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

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

Scholars File Brief Opposing California Videogame Law

September 20, 2010 -

Eighty-two scholars and researchers signed their name to a brief voicing opposition to the California law at the center of Schwarzenegger vs EMA.

Noting that the issue now awaiting a Supreme Court ruling is subject to strict scrutiny because it attempts to regulate the sale of games based on content, the scholars’ brief argues that California has neither provided “substantial evidence” that games cause psychological or neurological harm to minors playing them, nor does the state “demonstrate that the restriction will ‘alleviate these harms in a direct and material way.’”

Additionally:

Indeed, California does not offer any reliable evidence, let alone substantial evidence, that playing violent video games causes psychological or neurological harm to minors. California confesses it cannot prove causation, but points to studies that it says show a “correlation” between the two. But the evidence does not even do that.

Extra Credits Outlines SCOTUS Case

September 2, 2010 -

The latest Extra Credits video, as seen on The Escapist, takes on the Schwarzenegger vs EMA Supreme Court case, offering a rather complete overview  for those who might not be totally up to speed on what this action could mean for gamers.

Thanks Andrew!

Industry Supporters in SCOTUS Case May “Equal or Exceed” Detractors

September 1, 2010 -

As a September deadline looms for submitting amicus briefs in the Schwarzenegger v. EMA Supreme Court case, both sides are still hard at work recruiting advocates.

In an excellent Law.com story on the subject, a few claims and quotes jump out, including a comment from Activision Blizzard EVP and Chief Public Policy Officer George Rose, who said, “We wouldn't be surprised if the number [of states siding with the industry] was equal or exceeded the number backing California.”

Meanwhile both California Supervising Deputy Attorney General Zackery Morazzini, who will argue California’s side on November 2, and Louisiana Department of Justice Appellate Chief S. Kyle Duncan, who authored the brief for states backing the California law, seem to think that Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff “is taking the lead in drafting a brief supporting the industry and discussing it with AGs of other states.”

Schwarzenegger vs EMA Gets SCOTUS Oral Argument Date

August 23, 2010 -

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 at 10 AM ET is when oral arguments will be made in front of the Supreme Court of the United States for case number 08-1448, better known as Schwarzenegger vs EMA.

The one-hour long session is the first on that day’s calendar (PDF) and will see the Court answer a pair of questions related to a California state law originally authored by State Senator Leland Yee, which sought to ban the sale of violent videogames to minors.

The two questions posed to the Court are:

NYRA Preparing Amicus Brief for Schwarzenegger Case

August 16, 2010 -

The National Youth Rights Association (NYRA) is not pleased about the possibility of the Supreme Court ruling in favor of the California side of the Schwarzenegger v. EMA appeal and is asking for assistance from the gaming community as it prepares an Amicus Brief for submission to the Court.

In a blog post, the NYRA theorizes that no Supreme Court member has ever played a game, nor, (most likely) have the lawyers arguing for either side. As a “defender of the rights of youth,” and “as gamers,” the NYRA stated that “we need to make it clear that video games are more than random violence and that no one should be denied access to them.”

Here is what the organization is looking for:

ECA Prez Takes to PlayStation Blog to Seek Petition Support

July 16, 2010 -

Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) President Hal Halpin was given the opportunity to make a post on Sony’s PlayStation blog in order to talk about why Schwarzenegger v EMA should matter to American gamers and to urge them to sign the ECA’s Gamer Petition.

Halpin began by stating, “At stake: gaming in America. Yes, you read that correctly.” He continued:

In the time since the Court’s announcement there has been a lot of media coverage, both from the enthusiast outlets and the national press. A disturbing theme that you’d find too often in the consumer comments is one of apathy. Perhaps it arose from winning in each of the violence in video game cases. Maybe because, from our perspective, it’s hard to wrap your head around the idea that we could lose — the logic seems pretty obvious.

ECA Taps Brooklyn Law School for Amicus Brief Assistance

July 14, 2010 -

The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) has drafted the Brooklyn Law School as a contributor to its amicus brief that will eventually be submitted to the Supreme Court in response to Schwarzenegger v EMA.

Students from the Brooklyn Law School’s Incubator & Policy (BLIP) Clinic will provide legal research and other assistance to the ECA and the law firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP as they draw up the "friend of the court document." The resulting output will be sent over to the nation’s highest court on September 17 of this year.

| Read more

More from California’s SCOTUS Brief

July 14, 2010 -

California outlined its case for a law that would make it a crime to sell violent videogames to minors in a 59-page brief filed on Monday with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo managed to get his hands on some, or all, of the document and pulled out some of the more interesting pieces.

