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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Digital Press Videogames in Clifton, NJ gets swatted

March 29, 2015 - James Fudge

According to several reports (Cliffview Pilot, NorthJersey.com, and New York Daily News), Clifton, New Jersey Police received a 911 call from someone claiming that "men armed with shotguns" had taken hostages at a shopping

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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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Joseph Olin Joins Video Game Bar Association

December 11, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Former Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences president Joseph Olin has joined the Video Game Bar Association. He will take on the role of executive director for trade group of game industry lawyers.

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Former Oculus VR General Counsel Launches Games Industry-Focused Law and Angel Investment Firms

November 12, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The top lawyer for virtual reality headset maker Oculus VR has launched a law firm dedicated to tackling legal issues related to the video games industry. Dan Offner, the former general counsel for Oculus VR has founded a new law firm and angel investment company called Offner & Associates.

His firm and his new angel investment firm Blue Heron Ventures promises to offer "fairly priced legal services, angel investment and entrepreneurial experience to startups, emerging growth, and mid-cap companies in the interactive entertainment and technology markets."

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Japanese Game Teaches Citizens the Finer Points of Being a 'Lay Judge'

October 27, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

A new "lay judge" simulation game in Japan hopes to give citizens called and chosen to be part of a panel to make judgments on court cases a taste of what they are in for and what their responsibilities are.

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Exploring The Psychology Of Civil Forfeiture Through Video Games

September 9, 2014 - E. Zachary Knight

Civil Asset Forfeiture is the process by which law enforcement can seize private property of citizens without ever needing to charge those citizens of committing a crime. Laws governing civil forfeiture vary from state to state but most states allow officers to seize any amount of money or property and keep the proceeds for department use.

This procedure is highly controversial and has many proponents as well as critics. Most critics equate civil forfeiture with highway robbery, while the proponents consider it another tool to fight crime and pay for law enforcement.

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Tulsa Oklahoma Looking To Place Video Game Stores Under Same Regulations As Pawn Shops

February 14, 2014 - E. Zachary Knight

It is no secret that theft is a big problem in any part of the world. It is something that we as humans have been battling for our entire existence. The city of Tulsa Oklahoma recognizes how hard this battle is and is looking to give law enforcement more tools to work with in their fight against theft.

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Mark DeLoura to Take Part in Fireside Chat During GamesBeat 2013

October 28, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

One of the many guests taking part in this year's GamesBeat 2013 two-day conference is Mark DeLoura, the former video game executive and technologist who went to Washington to work for the Obama Administration. DeLoura is senior advisor on digital media for the White House Office of Science and Technology. When he was in the games industry he worked in executive roles at such companies as Sony, Nintendo, Google, Ubisoft, and THQ.

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Gamers Solve HIV Puzzle in Ten Days

October 18, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Scientists at the University of Washington have been trying to decipher the complex structure of an enzyme that "exhibits behavior similar to that of an enzyme key in the development of AIDS from an HIV infection" for the last decade. They believed that it likely played a critical role in finding a cure for the disease. But gamers playing spatial game Foldit have managed to collectively determine the enzyme’s structure in a mere ten days.

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Games as a Tool for Teaching Children Empathy

October 15, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

New York news station CBS 2 offers an interesting report on the use of video games (Games for Change as we like to call them) to teach children (and adults) about the importance of empathy. "That Dragon, Cancer" and "Papers, Please" are examples of games that deal with subject matter that puts ordinary people in seemingly insurmountable situations. By putting players in the shoes of someone in such situations, experts say that young people can learn to show a bit more empathy towards their fellow man.

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ESA Launches Fellowship for 'Young Developers of Color'

August 21, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced a partnership with the Black Association for Science and Engineering, the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF), HHF's Leaders on the Fast Track (LOFT) and other groups to create the ESA Loft Video Game Innovation Fellowship.

Supreme Court Justice Kagan Played Video Games to Prepare for Brown v. EMA

August 21, 2013 - James Fudge

There's a common perception that the Supreme Court justices rely too heavily on the opinions of their younger staffers when it comes to technology. But a story on Talking Points Memo reveals that at least some of the justices are trying a bit harder to learn things on their own - particularly when it comes to technology that is completely foreign to them.

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Funding Campaign Launches for Choice: Texas, a Game about Pro-Choice

August 19, 2013 - James Fudge

An IndieGoGo fundraising campaign hopes to raise $9,250 to fund competition of a game about abortion rights in Texas called Choice: Texas. Choice: Texas is described by its creators as an interactive fiction game about abortion access in the Lone Star state, and will be made available for free online when it is completed. The game is the creation of Allyson Whipple (writer, editor, and poet) and Carly Kocurek (writer and cultural historian) with the help of illustrator Grace Jennings.

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Kansas Supreme Court, Bar Association Promote iCivics

August 16, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

The Kansas Supreme Court and Kansas Bar Association announced support for promoting the use of retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's educational video games in schools to teach students lessons about civics. Both the court and the association for lawyers in the state are advocating for the use of O'Connor's iCivics to teach children how various branches of government work.

