Professor: SCOTUS Should Use Schwarzenegger Case to Fix its “Extreme” First Amendment Stance

November 17, 2010 -

In an opinion piece appearing in the Los Angeles Times, Pepperdine University constitutional law professor Barry McDonald argues that the Supreme Court should use Schwarzenegger vs. EMA to “adjust its severe approach to content-based regulations of speech.”

McDonald opined that the California law in question “puts teeth” in the attempt to stop kids from buying violent games, and he notes that the plaintiffs in the case “are not minors who are eager to receive the ‘speech’ in question,” but game manufacturers themselves.

He continued:

Despite the fact that it seems the 1st Amendment is being used to protect the manufacturers' purses rather than their ideas, lower courts across the country have uniformly invalidated such video-game restrictions on free-speech grounds.

Video of Yee after Filing for Mayoral Exploratory Committee

November 15, 2010 -

Last week, California State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) announced the formation of an exploratory committee as part of his bid to run for Mayor of San Francisco in 2011.

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Editorial Hopes Law against “Poison” Games Sets Precedent

November 12, 2010 -

An article penned by the Editorial Board of the Oregonian calls violent games “poison to the teen mind,” and cites “a fragmented but growing body of research,” to back its hopes that the California legislation will at least “find footing” in order to “set a promising example.”

The opinion piece states that Schwarzenegger vs EMA is not exclusively about free speech, since the law does not seek an outright ban on violent games.

The California law, according to the Oregonian, would “simply prevent the neighborhood video store clerk from deciding to sell ‘Postal 2’ to a 14-year-old.”

The editorial continued, stating:

Illinois Also Looking Closely at Schwarzenegger Outcome

November 11, 2010 -

Add the Land of Lincoln to the list of states following Schwarzenegger vs. EMA in order to see which side emerges a winner.

Earlier this month we told you about a Delaware politician looking to reintroduce anti-videogame legislation if California was to emerge victorious in its Supreme Court fight, now a Daily Herald story lets us know that an Illinois politician is preparing for the same outcome.

In 2005, an Illinois law that would have governed the sale of violent games, championed by then Governor Rod Blagojevich, was eventually declared unconstitutional by a U.S. District Court Judge.

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Blogger Hates Violence, Yet is Against California Law

November 11, 2010 -

A discussion between two writers on the Perpetual Post website caught our eye because one of the scribes, even while expressing an aversion to violent videogames, doesn’t think the government should be in the business of limiting a child’s access to them.

In her part of the article, Molly Schoemann says that she “can’t really stomach violence of any kind—even videogame violence,” and recounted a previous experience playing Army of Two in which she was reduced to being “huddled in a pile of rubble,” where she “refused to shoot anyone.”

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Yee Making Plans for Next Office

November 10, 2010 -

California State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo), the chief architect behind the California game law now starring in the Supreme Court production of Schwarzenegger vs. EMA, is considering a run for Mayor of San Francisco.

In an email to supporters, Yee stated that he walked into city hall today and opened an exploratory committee for Mayor. Yee added, “As someone who grew up in San Francisco, attended public schools, raised a family, and has been serving this city for over 20 years, I am excited about starting this new discussion.”

Yee’s website is already adorned with “For Mayor” descriptors.

After saying that everything he is today, he owes to San Francisco, Yee offered an overview of his life so far:

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Two New Opinion Pieces Back Game Industry in SCOTUS Showdown

November 10, 2010 -

Yesterday we highlighted two editorials that backed California in its Supreme Court appeal over a law that would make it illegal to sell minors mature-rated violent games. Today we offer you a pair of views from people backing the game industry in its Schwarzenegger vs. EMA fight.

First up is President of the First Amendment Center Ken Paulson, who took to USA Today to offer his opinion that governing the intake of media should be left to a child’s parents or guardians.

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Researcher Ferguson: California Law is “One More Spin of the Moral Panic Wheel”

November 10, 2010 -

Texas A&M International University professor and videogame researcher Christopher Ferguson has penned an editorial for the Sacramento Bee in which he argues that the state of California is acting “irresponsibly” in its push for a law that would ban the sale of adult-rated violent games to minors.

