A Legal Analysis of Brown v. EMA

July 8, 2011 -

            No doubt everyone has heard the good news out of the Supreme Court last week. Video games are saved from government censorship based on violent content, California’s law prohibiting the sale of violent video games to minors is invalid, good times had by all. This article is for those curious as to the how and why of this outcome, and will take readers through the Court’s principal opinion written by Justice Scalia (which is the governing law and will be used as precedent everywhere in the US from now on) as well as touch on a few points from other opinions penned by other Justices.

 

Lead Counsel In SCOTUS Violent Games Case Lays Out Arguments

October 7, 2010 -

The lead counsel for the video game industry in the upcoming Supreme Court fight against California’s proposed violent video game restrictions outlined the problems with the state’s legal arguments in a recent public appearance.

Speaking at an intellectual property forum at Chicago-Kent University last week, Jenner and Block LLP Partner Paul M. Smith said that no matter how a state defines "extreme" violence in such laws, they will run into constitutional problems with vagueness.

"I've litigated nine cases in a row where states have tried to define the category nine different ways – and they always lose when they make this case because violence is considered a perfectly appropriate and normal part of what we give our kids to see starting from a very young age," he said.

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EFF Files Amicus Brief Supporting EA in 'Davis v. EA'

February 3, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Organization for Transformative Works have jointly filed an amicus brief in Davis v. Electronic Arts currently before the Ninth Circuit court. In its brief the EFF says that "bad facts are making bad law," referring to several court rulings related to celebrities using lawsuits about "rights to publicity" against creative works to trump free speech.

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EFF Calls On Americans To Contact The FEC Today About Online Political Speech

January 13, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is urging U.S. citizens to contact the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to let them know that the long-held hands-off policy related to free and low-cost political speech online should remain unmolested by new regulations.

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Justice Elena Kagan Questions Her Decision in 'Brown v. EMA'

December 30, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan says that she still isn't sure if she made the right decision in Brown v. EMA, which brought the law sponsored by California State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) before the highest court in the land. Ultimately the court sided with the video games industry and free speech advocates, saying that video games are protected speech under the First Amendment.

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Actor Sues 'The Simpsons' Maker For Infringing on His 'Goodfellas' Character

October 21, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Actor Frank Sivero, who played Frankie Carbone in the popular movie Goodfellas, has filed a lawsuit against the creators of The Simpsons, seeking $250 million for "ripping off" the character he played in the 1990 film (the lovable gangster Louie).

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U.S. Supreme Court Denies EA's Motion to Appeal Ruling in 'Keller v. EA'

October 3, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The U.S. Supreme Court has chosen not to hear a "rights of publicity" case - a topic it hasn't addressed for decades involving Electronic Arts. The Supreme Court on Thursday denied EA's request to appeal a 9th Circuit Court ruling for a class of college athletes led by former Nebraska and Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller (Keller v. EA).

Keller sued the company and the NCAA in 2009 for using his image and likeness without compensating him in EA's NCAA-branded football and basketball games.

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Davis v. EA Argued Before Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

September 12, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Yesterday Electronic Arts took its case defending itself against former NFL players (Davis v. EA - PDF) to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (as detailed by The Recorder). EA Games argued Thursday before U.S. Court of Appeals that its portrayal of retired National Football League stars is protected by the First Amendment under "transformative use."

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EFF Pioneer Awards Honor U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Trevor Paglen, and Frank La Rue

August 20, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The Electronic Frontier Foundation will honor former U.N. Special Rapporteur Frank La Rue, U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, and artist Trevor Paglen during its annual EFF Pioneer Awards in San Francisco. The award ceremony will be held the evening of October 2 at the Lodge at the Regency Center in San Francisco. Keynote speakers will be Jacques Servin and Igor Vamos, better known as the Yes Men, who are known for their elaborate parodies and impersonations to fight government and corporate malfeasance

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Ironclad's 'Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion' Is Protected By First Amendment, Judge Rules

June 26, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Ironclad Games and publisher Stardock Entertainment are free to use the word "rebellion" in the name of its latest real-time strategy game (Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion) because it is protected by the First Amendment, a U.S. judge ruled last month. The news of the ruling was revealed by Ironclad co-owner Blair Fraser in a forum post celebrating the victory - as reported on by Polygon.