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Watch Dogs: A Glimpse at our Possible Future?

June 14, 2013 -

Ubisoft's Watch Dogs couldn't be more topical and timely than at this very moment. With the revelation that the NSA is allegedly collecting data from our Internet activity on sites like Google and Facebook and tracking the data of Americans' mobile phones, Watch Dogs is like this generation's cautionary tale on government tyranny (think 1984 or Fahrenheit 451).

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Experts: Chris Christie's Video Game Proposals Would Face Uphill Legal Battles

April 24, 2013 -

While New Jersey Governor Chris Christie may not let his children play Call of Duty or any other mature rated games, and even though retailers like GameStop and the ESRB work hand-in-hand to make sure his children can't even buy those games without some sort of identification to prove their age, it hasn't stopped the governor from convening a task force and proposing new laws that would require that parents give permission to buy the games children can't get their hands on.

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Super Podcast Action Committee - Episode 39

February 4, 2013 -

This week's show focuses on indie developers and an excellent editorial on various bills aimed at video game violence. This week hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about an indie game that got a Canadian gentleman fired from his day job, another indie developer calling Kickstarter stretch goals "bullsh*t," and a discussion on this Popcults.com editorial. All this and the latest GamePolitics poll results await in Episode 39.

Children's Rights Advocate and Attorney: Video Games Are Not The Problem

January 18, 2013 -

Children's rights advocate and attorney Paul Mones (@MonesPaul on Twitter) delivers a "Perry Mason moment" in a new editorial over at the Huffington Post titled "Video Games Hold No Answers." In it Mones notes that making a connection between violent crimes committed by teens based on the video games, movies, or even mu

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'The Underground Railroad in the Ohio Valley River' Hopes to Teach Fourth Graders About Slavery in America

January 11, 2013 -

Ball State University (in Muncie, Indiana) professor Ronald Morris and computer science professor Paul Gestwicki have teamed up with graduate students to create a Unity-based game that teaches fourth grade students about the Underground Railroad (thanks to Polygon). The game is called The Underground Railroad in the Ohio Valley River and puts students in the shoes of a runaway slave who must make his or her way to Canada where they can live a free life.

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ACLU Warns of Rush to Blame Video Games for Newtown Shooting

December 24, 2012 -

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has weighed in on the rush to place the blame on video games as a cause for the Newtown, Connecticut shootings that resulted in the death of 20 children and six adults. ACLU Legislative Counsel Gabe Rottman wrote on the group's web site that rushing to blame violent video games will lead to "the worst facts, and they will make the worst laws if we let them."

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Canton Police Buy Expensive Game Simulation for Training

November 19, 2012 -

The 86-officer strong police department in Canton, Ohio is purchasing video game-like simulation technology called the MILO Range Pro 4 system. Developed and sold by IES Interactive Training, the MILO Range Pro 4 system offers more than 500 crime-scene scenarios to improve police skills in the field - from talking a suspect down in a threatening situation to last resort tactics like shooting suspects. The police department expects to have its officers using the system by sometime early next year.

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The Law of Digital Games Begins Today in Boston

November 5, 2012 -

The two-day conference, The Law of Digital Games kicks off today at the Seaport Boston Hotel in Boston, MA. The event explores the intersection of video gaming and the law and how each can have an impact on the other in both positive and negative ways. Topics include everything from free-to-play games and hiring and agent to user privacy and protections.

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The War Z Copies League of Legends TOS

October 17, 2012 -

Arktos Entertainment Group, the makers of the MMO The War Z, had an embarrassing moment this week as users on this Reddit thread revealed that the company copied the League of Legends terms of service agreement and inserted it into their game. Oops. This is particularly embarrassing because the company was founded by a Riot Games employee Sergey Titov...

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Kixeye CEO Blasts Zynga as Former CityVille GM Faces Setback in Court

October 17, 2012 -

While Kixeye has taken some heat recently for being accused of having a culture of institutional racism, the social developer has been fighting Zynga on another front. Zynga sued former CityVille general manager Alan Patmore, claiming that when he left the firm he took 763 confidential files from Zynga containing game designs from teams in the company.

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'Law of the Game' Heads to Dublin for Panel Discussion on Online Gambling

September 27, 2012 -

Mark Methenitis, proprietor of the wonderful Law of the Game blog, will be crossing the pond to attend the International Bar Association Annual Conference in Dublin, Ireland (Sept. 30 - Oct. 5).

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Valve Changes Steam Subscriber Agreement to Eliminate Class Actions, Add Mandatory Arbitration

August 1, 2012 -

In an announcement made this morning over at the official Steam web site Valve Software revealed a change to its Steam Subscriber Agreement that makes it so that subscribers can no longer file class action lawsuits against the company (Federal Arbitration Act). Under the terms of the new agreement, Steam users agree not to form a class action lawsuit against the company, using a "dispute resolution" process to deal with complaints on an individual basis (arbitration).