Ferguson, as readers of this site well know, tends to generate research that is more open-minded in terms of the relation between violent games, youth and aggression. As such, his research was featured prominently in the amicus brief (PDF) for Schwarzenegger vs. EMA filed by the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) and Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

Should the Industry Embrace or Reject Limbaugh as Game Backer

November 10, 2010 -

Rush Limbaugh recently defended videogames after a caller to his talk show brought up the subject of Schwarzenegger vs. EMA, but is Limbaugh someone that the game industry even wants on its side?

Limbaugh used the case to rail against an over abundance of government and liberalism, asking the caller to “Join me when the government gets involved in all these other behavioral and speech things that they try to tell you and control us we can't do.” He added that he was “glad” that the case was taking place, as it would push these topics (over-governing and liberalism) into the mainstream, alerting people “to what’s happening throughout society.”

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Canadian Developer Downplays Importance of Tax Breaks

November 9, 2010 -

While game industry group TIGA continues to pound politicians on the subject of instituting Games Tax Relief for UK interactive developers, one Canadian developer feels like the UK's rich history of creating games created as tax breaks, at least when it comes to landing new publishing deals.

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Don’t Expect an R18+ Decision Anytime Soon

November 9, 2010 -

For all the Australian gamers waiting patiently for an R18+ videogame rating category, a GameSpot columnist offers some advice—don’t hold your breath.

Despite petitions in favor of the addition of an R18+ rating, sponsored by retailer GAME (which received over 72,000 signatures) and EB Games and Grow Up Australia (which was signed by over 46,000 supporters), the government continues to drag its feet when it comes to the subject.

Your Anti-Game Op-ed of the Day

November 5, 2010 -

The author of an opinion piece appearing in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, a piece ostensibly related to the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA Supreme Court case, takes a hatchet to videogames.

Author Jack Markowitz offers, “grudgingly,” that “the Supreme Court will uphold the precious freedom to sell stupid, overpriced electronic games to children.”

Daily Show Offers Take on Violent Game Debate

November 5, 2010 -

Comedy Central’s The Daily Show served up a segment last night offering correspondent John Hodgman’s take on the Supreme Court, Schwarzenegger vs. EMA and banning the sale of violent games to minors in California.

Hodgman, when asked by host Jon Stewart if the Supreme Court should ban violent videogames for children, responded, “No, that’s absurd John.”

He continued, tongue firmly in cheek, “Videogames are a form of expression. They are the novels of the next-generation."

Yee's Reaction to SCOTUS Arguments

November 4, 2010 -

California State Senator Leland Yee is the architect of the law at the center of Schwarzenegger vs. EMA and attended Tuesday’s oral arguments in front of the Supreme Court.

Reacting to the proceedings, Yee’s office issued a statement indicating that the Senator was “pleased” with the discussion in the nation’s highest court, and was particularly taken with the comments of Justice Stephen Breyer, who, Yee said, “… clearly understands the intent and need for our legislation to limit the sale of excessively violent video games to children.”

Yee Continued:

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UK May Simplify Corporate Taxes in Lieu of Games Tax Relief

November 4, 2010 -

During another round of Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) in Parliament, the subject of Games Tax Relief for interactive developers was once again broached with Prime Minister David Cameron (pictured).

This time around it was Labour MP Jim McGovern who asked about the tax breaks. Cameron responded that the government is looking into simplifying the corporation tax regime to bring it down to 24%, which would make Britain “one of the best places in the world to do business.”

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If CA Wins, DE Pol Primed to Introduce Similar Legislation

November 4, 2010 -

A trickle down effect is one of the game industry’s biggest fears if the Supreme Court does eventually rule in favor of California in Schwarzenegger vs. EMA, and one politician, known for her anti-game legislation attempts in the past, is chomping at the bit for just such an opportunity.

