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.

 

Report: 'Bravely Default' Banned in Saudi Arabia

April 23, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

According to this Destructoid blog (from a reader named "Lord Spencer" who lives in Saudi Arabia), the government has banned the Square Enix 3DS game Bravely Default for promoting sexual behavior in children and pedophilia. While it is not at all shocking that the government in this country bans a particular game, the reasoning for the Bravely Default ban is as over-the-top as one can get.

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China Details Copious Restrictions On Video Game Content

April 22, 2014 - Andrew Eisen

China will soon be lifting its ban on video game consoles and while that's certainly a good thing, the Shanghai government just released a comprehensive list of content restrictions for game makers looking to release their products in the Asian state.

On the no-fly list are:

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Report: Russia Proposing Stricter Age Restrictions for Video Games and Web Sites

April 8, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The Voice of Russia reports that Russia may adopt stricter age restrictions for videogames and websites soon. One of the biggest online companies in the region, Mail.Ru, has already begun labeling its games voluntarily. The company has already labeled its games with age restrictions on three of its gaming web portals: Games Mail.Ru and Mini-games Mail.Ru as well as the gaming center for its users. The restrictions are based on ratings standards developed by Russian regulators and European counterpart PEGI.

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Ultimate Gay Fighter To Be Renamed After Legal Pressure

April 8, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

While Handsome Woman Productions would not "name names," it is hinting that Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has forced the indie development studio to change the name of its "gay-themed" fighting game, "Ultimate Gay Fighter." The studio said that it would change the name of the game featuring LGBT characters due to what it called "legal pressure from an unnamed mixed martial arts promotional company."

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South Park Co-Creator Not Happy About European Censorship of 'The Stick of Truth'

March 7, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

South Park co-creator Matt Stone is pretty upset that the European release of the game he helped create with Obsidian Studios, South Park: The Stick of Truth, was censored. In an interview with Metro, Stone expressed his frustration with the removal of seven scenes from the European release that involved abortion and anal probing.

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Comcast Subscribers Still Can't Watch HBO Go on Their PS3s, Roku Devices

March 6, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

While most PS3 owners are finally able to enjoy HBO Go on their favorite console, Comcast customers will have to wait a little longer, and there's no indication when the wait will be over. According to The Verge, Comcast Xfinity subscribers can't yet access HBO Go on the console. Ironically, Comcast is blocking access to a pay channel that is owned by Time Warner Cable, a company it wants to buy.

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PEGI: We Didn't Censor South Park: Stick of Truth

March 5, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The European video game ratings board PEGI, says that it did not in any way force publisher Ubisoft to cut the content it did from the European version of its new South Park RPG, South Park: Stick of Truth. In fact the ratings body said that it judged the uncut version of the game and gave it an appropriate rating.

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A Closer Look at One Censored Scene in South Park: Stick of Truth

March 3, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Kotaku shows off a couple of screenshots from the European version of South Park: The Stick of Truth. The screenshots - both of which contain spoilers (so if you don't want this specific plot element revealed to you, don't view it) - show off what happens in the uncensored version of the game versus the European version.

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Chinese Government Bans Video Game Advertising on TV, and in Other Mediums

March 3, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

A change in commercial advertising regulations in China related to video games is in full effect, though as this Kotaku report points out, it is a solution for a problem that doesn't really exist.

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Super Podcast Action Committee - Episode 90

March 3, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

On this week's show hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about buying level 90 characters in World of Warcraft, a story about a UK mom who complained about her son buying thousands of dollars worth of FIFA DLC, the EU tackling free-to-play games, gay leads in video games, and a tax incentives bill that discriminates against violent video games. Download Episode 90 now: SuperPAC Episode 90 (1 hour, 12 minutes) 83 MB.

NCAC Youth Free Expression Project Film Contest Winners Announced

February 27, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The winners of the National Coalition Against Censorship's ninth annual Youth Free Expression Project Film Contest have been chosen Winners will be flown into New York City for a screening event and an awards ceremony at the New York Film Academy on March 29. This year's theme, "Video Games in the Crosshairs," is of particular interest to those who love games because it asked contestants to make a video dealing with such issues as gaming, violence, virtual reality, and censorship.

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South Park: Stick of Truth Censored in Europe

February 25, 2014 - GamePolitcs Staff

A number of scenes have been cut from South Park: Stick of Truth to get the game a lower rating in Europe. According to a BT Games report citing a document given to the publication by publisher Ubisoft, at least seven 20-second scenes were removed from the European version of the game.

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Voting Opens for Youth Free Expression Film Contest 2013 Finalists

February 13, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The National Coalition Against Censorship let us know that the Youth Free Expression Film Contest 2013 Semifinalists are now online, featuring the work of teen filmmakers that explore video games, gamer culture, and censorship. Judges will select the top three winners on February 25.