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Recreating Crime Scenes Through Software: IC-CRIME

July 25, 2012 -

Using the Unity 3D game development engine, researchers from North Carolina State (who are leading the development), Arizona State University, and Indiana University, have developed a simulation that allows crime scene investigators to look at a crime scene from multiple angles.

Legal Experts: Colorado Shooting Lawsuits Likely to Fail

July 23, 2012 -

Families of victims and survivors of the deadly shooting at the Dark Knight Rises opening movie who might want to sue the film studio Warner Bros or other companies such as AMC theaters, but experts say that history shows these lawsuits don't tend to get very far because it's tough to prove a liability. The reason that such lawsuits usually fall flat is because companies are rarely held liable for "intentional crimes of non-employees" and the ruling in Brown v.

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MechaCrashI just hope they realize that part of the problem with the Wii U was its relative lack of power. You can still make good games with what the Wii U has, but third parties won't want to deal with it when they can target the more popular PS4/XB1.07/02/2015 - 10:59am
Andrew EisenReplace "NX" with "QOL" and I'd buy it as potentially true.07/02/2015 - 10:51am
Andrew EisenNintendo to start manufacturing NX in October to target a July 2016 launch with 20 million consoles shipped the first year. Sure... http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20150702PD204.html07/02/2015 - 10:47am
james_fudgeLet's avoid name calling in the shoutbox07/02/2015 - 8:55am
E. Zachary KnightThe Daily WTF has a nice run down of some of the impact to software that the US Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage has. http://thedailywtf.com/articles/i-m-not-married-to-the-idea07/02/2015 - 7:45am
MechaCrashGee, how did people ever get the idea Gaters are morons who argue in bad faith? It's such a mystery.07/02/2015 - 7:03am
E. Zachary KnightGoth, again, no one is saying that we shouldn't be writig uncomfortable subject matter. What people are saying is that chances are you are going to write it poorly so it would be better to not have done it at all.07/02/2015 - 7:00am
Goth_Skunkdiscussed or portrayed in an expressive medium. Such an opinion only serves to stifle discussion. And as I said before, the only thing not worth talking about is what shouldn't be talked about.07/02/2015 - 6:50am
Goth_Skunk@Info: The same reason why I would entertain the notion that the Wired article writer could be right: Curiosity. Except in this case, I'm not curious at all. I'm not interested in hearing anyone's opinion on why uncomfortable subject matter shouldn't be07/02/2015 - 6:49am
IvresseI think the problem with the Batmobile is that they made it a core aspect of the game that you have to do continuously. If it was basically a couple of side games that were needed for secret stuff or a couple of times in the main game, it would be fine.07/02/2015 - 5:38am
Infophile@Goth: If you're not willing to entertain the idea you might be wrong, fine. That's your right. But why should anyone else entertain the idea that you might be right? If they go by the same logic, they already know you're wrong, so why listen to you?07/02/2015 - 3:53am
MattsworknameEh, I love the new batmobile personally, it's a blast to mess aroudn with. Plus, the game is set in a situation that mroe or less leaves batman with no choice but to go full force. And even then, it still shows him doing all he can to limit casualties.07/01/2015 - 11:38pm
Andrew EisenAgreed. Luckily, we don't seem to be in danger of that of late. No one's suggesting, for example, that tanks shouldn't be in video games, only that the tank in Arkham Knight is poorly implemented and out of place from a characterization standpoint.07/01/2015 - 11:27pm
MattsworknameConfederate flag, Relgious organizations, etc etc. Andrew isnt[ wrong, just remember not to let that mentality lead to censorship.07/01/2015 - 11:20pm
Mattsworknamefind offensive or disturbing, and that mindset leads to censorship. It's all well and good to say "This would be better IF", just so long as we remember not to let it slide into "This is offensive, REMOVE IT". IE , the current issues surroundign the07/01/2015 - 11:19pm
MattsworknameAndrew and goth both have points, and to that point, I'll say. Saying somethign is improved by changing something isn't a problem, on that I agree with , but at the same time, on of the issues we have in our society is that we want to simply remove things07/01/2015 - 11:18pm
Andrew EisenSee? Suggestions for improvements that involve taking things away do not mean the work is garbage or performing poorly, critically or commercially.07/01/2015 - 9:29pm
Andrew EisenSkyward Sword is spiff-a-rific but it would be an improved experience if the game didn't explain what each item and rupee was every single time you picked them up!07/01/2015 - 9:27pm
Andrew EisenHere's another: De Blob is a ton of fun but it would be improved without motion controls. Incidentally, THQ heard our cries, removed motion controls for the sequel and it was a better game for it!07/01/2015 - 9:24pm
Andrew EisenI'll give you an example: Arkham Knight is a ton of fun but the tank sucks and the game would be even better without it.07/01/2015 - 9:23pm
 

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