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ESA Finds Plenty Of Supporters In Their Court Battle

Gamers aren't the only ones to offer support for the Entertainment Software Association's US Supreme Court Battle against the state of California and its desire to pass what the ESA deems to be an unconstitutional video game law.

No, support is coming from all sides. The latest on the case involved many supporters from various venues stepping up: a total of 182 "First Amendment experts, national organizations, non-profits, associations, researchers and social-science experts" have filed "friend of the court" amicus briefs in defense of the ESA's position. Said ESA president and CEO Michael Gallagher:

"The depth, diversity, and high quality of briefs submitted strengthens our position before the Court. These briefs are rooted in virtually every form of expression, commerce, social science, and constitutional jurisprudence imaginable. It is our hope that the Court will uphold an unbroken chain of lower court rulings that affirm video games' First Amendment protections, the rights of consumers' access to speech, and that parents--not government--are the best arbiters in determining what is right for their children."

A number of publishers, including Activision Blizzard, id Software, and Microsoft have assisted as well, echoing "the points already outlined by the gaming organization [ESA] in its own filing." Furthermore, no less than 82 members of the scientific and scholastic community argued on behalf of the ESA, saying-

"...the studies [relied upon by the state] are of no help to California…because they document neither a causal connection nor a correlation between the playing of violent video games and violent, aggressive, or antisocial behavior." The briefs also note that California "ignore[d] a weighty body of scholarship, undertaken with established and reliable scientific methodologies, debunking the claim that the video games California seeks to regulate have harmful effects on minors."

Even the United States Chamber of Commerce has made itself known, stating that "industry self-reputation is a highly effective and less restrictive alternative." The Motion Picture Association voiced its concerns, saying that if the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal's decision were overturned, it would have a "chilling effect on the movie business." We've heard this before; it would mean state and local governments could try to pass similar laws and hit movie makers with all sorts of restrictions regarding violent media.

The battle continues!

Tags: game industry, california game law, supreme court games

9/21/2010 10:30:02 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (36 posts)

WolfCrimson
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 10:48:45 AM
Reply

Wait wait wait.... so the State of California never had solid evidence to back up their claims? If that was the case why even go to court in the first place?

I would've agreed with them if they could have proven v-games had negative psychological effects, but going to court empty-handed is just stupid.

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Highlander
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 10:57:34 AM

People don't like inconvenient facts when it comes to the things that they wish to demonize. The folks trying to tag video games with all the ills of society will ignore any real psychological research into the topic because it doesn't help them, but they will make emotionally laden semi-scientific claims. The trouble is that such claims always sound plausible because to the laymen they seem like common sense.

You can see this with regard to other forms of entertainment that the more puritanical people would like to heavily restrict.

Heck you can see this kind of plausible dis-information at work in virtually every corner of the US as politicians of every party employ similar tactics to rile up supporters who in truth know almost nothing about an issue, but accept what they are told as fact and become passionate about it. Sadly there are often precious few facts (if any) but lots of plausible sounding emotion.

We'd do better as a species if we were capable of stopping to think before responding/reacting to things.

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Jawknee
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 11:46:27 AM

Priorities. While the Golden State sinks further into bankruptcy this is what they decided to waste tax payer money on.

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JackC8
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 12:27:44 PM

I agree completely with Highlander. We had some anti-drug program in the schools here, and after a few years in operation they did a study and found that there was absolutely no correlation between kids who went through the program and decreased drug usage. And yet the general public opinion was that the program should be continued, even though it was proven to be worthless.

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Jawknee
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 12:36:21 PM

You see though Jack, it makes them "feel" like something is being done. A by product of the self esteem and narsicist generations. Doesn't matter if policy actually works, only that it makes them feel good for supporting it.

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Highlander
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 10:52:09 AM
Reply

I'm surprised that no one has raised the interstate commerce act that is designed to ensure a uniform market place across the US which this local law in California would appear to attempt to supersede. The thing is that in the US, states can't supersede the federal government. Any time there is legislation at the federal level, especially if it affects trade, the federal law always over rides the local one.

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THEVERDIN
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 12:04:45 PM

I don't know if that's exactly true the feds have emissions standards on motor vehicles, but states such as Calif. and Connecticut have their own laws. This forces automakers to make different packages when manufacturing. When ordering a vehicle they always take into consideration where the vehicle is purchased.

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Jawknee
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 12:14:57 PM

yea I'm not sure your understanding of the Commerce Clause is correct Highlander. That would mean the Feds can do what ever they want to states regardless of the states right to govern themselves. There's a reason we don't have centeralized government here in the states.

