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August 8, 2007

As Expected, California Game Law Struck Down

Score another one for the gaming industry.  California passed a ban on the sale of violent video games to minors last year and, as is the case in these matters, got the daylights sued out of it.  U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte agreed with every other court that faced the issue and declared the law unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds.  The issue of violent games is always a good one to appeal to voters but so far its a dead loser in the courts.  Illinois, New York, Florida, Indianapolis, Michigan, and so on learned this the hard way.  California is just the latest to spend the taxpayer's money on attempting to pass Constitutional muster.  Other jurisdictions will likely try as well.

The story is in the San Jose Mercury News, and the opinion (well worth reading) is here.

August 8, 2007 | Permalink


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No doubt it's firm law, but what a sick result! The court understood the argument:
"The desire to regulate the exposure of minors to senseless violent acts is understandable and,
perhaps, more important than regulating exposure to obscenity. Many parents presumably hope that
their children, upon reaching an appropriate age, will enjoy healthy sexual relationships. Only
certain narrow categories of sexual activity, such as rape and incest, are illegal. Violence, on the other hand, is generally illegal, and is allowed only in certain narrow circumstances, such as selfdefense and proper law enforcement activity. Most parents hope that their children will grow up to be non-violent. If exposing minors to depictions of violence in video games makes them experience feelings of aggression and exhibit violent antisocial or aggressive behavior, the state could have a compelling interest in restricting minors' access to such material."

I would not want to be associated with the companies that won this suit, or their law firms. It's no wonder that so many people thin the law is an ass. It's very easy to distinguish this kind of stuff from expression deserving protection. That's obviously a very wide class, but there is no good reason for it to be this wide.

Posted by: johng | Aug 14, 2007 2:59:59 PM

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