Once again, the actual text of the currently blocked law at the heart of Schwarzenegger v. EMA:

12 comments | Read more

Lawyer Predicts SCOTUS Will Strike Down CA Law

July 13, 2010 -

Because the California law at the center of Schwarzenegger v. EMA is unable to specifically define exactly what entails a “violent” game, one practicing lawyer predicts a win for the game industry when SCOTUS eventually hands down its ruling on the legality of restricting the sale of such games to minors.

The lawyer behind The Fine Print blog notes that free speech under the First Amendment “has never been unlimited,” especially when it comes to minors. He details two of the better known exceptions:

First, child pornography is outright censored in the United States; it is illegal to make, sell, or own, no freedom whatsoever. The sale of pornography to minors is also restricted, on the theory that while adults can choose for themselves if they can “handle” pornography, children won’t know until it’s too late that something is too much for them or harmful to their well-being.

California Submitting Arguments in Schwarzenegger v. EMA Today

July 12, 2010 -

The office of California State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) let us know that the state’s Attorney General Jerry Brown (D-Oakland) will submit California’s written argument to the Supreme Court, which voices the Golden State’s backing of a law that would make it illegal to rent or sell “excessively” violent videogames to children.

Yee is, of course, the original author of the law (AB 1179), which has made it all the way to the front of the Supreme Court in the form of Schwarzenegger v. EMA.

Citing a SCOTUS decision in United States v. Stevens, in which the Court declined to ban media depicting animal cruelty, Yee indicated that the law may have been constitutional if it was more focused, stating, “Clearly, the justices want to look specifically at our narrowly tailored law that simply limits sales of ultra-violent games to kids without prohibiting speech.”

Yee added:

Industry Leaders on Schwarzenegger v. EMA

July 6, 2010 -

Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick admits to being “worried” about the implications a Supreme Court ruling in favor of a California law at the center of Schwarzenegger v. EMA could have on the videogame industry as a whole.

Zelnick told CNBC he believes that “everybody in our business should be really worried about it.”

Other game industry suits worried that the law passing could lead to publishers needing to release multiple copies of a single game in order to satisfy the requirements of individual states. Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello said about such a situation becoming reality, “It will screw us up in a real way,” while Disney Interactive’s Graham Hopper added, “It’s going to make our retailing abilities a nightmare.”

Jack Tretton, President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, hopes that the SCOTUS ruling will put an end to the drama, stating,, “I think the Supreme Court is looking at it to potentially see if there’s something to it or to put an end to it once and for all.”

8 comments | Read more

ECA Prez on Schwarzenegger vs. EMA

June 28, 2010 -

The Escapist’s Russ Pitts met up with Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) President Hal Halpin at this year’s E3 Expo for a discussion of the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA case, which has ended up in front of the Supreme Court.

After stating that a loss in the case could be “staggering and widespread,” in terms of its impact on gamers, Halpin was asked to describe the what's at stake in “broad strokes.”

He answered:

5 comments | Read more

ESA Chief on SCOTUS Case: Confident, Yet Humble

June 16, 2010 -

Entertainment Software Association (ESA) President Michael Gallagher is “humble” about how trade group might fare in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, as the nation’s highest court prepares to rule on Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) v. Schwarzenegger, which centers on a California law that attempts to make it illegal to rent or sell violent videogames to underage consumers.

In a pre-E3 briefing recounted by Joystiq, Gallagher said about the case, “We believe we're on the side of right here. We've believed that for 10 years. That hasn't wavered one iota. You go into this preparing to win, but also very prepared to handle the other conclusions as well”

ECA Encourages Gamers to Weigh in on Schwarzenegger v. EMA

May 12, 2010 -

In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to review Schwarzenegger v. EMA —a California law that would make it illegal to sell violent videogames to children—The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) is launching a two-pronged initiative designed to show the Court exactly how gamers feel about their First Amendment rights.

The ECA plans to submit an amicus brief to the Court and has also launched an online petition that will urge the Court to hold videogames as free speech, protected under the First Amendment.

ECA President Hal Halpin stated:

Yee Backs Kagan

May 11, 2010 -

California State Senator Leland Yee (D - San Francisco), the man behind the original legislation that’s now made its way to the Supreme Court, has offered his thoughts on SCOTUS nominee Elena Kagan.

Noting that Kagan has “argued for very limited exemptions to the First Amendment including areas of hate speech, pornography, military recruitment, and animal cruelty,” Lee said of the nominee:

I commend President Obama on the selection of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.  Ms. Kagan is well-qualified for this important post and should be immediately confirmed by the US Senate.  While championing First Amendment rights, she has correctly opined that there is a need for very narrow exceptions to protect society and children.