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Senator Rand Paul Gets Standing Ovation at Berkeley Forum

March 20, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

When the Daily Caller and the San Francisco Gate report a positive in the same story, it doesn't mean that the apocalypse is in full swing; it generally means that something particularly interesting and possibly good has occurred.

PSA: Today is 'The Day We Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance'

February 11, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Today is the day that advocacy groups and businesses have designated as a day of protest online against the NSA's unfettered surveillance and data collection practices. Led by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the collective are calling on websites and internet users to show their support by displaying special banners online and to contact their elected official in D.C. to let them know that the mass surveillance being conducted by the NSA needs to come to an end.

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Head of House Intelligence Committee Claims Journalist Glen Greenwald is 'Selling Documents'

February 5, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The head of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) has lashed out at one of the key journalists publishing stories about the documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. While not mentioning him by name, Rogers basically calls The Guardian's Glen Greenwald a thief, implying that he is committing some sort of crime and is selling the documents leaked by Edward Snowden. You may recall that Greenwald was one of the first journalists to break the story about Edward Snowden and his cache of NSA-related documents and materials..

James Clapper Refers to Media as 'Accomplices' in Edward Snowden's Leaks of NSA Documents

January 30, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper made headlines again this week when he intimated that certain unnamed journalists were accomplices in documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

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Google Urges Support of Electronic Communications Privacy Act Reform Petition

December 5, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Google sent out a call to action today urging internet users to sign a petition on Whitehouse.gov demanding that the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) be reformed to include more protections for online activity and to reflect the change in the way people use the Internet. As is the case with petitions on the site, the White House is only obligated to respond once the petition has reached 100,000 signatures. As of this writing the petition has 43,928 of the signatures it needs by Dec. 12.

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ThanksUSA Treasure Hunt Chooses 'Bill of Rights' Theme

November 26, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

ThanksUSA and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) Foundation announced the launch of the ninth annual ThanksUSA Treasure Hunt (TH9), a free, fully interactive digital trivia and puzzle game about U.S. history, culture and values. The annual hunt supports ThanksUSA's annual scholarship fund to benefit the children and spouses of active-duty military personnel by providing scholarships for two-year or four-year colleges, vocational or technical schools. The focus of this year's hunt will be the Bill of Rights.

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National Rights Groups Take Aim at Massachusetts Video Game Research Bill

November 19, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Berin Szoka, President of Internet rights organization TechFreedom has penned an interesting editorial over at the Huffington Post detailing his group's opposition to Massachusetts state lawmakers pushing for research on the connection between real-world violence and playing violent video games.

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YouTube Personality TotalBiscuit Claims ' Day One: Garry's Incident' Dev Made Copyright Claim Against Critical Video

October 21, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Update 2: A full explanation/apology from Wild Games can be read at Kotaku.

Update 1: Kotaku reports that Wild Games has decided to withdraw its YouTube copyright complaint. A statement from Wild Games:

"..after seeing all the negative impact today we decided to withdraw our complaint to YouTube."

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Lead Plaintiff in Heller v. District of Columbia Says Game Regulation Efforts a 'Back Door' to Regulating Guns

October 15, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

The plaintiff in the landmark gun rights Supreme Court decision that bears his name (Heller v. District of Columbia) warned that the effort to regulate violent video games in the U.S. Congress is "a backdoor attack on gun rights." The Supreme Court case, Heller v. District of Columbia, overturned D.C.'s handgun ban. In a report on conservative publication Human Events, Heller said that lawmakers are targeting video games as a way to get at the issue from behind.