The thing about superceding the Feds is based stricky on things that are Enumerated to the Federal government as outlined in our Constitution. For example, with Marijuna laws, the state can make their owns laws that controdict federal law. The Feds can continue to go after the growers and despenceries but they cannot attmept to punish the state itself.

Another example, with this whole Arizona, illegal immagration debate. Immagration enforcement is a power Enumerated to the Feds so one could argue Arizona attmepted to supercede the Feds on the matter by making their own immigration laws. No such Enumeration exists when it comes to videogames.

Last edited by Jawknee on 9/21/2010 12:21:07 PM

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Highlander
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 12:46:26 PM

Jawknee,

You're probably right, that legislation was progressively (ironic word) de-toothed during the 70s, 80s and 90s.

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fluffer nutter
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 10:55:32 AM
Reply

Rally up the troops! I like seeing the amount of support and that other groups realize that this decision is bigger than just the video game industry. I really hope the ESA, and supporters, win this battle.

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Drake88
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 10:59:29 AM
Reply

As Nathan Drake will say it, " Oh Boy.."

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BikerSaint
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 11:27:36 AM
Reply

As a biker I WILL ALWAYS do my part in supporting our rights & freedoms against ANY narrow-minded self-appointed safety nannies!

So here's some more articles with additional "in support of freedom" info on this situation....

Scholars File Brief Opposing California Videogame Law

http://gamepolitics.com/2010/09/20/scholars-file-brief-opposing-california-videogame-law

Experts Band Together Against California Gaming Law

http://www.industrygamers.com/news/experts-ban-together-against-california-gaming-law/

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Jalex
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 11:37:13 AM
Reply

I'm not familiar, so could someone please explain exactly what this proposed law seeks to do?

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shadowscorpio
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 11:56:30 AM

I could be wrong but when this issue was first brought up on PSXE I believe it was describing something along the lines of implementing regulations on the content of video games. Basically dictating how games should be made, what should go in them, content displayed, etc.

What I understand is that they wanted to abolish violence in video games, claiming it was the cause of violent behavior. Kinda bogus if you ask me.

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Jawknee
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 11:57:46 AM

It seeks to ban the sale of any video game or content to children that the government deems too violent. Sounds good on paper, problem is government shouldn't be making these decisions for people. Parents should be even if there are irreponsible parents out there. Thus is the by product of Freedom. This is not the gooberments job.

California has so many problems right now on the government level. They should be dealing with those, not powdering our bottoms.

@shadowscorpio, I don't believe this law goes any further then the banning of video game sales to kids who are under age. They can't tell a company how o make a game, that's even more Unconstitutional than this bill already is.

Last edited by Jawknee on 9/21/2010 12:01:13 PM

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Jalex
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 12:15:49 PM

Thanks for the answers, though I'm sure I'll keep asking more questions as long as somebody responds.

How exactly do they seek to ban such sales? Because I thought a fine could already be attached to the sale of any M-rated title to a minor. Or does this seek to widen what constitutes a 'mature' title?

Oh, and Jawknee, I did a double-take on your first sentence, since it sounds like the government is seeking to prohibit violent children from purchasing video games, ha.
Sorry, I'm nitpicky about grammar.

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BikerSaint
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 12:22:35 PM

Jalex,
Here's that info for you.....

Supreme Court to Hear Schwarzenegger v. EMA; Single Most Important Court Case in Gaming History

http://www.world-gaming.com/component/content/article/6-general/1111-supreme-court-to-hear-schwarzenegger-v-ema-single-most-important-court-case-in-gaming-history.html

Schwarzenegger v. EMA (State of Calif Brief - 69 pages)

http://www.scribd.com/doc/34239421/Schwarzenegger-v-EMA-State-of-Calif-Brief

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Jawknee
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 12:25:03 PM

Hahaha, whoops. Let me refrase.

The government seeks to ban the sale of any videogames it deems too violent for children to children.

I too thought there were already laws in place. I still get carded when I buy M rated games from places like Target, Walmart etc.

Last edited by Jawknee on 9/21/2010 12:27:13 PM

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Jalex
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 1:22:48 PM

Okay, thanks guys, it looks like I have all the information I need now.
I was just really surprised that I had no idea what this was, as I've lived in California for several years now and been an avid video game fan for much longer.

Last edited by Jalex on 9/21/2010 1:23:32 PM

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Jawknee
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 12:32:53 PM
Reply

I'm not as confident as I was before our newest Judge was nominated and seated. The woman thinks the Federal government has the right to tell us what to eat and also thinks it "just fine if the government bans books because they won't enforce the ban anyway."

Elections have Consequences.