Delaware Representative Helene Keeley (pictured), a Democrat, attempted to introduce legislation in 2006 that would have placed violent videogames under her state’s obscenity statute. Her efforts sailed through the House, but failed to pass the Senate.

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Word Cloud Illustrates Most Used Terms in SCOTUS Arguments

November 4, 2010 -

Combine relatively new technology with the transcripts from Tuesday’s oral arguments at the Supreme Court for Schwarzenegger vs. EMA and what do you get? A rather interesting word cloud that visually illustrates the most commonly used words throughout the proceedings.

Fast Company analyzed the transcripts and infered by the prominence of words like "obscenity," "know," "whether," and "think" in the cloud that the matter is ultimately philosophical.

Indeed, in looking at the cloud, it is fascinating that the word “think” is represented in larger type than “know.”

Fast Company offered:

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Tracking the 11 AGs That Backed California in SCOTUS Case

November 3, 2010 -

A total of eleven state attorneys-general backed California in its Schwarzenegger vs EMA Supreme Court run, with ten signing on to an amicus brief (PDF) penned by the eleventh, James “Buddy” Caldwell (pictured), the Attorney General of Louisiana.

Keeping abreast of where these eleven enemies of the game industry are after Election Day could allow us to possibly anticipate what vantage point they might pull off their next attack on videogames and gamers from.

Let’s see where they are now:

Schwarzenegger Mum on Case Bearing His Name

November 3, 2010 -

For a man whose name makes up half the name of a case in front of the Supreme Court, lame duck California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has been remarkably silent about Schwarzenegger vs. EMA, a case which saw oral arguments presented in front of SCOTUS yesterday.

A quick look at Arnie’s tweet stream for the last week shows the Governator urging his followers to vote, congratulating the San Francisco Giants for winning the World Series, disclosing how he voted on various state propositions and congratulating his replacement, newly elected former governor Jerry Brown.

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Games Take Over Supreme Court

November 2, 2010 -

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed California Assembly Bill 1179 into law on October 7, 2005, setting off a chain of events that eventually led to today’s oral arguments in front of the Supreme Court, which will ultimately decide whether the First Amendment can stop a state from prohibiting the sale of violent videogames to minors.

Two issues are at stake for the Court to decide: Do violent games for minors fall within a category of speech unprotected by the First Amendment and does California’s ban on the sale or rental of violent videogames to minors satisfy the strict scrutiny test applicable to content-based restrictions on speech?

Arguing for the California side in Schwarzenegger vs. EMA was Supervising Deputy Attorney General Zackery Morazzini, while Jenner & Block lawyer Paul Smith took the lead for the gaming industry.

The entire time allotted for oral arguments—and questions—is one hour.

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AIAS Prez on SCOTUS Case: Respect for Yee, “Hard to Fathom” Arnie’s Motivation

November 1, 2010 -

Outgoing Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) head Joseph Olin, in discussing the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA case with Techland, begins by admitting that he, along with “most of the creative and financial stakeholders of the interactive entertainment industry,” were “mystified” that the Supreme Court decided to grant California's petition for writ of certiorari.

Olin also demonstrates at least a little grudging respect for California State Senator Leland Yee, stating that he doesn’t believe Yee is doing all this as “a grandstand play or because he has designs to be the next governor…”

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Limbaugh Backs Videogame Side in Schwarzenegger vs. EMA

November 1, 2010 -

Believe it or not conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh recently came to the defense of videogames during a recent call to his radio show (thanks Kotaku!).

21-year old caller Cory from Waterville, Ohio posed the question to Limbaugh, asking if Schwarzenegger vs. EMA was a “relevant thing that the Supreme Court should ever be even considering.”

Limbaugh, in answering said that since he was 21 years old, he has “been concerned about the infringements on free speech that come from Democrat regimes and courts because I'm in the free speech business.”

Saying that he was "glad" that the case was happening, Limbaugh continued:

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Game Developer Argues for Free Speech in Post Editorial

November 1, 2010 -

Game developer Daniel Greenberg (pictured) has authored a Washington Post opinion piece in which he argues that the Supreme Court should rule that videogames are free speech when it eventually rules on Schwarzenegger vs. EMA.