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Super Podcast Action Committee - Episode 72

October 8, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

On this week's show, hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight are joined by Ben Hayward, who wrote an interesting article last week about how video game players are often gun owners too, and how the government often tries to pit one group against the other. Andrew also reveals the results of last week's poll concerning the Mighty No. 9 and the possibility that the developer behind the game might get sued by Capcom.

StopWatchingUs to Hold D.C. Rally Oct. 26

September 19, 2013 - James Fudge

On October 26 organizers of StopWatchingUs will hold a rally in Washington D.C. on the anniversary of the Patriot Act. StopWatchingUs is a nonpartisan coalition of organizations, individuals, and companies that oppose the unconstitutional mass surveillance being conducted by the National Security Agency. The collective seeks "a full Congressional investigation of America’s surveillance programs, reform to federal surveillance law, and accountability from public officials responsible for hiding this surveillance from lawmakers and the public."

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2009 Order From FISA Court Slams NSA Data Collection Practices Over a Three-Year Period

September 11, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

According to newly declassified documents, a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge slammed the National Security Agency in 2009 for what he called "flagrant violations" of the privacy rights of U.S. citizens over a three-year period of searches of telephone records.

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Former Vice-President Walter Mondale and Sen. Gary Hart Testify on Behalf of ACLU in NSA Lawsuit

September 6, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Earlier this week we reported that Patriot Act chief author Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) had come out against the NSA in ACLU v. NSA, a lawsuit that seeks an immediate injunction that would halt all spying activity on American citizens, among other things. But what we didn't report is that a former Presidential candidate (and former Senator) and a former Vice-President have also sided with the ACLU.

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Keller v. EA Delayed for Supreme Court Review Petition

August 22, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

It looks like Electronic Arts is getting a little breathing room from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco this week concerning Keller v. Electronic Arts.

On July 31 the Ninth Circuit ruled that the company wasn’t protected by the First Amendment from former college athletes’ claims that the company violated their rights by using their likenesses in its NCAA Football games without paying compensation or getting permission.

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Free Speech and Lap Dances: NY's Exotic Dancing Tax May Get Supreme Court Review

August 8, 2013 -

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a review of the 677 New Loudon Corp. v. State of New York Tax Tribunal, following a decision from the New York Supreme Court that the state government may tax exotic dancing but not other forms of dancing. Free speech advocacy group Media Coalition thinks that if the Supreme Court were to review this decision, it would likely overturn it because it violates the First Amendment. The group recently filed an amicus brief with the court urging it to review the case.

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ACLU Case Against NSA over Phone Data Collection Moves Forward

July 26, 2013 -

On Thursday the U.S. Justice Department was rebuked by a U.S. District Court Judge for seeking to delay proceedings in a case against the NSA brought forward by the American Civil Liberties Union. The Justice Department had asked the court for an extension of time in the case so that it could declassify related documents, but U.S. District Judge William Pauley rebuked the agency, telling lawyers for the DOJ that it was in a courtroom and not some sort of marketplace.

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Super Podcast Action Committee - Episode 61

July 22, 2013 -

In Episode 61 of the Super Podcast Action Committee, hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about the First Amendment, if Microsoft will cooperate with the government to allow access to the Kinect's various features (for the purposes of spying on us), Forza 5 requiring a 'day one' update, and a whole lot more. there's even some talk about Howard the Duck, LEGOs, the new Avengers movie, Hank Pym, Comic-Con and more. Download Episode 61 now: SuperPAC Episode 61 (1 hour, 10 minutes) 64 MB.

Thirty-Four Percent of Americans Think the First Amendment 'Goes Too Far'

July 18, 2013 -

The results of a new survey released today by the Newseum Institute shows that roughly 34 percent of Americans think that the First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees, up from 13 percent in last year's survey. This is the largest single-year increase in the history of the State of the First Amendment national survey. The survey has been conducted since 1997 to determine public opinion about First Amendment rights and issues. The results were released today by First Amendment Center President Ken Paulson and Newseum Institute Chief Operating Officer Gene Policinski.

