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.


SCOTUS Fight: Kagan Likes Kindle, Scalia Digs iPad

December 14, 2010 -

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.


SCOTUS Deadlocks on First-Sale Doctrine Case

December 13, 2010 -

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:

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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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Acting, Kinect and Protected Speech

December 10, 2010 -

Is acting protected speech, and if so, is acting in a video game - especially in the age of motion sensing console devices - protected speech as well? This is the theory thrown out in a thought provoking post called "Is Playing a Video Game Conduct or Speech? Lessons from Microsoft Kinect" over at Law Law Land Blog.

Steven Smith kicks that idea around a bit, comparing the acting kids do in video games to the actions in a school play. The idea begins at GameStop, where Smith is buying a game for his daughter:

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Schoolwise Author Tackles Violent Games

December 8, 2010 -

Author, teacher, and all around frenetic Carol Josel pens a rather lengthy blog post about Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association. As you can guess her words are not kind to the video game industry, the EMA, or the ESA's ESRB ratings system.  

Pointing out that the law's author Leland Yee is a child psychologist, and that the American Academy of Pediatrics believes there is a link between gaming and aggressive behavior in children, The "Schoolwise" series writer hits the ground running with a blistering attack on the game industry.

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Opinion: Games Don't Deserve Protection

December 7, 2010 -

The Star Press (which describes itself as the "news source for East Central Indiana") writer Jeffrey M.. McCall pens a two-page editorial called "Violent video games not an issue worthy of First Amendment protection," in which he attempts to lay out a case for Schwarzenegger v. EMA.

First, an explanation as to what the author thinks the entertainment industry really wants.. apparently it isn't freedom of expression:

21 comments | Read more

Reason TV on George Will Column

December 3, 2010 -

Reason TV takes a crack at conservative columnist George Will's recent editorial in the Washington Post about the the parallels between current the concerns about violent video games before the Supreme Court and the controversy over comic books in the 1950s. In the column Will also mentions past crusades against media that would turn our children into all manner of depraved deviants including ragtime music, 'penny dreadful' novels, jazz, 'penny theatres,' radio, movies, rock 'n' roll, rap, TV, and the Internet.

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LA Times Editorial: Fighting the Terminator on video games

December 1, 2010 -

An editorial in the Los Angeles Times penned by Gail Markels (attorney, former general counsel to the ESA, and a shaper of the industry's video-game rating system) and George Rose (executive vice president and chief public policy officer for Activision Blizzard) points out that the California video game law before the Supreme Court (penned by child psychologist, California State Senator, and possibly future San Francisco Mayorial candidate Leeland Yee; and signed into law in 2005 by soon-to-be former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger) is trying to accomplish a task that has already been completed.

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Opinion: Industry to Blame for Schwarzenegger v. EMA

November 29, 2010 -

In an opinion piece written by John Teti for Eurogamer, the former Crispy Gamer staff writer gives his opinion on Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association and why it is the industry's fault that games are not seen as the "art" that many developers claim that it is in the eyes of the political class.

"My biggest fear is that the EMA will lose this case. My second biggest fear is that they will win. "

In their celebration, they're liable to miss the real lesson: they brought this near-disaster on themselves. It's the studios' own craven, short-sighted management of their image that makes it possible for opportunistic politicians to bring the heat.

In an astute opinion piece last month, Rob Fahey argued that the stated intent of the law - to keep kids from buying games meant for adults - did not seem so onerous, even if the actual language of the California statute was "hasty" and "ill-considered."

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Why Video Games Are Stuck at The Thanksgiving Kids' Table

November 29, 2010 -

A column in the Iowa State Daily explains why politicians continue to think of video games as nothing more than kids' stuff, comparing the perception of the pasttime to a college student returning home for Thanksgiving:

"Thanksgiving break is over, and I am sure a few of you were met with the surprise, upon your arrival home, that you would be relegated to the children's table. Despite your learned knowledge as a college student, you were still deemed unfit to sit next to your elders and discuss body scanners, Obama's approval rating and corn prices — opting instead to challenge your cousin to a deviled-egg eating contest.