As a game developer, Greenberg called himself “disheartened and a little perplexed” at seeing games compared to cigarettes and alcohol by California State Senator Leland Yee, and he wondered “how government bureaucrats are supposed to divine the artistic value that a video game has for a 17-year-old.”

In describing newer games such as BioShock, Fable 2 and Fallout 3, Greenberg wrote:

Dueling Opinions on Schwarzenegger vs EMA in USA Today

October 29, 2010 -

A pair of opposing editorials appear on the USA Today website, delivering two distinct takes on Schwarzenegger vs EMA.

Common Sense Media CEO James Steyer penned a piece opposing the game industry, stating that the showdown “pits the profits of a multibillion dollar video game industry against the best interests of kids.”

Steyer, whose organization backed California with an amicus brief of its own (PDF), went on to cite American Academy of Pediatrics research to back his choice of sides, research which “declared the connection between game violence and aggression nearly as strong as the medical association between cigarettes and lung cancer.”

Yee: Supreme Court Will "Provide Direction" for Future Game Laws

October 29, 2010 -

In an interview with GameSpot, Leland Yee, the California Senator who penned the state’s violent game law, expresses hope that the Supreme Court will uphold the law after hearing oral arguments next week.  But if it doesn’t…

“At the very least, I believe that the Supreme Court is going to provide some direction to legislators who are interested in limiting the sale of violent video games to children. That's because this law has been struck down twice already--there was an injunction on it which we appealed and lost. Then we went to the federal appeals court and we lost again. So I am hoping the Supreme Court will look at this issue and at least provide some guidance as to what might be possible within the framework of the law.”

Yee also discusses his lack of faith in the ESRB.

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Cameron: “Difficult Decision,” but UK Tax Breaks had to be Nixed

October 28, 2010 -

During a recent "Prime Minister’s Questions" session,  Labour MP Luciana Berger took the opportunity to question Prime Minister David Cameron (pictured) about the UK government’s decision to not institute tax relief measures for local developers.

Berger, who represents Liverpool Wavertree, stated, according to Develop, “Before the election all three parties pledged to introduce a videogames tax relief to compete internationally on a level playing-field,” before she asked the PM, “Why has the government reneged on that promise?"

Cameron began answering by stating that the government had to make “difficult decisions.”

He continued:

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VG Lawyer: SCOTUS Loss Would Cost Industry Jobs, Stifle Creativity

October 28, 2010 -

As we inch closer to Tuesday, when oral arguments in Schwarzenegger v. EMA will be presented in front of the Supreme Court, one videogame industry lawyer discussed the impact, in his opinion, a win for California in the case might have on the industry.

Reed Smith LLP’s Patrick Sweeney, council for the firm’s Corporate and Securities Group and specializing in videogames, was quoted in Industry Gamers as stating about a game industry loss in the case, “Certainly less games would be produced and there would be a corresponding job loss.”

Sweeney, continuing, stated that the influence of such a legal defeat could be even deeper:

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Students Grant Win to Game Industry in Schwarzenegger Case Sim

October 26, 2010 -

Students at the California Western School of Law (CWSL) staged a simulation of the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA case last week and ultimately, issued a ruling in favor of the game industry.

CWSL Professor Glenn Smith, organizer of the event (pictured), discussed with GamePolitics the unique approach he and his students adapted for the simulation—each student assigned to play the role of a Supreme Court Justice conducted “substantial research” into a particular judge’s past case decisions, writings and speeches in order to more effectively immerse themselves into the role.

Supreme Gamers?

October 26, 2010 -

While it may be difficult to imagine a Supreme Court Justice picking up a controller for a jaunt through Postal II, during the course of actions surrounding Schwarzenegger vs. EMA such a scenario is not totally out of the realm of possibility, at least according to the lawyer who will present the videogame industry’s side in front of the nation’s highest court next week.

