecraft,' Says Diplomat

March 11, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

While media reports coming out of Turkey suggest that the government wants to "ban" Minecraft in the region, a spokesperson at the Turkish Embassy in Washington D.C says that it is simply not true.

In an interview with Christian Science Monitor, Fatih Oke, a spokesman for the Turkish Embassy in Washington D.C. says that a ban is not possible.

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Mojang Responds To Turkish Government's Plan To Ban 'Minecraft'

March 11, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

Mojang has responded to a report that the government of Turkey wants to ban its open-world building game Minecraft. Yesterday we reported that the government's Family and Social Policies Ministry issued a report recommending that the game be banned because it is "based on violence," might encourage children to "become isolated" and to "kill small animals" without an understanding of what they are doing.

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Turkey Inches Closer To Banning 'Minecraft'

March 10, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

In February we reported that the government of Turkey was kicking around the idea of banning Minecraft. Today we are learning that such a ban is moving closer to becoming a reality. According to several Turkish publications, a new report from Turkey's Family and Social Policies Ministry is recommending that Minecraft be banned in the region.

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Report: Valve Censoring Messages About Torrent Site in Steam Chat

February 17, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

According to this TorrentFreak story (by way of MCV), Valve is censoring links in Steam's chat that point to popular torrent site KickassTorrents. The site, which is one of the last huge Torrent sites in the world at this point, was taken offline last week after its Somalian domain was seized.

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Report: Turkish Government Investigating Violence in 'Minecraft'

February 11, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

According to a report on Turkish website Haberturk (as reported on by Newsweek and GameSpot) Turkey's family and policies minister Aysenur Islam has expressed concerns that Mojang's sandbox building game might be too violent and might "promote aggression."

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'Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number' Refused Classification in Australia

January 15, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number has been refused classification in Australia, according to this Kotaku Australia report. A report by the Australian Classification Board explains why the game was refused classification, or given an "RC," effectively banning it from being sold in Australia. The scene in question involves implied sexual violence:

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Nudity Restored in iOS Version Of 'Papers, Please'

December 16, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Apple has decided to allow Lucas Pope's original version of Papers, Please onto the Apple App Store for iPad and iPhone. Earlier in the week Pope said that Apple originally rejected the full version of the game which showed scenes of nude bodies as people went through body scanners. Pope then submitted another version of the game censoring out those scenes, which Apple then approved.

But something has apparently changed Apple's mind.

Apple described the whole situation as simply a "misunderstanding" to Pope.

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Super Podcast Action Committee - Episode 125

December 15, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

If you missed Saturday's live broadcast of Super Podcast Action Committee (Episode 125), you can watch the video replay on YouTube, or download it below. On this week's show hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight discuss the latest GamePolitics poll ("Will Street Fighter V remain a PS4 exclusive?" - 49:30 mark), if Tekken 7's Lucky Chloe will be removed from western versions of the game (59:49), and how Apple thinks nudity constitutes porn and removes Papers, Please (1:12:46).

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Take-Two President: If you don't like 'GTA V,' don't buy it

December 9, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Speaking at the BMO Capital Markets 2014 Technology & Digital Media Conference (as chronicled by GII) today, Take-Two president Karl Slatoff said that those pushing to get Grand Theft Auto V banned in Australia should simply not buy the game if they don't like it, not get it banned from store shelves.

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Kmart Australia Joins Target Australia in Pulling 'GTA V' From Stores Shelves

December 4, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Kmart Australia has joined Target Australia in pulling Grand Theft Auto V from stores shelves in the country. This is not surprising considering that Wesfarmers owns both Kmart Australia and Target Australia. Still, this news is likely disheartening to Take Two, who issued a statement expressing its disappointment in Target yesterday.

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Take-Two CEO Expresses Disappointment in Target Australia's Decision to Remove 'GTA V' From Stores

December 3, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick has expressed deep disappointment in Target Australia's decision to pull Grad Theft Auto V from its store shelves after an online petition specifically targeted the retailer over stocking the game. That petition on Change.org called for the retailer to pull the game over first-person interactions with sex workers (mostly viewed from YouTube videos showing sex with a prostitute followed by a murder in first-person view).

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Target Australia Pulls 'Grand Theft Auto V' From Store Shelves

December 3, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

It looks like a Change.org petition has garnered enough attention to get Grand Theft Auto V  pulled off store shelves at one major retailer in Australia, according to a GamesBeat report.