 

I look forward to her consideration of our law to ensure parents have a voice in determining which video games are appropriate for their children.

16 comments

Yee: I Would Never Seek a Ban of Ultra-Violent Games

May 3, 2010 -

The Los Angeles Times recently peppered State Senator Leland Yee with a few questions about the original legislation he penned making it all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

Perhaps the best question posed to Yee asked how he could introduce legislation that would make it illegal to sell violent games to minors when he is not very familiar with games at all.

Yee answered:

That is a fair criticism. I'm not a player. But I have seen individuals who play these games. I have seen individuals using a baseball bat and bludgeoning a hooker to death, or taking a gun and shooting a cop. Those are the direct result of someone pushing a button and making a conscious decision. I can see that that kind of connection between your action and the consequent behavior is dangerous.

With a movie you can sit there for two hours and see everything. In these violent games, parents may never fully understand what they contain because you have to be a very sophisticated player to trigger them.

SCOTUS Decision Focus of Public Radio Discussion

April 28, 2010 -

Southern California Public Radio yesterday aired a 30-minute segment (MP3) on the California violent videogame law that will be discussed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

California State Senator Leland Yee appeared, and voiced much of the same opinions that he offered up through a mini-podcast his camp released yesterday. Representing the other side was Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) VP of Public Affairs Sean Bersell.

Bersell framed the current drama as he sees it:

Yee on SCOTUS Decision

April 27, 2010 -

California State Senator Leland Yee (D), the man behind the original legislation that has now made its way to the United States Supreme Court, released a short piece of audio (MP3 here) in which he offers reactions to SCOTUS’ decision to review the law.

Yee termed himself “thrilled” with yesterday’s news, calling it an “affirmation of some of the things that I have been thinking about, working on…”

He called the law a “balanced bill,” saying that “it tries to do what it can to protect and help kids, but at the same time, not trample on our First Amendment.”

Yee on the surprise most felt when hearing that SCOTUS would review the case:

28 comments | Read more

Breaking: SCOTUS Will Review Schwarzenegger v. EMA (Update 3)

April 26, 2010 -

Via Orders of the Court (PDF) just issued at 10:00 AM ET this morning, The Supreme Court of the United States has granted the petition for a writ of certiorari to the California side of Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) v. Schwarzenegger.

This means that the nation’s top court will indeed review a decision by the 9th Circuit Court of California in February of 2009, which struck down a California law that would make it illegal to rent or sell violent videogames to consumers under the age of 18. Retailers who violated the law would be subject to fines of up to $1,000.

48 comments | Read more

EMA v. Schwarzenegger Back on SCOTUS Radar

April 21, 2010 -

The nation’s highest court will gather this Friday in order to discuss, among other things, whether or not it should review a California law preventing the sale of violent videogames to children.

The Supreme Court’s website shows that Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) v. Schwarzenegger was “distributed for conference of April 23, 2010.” The order was dated April 20, 2010, giving more credence to popular thought that case number 08-1448 was shelved until a decision was reached on the First Amendment case of United States v. Stevens, in which the Court voted 8-1 that the government cannot outlaw expressions of animal cruelty.

SCOTUS Rules on Case that Could Lead to EMA v. Schwarzenegger Decision

April 20, 2010 -

The Supreme Court today issued a ruling on a First Amendment case that could have a direct impact on the Entertainment Merchants Association v. Schwarzenegger appeal which has been languishing in the nation’s top court.

United States v. Stevens centered on the rights of Robert Stevens to sell or traffic in media that depicted animal cruelty. Stevens was arrested under a 1999 law that attempted to forbid the depiction of cruelty against animals. SCOTUS ruled 8-1 that the government, per the SCOTUS Blog, “lacks the power to outlaw expressions of animal cruelty, when that is done in videotapes and other commercial media.” The decision (PDF) essentially nullifies the 199 law.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. wrote that the court “was not restricting the power of government to punish actual acts of animal cruelty,” but that “there was no similar history behind Congress’s attempt to ban video or other portrayals of acts of cruelty to living creatures.”

14 comments | Read more

Video Game Voter Network Hits 200K Users

March 31, 2010 -

The Video Game Voters Network (VGVN), an organization backed by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), announced that it has eclipsed the 200,000 member mark.

Launched in 2006, the VGVN bills itself as “a place for American gamers to organize and defend against threats to video games by registering to vote and letting Congress know how important this issue is to the community.” The organization said that it leveraged its user-base 46 times last year in order to get thousands of letters sent to politicians regarding political legislation.