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Jawknee
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 12:59:05 PM
Reply

I would just like to add that my father would let me watch R rated movies with him. He look me to see Alien 3 and Terminator 2 when they first came out. Obviously not movies I would be allowed to see by myself and a kid but was allowed to see in the care of my father. I turned out just fine. Why should games be any different?

Me thinks Arnold is being a bit hypocritical here.

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SolidFantasy
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 3:06:38 PM

Same story. I never had any restrictions growing up and I don't feel any subliminal urges to go on a shooting spree.

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StangMan80
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 1:25:50 PM
Reply

This is stupid, let video game makers make what ever game they want and put what they please in it, If people don't like, Moms don't want there children playing it then don't buy it and for you parents you should be watching over your children more.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 1:47:46 PM
Reply

With marijuana on it's way to decriminalization in Cali, the potheads are gonna need SOMEthing to do. Don't take away their video games :)

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Underdog15
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 3:40:35 PM

It's already been decriminalized in Canada.

The result? Pretty much nothing. People still get busted, but instead of being imprisoned or tried for criminal charges, they just get fines for possession. Trafficking is still illegal.

Possession is like a driving offense. For the most part, it's just fines and such. Not a criminal offense, but one that gets fined, etc. But if it's a big enough deal like road racing or trafficking, then you're in trouble.

EDIT: I just double checked the laws here about that, and if in your possession is found 2 grams or less, no fines are laid as that is perfectly acceptable... but... it's still illegal to traffic.... which kinda defeats the purpose of all that legislation to change...

Last edited by Underdog15 on 9/21/2010 3:42:01 PM

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tes37
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 3:58:56 PM

It's probably best if marijuana never gets decriminalized. Too many liberal morons like it, which is good enough reason to fight against legalization whether you smoke or not.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 5:43:52 PM

Easy TES, its your people that are trying to take our games away.

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tes37
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 6:51:35 PM

What do you mean your people? Schwarzenegger is a liberal. Just as if I steal something and say I'm not a thief, that doesn't make me innocent. You're known by your actions not words. His actions have always been liberal and are well known to be. LOL, it's your people.



Last edited by tes37 on 9/21/2010 6:55:45 PM

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Scarecrow
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 3:04:48 PM
Reply

Not hating on California, but that's like the only state I'd see pursuing something like this. Ridiculous

Anyway freedom of speech/choice is important as long as it doesn't negatively affect others. Parents have the choice to not buy M rated games to their 6 year old kids.

I think California should be seeking a law to teach parents how to be parents lol...

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FxTales
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 5:11:50 PM
Reply

I just want to enforce that I'm not a recreational drug user but I more often than not find myself comparing say my country or the US's drug problem to Amsterdam's, well, lack of in comparison. I hope you get what I mean by phrasing it that way but it's just stood out. I understand that the US's drug problem stretches far beyond pot, meth is a problem here too but is it rampant over there?

Heck I don't know the solution to a problem like that and I wouldn't want to be the one that decides these things. I know you'll have an opinion that either puts me in my place or explains it to me. I'm not saying legalise it that thought alone still scares me.

As for banning games, this problem as we've always known and has been mentioned before lies with the parents yet it's because of their actions that the game industry suffers for it. Pretty selfish.

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BikerSaint
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 6:00:47 PM
Reply

The parents are the ones that to ban games from their children, not any F'ing over-stepping "anti-rights & anti-freedoms" government.

If the government really feels the need to ban anything, they should be banning bad parent's.

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Snaaaake
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 6:41:05 PM
Reply

Hmm, again and again, the irresponsible parents are getting away with their irresponsibility.
It's their duty to teach their children right or wrong, not the government.

And I still don't know why the government are overlooking the fact that little kids got their hands on a violent game and manage to play it.
And there's a reason for ratings, ratings are there just for show.

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Nickjcal
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 9:39:26 PM
Reply

Does this mean the taliban play video games too much?

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___________
Wednesday, September 22, 2010 @ 4:24:19 AM
Reply

hey when you have stan lee himself behind ya, you know your doing something right!

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, September 22, 2010 @ 7:38:12 PM
Reply

Praises for the Utah AG’s Supreme Decision to favor the ECA in their stand against California's suit......

http://gamepolitics.com/2010/09/22/op-ed-praises-utah-ag%E2%80%99s-supreme-decision

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, September 22, 2010 @ 7:45:10 PM
Reply

Well, I won't vouch for these guys, probably spin-doctoring the findings in order to fit their California supplied funding for this court battle......

Iowa State University Proud of its Anti-Game Researchers....

http://gamepolitics.com/2010/09/22/iowa-state-university-proud-its-anti-game-researchers

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