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Report: Activision Using DMCA Takedowns on 'Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare' Cheat and Glitch Videos

November 24, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

According to this Ars Technica report, Activision is using DMCA takedowns on YouTube videos that tell players how to use glitches and exploits in its latest Call of Duty title, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

Over the weekend video network Machinima sent out a tweet warning other YouTube video makers that Activision was cracking down on videos that highlighted possible ways to cheat in Advanced Warfare:

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Advocacy Group Criticizes Games That Exploit Israel-Gaza Conflict

August 5, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

A British advocacy group is criticizing games on Google Play and Facebook that glorify or minimize the tragedies surrounding the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. The group, Council for Arab British Understanding, said in a statement to the BBC that these games glorify violence and normalize the conflict.

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'Tropico 5' Banned in Thailand

August 4, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Gamasutra is reporting (based on this AP report) that the government of Thailand has banned Tropico 5 in the country. Why, you may ask, would they do that? According to the report, the government is worried that people will play the game and be compelled to rebel against the rule of law there.

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'The Evil Within' Edited For Japan, Cut Content to Become DLC

July 8, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

When Bethesda Softworks releases the horror game The Evil Within in Japan, it will be missing some content. Bethesda had scheduled Shinji Mikami’s upcoming survival-horror game for an August release, but the publishers announced that the game would be delayed until October.

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Apple Pulls Pot Game From App Store

May 22, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Apple has pulled developer Manitoba Games' app about growing and dealing weed from its App Store. The game, called Weed Firm, was yanked from the Apple App Store because of its depiction of illegal activity, according to the developer. The game revolves around "the vicious and lawless career of Mr. Ted Growing," an expelled botany sophomore who decides to take over a pot growing operation. The goal of the game is to become the biggest pot dealer in town, by growing and selling to a cast of amusing and dangerous characters, all while avoiding the long arm of the law.

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Apple Bans 'HappyPlayTime,' A Game About Female Masturbation

May 21, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

GamesIndustry International has an excellent article chronicling the plight of a female developer whose game was banned from Apple's App Store for depicting a sexual act. At first blush the game, HappyPlayTime, might sound like pornography, but it's more about education in a fun and entertaining way, according to its creator.

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Bikinis, Shorts and Inter-Gender Touching Banned In Chinese Video Games

May 13, 2014 - Andrew Eisen

A few weeks ago we reported on the copious restrictions China has imposed on video game makers wanting to sell their wares in the country now that the console ban has gone bye-bye.

3 comments | Read more

The Sims 4 Rated 'Adults-Only' In Russia Because of Same-Sex Relationships

May 9, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Russia's ratings agency that handles video games has given The Sims 4 an 18+ age rating due to the inclusion of same-sex relationships. The game violates a law that protects children from "information harmful to their health and development."

The Sims Russia Twitter account announced earlier this week that the game had earned the restrictive rating. Previous Sims games released in the region have all been rated T (Teen) or 12+ but a law passed in 2010 is the reason for the more restrictive rating.

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Turtle Rock Community Manager Weighs In On Donald Sterling Situation, Gets Fired

May 2, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Josh Olin, the community and eSports manager at Evolve developer Turtle Rock Studios, has been fired over tweets he made yesterday in support of embattled LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Olin, who is a former community manager at Treyarch Studios and Riot Games, said on Twitter on Wednesday:

"Here's an unpopular opinion: Donald Sterling has the right as an American to be an old bigot in the security of his own home. He's a victim."

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After 32 Years, Small Massachusetts Town Votes to Lift Arcade Games Ban

May 1, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

In 1982 Marshfield, Massachusetts banned coin-operated video games. Over the years many have tried to get the law reversed and failed. But the good news is that Marshfield lifted the long-standing ban this week. On Monday, residents of the small town voted 203-175 to overturn the bylaw and welcome arcade gaming back into town. To put this ban into perspective, that's a 32 year ban on playing arcade games; compared to China's 14 year ban on console games lifted this year. Incredible!

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Report: 'Bravely Default' Banned in Saudi Arabia

April 23, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

According to this Destructoid blog (from a reader named "Lord Spencer" who lives in Saudi Arabia), the government has banned the Square Enix 3DS game Bravely Default for promoting sexual behavior in children and pedophilia. While it is not at all shocking that the government in this country bans a particular game, the reasoning for the Bravely Default ban is as over-the-top as one can get.

