Amicus Brief Filed in Opposition to California Video Game Law

The Media Coalition announced yesterday that its members have filed an amicus  (“friend of the court”) brief with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court in opposition to the State of California’s attempt to resurrect its failed 2005 video game law.

As GamePolitics readers will recall, U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte ruled in August, 2007 that the California law, proposed by State Sen. Leland Yee (D)* was unconstitutional. At the direction of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), the state promptly filed an appeal with the 9th Circuit.

In filing the brief, the Media Coalition is essentially arguing on behalf of the video game industry plaintiffs in the case. The suit against the California law was originally brought by the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). The VSDA, now known as the Entertainment Merchants Association, represents video game retailers, while the ESA represents video game publishers.

The Media Coalition’s press release explains the purpose of the brief:

The Media Coalition members’ amicus brief in the appeal argues that the state’s claim is contrary to all U.S. Supreme Court and Courts Of Appeal precedent and could lead to a wide array of mainstream books, magazines, movies, videos, recordings, and other material with violent content becoming subject to regulation. 

Additionally, the brief argues that the terms used to define a “violent video game” are unconstitutionally vague and the labeling requirement is unconstitutional compelled speech and a content-based requirement. 

Media Coalition members signing on to the brief include the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA), Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, Association of American Publishers, Freedom to Read Foundation, National Association of Recording Merchandisers, and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Read the amicus brief here (pdf). 

* Yee was an Assemblyman at the time the video game bill was passed and signed into law. He was elected to the California Senate in 2006.

Full Disclosure Dept: The Entertainment Consumers Association is the parent company of GamePolitics.  

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