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.

 

'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.

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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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Ultimate Gay Fighter To Be Renamed After Legal Pressure

April 8, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

While Handsome Woman Productions would not "name names," it is hinting that Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has forced the indie development studio to change the name of its "gay-themed" fighting game, "Ultimate Gay Fighter." The studio said that it would change the name of the game featuring LGBT characters due to what it called "legal pressure from an unnamed mixed martial arts promotional company."

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South Park Co-Creator Not Happy About European Censorship of 'The Stick of Truth'

March 7, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

South Park co-creator Matt Stone is pretty upset that the European release of the game he helped create with Obsidian Studios, South Park: The Stick of Truth, was censored. In an interview with Metro, Stone expressed his frustration with the removal of seven scenes from the European release that involved abortion and anal probing.

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Comcast Subscribers Still Can't Watch HBO Go on Their PS3s, Roku Devices

March 6, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

While most PS3 owners are finally able to enjoy HBO Go on their favorite console, Comcast customers will have to wait a little longer, and there's no indication when the wait will be over. According to The Verge, Comcast Xfinity subscribers can't yet access HBO Go on the console. Ironically, Comcast is blocking access to a pay channel that is owned by Time Warner Cable, a company it wants to buy.

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PEGI: We Didn't Censor South Park: Stick of Truth

March 5, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The European video game ratings board PEGI, says that it did not in any way force publisher Ubisoft to cut the content it did from the European version of its new South Park RPG, South Park: Stick of Truth. In fact the ratings body said that it judged the uncut version of the game and gave it an appropriate rating.

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A Closer Look at One Censored Scene in South Park: Stick of Truth

March 3, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Kotaku shows off a couple of screenshots from the European version of South Park: The Stick of Truth. The screenshots - both of which contain spoilers (so if you don't want this specific plot element revealed to you, don't view it) - show off what happens in the uncensored version of the game versus the European version.

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Chinese Government Bans Video Game Advertising on TV, and in Other Mediums

March 3, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

A change in commercial advertising regulations in China related to video games is in full effect, though as this Kotaku report points out, it is a solution for a problem that doesn't really exist.

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Super Podcast Action Committee - Episode 90

March 3, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

On this week's show hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about buying level 90 characters in World of Warcraft, a story about a UK mom who complained about her son buying thousands of dollars worth of FIFA DLC, the EU tackling free-to-play games, gay leads in video games, and a tax incentives bill that discriminates against violent video games. Download Episode 90 now: SuperPAC Episode 90 (1 hour, 12 minutes) 83 MB.

NCAC Youth Free Expression Project Film Contest Winners Announced

February 27, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The winners of the National Coalition Against Censorship's ninth annual Youth Free Expression Project Film Contest have been chosen Winners will be flown into New York City for a screening event and an awards ceremony at the New York Film Academy on March 29. This year's theme, "Video Games in the Crosshairs," is of particular interest to those who love games because it asked contestants to make a video dealing with such issues as gaming, violence, virtual reality, and censorship.

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South Park: Stick of Truth Censored in Europe

February 25, 2014 - GamePolitcs Staff

A number of scenes have been cut from South Park: Stick of Truth to get the game a lower rating in Europe. According to a BT Games report citing a document given to the publication by publisher Ubisoft, at least seven 20-second scenes were removed from the European version of the game.

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Voting Opens for Youth Free Expression Film Contest 2013 Finalists

February 13, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The National Coalition Against Censorship let us know that the Youth Free Expression Film Contest 2013 Semifinalists are now online, featuring the work of teen filmmakers that explore video games, gamer culture, and censorship. Judges will select the top three winners on February 25.

YouTube viewers can also participate by "liking" their favorite video, with the "most liked" video being honored with a People's Choice Award.

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Report: Iranian Man Arrested by Government for 'Kill Dictators' Game on Kongregate

January 24, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

While we have no way to confirm it, one of our readers claims that a man whose game recently launched on Kongregate (owned by GameStop) has been arrested by the Iranian government and jailed. The game he was supposedly jailed for is "Kill Dictators," and as the title suggest, players are charged with killing various leaders inside and outside Iran including Bashar, Erdogan, Amhadi Nejad, Khameni, Nasrallah, and Putin.

Japanese Vita Game ' Monster Monpiece' Gets Toned Down for Europe and North America

January 23, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Japanese game developer Idea Factory is altering the content of its upcoming PlayStation Vita card game Monster Monpiece for markets outside of Japan such as Europe and the United States. On hearing the news, some in the community said that Idea Factory was being heavy-handed in changing the game for release in North America.

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Report: UK Anti-Porn Filter Messing with League of Legends Updating

January 20, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The anti-porn filtering law takes effect the United Kingdom this month, but according to a forum post over at the official League of Legends community site, the new system may also stop you from updating your favorite MOBA game in the region.

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Chinese Culture Minister: Games That Don't Conform to Chinese Culture Standards 'Don't Have a Chance'

January 13, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

While the Chinese government announced last week that it would temporarily lift a 14 year ban on consoles within the region, the rules the country's culture ministries will put in place will make it hard for Chinese gamers to play anything that might be found by government censors to be offensive or culturally unacceptable. What is and isn't offense or culturally acceptable to the Chinese government is unknown because the rules haven't been written yet.

