ECA Prez Takes to PlayStation Blog to Seek Petition Support

Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) President Hal Halpin was given the opportunity to make a post on Sony’s PlayStation blog in order to talk about why Schwarzenegger v EMA should matter to American gamers and to urge them to sign the ECA’s Gamer Petition.

Halpin began by stating, “At stake: gaming in America. Yes, you read that correctly.” He continued:

In the time since the Court’s announcement there has been a lot of media coverage, both from the enthusiast outlets and the national press. A disturbing theme that you’d find too often in the consumer comments is one of apathy. Perhaps it arose from winning in each of the violence in video game cases. Maybe because, from our perspective, it’s hard to wrap your head around the idea that we could lose — the logic seems pretty obvious.


But this is the U.S. Supreme Court, the only court in our country where the Justices don’t have to “follow the law” because they make the law that everyone else follows. And here’s the rub, as industry executives will openly admit: a loss wouldn’t just be limited to any one demographic, such as minors; or any one area, such as California; or even to any one art form, such as video games. It wouldn’t solely change how games are merchandised and sold. Should the U.S. Supreme Court determine that games may not necessarily enjoy the same First Amendment protections as music and movies do now, it would be catastrophic and the implications for gaming and gamers, and entertainment consumers generally, widespread.

Halpin also answered questions from commenters, including one from D-Squad3 asking, “So can anybody sum it up in a sentence?,” to which Halpin replied:

Sure: The Supreme Court is going to determine if games should continue to be treated like movies, music and books (which the industry – and ECA – wants) or if they should instead be regulated like alcohol, tobacco or firearms (which the State of California wants).

Nvqhoi wrote, “im 11 i dont understand this does this mean they are trying to ban violent video games in america?” The answer:

At issue is whether games are different than, say, movies. Those that believe that gaming should be treated differently think that there’s a difference between watching a space alien be shot on TV and virtually shooting one in a game. They believe that because gaming is interactive, it’s more detrimental.

Their goal isn’t to outright ban games (to the best of my knowledge), it’s to restrict them in ways similar to buying cigarettes or beer. And we disagree.

GamePolitics is a publication of the ECA

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  1. 0
    Thad says:

    "have been successful in banning books from schools, libraries"

    You mean school libraries.  Not the same thing as schools AND libraries.

    "even made efforts to prevent publications of material"

    Can you give me a recent example of a book whose publication was prevented by legal intervention and not a consumer boycott?

    I’m firmly opposed to the California bill, but you’re arguing slippery-slope here.

  2. 0
    nightwng2000 says:

    "Their goal isn’t to outright ban games (to the best of my knowledge), it’s to restrict them in ways similar to buying cigarettes or beer. And we disagree."

    The point is that this law is the stepping stone.  Much as the decision to have sexually explicit material considered unprotected and governed by "community standards".  We’ve seen where that has led.  Many, just through the threat of bring lawsuits, have been successful in banning books from schools, libraries, even made efforts to prevent publications of material.  And much of that material was not strictly sexually explicit.

    By having "violent" content treated in the same which, which IS the underlying reason for this law, even more media (books, movies, TV shows, magazine stories, and more) will come under fire.  We know this because it HAS happened before as noted above.  This is the stepping stone.  To have SCOTUS determine violent content to be treated as unprotected speech WILL give the ammunition to those who wish to dictate to others what is or is not appropriate for them or their children.

    Also remember that Banned Books Week is September 25th – October 2nd this year.  And we should remember that ALL forms of media face similar treatment now and potentially in the future as well.


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  3. 0
    mdo7 says:

     I was on Playstation Blog yesterday and saw the petition.  I did sign it yesterday because:

    1. I’m a member of GP

    2. I didn’t like what’s going on between California and issue of violent game.


  4. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    "If Schwarzenegger gets his way, it will be illegal for me to allow my daughter to play games like Assassin’s Creed 2 or Red Dead Redemption – games she currently plays and enjoys."

    No it won’t.  If those games fell under the scope of the law, it would be illegal for retailers to sell it to your daughter (if she’s underage).  It wouldn’t be illegal for you to buy them for her or for her to play them (with or without your permission).


    Andrew Eisen

  5. 0
    Bennett Beeny says:

    In effect it will mean a ban where some gamers are concerned. After all, alcohol, tobacco and sexual imagery aren’t ‘banned’ per se, but if you’re 6 years old the effect is the same as a ban – and I’m fine with that where alcohol, tobacco and sexual imagery are concerned, but not for games. Currently the law allows anyone – child or adult – to play any game (except games that include pornography), and there’s nothing wrong with that because there is no evidence that games – even violent mature-rated games – are at all harmful for kids, and there’s some evidence that such games are actually good for kids.

    If Schwarzenegger gets his way, it will be illegal for me to allow my daughter to play games like Assassin’s Creed 2 or Red Dead Redemption – games she currently plays and enjoys. I think that will be a bad law because it will criminalize activities that are harmless and perhaps even beneficial for kids. Such a law will effectively be a form of prohibition, where the law ends up being ignored on a grand scale by people who are otherwise law-abiding. Such unpopular and unreasonable laws make the law itself seem arbitrary and incompetent.

  6. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    That’s not what the law has said since it was introduced years ago and nothing Yee or anyone else has said indicates CA is looking to change it (or introduce an entirely new one) in order to make it illegal for a child’s legal gardian to permit their kids to play violent video games.

    And even if that did happen, it would be immediately shot down.


    Andrew Eisen

  7. 0
    lordlundar says:

    I wouldn’t be so sure of that. It’s not outside their authority to change it so it reads "illegal to expose to minors", which would make it illegal to allow minors to play it.

  8. 0
    Monte says:

     Would it? i mean if this law were to pass as is, it would create the basis that violent video games are not a protected form of speech. First amendment protection no longer applies and CLEAR evidence is no longer needed… as such, would that not lay the ground work to restrict parents from providing minors with access to such material? Afterall this law is being built on the (flawed) basis that violent video games are harmful to minors. i’m not certain, but i don’t think it’s legal for a parent to give their children pornography; nor do i think it’s legal for a parent to allow a minor to drink (i think those two things might vary from state to state)… If a state were to make the argument that violent material should NEVER be viewed by a minor even by the permission of a parent, i think the law could pass now that the first amendment no longer applies… While this law does not make such a high level of restriction, a future law could be created that does. 

  9. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    You and I are talking two different things here.  I’m merely stating what the law is and how things are right now.  You’re talking about what might happen in a future where the Supreme Court upheld the CA law.


    Andrew Eisen

  10. 0
    Monte says:

     I’m glad that they are not allowing for commenting like in other online petitions… there are many gamers who have habit of making themselves look like complete assholes when reacting to these issues

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