In a story on the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA case appearing on the American Bar Association’s (ABA) website, it was noted that California submitted a DVD to the Supreme Court that featured five minutes of violent videogame footage, with the hopes that such footage would bolster its case. The game industry chose to submit a DVD with a “more diverse array of action,” including scenes from titles like Medal of Honor and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six.

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Guest Column: ECA General Counsel Outlines Road Ahead for Schwarzenegger Case

October 25, 2010 -

With all of the interest around the violent video game case, Schwarzenegger v EMA, we get questions daily on the process, the case, the legal principals, our amicus brief, others’ briefs, and what is going to happen on the day of oral arguments and beyond. While we hope that the following information will shed some light on the oral argument process, we also routinely refer folks to the Supreme Court website, as well as to relevant articles on GamePolitics.

 
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NeenekoTrue, and overdone stagnation is a problem. It is a tricky balance. It does not help that when it does work, no one notices. Most people here have benifited from rent controls and not even realized it.04/16/2014 - 9:23am
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2014/04/15/riaa_files_civil_suit_against_megaupload04/16/2014 - 8:48am
ZippyDSMleeEither way you get stagnation as people can not afford the prices they set.04/16/2014 - 8:47am
Neenekowell, specifically it helps people already living there and hurts people who want to live there instead. As for 'way more hurt', majorities generally need less legal protection. yes it hurt more people then it helped, it was written for a minority04/16/2014 - 8:30am
MaskedPixelantehttp://torrentfreak.com/square-enix-drm-boosts-profits-and-its-here-to-stay-140415/ Square proves how incredibly out of touch they are by saying that DRM is the way of the future, and is here to stay.04/16/2014 - 8:29am
james_fudgeUnwinnable Weekly Telethon playing Metal Gear http://www.twitch.tv/rainydayletsplay04/16/2014 - 8:06am
ConsterTo be fair, there's so little left of the middle class that those numbers are skewing.04/16/2014 - 7:42am
Matthew Wilsonyes it help a sub section of the poor, but hurt both the middle and upper class. in the end way more people were hurt than helped. also, it hurt most poor people as well.04/16/2014 - 12:13am
SeanBJust goes to show what I have said for years. Your ability to have sex does not qualify you for parenthood.04/15/2014 - 9:21pm
NeenekoSo "worked" vs "failed" really comes down to who you think is more important and deserving04/15/2014 - 7:04pm
NeenekoThough I am also not sure we can say NYC failed. Rent control helped the people it was intended for and is considered a failure by the people it was designed to protect them from.04/15/2014 - 7:04pm
NeenekoIf they change the rules, demand will plummet. Though yeah, rent control probably would not help much in the SF case. I doubt anything will.04/15/2014 - 1:35pm
TheSmokeyOnline gamer accused of murdering son to keep playing - http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Crime/2014/04/15/21604921.html04/15/2014 - 11:50am
Matthew Wilsonyup, but curent city rules do not allow for that.04/15/2014 - 11:00am
ZippyDSMleeIf SF dose not start building upwards then they will price people out of the aera.04/15/2014 - 10:59am
Matthew Wilsonthe issue rent control has it reduces supply, and in SF case they already has a supply problem. rent control ofen puts rent below cost, or below profit of selling it. rent control would not fix this issue.04/15/2014 - 10:56am
NeenekoRent control is useful in moderation, NYC took it way to far and tends to be held up as an example of them not working, but in most cases they are more subtle and positive.04/15/2014 - 10:24am
PHX CorpBeating Cancer with Video Games http://mashable.com/2014/04/14/steven-gonzalez-survivor-games/04/15/2014 - 9:21am
Matthew Wilsonwhat are you saying SF should do rent control, that has never worked every time it has been tried. the issue here is a self inflicted supply problem imposed by stupid laws.04/15/2014 - 8:52am
E. Zachary KnightNeeneko, Government created price controls don't work though. They may keep prices down for the current inhabitants, but they are the primary cause of recently vacated residences having astronomical costs. Look at New York City as a prime example.04/15/2014 - 8:50am
 

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