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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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Why You Should Care: AT&T v. Concepcion

November 24, 2010 -

The California Violent Video Game law is not the only important case before the supreme court affecting consumers. Earlier this month the highest court in the land heard oral arguments in AT&T v. Concepcion, a case that could remove the right for consumers to band together as a class action against corporations. Here is more from the Consumer Federation of America:

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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:

Illinois Also Looking Closely at Schwarzenegger Outcome

November 11, 2010 -

Add the Land of Lincoln to the list of states following Schwarzenegger vs. EMA in order to see which side emerges a winner.

Earlier this month we told you about a Delaware politician looking to reintroduce anti-videogame legislation if California was to emerge victorious in its Supreme Court fight, now a Daily Herald story lets us know that an Illinois politician is preparing for the same outcome.

In 2005, an Illinois law that would have governed the sale of violent games, championed by then Governor Rod Blagojevich, was eventually declared unconstitutional by a U.S. District Court Judge.

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Blogger Hates Violence, Yet is Against California Law

November 11, 2010 -

A discussion between two writers on the Perpetual Post website caught our eye because one of the scribes, even while expressing an aversion to violent videogames, doesn’t think the government should be in the business of limiting a child’s access to them.

In her part of the article, Molly Schoemann says that she “can’t really stomach violence of any kind—even videogame violence,” and recounted a previous experience playing Army of Two in which she was reduced to being “huddled in a pile of rubble,” where she “refused to shoot anyone.”

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Two New Opinion Pieces Back Game Industry in SCOTUS Showdown

November 10, 2010 -

Yesterday we highlighted two editorials that backed California in its Supreme Court appeal over a law that would make it illegal to sell minors mature-rated violent games. Today we offer you a pair of views from people backing the game industry in its Schwarzenegger vs. EMA fight.

First up is President of the First Amendment Center Ken Paulson, who took to USA Today to offer his opinion that governing the intake of media should be left to a child’s parents or guardians.

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Researcher Ferguson: California Law is “One More Spin of the Moral Panic Wheel”

November 10, 2010 -

Texas A&M International University professor and videogame researcher Christopher Ferguson has penned an editorial for the Sacramento Bee in which he argues that the state of California is acting “irresponsibly” in its push for a law that would ban the sale of adult-rated violent games to minors.

Ferguson, as readers of this site well know, tends to generate research that is more open-minded in terms of the relation between violent games, youth and aggression. As such, his research was featured prominently in the amicus brief (PDF) for Schwarzenegger vs. EMA filed by the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) and Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

Should the Industry Embrace or Reject Limbaugh as Game Backer

November 10, 2010 -

Rush Limbaugh recently defended videogames after a caller to his talk show brought up the subject of Schwarzenegger vs. EMA, but is Limbaugh someone that the game industry even wants on its side?

Limbaugh used the case to rail against an over abundance of government and liberalism, asking the caller to “Join me when the government gets involved in all these other behavioral and speech things that they try to tell you and control us we can't do.” He added that he was “glad” that the case was taking place, as it would push these topics (over-governing and liberalism) into the mainstream, alerting people “to what’s happening throughout society.”

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Pair of Editorials Back California Law

November 9, 2010 -

Two new editorials appearing online today back California in that state’s Supreme Court fight over a law that would make it illegal for minors to purchase mature-rated violent games.

Writing for the Iowa-based Quad-City Times, columnist L. Brent Bozell argues that requiring a parent to buy such games for their offspring is “hardly shredding the Constitution.” He also infers that the videogame industry is hiding behind the First Amendment in order to stop politicians from “tampering with their sales to minors.”

For the game industry, Bozell writes, “there must be no hurdle for children to go around their parents and grab what Justice Samuel Alito called ‘the most violent, sadistic, graphic video game that can be developed.’”

