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.

35 comments | Read more

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:

6 comments | Read more

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:

22 comments | Read more

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.

7 comments | Read more

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.

Yee “Hopeful” for SCOTUS Win

October 25, 2010 -

As the case surrounding a law he originally authored makes its way to the Supreme Court next week, California State Senator Leland Yee issued a handful of comments related to what will eventually be a landmark decision for gamers.

The Court will, of course, hear oral arguments for Schwarzenegger v EMA on Tuesday, November 2 at 10:00 AM.

Yee said he was “hopeful” that the Court would give “parents a valuable tool to protect children from the harmful effects of excessively violent, interactive video games.”

Yee additionally claimed that SCOTUS has "often ruled" in favor of protecting kids and limiting their access, citing topics such as "pornography, gambling, marriage, firearms, jury duty, tobacco, alcohol, voting, abortion, licenses, and the death penalty" as examples.

Yee continued:

Open Source Carmageddon Creator Gets C&D

October 22, 2010 -

TechDirt points us towards a New Zealand man that was issued a cease-and-desist letter from Square Enix for his work on an open source version of the old game Carmageddon.

1am Studios Jeff posted about the c&d order on his blog, stating that Square Enix claimed to hold the copyright to his project’s “underlying code, text, audio and visual aspects of the game [Carmageddon]…”

Jeff wrote, "Obviously this is all a bit silly given we're talking about a game thats 13 years old and you can't buy anymore, but still, its a cease-and-desist letter."

21 comments | Read more

Mysterious Seventh Title Banned in AU During 2009 Named

October 22, 2010 -

Seven titles in all were Refused Classification in Australia during 2009, and while the public was aware of six, the name of the seventh banned game is only coming to light now.

The Refused-Classification website names the seventh banned title as Enzai: Falsely Accused, a 2002 Japanese anime-style game released in Japan in 2002 and in the U.S. in 2006. The game was submitted for classification by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) with no-name in order to thwart any undue attention being showered upon it. The name of the title was revealed in the Classification Board’s Annual Report.

Here’s why it was given an RC rating:

2 comments | Read more

Americans for Limited Gov President Backs Industry in SCOTUS Fight

October 21, 2010 -

The President of the Americans for Limited Government (ALG) organization is against the California law at the center of the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA Supreme Court case.

Bill Wilson’s editorial on the subject states that the onus for such enforcement should fall to parents, not the government, an unsurprising sentiment perhaps, given the name of the organization he heads up.

Wilson notes that the law would be so easy to get around that “its unenforceability teaches a terrible lesson to kids: That certain laws may be disregarded.” He adds, “That is a worse message than anything learned from the games. It is one that undercuts respect of all other law.”

The editorial continues:

17 comments | Read more

AU Greens Still Behind R18+, But Won’t Force the Issue

October 21, 2010 -

While Australia’s Green Party is pushing forward with two private member’s bills (regarding euthanasia and same-sex marriage), the party has decided against using the same tactic to introduce an R18+ videogame rating.

Speaking to GameSpot, Greens Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam explained his party’s thinking, stating, “I'm not convinced [a private member's bill] is the way to go. The government would certainly oppose it, and it's not easy to conclude that the Opposition wouldn't either.”

Ludlam would rather “keep putting pressure” on the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) in order to “come up with a cooperative agreement” and avoid “pushing people into a confrontational position.”

Jaffe: Facts Will Impact SCOTUS Decision, Not Petitions

October 21, 2010 -

Eat Sleep Play chief David Jaffe, while appreciating and supporting the “emotion” that has gamers signing petitions and contacting representatives in the face of Schwarzenegger vs. EMA, thinks that such tactics are “pointless and naïve.”

Jaffe view is that the Supreme Court isn’t a democracy and does not rule based on “a vocal majority- let alone a vocal minority like gamers and other media folks.”

Therefore, “none of our views on this will matter one bit” and "... it just seems like a big exercise to make people feel like they are making a difference..."

Jaffe’s full (and unedited) comment (thanks VG247):

11 comments | Read more

SCOTUS Case Could Cause “Supreme Jeopardy” for Amusement Biz

October 20, 2010 -

The trade publication Vending Times has published an opinion piece about the upcoming Schwarzenegger vs. EMA Supreme Court case, saying that a win for the state of California could give politicians more power to eradicate the U.S. amusement industry.