YouTube viewers can also participate by "liking" their favorite video, with the "most liked" video being honored with a People's Choice Award.

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Report: Iranian Man Arrested by Government for 'Kill Dictators' Game on Kongregate

January 24, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

While we have no way to confirm it, one of our readers claims that a man whose game recently launched on Kongregate (owned by GameStop) has been arrested by the Iranian government and jailed. The game he was supposedly jailed for is "Kill Dictators," and as the title suggest, players are charged with killing various leaders inside and outside Iran including Bashar, Erdogan, Amhadi Nejad, Khameni, Nasrallah, and Putin.

Japanese Vita Game ' Monster Monpiece' Gets Toned Down for Europe and North America

January 23, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Japanese game developer Idea Factory is altering the content of its upcoming PlayStation Vita card game Monster Monpiece for markets outside of Japan such as Europe and the United States. On hearing the news, some in the community said that Idea Factory was being heavy-handed in changing the game for release in North America.

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Report: UK Anti-Porn Filter Messing with League of Legends Updating

January 20, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The anti-porn filtering law takes effect the United Kingdom this month, but according to a forum post over at the official League of Legends community site, the new system may also stop you from updating your favorite MOBA game in the region.

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Chinese Culture Minister: Games That Don't Conform to Chinese Culture Standards 'Don't Have a Chance'

January 13, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

While the Chinese government announced last week that it would temporarily lift a 14 year ban on consoles within the region, the rules the country's culture ministries will put in place will make it hard for Chinese gamers to play anything that might be found by government censors to be offensive or culturally unacceptable. What is and isn't offense or culturally acceptable to the Chinese government is unknown because the rules haven't been written yet.

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Report: Australians Getting Censored Version of South Park: The Stick of Truth

December 18, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Australians hoping that the new R18+ ratings system would finally allow them to play the same games the rest of the world is playing (save Germany, which has an even stricter system in place) will be sad to hear that the version of South Park: The Stick of Truth they'll get will be a modified experience.

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Report: Xbox One in China in 2014

December 16, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

The CEO of a major Chinese corporation has hinted that the Xbox One will be available in China next year. Luo Jiangchun, CEO of online video service Funshion, said during a marketing and advertising strategy meeting last week that the Xbox One would be available in China in 2014, according to Chinese tech site Sohu IT (as uncovered by this Kotaku report).

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Capcom Kills Ghost 'N Goblins Demon World Kickstarter Campaign

December 13, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Capcom has put the brakes on a Kickstarter crowd funding campaign for an unlicensed Ghost 'N Goblins game. Phantasm Studios' campaign is now the subject of an intellectual property dispute initiated by Capcom, and has been shutdown. The Kickstarter page for the campaign now features a DMCA notice from Capcom.

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Government Defends Heavily Redacted Brief in FISC Case Filed By Tech Companies

December 10, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

The United States government defended a heavily-redacted response to surveillance requests at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) made by multiple software technology companies including Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Facebook and LinkedIn. These companies have been petitioning the special court to allow them to disclose government requests. Under the law these companies cannot disclose this information because it has been deemed "classified."

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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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'Hot Mess' Rejected by Apple for Partially Naked 8-Bit Characters Kissing

November 6, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Atlanta-based indie game developer Secret Library can't seem to catch a break from Apple. It submitted its retro 8-bit iOS game Hot Mess to the App store and had it rejected because it contained animated naked people kissing. In Hot Mess players step into the shoes of a firefighting robot who goes haywire and mistakes the burning passion of romance as the flames that burns down houses. He thinks couples kissing is dangerous and therefore tries to hose them down to avoid fires...

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UK May Crack Down on Newspapers Publishing NSA Leaks

October 29, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Reuters is reporting that the UK government is threatening to move to stop papers in the country from publishing further leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. According to Reuters, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday that his government was "likely" to move towards putting a stop to newspapers from publishing "damaging leaks" from Edward Snowden unless they started to "behave more responsibly."

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Report: Sony Pressures Sites to Bury Beyond: Two Souls Debug Mode Stories

October 22, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Several reports have surfaced today (originating from a Kotaku report) that Sony has supposedly been pressuring certain publications to pull down reports about a debug mode in Beyond: Two Souls that allows access to alternate camera angles, including one for the game's shower scene. From that angle, users can supposedly see a detailed nude version of the game's main character, who was based on Ellen Page.

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Dead Rising 3 Will Not Be Released in Germany

October 11, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

German gaming site Games Welt reported last night (thanks to Cheater87 for sending this in) that the BPJM (Bundeprüfstelle für Jugendgefährende Medien), Germany's entertainment software self-regulation body, has refused to rate Capcom's Xbox One launch title, Dead Rising 3, effectively banning it from release within the region.