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EFF Files Lawsuit Against NSA Over Associational Tracking Program

July 16, 2013 -

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed a lawsuit against the National Security Agency (NSA) today for violating the First Amendment right of association by illegally collecting the call records of 19 groups. The Internet advocacy group has filed this lawsuit on behalf of 19 groups and organizations that in any other situation would make for strange bedfellows.

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Two Years Ago Today, Video Games Won In The Supreme Court

June 27, 2013 -

Two years ago today, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of the First Amendment rights of gamers and the games industry. This ruling came about after years of legal battles between the games industry and various states. This particular ruling was over a legal dispute between the state of California and the games industry.

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PHX Corphttp://www.myfoxphilly.com/story/28274296/officer-injured Officer In Critical Condition Following Shooting Inside North Phila Game Stop03/05/2015 - 6:55pm
WonderkarpThe Shutup was a quick interjection saying "HEY! EVERYBODY SHUT UP AND LOOK AT THIS!" and I got the Critical Condition from a Local news site. I linked TMZ.03/05/2015 - 6:49pm
Andrew EisenThey call me The Jaws of Life.03/05/2015 - 6:48pm
Goth_SkunkThat's terrible. Now that it's been noted, can we return to Andrew's amazing steel-tearing teeth?03/05/2015 - 6:42pm
Andrew EisenWell, sucks that that happened and I'm glad he's alright (nothing in the article you linked says he's in critical condition) but there's no need for anyone to shut up.03/05/2015 - 6:41pm
WonderkarpEVERYBODY SHUT UP! Harrison Ford is in Critical Condition After A Plane Crash!! D: http://www.tmz.com/2015/03/05/harrison-ford-plane-crash-landing-golf-course-santa-monica/03/05/2015 - 6:38pm
Goth_SkunkIt ruined my joke about your billionaire lifestyle affording you state-of-the-art dentistry. I longed to see you fill your mouth with steel-tearing jaws.03/05/2015 - 6:32pm
Andrew EisenYep, typos happen. Even on the invoices I send for my freelance work. Yeah, that's always super embarrassing.03/05/2015 - 6:29pm
Goth_Skunk"Steel" your fr- aww crap you fixed it.03/05/2015 - 6:26pm
Andrew EisenReally? Whatever I say? Okay... I'm a handsome, impressively endowed, billionaire genius with a complete set of He-Man action figures and everyone wants to steal my Fruit Loops!03/05/2015 - 6:18pm
PHX Corp@AE I'm still buying Codename S.T.E.A.M. and the New Nintendo 3DS probaly as soon as said game Launches03/05/2015 - 6:16pm
Goth_SkunkWhatever you say.03/05/2015 - 6:15pm
Andrew EisenIf you refuse to buy games that were worked on by someone who doesn't dig Gamergate, you are going to have very, VERY precious few games to play.03/05/2015 - 6:12pm
Andrew EisenOh for the love of cute fluffy kittens...03/05/2015 - 6:08pm
PHX CorpWil Weaton(voicing in codename STEAM) backs the anti gamergate faction of the community03/05/2015 - 6:05pm
Andrew EisenWait, what? How did Nintendo irritate Gamergate?03/05/2015 - 6:03pm
PHX Corp@AE I'm still going to buy Codename steam on 3ds anyway, despite nintendo irritating #gamergate on thier choice of wil weaton03/05/2015 - 6:02pm
Andrew EisenOkay then... Wow, some people REALLY don't like a guy who was on a show that ended over 20 years ago.03/05/2015 - 6:02pm
Goth_SkunkWil Wheaton is most widely recognized for his portrayal of Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation.03/05/2015 - 5:55pm
Andrew EisenWow, some people REALLY don't like whoever the hell Wil Wheaton is. https://twitter.com/NintendoAmerica/status/57357372429896089703/05/2015 - 5:50pm
 

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