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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Tracking the 11 AGs That Backed California in SCOTUS Case

November 3, 2010 -

A total of eleven state attorneys-general backed California in its Schwarzenegger vs EMA Supreme Court run, with ten signing on to an amicus brief (PDF) penned by the eleventh, James “Buddy” Caldwell (pictured), the Attorney General of Louisiana.

Keeping abreast of where these eleven enemies of the game industry are after Election Day could allow us to possibly anticipate what vantage point they might pull off their next attack on videogames and gamers from.

Let’s see where they are now:

 
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Andrew EisenMarvel has replaced Manara on the variant covers for Thor #2 and Avengers and X-Men: AXIS #1. I hope I'm wrong but I don't think Marvel is learning the right lesson here.09/23/2014 - 6:26pm
quiknkoldI'm 7 years old, and my cousin(Also 7, maybe 8 at this time) tells me has Battletoads. its Summer Vacation. We play and play and play until finally, We won coop. Those were the days.09/23/2014 - 5:29pm
quiknkoldlets take a moment to share some gaming memories, shall we?09/23/2014 - 5:28pm
MechaTama31I buy stuff off the eshop because it gives me the convenience of a flashcart without the guilt.09/23/2014 - 5:03pm
Montewell thanks for the info Eisen; try that the next time i need something off the eshop09/23/2014 - 3:54pm
james_fudgere: MP, i've sent tech support a note - thank you :)09/23/2014 - 3:14pm
IanCNah that wasnt directed at you Andrew :)09/23/2014 - 3:00pm
Papa MidnightRe: SIEGE 2014 Keynote: oh dear...09/23/2014 - 2:44pm
MaskedPixelanteDear GP, something called "doubleverify" is causing some nasty browser issues on my end. Probably one of your ads.09/23/2014 - 2:36pm
Andrew EisenOh hell no. No, it took Nintendo a dog's age just to get to the point its competitors have been at for a while! (And it's still not there yet, in a lot of respects.)09/23/2014 - 2:26pm
IanCSame as PSN handles it, fi you are trying to say only nintendo do that.09/23/2014 - 2:23pm
Andrew EisenYou have to try to purchase something first. Pick a game, hit purchase and if your wallet doesn't have enough to cover it, you'll be given an option to "add exact funds" or something like that.09/23/2014 - 2:05pm
MonteI have seen no option for that on my 3DS; anytime i want to add funds it only gives me the option to add in denominations of $10, 20, 50 or 10009/23/2014 - 2:03pm
IanCWhat Andrew Wilson said. PSN is the same when you make a purchase over a certain price (£5 in the UK)09/23/2014 - 2:02pm
Andrew EisenNeither eShop charges sales tax either. At least in California.09/23/2014 - 2:00pm
Andrew EisenBoth Wii U and 3DS eShops allow you to add funds in the exact amount of whatever's in your shopping cart. If your game is $39.99, you can add exactly $39.99.09/23/2014 - 1:57pm
Infophile@Matthew Wilson: As I understand it, any regulations to force tax online would also set up an easy database for these stores to use, minimizing overhead.09/23/2014 - 1:30pm
MonteReally, the eshop just does next to nothing to make buying digitally advantagous for the customer. Its nice to have the game on my 3DS, but i can get more for less buying a physical copy at retail. And that's not even counting buying used09/23/2014 - 1:18pm
MonteIanC, The Eshop wallet system only lets you add funds in set denominations and the tax makes sure you no longer have round numbers so you ALWAYS loose money. A $39.99 game for instance requires you to add $50 instead of just $4009/23/2014 - 1:13pm
Matthew Wilsonbut thats just it those sites, even the small ones, sell all over the country.09/23/2014 - 11:12am
 

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