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Minecraft Highlighted in South Park This Week

October 3, 2013 - James Fudge

The latest episode of South Park on Comedy Central is called "Informative Murder Porn," and deals with investigative murder shows on Cable TV and Minecraft, of all things.

When the kids of South Park learn that their parents are watching shows on OWN and Discovery ID about sex and murder (and believe that it will lead to their parents killing each other), they use a mobile phone app to block the shows on cable TV. The app uses questions only a kid would know about things you do in Minecraft.

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Beyond: Two Souls Gets Censored in Europe

October 1, 2013 - James Fudge

Sony has confirmed that the European release of Quantic Dream's Beyond: Two Souls has been censored. Sony says that around 5-10 seconds of footage has been edited in the European release so that the game could get a PEGI 16 rating. Sony did not say just what exactly censors in Europe found so offensive as to have it altered to avoid a higher rating, but one would guess it relates to gratuitously violent scenes. As a general rule, having wanton violence in a game is a good way to get a PEGI 18 rating under the European ratings system...

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Take-Two Warns GTA V Video Makers About 'Spoilers'

September 17, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Rockstar parent company Take-Two Interactive told fans in this support forum thread that it is "happy for fans" to upload gameplay footage, but warns them that any videos containing spoilers and other "in-game entertainment" will be flagged for removal via a takedown notice to whatever service they might be using.

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Matthew Wilsonthe lose of nn would not be good for us, but it will not be good for verizion/comcast/att in the long run ether.04/24/2014 - 2:16pm
Matthew Wilsonsadly yes. it would take another sopa day to achieve it.04/24/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoI am also confused. Are you saying NN would only become law if Google/Netflix pushed the issue (against their own interests)?04/24/2014 - 2:10pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, you are saying a lot of things but I am still unclear on your point. Are you saying that the loss of Net Neutrality will be good in the long run?04/24/2014 - 2:06pm
Matthew WilsonOfcourse it does I never said it did not.though over time the death of NN will make backbone providers like Google, level3 and others stronger becouse most isps including the big ones can not provid internet without them. they can peer with smaller isps04/24/2014 - 1:54pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, and that still plays in Google's favor over their smaller rivals who don't have the muscle to stand up to ISPs.04/24/2014 - 1:45pm
Matthew Wilsongoogle wont pay becouse they control a large part of the backbone that all isps depend on. if verizon blocks their data, google does the same. the effect is Verizon loses access to 40% of the internet, and can not serve some areas at all.04/24/2014 - 1:14pm
Neenekolack of NN is in google and netflix interest. It is another tool for squeezing out smaller companies since they can afford to 'play'04/24/2014 - 12:57pm
Matthew WilsonI have said it before net nutrality will not be made in to law until Google or Netflix is blocked, or they do what they did for sopa and pull their sites down in protest.04/23/2014 - 8:02pm
Andrew EisenGee, I guess putting a former cable industry lobbyist as the Chairman of the FCC wasn't that great of an idea. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/24/technology/fcc-new-net-neutrality-rules.html?_r=204/23/2014 - 7:26pm
Andrew EisenIanC - I assume what he's getting at is the fact that once PS3/360 development ceases, there will be no more "For Everything But Wii U" games.04/23/2014 - 5:49pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - Yes, obviously developers will eventually move on from the PS3 and 360 but the phrase will continue to mean exactly what it means.04/23/2014 - 5:45pm
IanCAnd how does that equal his annoying phrase being meaningless?04/23/2014 - 5:09pm
Matthew Wilson@Andrew Eisen the phrase everything but wiiu will be meaningless afer this year becouse devs will drop 360/ps3 support.04/23/2014 - 4:43pm
Andrew EisenFor Everything But... 360? Huh, not many games can claim that title. Only three others that I know of.04/23/2014 - 3:45pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/23/another-world-rated-for-current-consoles-handhelds-in-germany/ Another World fulfills legal obligations of being on every gaming system under the sun.04/23/2014 - 12:34pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/04/steam-gauge-do-strong-reviews-lead-to-stronger-sales-on-steam/?comments=1 Here is another data driven article using sales data from steam to figure out if reviews effect sales. It is stats heavy like the last one.04/23/2014 - 11:33am
Andrew EisenI love RPGs but I didn't much care for Tales of Symphonia. I didn't bother with its sequel.04/23/2014 - 11:21am
InfophileIt had great RPGs because MS wanted to use them to break into Japan. (Which had the side-effect of screwing NA PS3 owners out of Tales of Vesperia. No, I'm not bitter, why do you ask?)04/23/2014 - 10:52am
RedMageI'm still disappointed the 360 never broke into Japan either. It had a bevy of great RPGs in the late 2000s.04/23/2014 - 9:48am
 

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