21 comments | Read more

Bleszinski on the role of violence in Epic's Games

November 6, 2010 -

In an interview with the BBC, Epic Games' Cliff Bleszinski says that his company does not implement graphic violence because they are “strange sadistic people." Rather, he sees the violence in the company's mature-rated games as "cartoon-like" much like the classic Looney Tunes cartoons. Instead of anvils and dynamite, gamers use Lancer assault rifles and grenades.

"The majority of what we implement into the game we do for feedback and interactivity, not because we're strange sadistic people who want to see how much blood we can put on the screen when you shoot one of the lizard creatures,” Bleszinski told the BBC’s Interview program.

"We do it to let the player know you did in fact succeed, that you are hitting a target and you need that kind of feedback in order to create what is a successful interactive experience," he said.

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Your Anti-Game Op-ed of the Day

November 5, 2010 -

The author of an opinion piece appearing in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, a piece ostensibly related to the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA Supreme Court case, takes a hatchet to videogames.

Author Jack Markowitz offers, “grudgingly,” that “the Supreme Court will uphold the precious freedom to sell stupid, overpriced electronic games to children.”

Webcomic Illustrates CA Violent Video Games Law

November 5, 2010 -

Webcomic Virtual Shackles wryly illustrates how California's violent video games law might work when put into practice.

During Tuesday’s oral arguments, Justice Sotomayor pointed out what could easily be viewed as a rather large loophole in the law at the heart of Schwarzenegger v. EMA.

The law seeks to prevent children under 18 from purchasing games in which the player can “virtually inflict serious injury upon images of human beings.”  But what about characters that are almost, but not quite human beings?  Here’s the relevant exchange:

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: Would a video game that portrayed a Vulcan as opposed to a human being, being maimed and tortured, would that be covered by the act?

 

MR. MORAZZINI: No, it wouldn't, Your Honor, because the act is only directed towards the range of options that are able to be inflicted on a human being.

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Daily Show Offers Take on Violent Game Debate

November 5, 2010 -

Comedy Central’s The Daily Show served up a segment last night offering correspondent John Hodgman’s take on the Supreme Court, Schwarzenegger vs. EMA and banning the sale of violent games to minors in California.

Hodgman, when asked by host Jon Stewart if the Supreme Court should ban violent videogames for children, responded, “No, that’s absurd John.”

He continued, tongue firmly in cheek, “Videogames are a form of expression. They are the novels of the next-generation."

Yee's Reaction to SCOTUS Arguments

November 4, 2010 -

California State Senator Leland Yee is the architect of the law at the center of Schwarzenegger vs. EMA and attended Tuesday’s oral arguments in front of the Supreme Court.

Reacting to the proceedings, Yee’s office issued a statement indicating that the Senator was “pleased” with the discussion in the nation’s highest court, and was particularly taken with the comments of Justice Stephen Breyer, who, Yee said, “… clearly understands the intent and need for our legislation to limit the sale of excessively violent video games to children.”

Yee Continued:

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If CA Wins, DE Pol Primed to Introduce Similar Legislation

November 4, 2010 -

A trickle down effect is one of the game industry’s biggest fears if the Supreme Court does eventually rule in favor of California in Schwarzenegger vs. EMA, and one politician, known for her anti-game legislation attempts in the past, is chomping at the bit for just such an opportunity.

Delaware Representative Helene Keeley (pictured), a Democrat, attempted to introduce legislation in 2006 that would have placed violent videogames under her state’s obscenity statute. Her efforts sailed through the House, but failed to pass the Senate.

10 comments | Read more

Word Cloud Illustrates Most Used Terms in SCOTUS Arguments

November 4, 2010 -

Combine relatively new technology with the transcripts from Tuesday’s oral arguments at the Supreme Court for Schwarzenegger vs. EMA and what do you get? A rather interesting word cloud that visually illustrates the most commonly used words throughout the proceedings.

