ESA Chief on SCOTUS Case: Confident, Yet Humble

June 16, 2010 -

Entertainment Software Association (ESA) President Michael Gallagher is “humble” about how trade group might fare in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, as the nation’s highest court prepares to rule on Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) v. Schwarzenegger, which centers on a California law that attempts to make it illegal to rent or sell violent videogames to underage consumers.

In a pre-E3 briefing recounted by Joystiq, Gallagher said about the case, “We believe we're on the side of right here. We've believed that for 10 years. That hasn't wavered one iota. You go into this preparing to win, but also very prepared to handle the other conclusions as well”

A win would allow the ESA to put legislative issues behind and return its focus to providing incentives for industry members. Gallagher added, “[State government] moves like lightning and moves -- depending on where you are -- in an informed or uninformed manner. If we win, then we feel we'll be done at long last with these content issues.”

Gallagher also worries that a California win in the Supreme Court would open movies, television and books to additional restrictive legislation.


Comments

Re: ESA Chief on SCOTUS Case: Confident, Yet Humble

I'm sure they won't even be thinking of the other media that might be censored because of this. Free speech might be pretty much dead for TV, video games, music, books and so on if this passes.

Re: ESA Chief on SCOTUS Case: Confident, Yet Humble

There's a way the court could uphold the law but not say that video games aren't protected as free speech. they could just rule that states could decide the issue for themselves (states rights), and figure if the federal government ever tried to regulate games over the whole country that THAT would be unconstitutional. 

That's whats different about this case as compared to, for example, the animal cruelty videos case. the animal cruelty case was a federal law, this is a state law. I think the conservatives on the court really do believe that the first amendment only applies to the federal government but they go along with the current interpretation of the 1st Amend because of precedent. They could at any time though break precedent, or they could use this case as a way to chip away at it/at least not expand it. 

Even though liberals are not as dependable on free speech as they use to be Im pretty confident that they will vote to overturn the law. And Kennedy the swing vote will very likely vote with them. and then there may be a couple conservatives that go along with overturning the law as well. I think Roberts could. So the worst I see at this point is 5 to 4 to overturn the law, and it probably wont be that close. especially because of how it could effect precedent regarding film, television, books, plays, etc...
 

Re: ESA Chief on SCOTUS Case: Confident, Yet Humble

In reading the original article, Gallagher honestly seemed more humble than confident.  Then again, that may not be a terrible strategy.  He certainly wouldn't want to start crowing about victory at this point.  Better to remain humble and put tons of efforts into those briefs and arguments!

Re: ESA Chief on SCOTUS Case: Confident, Yet Humble

Oh I'm confident SCOTUS will confirm games as free speech, the question is whether the free speech rights of adolescents can be restricted "for their own good" as is already the case with pornography.  In other words this case hinges upon whether the variable obscenity guideline can be extended to violent as well as sexual content (I'm no lawyer, but my understanding is it was intended for sexual content). 

However do keep in mind, extending the variable obscenity guideline to violence opens to door for massive regulation of not only video games but television, movies and books, regulation that could be chilling to all these industies and ultimately have a massive impact on the kinds of media adults are able to choose.

Re: ESA Chief on SCOTUS Case: Confident, Yet Humble

I'm hoping games are seen as free speech.

Re: ESA Chief on SCOTUS Case: Confident, Yet Humble

Confidence isn't a bad thing, however, do be prepared for the worst.

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