Michael Gallagher, President of the ESA, had this to say about VGVN’s grass-root members, “They support their choice of entertainment by contacting elected officials and making their voices heard. Our industry is fortunate to have these dedicated individuals helping to preserve the rights of computer and video game consumers and makers.”

1 comment | Read more

Yee Pares Violent Games off Xmas List

December 3, 2009 -

If you are on the receiving end of a holiday gift from California State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) don’t expect to receive a violent videogame.

The Senator is urging parents and holiday shoppers to avoid the purchasing of violent games in the coming month, referring to their potentially harmful effect on minors.

“It is vitally important that parents and grandparents consider the content in video games before making holiday purchases,” said Yee.  “There is mounting evidence that ultraviolent video games have negative effects on children, and can cause real behavioral changes.”

Yee cited a Common Sense Media list of games to specifically avoid, which includes Manhunt, Resident Evil 4 & 5, Dead Rising, Grand Theft Auto IV & San Andreas, God of War II, Mortal Kombat: Deception, MadWorld, Gears of War and Saints Row 2.

He urged parents to avoid first and third-person “killing” games altogether and to check a videogame’s age rating and descriptors before purchasing.

A list of Common Sense Media approved games for the holidays can be found here.

31 comments

Senator Yee Honored with FAC Award

October 23, 2009 -

The office of California State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) let us know that the politician has been honored by the First Amendment Coalition (FAC) with its Beacon Award.

The award recognizes Yee’s “legislation in support of government transparency and the rights of student journalists and their advisers.”

The original author of California’s videogame law, which is still sitting in appeal before the United States Supreme Court, said about the award:

There is little that I take greater pride in than our legislative efforts to increase transparency of government and protect the speech rights of California students.  With the help of the First Amendment Coalition, we have passed landmark open government laws.  Unfortunately, at times, we have also fallen victim to the Governor's veto pen.

Yee was one of four Beacon Award winners. Full details can be viewed here.

16 comments

Supreme EMA v. Schwarzenegger Decision Within a Week

September 28, 2009 -

The United States Supreme Court is scheduled to address an appeal of a Californian videogame law tomorrow, September 29.

Entertainment Merchants Association v. Schwarzenegger (formerly known as The Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) v. Schwarzenegger), revolves around a Californian law that banned the sale of certain videogames to anyone under 18 years of age. First signed into law by Schwarzenegger in 2005, the law was rejected again in February of 2009 by the 9th Circuit Court of California, which upheld an earlier 2007 ruling that deemed the law unconstitutional.

Schwarzenegger and California Attorney General Jerry Brown appealed to the Supreme Court in May of this year, marking the first time a case involving the restriction of violent game sales to minors has ever been considered by the top court of the United States.

As part of the proceedings, The Supreme Court will also decide whether to accept the amicus brief filed by California State Senator Leland Yee (D) in July of 2009. In the brief, Lee, who authored the original statute at the center of the whole case, argues why the Supreme Court should approve the state of California’s petition for a full hearing. He was supported in the brief by the California Psychiatric and California Psychological Associations.

The Supreme Court’s decision could take a few days or more. A final decision should be made public by next Monday, October 5.

Update: Just to clarify, The Supreme Court did consider a similar topic when ruling on American Amusement Machine Association et al. v Kendrick et al. in 2001, when it denied the City of Indianapolis' petition for certiorari. That case centered on an attempt by the city to limit the display and operation of currency-based machines deemed harmful to minors.

26 comments

U.S. Supreme Court: Video Game Biz States its Case in California Violent Video Game Law Appeal

July 23, 2009 -

Sometime this fall, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to review California's appeal of lower court rulings striking down its 2005 violent video game law as unconstitutional. Yesterday, the video game industry submitted its position to the Court.

In a 41-page brief compiled by attorney Paul Smith of Jenner & Block, the game industry relies heavily on precedents set by a history of failed attempts by state and local governments to impose age-based restrictions on video games. Indeed, the game biz has never lost such a case and Smith has been their successful point man for many years. From the brief:

Despite [California's] efforts to conjure up some argument for review of the Ninth Circuit’s decision, in reality the decision is a routine application of established First Amendment principles to a content-based ban on protected expression.

Petitioners offer no persuasive reason for the Court to review this ruling. There is no split of
[past decisions] on the questions presented. To the contrary, the lower courts are unanimous as to the constitutionality of bans on distribution of violent video games. That is unsurprising...