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China Details Copious Restrictions On Video Game Content

April 22, 2014 - Andrew Eisen

China will soon be lifting its ban on video game consoles and while that's certainly a good thing, the Shanghai government just released a comprehensive list of content restrictions for game makers looking to release their products in the Asian state.

On the no-fly list are:

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Report: Russia Proposing Stricter Age Restrictions for Video Games and Web Sites

April 8, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The Voice of Russia reports that Russia may adopt stricter age restrictions for videogames and websites soon. One of the biggest online companies in the region, Mail.Ru, has already begun labeling its games voluntarily. The company has already labeled its games with age restrictions on three of its gaming web portals: Games Mail.Ru and Mini-games Mail.Ru as well as the gaming center for its users. The restrictions are based on ratings standards developed by Russian regulators and European counterpart PEGI.

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Poll: Is it censorship when a private retailer decides not to sell a particular video game?:

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Wonderkarpjust be happy and encourage it.05/29/2015 - 7:37am
DocMelonheadSorry about that, but I'm surprise at what IP participate in this discussion.05/29/2015 - 7:25am
E. Zachary KnightIron, I did not Google Search because I figured the ESRB would publish such infor on their site, which is where I looked. http://www.esrb.org/ratings/ratings_process.jsp05/29/2015 - 7:22am
WonderkarpDocMelonHead, don't look a gift horse in the mouth05/29/2015 - 7:21am
E. Zachary KnightDoc, Uncalled for. Please keep things civil.05/29/2015 - 7:21am
MattsworknameThey were discussing the appeals process for Esrb ratings Doc.05/29/2015 - 7:21am
DocMelonheadDid IP post something that isn't related to White Supremecy?05/29/2015 - 7:13am
IronPatriotBut hey, you're welcome.05/29/2015 - 5:23am
Andrew EisenEZK did say he didn't find any info on the appeals process. And if all he did was look at the ratings process part of the ESRB's website, he wouldn't have. That's where I would have looked too. But hey, thanks for being thorough and finding the info.05/29/2015 - 5:01am
Andrew EisenDude, again. I am NOT saying there is no appeals process. THERE OBVIOUSLY IS. All I am saying is that the appeals process is not described in the ratings process part of the ESRB's website.05/29/2015 - 4:59am
IronPatriotI googled appeal esrb.org and it is the first and third hits. Second is esrb talking about appeals for web publishers. Gamefaqs is fourth.05/29/2015 - 4:01am
IronPatriotZachary said he did not find any information about a formal appeals process. I did a simple search and found two places on the esrb site with the info. Just sayin.05/29/2015 - 3:57am
IronPatriotOn Google I get "1 Written Testimony of Patricia E. Vance President ... - ESRB" http://www.esrb.org/about/news/downloads/pvtestimony_6_14_06.pdf05/29/2015 - 3:55am
Andrew EisenNow, that post on GameFAQs was made four years ago. It appears the ESRB has since moved the appeals process stuff behind the publisher login on its website.05/29/2015 - 3:32am
Andrew EisenOh, third link on the Google search. Okay. That leads to a GameFAQs message board which quotes a section of the ESRB website that includes a description of the appeals process. But when you follow the link, that quote doesn't exist.05/29/2015 - 3:30am
Andrew EisenThird link down from what? Look, I'm not arguing the existance of an appeals process. There obviously is one. I was merely noting that it's odd that it isn't described on the website's ratings process section but it is on the mobile site.05/29/2015 - 3:25am
IronPatriotOK, so use the third link down, which describes the appeals process and is not on the mobile site"Publishers also have the ability to appeal an ESRB rating assignment to an Appeals Board, which is made up of publishers, retailers and other professionals."05/29/2015 - 2:47am
Andrew EisenRight, which links to the ESRB's mobile site. On the website (again, unless I'm overlooking it) the appeals process is locked behind the publisher login.05/29/2015 - 2:37am
IronPatriotHuh? Google "appeals esrb". It is the first link. Click it. No login requested.05/29/2015 - 2:31am
Andrew EisenInteresting. It's on the mobile site but unless I'm overlooking it, I don't see it under the Ratings Process on the web site. It is under the publishers section but you can't access it without a login.05/29/2015 - 2:13am
 

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