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."
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."
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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."
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."
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.]
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:
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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.'
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.
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:
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.
Forget about Liberals vs. Conservatives, Glen Beck v. Keith Olberman, and Republicans v. Democrats - the real fight is Kindle v. iPad and it is playing out in the Supreme Court. Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but it seems many on the bench are technologically savvy.
"I have a Kindle that my briefs are on," Kagan tells C-SPAN. "It's endless reading ... There's lots of reading. And that's a big part of the job, and if a Kindle or an iPad can make it easier, that's terrific."
Justice Antonin Scalia prefers the iPad to read legal briefs.
The C-SPAN interview is the first public outing for Kagan since joining the court. It will be used for a C-SPAN Supreme Court documentary.
The full interview airs Sunday at 6:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. ET. Check out the sample clip from the interview right here, to your left.
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a split decision on Costco v. Omega, a case dealing with first sale doctrine. The court divided 4-4. The case had to do with watches bought overseas and sold at Costco discounts in the United States. The split denies a change in a lower court decision upholding the rights of the Swiss watch manufacturer, Omega.
According to Scotus blog, a different outcome might have been possible if the newest justice, Justice Elena Kagan, didn't recuse herself from the case. Kagan has recused herself from about half of the cases being heard during this term.
Costco argued in its appeal that the Ninth Circuit decision allows copyright owners who make products outside the U.S. to gain added legal weapons against those who buy goods overseas.
More from SCOTUS Blog:
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.