12 comments | Read more

PTC Wants You to Thank AGs That Supported California

October 19, 2010 -

The Parents Television Council (PTC) is urging its ranks to thank attorneys-general from the states that supported the California side in the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA case now before the Supreme Court.

The PTC’s website features the mailing and email addresses for AGs from Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Texas and Virgina in order to make the process easier.

But what if you don’t live in one of the aforementioned states? The PTC then would urge you to “please write to thank California Governor Arnold Schwartzeneggar and California State Senator Leland Yee for creating and supporting this law.” Lee especially might appreciate such correspondence, as he, “in particular has come under attack from the videogame industry.”

Op-Ed Focuses on Retail Implications of Schwarzenegger Case

October 18, 2010 -

Entertainment Software Association (ESA) chief Michael Gallagher, along with Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) CEO James Hallan, took to the Lansing State Journal website for an opinion piece outlining the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA Supreme Court battle could impact retailers.

The piece states that the “misguided” California law—which contains “subjective and indefinite language” in relation to what would constitute an offensive game—is “particularly concerning for retailers,” because “the retail industry has already taken giant strides toward ensuring that violent videos do not end up in children's hands.”

According to the opinion piece, the “vague law” could be trouble for retailers because:

Blizzard Files Suit Against SCII Cheat Producers

October 18, 2010 -

In a complaint filed on October 4 (thanks GameSpot), Blizzard Entertainment has targeted a trio of men, accusing them of creating and selling hacks for the Blizzard game StarCraft II.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the complaint names Michael VanKuipers (aka “Perma” or “Permaphrost”), Michael Simpson (aka Matt Cooper, “Cranix,” or “Cranyx) and John Roe (aka linuxawesome). 10 “John Does” are also named.

6 comments | Read more

PTC Compares Game Industry Groups to Thugs

October 18, 2010 -

The Parents Television Council (PTC) has a short editorial up on its site in which the organization defends the California law at the heart of Schwarzenegger vs. EMA, claiming that the videogame industry has “resorted to half-truths to try to make its point.”

As far as the law restricting First Amendment rights, the PTC says it “does no such thing,” but “merely prevents the most objectionable content from being sold directly to children.”

Do children also have a "right" to purchase cigarettes and alcohol? Of course not! If the law prevents children from directly purchasing other types of material that is inappropriate or harmful for them, why shouldn't parents be able to rest easy knowing their child won’t be able to buy ultra-violent games without their permission?

37 comments | Read more

California: “Three-Prong” Test Will Preserve Free Speech

October 18, 2010 -

The petitioner in the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA Supreme Court Case is the state of California, and as such, it receives the opportunity to furnish the Court with a reply brief, in which it can argue against statements presented in the brief of the respondent.

California has done just this, submitting its reply brief (PDF, thanks PHX Corp!) in which it begins by stating that the respondents are off base in their attacks:

Respondents and their amici paint an alarming picture of government censorship of both classic and contemporary art and literature, ignoring the level of extreme violence depicted in the narrow category of video games that is actually covered by the Act.

ECA Staging SCOTUS Rally

October 13, 2010 -

The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) is inviting concerned gamers to participate in a pro-gaming rally on November 2 in Washington D.C., the same day that the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA case.

The rally will take place on the steps of the Court, which is located at One First Street NE, at 9 AM. Oral arguments for the landmark videogame case are scheduled for 10AM ET.

The ECA noted:

Still No Incentives Planned for Massachusetts Developers

October 13, 2010 -

Even after losing Curt Schilling and his 38 Studios to neighboring Rhode Island, indications are that Massachusetts still has no plans to institute incentives or tax credits designed to lure, or keep in place, game development companies.

To be fair, Schilling’s deal with the Ocean State, in which his company initially received a guaranteed $75 million loan, before it was pared to approximately $51 million, was an incentive that was more-or-less created (or expanded anyway) to entice a single company.

Scotland's Abertay University Lobbies for Game Biz Backing

October 13, 2010 -

The director of business development of Dundee, Scotland-based Abertay University appeared before a House of Commons committee in order to discuss the economic impact of the region’s videogame industry.

Paul Durrant, according to the Courier, lobbied for tax credits for the industry and claimed that it was “vital” for the industry to generate private investment. Durrant stated, “We continue to strongly support the industry's calls for games tax relief, but we also recognise the important role of other support mechanisms, including ways to incentivise private sector project finance.”