Fast Company analyzed the transcripts and infered by the prominence of words like "obscenity," "know," "whether," and "think" in the cloud that the matter is ultimately philosophical.

Indeed, in looking at the cloud, it is fascinating that the word “think” is represented in larger type than “know.”

Fast Company offered:

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Mattsworknameanother07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
Mattsworknameyou HAVE TO click on it. So they get the click revenue weather you like what it says or not. as such, the targeting of advertisers most likely seemed like a good course of action to those who wanted to hold those media groups accountable for one reason07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
MattsworknameBut, when you look at online media, it's completely different, with far more options, but far few ways to address issues that the consumers may have. In tv, you don't like what they show, you don't watch. But in order to see if you like something online07/28/2015 - 9:12pm
MattsworknameIn tv, and radio, ratings are how it works. your ratings determine how well you do and how much money you an charge.07/28/2015 - 9:02pm
Mattsworknameexpect to do so without someone wanting to hold you to task for it07/28/2015 - 9:00pm
MattsworknameMecha: I don't think anyone was asking for Editoral changes, what they wanted was to show those media groups that if they were gonna bash there own audiance, the audiance was not gonna take it sitting down. you can write what you want, but you can't07/28/2015 - 8:56pm
MattsworknameAndrew, Im asking as a practical question, Have gamers, as a group, ever asked for a game, or other item, to be banned. Im trying to see if theres any cases anyone else remembers cause I cant find or remember any.07/28/2015 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenAs mentioned, Gamasutra isn't a gaming site, it's a game industry site. I don't feel it's changed its focus at all. Also, I don't get the sense that the majority of the people who took issue with that one opinion piece were regular readers anyway.07/28/2015 - 8:43pm
MattsworknameDitto kotaku, Gawker, VOX, Polygon, ETC07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
MechaTama31So, between pulling a game from one chain of stores, and forcing editorial changes to a media source, only one of them strikes you as being on the edge of censorship, and it's the game one?07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
Andrew EisenHave gamers ever tried to ban a product? Can you be more specific? I'm not clear what you're getting at.07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
Mattsworknamethey should have expected some kind of blow back. But I didn't participate in that specific action07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
MattsworknameAndrew Youd have to ask others about that, I actualyl didn't have much beef with them till last year, so I can't speak to there history. I simply feel that gamesutra chose politics over gaming and chose to make enimies of it's prime audiance. For that,07/28/2015 - 8:40pm
Andrew EisenI'm still not clear on how Gamasutra was lacking in accountability or what it was lacking in accountability for.07/28/2015 - 8:38pm
MattsworknameAndrew: You and I agree on most of that. I don't diagree that there should ahve been other actions taken. Now, I do want to point something out, casue Im not sure if it's happened. Have gamers ever tried to have a product banned?07/28/2015 - 8:37pm
Mattsworknameimproperly. Neither is good, but one is on the edge of censorship to me, while the other is demanding some level of accountability from public media provider. but thats just my view point07/28/2015 - 8:36pm
MattsworknameEZK: You can treat it as bullying or what not, As I've pointed out, I didn't like either practice, I made that clear. But I do hold some different between trying to pull a product from the shelves, and calling out a media outlet that you feel has acted07/28/2015 - 8:35pm
E. Zachary KnightMatt, So you feel confident enough to make the call that petitioning target to remove GTAV is "bullying and threatening" but not confident enough to make the call on Intel/Gamasutra. Finding it hard to take your gripes seriously.07/28/2015 - 8:27pm
Andrew EisenAs for gamers holding media sites accountable? If you mean, how to respond to opinion pieces you disagree with, yes, there are tons of more appropriate means.07/28/2015 - 8:27pm
Andrew EisenAgain, no one likes being lumped in with the bad apples. Gamers or feminists so lets all strive not to do that, yes? Could the petitioners gone about it a better way? Yes, it could have been more factual in its petition, for starters.07/28/2015 - 8:25pm
 

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