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Report: Australians Getting Censored Version of South Park: The Stick of Truth

December 18, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Australians hoping that the new R18+ ratings system would finally allow them to play the same games the rest of the world is playing (save Germany, which has an even stricter system in place) will be sad to hear that the version of South Park: The Stick of Truth they'll get will be a modified experience.

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Report: Xbox One in China in 2014

December 16, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

The CEO of a major Chinese corporation has hinted that the Xbox One will be available in China next year. Luo Jiangchun, CEO of online video service Funshion, said during a marketing and advertising strategy meeting last week that the Xbox One would be available in China in 2014, according to Chinese tech site Sohu IT (as uncovered by this Kotaku report).

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Capcom Kills Ghost 'N Goblins Demon World Kickstarter Campaign

December 13, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Capcom has put the brakes on a Kickstarter crowd funding campaign for an unlicensed Ghost 'N Goblins game. Phantasm Studios' campaign is now the subject of an intellectual property dispute initiated by Capcom, and has been shutdown. The Kickstarter page for the campaign now features a DMCA notice from Capcom.

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Government Defends Heavily Redacted Brief in FISC Case Filed By Tech Companies

December 10, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

The United States government defended a heavily-redacted response to surveillance requests at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) made by multiple software technology companies including Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Facebook and LinkedIn. These companies have been petitioning the special court to allow them to disclose government requests. Under the law these companies cannot disclose this information because it has been deemed "classified."

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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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Poll

Who's responsible for crappy Netflix performance on Verizon?:

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Sleaker@MW - I still think Cogent/Level3 hookups were lacking prior to the comcast switch, but I do think verizon is being dumb here.07/23/2014 - 12:06am
Andrew EisenOf course it's a question. It's got a question mark and everything!07/22/2014 - 6:43pm
Matthew WilsonHate to say it, but that poll is not even a question. there is too much evidence that points to Verizon. http://www.extremetech.com/computing/186576-verizon-caught-throttling-netflix-traffic-even-after-its-pays-for-more-bandwidth07/22/2014 - 6:23pm
Andrew EisenHuh. The new Battlefield has been delayed to early next year. Are you feeling okay, EA? http://blogs.battlefield.com/2014/07/bfh-will-launch-2015/07/22/2014 - 6:11pm
SleakerWest End Games - Areal developers just got their Kickstarter suspended. Might want to dump that 'fully funded' status.07/22/2014 - 12:08pm
MaskedPixelanteHas anyone who bought it gotten their Sims 2 Ultimate Edition upgrade yet? Still waiting on mine, especially since they're supposed to be out by today.07/22/2014 - 10:45am
IanCDynasty Warriors 8 for the PS4 finally has the option to turn off the OTT depth of field that made the game look like a blurry mess. Only a few months behind the JP version patch...07/22/2014 - 10:17am
NeenekoI see nothing in Section 111 that would exclude IP transmission. It even explicitly includes 'other transmission methods'07/22/2014 - 9:28am
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2014/07/19/ruling_aereo_is_not_a_cable_company07/22/2014 - 8:13am
ZippyDSMleelul what?07/22/2014 - 7:53am
ZippyDSMleehttp://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/07/bungie-cross-generation-destiny-wouldnt-be-fair-to-low-res-players/07/22/2014 - 7:53am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/07/22/wii-u-update-adds-system-to-system-transfers/ The latest Wii U update allows you to do the system transfer between two Wii Us. Still not true accounts, but getting there.07/22/2014 - 7:39am
Papa MidnightSpeculation from PC Gamer. Don't hold your breath. http://www.pcgamer.com/2014/07/21/microsoft-job-listing-says-nice-things-about-pc-gaming-isnt-clear-if-it-means-them/07/21/2014 - 5:58pm
MaskedPixelanteI dunno, it's probably Vevo powertripping.07/21/2014 - 5:52pm
Andrew EisenMP - Makes you wonder what the intention behind the removal was. Stop the RickRolls? Yeah, like removing that one video is going to make a difference.07/21/2014 - 3:27pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.billboard.com/articles/business/digital-and-mobile/6165313/youtube-blocks-original-rickroll-video Moment of silence, the original Rickroll video has been blocked in many regions.07/20/2014 - 3:53pm
PHX CorpUseless DLC news: Killzone Fart Pack http://ps4daily.com/2014/07/killzone-fart-dlc/07/20/2014 - 12:56pm
MaskedPixelantehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uU1mK2ig_GU They did their research beforehand.07/19/2014 - 4:41pm
Sleaker@james_fudge - are you sure the FCC can pick and choose? the general rules I read as passed in the act don't really indicate that, but I didn't read through the entirety.07/19/2014 - 4:19pm
MaskedPixelanteOf course, Saban's entire point hinges on them not knowing what the tokusatsu genre is.07/19/2014 - 1:57pm
 

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