Law of the Game Tackles Brown v. EMA Decision

July 11, 2011 -

Mark Methenitis finally delivers a Law of the Game column over on Joystiq that tackles the Brown v. EMA Supreme Court decision. First he apologizes for the delay, then jumps right into the important take-aways that impact the industry and the public.

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Denver Archbishop Calls SCOTUS Decision 'Wrong'

July 5, 2011 -

In a July 1 opinion piece in First Things, Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput wrote that the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on the California video game violence law (Brown v. EMA) is "wrong," and will add "poison" the country's future.

Chaput also wrote that the court's ruling "extends and elevates the individual’s right to free expression – or in this case, a corporation’s right to make a healthy profit - at the expense of family sovereignty, the natural rights of parents and the intent of the Constitution’s authors."

Chaput went on to write that the ruling overlooked the government's duty to protect "human dignity and the common good."

"A law which respects mothers and fathers trying to make good choices for their family does just that," he wrote.

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The Daily Show Takes on SCOTUS Video Game Ruling

July 1, 2011 -

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart takes a few jabs at the Supreme Court's ruling on Brown v. EMA. At first glance it seems like Stewart goes hard after videogames, using several admittedly gratuitous video clips from the new Mortal Kombat game. As the first scene unfolds on the monitor Stewart feigns holding back on vomiting and screams, during the second scene he makes a joke about the female character having a wardrobe malfunction. In between he throws a joke in about Super Mario Boners (a Photoshop of a Super Mario Galaxy cover with a huge fleshy erection).

Stewart's point is one that many are making this week; that sex is even taboo at the Supreme Court and that sexual imagery continues not to be treated on the same footing as depictions of gratuitous violence.

Point taken and noted.

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No Shortage of Opinions on Brown v. EMA Decision

June 30, 2011 -

Hey GPers!  Up for some opinions on the recent Supreme Court decision that gave Leland Yee’s violent video game law the Kuribo Boot?

17 comments | Read more

Video Game Bar Association Praises SCOTUS for Brown v. EMA Decision

June 28, 2011 -

The Video Game Bar Association issued a statement Monday welcoming the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Brown v EMA. The Video Game Bar Association was formed in 2011 to provide a community for lawyers working in the video game industry to discuss issues of common interest to all lawyers around the world. It is the very first bar association dedicated to the industry and draws members from around the world.

"The Court’s decision reaffirms that it is parents who can best decide what is appropriate content for their children," said David S. Rosenbaum, president of the VGBA. He added that the Supreme Court ruling "puts to rest the notion that video games are entitled to less First Amendment protection than books, newspapers, films and music and other entertainment speech."

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Reporters Committee Applauds SCOTUS Ruling

June 28, 2011 -

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press issued a statement praising the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling Monday that declared a California law restricting the sale or rental of violent video games to minors was an unconstitutional limit on freedom of speech.

"Time and again, from the early days of radio and television, to 10-cent comic books and now to video games, lawmakers have tried to limit speech for what they believe to be the public good. And each time, they have lost because the First Amendment will not tolerate such wholesale limitations on expression merely because someone has created a new mode of communication," said Reporters Committee Executive Director Lucy A. Dalglish.

"The majority decision ensures that violent content in any medium, including content produced by news outlets, will not come under the same censorship."

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Congressman Joe Baca Rails Against SCOTUS Decision

June 28, 2011 -

California Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto, CA) has unsuccessfully sought controls on violent videogames in the past, so it should come as no surprise that he is "disappointed" and shocked at the Supreme Court Decision to uphold the Ninth Circuit Court ruling on Brown v. EMA.

"I am disappointed the multi-billion dollar video game industry will continue to go unchecked in its ability to profit from selling heinous depictions of violence and sex to minors," Baca wrote in a statement issued Monday.

"Unfortunately, the industry is still not doing enough to provide parents with accurate information regarding the content of many games," Baca said, ignoring the ESRB and the latest Federal Trade Commission report that said that the videogame industry had the best record when it came to keeping mature rated content out of the hands of children.

23 comments | Read more

Common Sense Media: SCOTUS Decision Disappointing for 'All Who Care About Kids'

June 27, 2011 -

As you can probably guess even before you read the official statement from Common Sense Media, they are not pleased with the Supreme Court's ruling on Brown v. EMA today. The children’s advocacy group said in its reaction statement to the decision that they were disappointed and felt that parents had been let down by the court.