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A Sampling of the Controllers Headed Yee's Way

October 12, 2010 -

The Entertainment Software Association’s (ESA) Video Game Voters Network (VGVN) has posted the first batch of user submitted photos showing controllers submitted to California State Senator Leland Yee.

The VGVN, for those who missed it, is urging the gaming populace to show its distaste for the Yee-authored law, which, under the guise of Schwarzenegger vs. EMA, will appear in front of the Supreme Court on November 2, by sending in controllers with the words “I Believe in the First Amendment” written on them.

Activision Blizzard Policy Maker Rails Against California Law

October 11, 2010 -

George Rose, Activision Blizzard’s Chief Public Policy Officer penned a column for the Orange County Register in which he called the California law at the heart of Schwarzenegger vs. EMA “onerous,” and "unnecessary.”

Rose claimed that a SCOTUS approval of the law would “hijack” the First Amendment rights of young people “by unjustifiably creating a special exception to unprotected free speech not only for video games, but any other form of expression.”

He also worried that the law would put “innocent store clerks at serious legal and financial risk,” all for a law that is “already moot.”

Rose explained:

6 comments | Read more

Yee on VGVN Initiative: Send Us Kinect Instead

October 8, 2010 -

Following yesterday’s news that the ESA - via their Video Game Voters Network - is asking gamers to send California State Senator Leland Yee broken or old videogame controllers with  “I believe in the First Amendment” written on them, we reached out to the Senator’s office for comment.

Yee’s Chief of Staff Adam Keigwin replied that, “I can only assume these broken controllers must represent the broken promises of the video game industry to parents.”

The response continued:

31 comments | Read more

You’ll Be Able to Hear Schwarzenegger SCOTUS Oral Arguments

October 7, 2010 -

While we’ll be trying to gain entrance into the Supreme Court to hear Schwarzenegger vs EMA oral arguments on November 2, even if questionable credentials or a nefarious past preclude us from gaining access, a recording of the arguments will be made available on the SCOTUS website.

The new recording release initiative, as detailed on the SCOTUS website, begins with the current October term and will see audio files posted to the SCOTUS website on Fridays, under the Oral Arguements section of the site's menu.

VGVN Wants Gamers to Send Yee Their Broken Controllers

October 7, 2010 -

The Entertainment Software Association’s (ESA) Video Game Voters Network (VGVN) has launched a promotion designed to tweak California State Senator Leland Yee, the original author of that state’s videogame law which is now in front of the Supreme Court.

A good handful of gamers have probably destroyed a controller in a fit of rage, and while there’s a handful of things that the useless accessories could be used for, the ESA - via VGVN - is urging game enthusiasts to take the broken controller (or an old one), scribble “I believe in the First Amendment” on it and send it off to Senator Yee’s office.

19 comments | Read more

Vietnam Using Games to Lure Users to State-Owned Social Website

October 5, 2010 -

Vietnam has been implementing a series of measures aimed at attempting to curb what it believes is an overenthusiastic reliance on online gaming, but it isn’t above using games to lure the populace to a new government-backed Facebook competitor.

The state-owned Vietnam Multimedia Corp. launched a beta version of a social networking website called go.vn earlier this year. As detailed by the Wall Street Journal, the website requires prospective users to register using full names and government-issued identity numbers.

To help lure younger Vietnamese, the site features “several state-approved videogames, including a violent multiplayer contest featuring a band of militants bent on stopping the spread of global capitalism.”

The Journal piece mentions a university student named Pham Thanh Cong, who was waiting for “his turn to play an online shoot-'em-up game at a street-side Internet café.” When asked about go.vn, Cong replied, “I didn't even know it existed.”

1 comment | Read more

German Censors Have No Sympathy for COD: Black Ops

October 4, 2010 -

Activision’s upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops has undergone a few changes in order to appease German censors.

According to CODFeed (via The Escapist), the game, which is set in various locations between 1960 and 2010, will have the following changes implemented for the German market:

10 comments | Read more

Are the Supreme Court Justices Tech-Savvy?

October 4, 2010 -

The Supreme Court opens for a new session today, and with a number of cases on its docket involving technology—including, of course, Schwarzenegger vs. EMA—how up-to-date on the latest gadgets and means of communication are the SCOTUS Justices?

It’s a logical question and one posed by an American Public Media host to a recent guest, Professor Jeffrey Rosen from the George Washington University Law School, who also writes for the New Republic

“Some are pretty plugged-in,” was Rosen’s initial answer.