California was not the first state to try to restrict distribution of video games it considered too violent for minors. Such laws have proved politically popular, but every one has been struck down under the First Amendment...

Smith and his fellow attorney also dig into California's assertion that children should be legally shielded from violent video games as they are from obscenity. California's causation arguments, which attempt to link violent video games to violent behavior, are also taken to task.

DOCUMENT DUMP: Grab a copy of the game industry brief here (41-page PDF)...

24 comments

GU Comics Has Fun with California Supreme Court Appeal

May 22, 2009 -

This week's announcement that California would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of its 2005 violent video game law did not escape the notice of Woody Hearn, who draws GU Comics.

At left is Hearn's rendition of California State Senator Leland Yee (D), the driving force behind the contested legislation. There's also mention of a mysterious man named "Jack." Who could that be?

Click here to view the full comic.

10 comments

Read California's Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court

May 20, 2009 -

California's petition to the United States Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari in regard to its 2005 video game law is now available online.

The petition asks the Court to consider two key questions:

1. Does the First Amendment bar a state from restricting the sale of violent video games to minors?

2. If the First Amendment applies to violent video games that are sold to minors, and the standard of review is strict scrutiny, under Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. v. F.C.C., 512 U.S. 622, 666 (1994), is the state required to demonstrate a direct causal link between violent video games and physical and psychological harm to minors before the state can prohibit the sale of the games to minors?

Grab your copy here (PDF).

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Matthew Wilsonit is a game worth playing if you have a pc/360/ps304/20/2014 - 9:34pm
MaskedPixelantehttps://twitter.com/IGLevine/status/457552538343325696 The Lutece Twins show up in some of the most unlikely of places.04/20/2014 - 2:44pm
Andrew EisenAs it happens, Chinatown Wars is the only GTA game I've played.04/19/2014 - 10:43am
Papa MidnightWith GTA5 (to date) failing to even provide indication of a PC release, I'm realising that this might be the first GTA game that I have not played (outside of Chinatown Wars) since the series inception.04/19/2014 - 8:14am
IanCSo im guessing a bunch of edutainment games, which a lot of people elsewhere are going gaga over, dot count as classics? Okay. If you don't mind me, i have a sudden urge to play Putt Putt....04/19/2014 - 6:15am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/18/playstation-99-cent-sale-discounts-tokyo-jungle-super-stardust/ Weekend long PSN flash sale. So much stuff is 99 cents for the rest of the weekend.04/18/2014 - 5:59pm
Adam802http://www.polygon.com/2014/4/18/5627928/newtown-video-game-addiction-forum04/18/2014 - 4:14pm
Matthew Wilsonit is a video talking about why certain games/products/consoles do well, and others do not. he back it up with solid research.04/18/2014 - 3:56pm
Andrew EisenI'm not keen on blind links. What is it?04/18/2014 - 3:45pm
Matthew Wilsonthis is worth a whatch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyXcr6sDRtw&list=PL35FE5C4B157509C904/18/2014 - 3:43pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 3: Night Dive was brought to the attention of the public by a massive game recovery, and yet most of their released catalogue consists of games that other people did the hard work of getting re-released.04/17/2014 - 8:46pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 2: If Humongous Entertainment wanted their stuff on Steam, why didn't they talk to their parent company, which does have a number of games published on Steam?04/17/2014 - 8:45pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 1: When Night Dive spent the better part of a year teasing the return of true classics, having their big content dump be edutainment is kind of a kick in the stomach.04/17/2014 - 8:44pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.giantbomb.com/articles/jeff-gerstmann-heads-to-new-york-takes-questions/1100-4900/ He talks about the future games press and the games industry. It is worth your time even though it is a bit long, and stay for the QA. There are some good QA04/17/2014 - 5:28pm
IanCErm so they shouldn't sell edutainment at all? Why?04/17/2014 - 4:42pm
MaskedPixelanteNot that linkable, go onto Steam and there's stuff like Pajama Sam on the front-page, courtesy of Night Dive.04/17/2014 - 4:13pm
Andrew EisenOkay, again, please, please, PLEASE get in a habit of linking to whatever you're talking about.04/17/2014 - 4:05pm
MaskedPixelanteAnother round of Night Dive teasing and promising turns out to be stupid edutainment games. Thanks for wasting all our time, guys. See you never.04/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the consequences were not only foreseeable, but very likely. anyone who understood supply demand curvs knew that was going to happen. SF has been a econ/trade hub for the last hundred years.04/17/2014 - 2:45pm
Andrew EisenMixedPixelante - Would you like to expand on that?04/17/2014 - 2:43pm
 

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