But the Supreme Court isn't congress or the president of the United States; in other words they should really only concern themselves with their area expertise - the law as it relates to our constitution. Nevertheless the group that is squarely against the videogame industry voiced its strong opinion that the court erred in its decision. Below is the full statement from Common Sense Media CEO James Steyer:

33 comments | Read more

Yee Vows to Fight on Despite SCOTUS Decision

June 27, 2011 -

While Leland Yee maybe disappointed with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision on Brown v. EMA, he says that he isn't done with the fight against violent videogames, according to multiple reports. One story from ABC station KGO and another from newspaper The San Francisco Appeal report says that Yee was heartened by the dissenting opinions of Thomas and Breyer, and that comments from Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito have left the door open for future legislation.

"Even with the existing court, there may be, if we craft the bill differently, there may be a basis for trying to get another hearing within the Supreme Court on this critical matter," Yee said.

46 comments | Read more

ESRB's Reaction Statement to SCOTUS Decision

June 27, 2011 -

Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) president Patricia Vance issued a statement today praising the Supreme Court's decision on the California violent videogames law and said that it is a validation of the ESRB ratings system's effectiveness in keeping mature-rated games out of the hands of children. She goes on to say that the power to keep games out of the hands of children has always been in the hands of parents when they use the tools that are already available - coupled with retailer enforcement of the ESRB system. Full statement below:

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EA CEO on SCOTUS Decision: 'Everybody Wins'

June 27, 2011 -

Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello tells IndustryGamers that today's decision from the Supreme Court on California's violent videogame law is a win for everyone. Last year Riccitiello expressed concern that publishers would be forced to ship different versions of the same title if new rules were implemented in California and other states. He feared state level bureaucracies that define what’s marketable in each state. Today's ruling makes that less likely to happen.

"Everybody wins on this decision – the Court has affirmed the Constitutional rights of game developers; adults keep the right to decide what’s appropriate in their houses; and store owners can sell games without fear of criminal prosecution," Riccitiello told IndustryGamers in a statement today.

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Leland Yee Issues Statement on SCOTUS Ruling

June 27, 2011 -

California State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) issued a statement expressing his disappointment that the Supreme Court of the United States struck down California’s violent videogame law (Brown v. EMA), upholding a previous ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that the law was unconstitutional.

Yee points out in his statement that while the decision was 7-2, only five agreed with the lower court's decision, two dissented completely, and two other Justices left the door open for a law that had a narrower focus on videogames. Justices Roberts and Alito said that a law could be more narrowly tailored and Justices Breyer and Thomas believed that California’s law was perfectly acceptable.

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Leland Yee Reaction to Brown v. EMA Decision

June 27, 2011 -

While we wait for California State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) to issue a full statement via a press conference, PC Magazine manages to get the following quote from the man responsible for writing the law that the U.S. Supreme Court today ruled as unconstitutional.

California State Sen. Leland Yee said that today's ruling by the Supreme Court "put the interests of corporate America" before the interests of children.

"As a result of their decision, Wal-Mart and the video game industry will continue to make billions of dollars at the expense of our kids' mental health and the safety of our community," Yee said. "It is simply wrong that the video game industry can be allowed to put their profit margins over the rights of parents and the well-being of children."

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EMA Reaction Statement to Brown v. EMA Decision

June 27, 2011 -

Bo Andersen, CEO of Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) has released a statement on the U.S. Supreme court's ruling on Brown v. EMA. Obviously they are pleased with the decision, but cautions that this is a wake-up call to the fact that parents are often under-informed about the content of videogames. He also notes that the ESRB rating system does a good job of informing parents.

"EMA welcomes today’s Supreme Court ruling that let stand the Court of Appeals’ decision finding the California video game restriction law to be unconstitutional," said Bo Andersen, CEO of Entertainment Merchants Association. "We are gratified that our position that the law violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of expression has been vindicated and there now can be no argument whether video games are entitled to the same protection as books, movies, music, and other expressive entertainment."

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ECA Issues Reaction Statement to Brown v. EMA Decision

June 27, 2011 -

The Entertainment Consumer Association (ECA) issued a short statement this morning expressing its strong approval of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. EMA.

"We are thrilled by today's news," said Jennifer Mercurio, VP & General Counsel of the Entertainment Consumers Association. "We had hoped that we would see this decision, and it's been a long time coming. That being said, there will probably be one or two legislators who attempt to test these new parameters, and the ECA will continue to fight for the rights of entertainment consumers."

The Entertainment Consumers Association plans to issue a longer statement after reviewing the decision more thoroughly.

[GamePolitics is an ECA publication.]

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SCOTUS Ruling Expected Monday, Leland Yee Prepares

June 23, 2011 -

There is one day left on the Supreme Court's calendar Monday, June 27, which means that it will probably rule on Brown v. EMA. For those that support and oppose the 2005 California videogame law, this means statements need to be prepared, press conferences need to be scheduled and speech writers need to have something ready to go.