“Justice Thomas telecommutes; he does a lot of his work at home over the Internet and emails drafts in,” said Rosen, adding, “Justice Breyer certainly uses a cell phone. He is quite tech savy and uses email extensively.”

Rosen continued:

22 comments | Read more

New York Law School Moot Court Features EMA Case

October 1, 2010 -

Earlier this week, we reported on the results of a moot court hosted by the Institute of Bill of Rights Law at William & Mary Law School, in which several noted journalists, legal scholars, and even a federal judge sat down to hash out a mock version of the Schwarzenegger v. EMA case pending before the Supreme Court. The IBRL moot court found 6-3 in favor of the State of California, causing some concern as to whether the result was an outlier or a hint towards how the Supreme Court may rule.

Apparently, William & Mary is not the only law school considering the question. New York Law School, famous for their annual State of Play conference, held a moot court competition of their own featuring a fact pattern very similar to that of the Schwarzenegger v. EMA case.  We obtained a copy of the bench brief from the case, which was written by NYLS third year law students Andrew Blancato and John Hague for the Charles W. Froessel Intramural Moot Court Competition. 

 
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Poll

Poll: Is it censorship when a private retailer decides not to sell a particular video game?:

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WymorenceOh sweet god, Kung Fury is freaking awesome...05/28/2015 - 10:03pm
E. Zachary KnightWonder, I know you can revise content and resubmit it, but I can't findany information about a formal appeals process.05/28/2015 - 7:27pm
Wonderkarpever wonder if there's an appeals process for AO?05/28/2015 - 6:55pm
Matthew WilsonDanny and Andy play the first couple of levels of the upcoming Hatred http://www.gamespot.com/videos/hatred-gamespot-plays/2300-6425016/ imho it does not look like it should be AO.05/28/2015 - 5:57pm
Andrew EisenHey, remember Kung Fury? That short film that was funded via Kickstarter a few years ago? You can watch it now. I suggest you do. It's fun! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bS5P_LAqiVg05/28/2015 - 5:14pm
Goth_SkunkOriginally, yes. Some content was cut out in order to reduce its ratign from AO down to M, but PC users could work around that an unlock the full content by means of a patch. Which is what I did. :D05/28/2015 - 3:56pm
Andrew EisenKarp - Yes, for strong sexual content. Although the recent remaster contains all that content and was rated M.05/28/2015 - 3:54pm
Andrew EisenDepends on if you consider Hatred misrated. I haven't played the game or seen the ESRB's rating summary so I'm undecided.05/28/2015 - 3:53pm
WonderkarpDidnt Fahrenheit have an AO?05/28/2015 - 3:52pm
Matthew Wilson@AE that is why I said it seems more moral panic to me.05/28/2015 - 3:51pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - From what I've seen (just the trailers) the game is nowhere near as gory as many, many other games. But again, I'm guessing the AO rating comes from theme and tone rather than outright gore.05/28/2015 - 3:50pm
Andrew EisenKarp - It didn't show penetration or nudity.05/28/2015 - 3:50pm
WonderkarpI'd say Mortal Kombat X has more Gore and Violence than Hatred.05/28/2015 - 3:50pm
Matthew Wilsonwhat I mean by worse in this case its not more gory/violent than others.05/28/2015 - 3:48pm
WonderkarpI forget....did Hot Coffee actually show Penetration?05/28/2015 - 3:48pm
Andrew EisenKarp - The Skyrim mods are external mods. The Hot Coffee mod unlocked content on the disc. Big difference. Still, the content that was unlocked was still perfectly in line with an M rating in my opinion.05/28/2015 - 3:47pm
Andrew EisenThemes are factored into ratings, not just mechanics. Still waiting for ESRB's rating summary. Very curious to see what it has to say.05/28/2015 - 3:46pm
Matthew WilsonHatred is a top down shooter though, and isnt any worse than other top down shooters?05/28/2015 - 3:45pm
Wonderkarpyeah, San Andreases rerating was ridiculous. Why not rerate Skyrim with all its crazy sex mods out there? But yeah, ESRB is good as policing itself. 05/28/2015 - 3:45pm
Andrew EisenManhunt 2 and Hatred though? Eh, there's an argument to be made for the higher rating.05/28/2015 - 3:43pm
 

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