The man who wrote the bill, California State Senator (and current San Francisco mayoral candidate), says he will be ready. Yee will bring an entourage with him as well including San Francisco Police Chief Gregory Suhr as well as "doctors and child advocates" to issue responses to the Court’s ruling. The press conference will be held at the Hiram Johnson State Building foyer, 455 Golden Gate Avenue, Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco at 9:30 AM local time.

In announcing his press conference Yee said the following:

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Supreme Court Predictions

June 6, 2011 -

Entertainment Consumer Association president Hal Halpin offers his personal (note: not ours) opinion on the timing of the Brown v EMA (formerly Schwarzenegger v EMA) Supreme Court decision over at IGN. There has been much speculation that a decision will be released this week, and Halpin has his own predictions about it:

"Despite law maker Leland Yee’s prognostications, no one really knows when we’ll get the answer, but my money is on this Thursday.

22 comments | Read more

AT&T v. Concepcion Supreme Court Ruling Bad News for Future Class Actions

April 28, 2011 -

Yesterday the Supreme Court of the United States ruled on AT&T v. Concepcion, a case that dealt with class action lawsuits. In light of the PlayStation security breach and the first class action suits being prepared, this decision could be bad news for consumers. To find out what impact this could have on any potential class action suits against Sony, we turn to Jennifer Mercurio, Vice President & General Counsel for the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA). According to Mercurio, the ruling on AT&T v Concepcion is horrible news for consumers in general - and in particular – to PSN users who want to sue Sony as a group:

11 comments | Read more

SCOTUS Oral Arguments For Current Session End Tomorrow

April 26, 2011 -

Tomorrow will be the last day that the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments for the current session and ABC News suspects that it will release 1 - 4 opinions soon. This is the time of the term where justices finish up drafting any outstanding opinions to be ready for the last week of June. The term will end during the week of June 27.

ABC's The Note points out the most interesting cases still pending including California's 2005 violent video game law, the Arizona Immigration law, an employee discrimination lawsuit involving Wal-Mart, and a lawsuit involving a terror suspect and former Bush Administration Attorney General John Ashcroft. Here is the bit on the California law:

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Report: SCOTUS To Issue One Opinion This Week

February 22, 2011 -

SCOTUS Blog's THIS WEEK AT THE COURT says that the court will issue at least one opinion this week (on Tuesday), while a note on Greta Van Susteren's Gretawire blog claims that court watchers should keep an eye out for opinions on a number of cases including Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants. The note comes from Lee Ross, who covers the Supreme Court for FOX News.

The note from Ross can be found below:

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Justice Sandra Day O'Connor to Keynote Texas Game On! 2011

February 11, 2011 -

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has been named the keynote speaker for Texas Game On! 2011. Her keynote will address the importance of game-based education. Specifically she will talk about iCivics, a game-based learning platform designed to teach students about the importance of playing an active role in our democracy.

Warren Spector of Junction Point (and the man behind the original Deus Ex and the recent Disney game Epic Mickey) will also speak at the event.

Other sessions scheduled for Game On! Texas 2011 include the panel "Texas Higher Education Game Development Education," and a video game design workshop for amateur developers.

Game On! Texas 2011 takes place April 12 (8:00 AM - 7:00 PM) at the AMD Lone Star Campus in Austin, Texas. Tickets cost $40 per person. For more information check out the event's web site.

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Duke Journal Analysis: Schwarzenegger v.EMA

February 10, 2011 -

The Duke Journal of Constitutional Law and Public Policy offers an exhaustive analysis of Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association in an article called "The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same: Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association."

Beatrice M. Hahn dissects every aspect of the case - from the positions of both sides and the lack of data supporting the state's case, to free speech issues and the definition of obscenity. While the lengthy review of the case is interesting, readers will be more fascinated with the conclusions: the Supreme Court will probably rule against California's 2005 video game law.

From the last three paragraphs of the article:

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Commonwealth Club Deathmatch: Leland Yee, George Rose

February 9, 2011 -

It might be a deathmatch at The Commonwealth Club March 17 when George Rose, Executive VP and Chief Public Policy Officer at Activision Blizzard, and Leland Yee, California State Senator (and San Francisco mayoral candidate), get together with Michael McConnell, Director of the Stanford Constitutional Law Center and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. The roundtable discussion will be moderated by John Diaz, Editorial Page Editor for the San Francisco Chronicle.

The roundtable (debate?), which starts at 6:00 PM, tackles the thorny topic of video games, children and the California law before currently the Supreme Court. While Lee and Rose will argue their respective positions, McConnell will detail the constitutionality of the law (and perhaps) give an insight in how the Supreme Court might tackle the complex free speech issues of the case.

Here's the teaser:

2 comments | Read more

Editorial: The Terminator vs. the Constitution

February 1, 2011 -

An excellent editorial appearing in the February 2011 issue of Reason Magazine explains quite plainly why it is ridiculous that California is fighting for the 2005 law written by Leland Yee and signed into law by then-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Writer Jacob Sullum starts the article by pointing out the irony of Arnold signing into a law a bill that bans violent media.

This from the same guy who starred in movies like Eraser, Commando, Terminator 1 and 2, End of Days, Last Action Hero, Predator, Total Recall, The 6th Day, and many more. Most recently, he did a cameo in The Expendables - an ultra violent action movie starring an all-star cast of aging action stars.

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Former RIAA Lawyer Becomes Solicitor General

January 25, 2011 -

President Barack Obama on Monday announced that former RIAA lawyer Donald Verrilli Jr., currently serving as White House deputy counsel, will be taking over the vacancy left by Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. As the new solicitor general, Verrilli's job is to defend the government before the Supreme Court, and to file friend-of-the court briefs when the government feels it has a vested interest in a case.

According to the Ars Technica report, Verrilli is best known as the guy who lead the legal charge against music and movie file-sharing site Grokster. That site has gone the way of the dodo thanks in part to his efforts against it. He also had a considerable part in the Viacom legal battle with YouTube, which ended up going wrong for the media giant. Viacom is appealing that decision.

4 comments | Read more

SCOTUS 'Originalists' and Video Games

January 11, 2011 -

The Atlantic Wire asks the question "What Does the Constitution Say About Video Games?" by pointing to a New York Times article about the Supreme Court's "originalists." These justices, led by Justice Scalia, believe the law "should adhere as closely as possible to the Constitution's text and to the founders' original intentions," according to the Atlantic Wire.

So what does this mean as it relates to new technology the founding fathers could have never imagined like video games?

Here is some of what the New York Times article said about it:

7 comments | Read more

Teen Op-Ed: CA. Game Law Should be Struck Down

January 11, 2011 -

If you have read 16-year-old Sonoma Academy junior Daniel Willens' editorial supporting the California Game Law, then you will be interested in reading this rebuttal in the Press-Democrat. 18-year-old Sonoma Academy Senior Jonny Moon opens his editorial with a discussion of afternoon adventures. Just like his parents sitting before the television watching re-runs of Gun Smoke or Bonanza, Jonny speaks of exploits in the Wild West:

"I came home from school and jumped into the saddle of my American Standardbred. I galloped through the plains of the Midwest and dueled my way to fame. I shot criminals, hogtied bandits and saved a revolutionary's wife. My good deeds saved the life of innocent people, but these actions may soon be banned, as I did this while playing 'Red Dead Redemption,' an alleged 'overly violent video game.'

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Schwarzenegger Exits Job with 22 Percent Approval Rating

January 3, 2011 -

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger leaves office with an approval rating of 22 percent. Seven years ago, he promised to reform the state of California and Sacramento, but his opponents would argue that all he did was create bigger problems for the state. Gamers know him best as the name on the 2005 video game law that was argued before the Supreme Court in November. While Schwarzenegger did not pen the law (State Senator Leland Yee of San Francisco wrote it), he certainly claimed ownership of it and gleefully signed it into law before a District court ruled it "unconstitutional."

Sure, the 2005 game law isn't the reason Schwarzenegger wasn't a popular governor, but it is one check mark in a long list of mistakes the governor made during his 7 year tenure of overseeing California.

4 comments | Read more

Leeland Yee: Parents should be able to control what kids watch

December 20, 2010 -

An editorial penned by California State Senator and anti-game crusader Leeland Yee says that parents should be able to control what kids watch, but how parents come to that conclusion is the probably a sticky subject for many of our readers.

In the editorial Yee says that California has "been hard at work trying to protect children from the harmful effects of excessively violent video games. In the Legislature, we have attempted to give greater authority to parents in determining which video games are appropriate for their children."

He is of course speaking of the law they passed five years ago that was ultimately struck down by the courts shortly thereafter:

18 comments | Read more

C-SPAN SCOTUS Schwarzenegger v. EMA Arguments Audio

December 20, 2010 -

It is one thing to read a transcript of oral arguments in a court case, but to get the full effect, audio or video is the best way to figure out just how convincing each side’s arguments are. C-Span has audio of the oral arguments Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants available on its web site. The audio features the comments of lawyers for both sides, along with all of the chief justices hearing the case.

The Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association on November 2, in which the state of California challenged a lower court ruling that the law was unconstitutional. Lawyers for the EMA argued that the lower courts made the right decision and explained why the law was flawed.

You can listen to the audio here.


 
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