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,
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,
The United States Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the video game industry and retailers in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association (formerly known as Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association). The full opinion can be found here. According to Justice Scalia, who wrote the opinion: "the act forbidding sale or rental of violent games to minors does not comport with the 1st Amendment." Alito concurred with the judgment, joined by the Chief Justice. Justices Thomas and Breyer dissent, in an opinion by Thomas - according to SCOTUSBlog.
The court had to decide if a state law restricting the sale of violent video games to minors violated the First Amendment right to free speech. The Ninth Circuit Court ruled in favor of the EMA, saying that the law violated the First Amendment.
The lead counsel for the video game industry in the upcoming Supreme Court fight against California’s proposed violent video game restrictions outlined the problems with the state’s legal arguments in a recent public appearance.
Speaking at an intellectual property forum at Chicago-Kent University last week, Jenner and Block LLP Partner Paul M. Smith said that no matter how a state defines "extreme" violence in such laws, they will run into constitutional problems with vagueness.
"I've litigated nine cases in a row where states have tried to define the category nine different ways – and they always lose when they make this case because violence is considered a perfectly appropriate and normal part of what we give our kids to see starting from a very young age," he said.
Broadcasting Cable reports that the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned a Second Circuit ruling on a First Sale Doctrine case that could expand its protections beyond U.S. borders. The court ruled that the Second Circuit court erred when it ruled that First Sale Doctrine did not apply to work legally made abroad and imported into the United States.
Former Entertainment Software Association (ESA) senior vice present and general counsel Kenneth Doroshow has joined the law firm of Jenner & Block as a partner. Jenner & Block is a law firm that specializes in media and entertainment and is located in Washington D.C.
Doroshow and Jenner & Block partner Paul Smith led the legal team that won the Supreme Court Case Brown v. EMA. The court ultimately struck down the California law authored by California State Senator Leland Yee (D- San Francisco).
In the old days, Supreme Court Justices had very little information to turn to outside of legal briefs presented by combatants and case law when making a ruling, but a new study by William & Mary law professor Allison Orr Larsen finds that justice are increasingly turning to information on the Internet to shore up their opinions. According to research from Larsen, there were more than 100 instances where justices used information on the Internet in their opinions.
The First Sale Doctrine has been an important part of copyright law for well over a hundred years now and an important part of the gaming culture for the last 30 years or so. Unfortunately, these last few decades have also seen a lot of effort to erode what protections consumers have to resale their property without the permission of the copyright owner. Once again, the Supreme court is poised to rule on how far the protections the First Sale Doctrine go when it comes to copyright.
Last week the Supreme Court told the Federal Appeals Court that it needs to reconsider its ruling in WildTangent, Inc. v. Ultra- mercial, a patent infringement battle that relates to seeing paid advertisements before viewing or using copyrighted material online. Business leaders like Google and Verizon have sided with WildTangent on this one, as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The tech industry is also watching this case very carefully because it could signal an end to patents with weak definitions or general software ideas or techniques being awarded easily.
The nonprofit started by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has launched an online game to teach children about their local government. O'Connor is spending her time in retirement pushing the idea that children and Americans in general need to learn more about their state, local, and federal governments. The game is called Counties Work, and was put together by O'Connor's group iCivics and the National Association of Counties.
The Supreme Court will hear a case related to the First Sale Doctrine. The court decided Monday that it would hear arguments in its next term related to a case that will test the reach of U.S. copyright law outside of the United States. The Federal circuit courts of appeal are split on the issue. The case is Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons (docket 11-697).
The other day we showed you an Infographic the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) made concerning the harm that the current patent system in the United States. Today we'll tell you what the advocacy group is doing about it on the legal front.
GamePolitics is going dark today in observance of Thanksgiving and boy howdy do gamers like us have oodles to be thankful for this year. Fall 2011 is jam-packed with more awesome video games than most will ever have the time (or money) to play. See the bottom of Leland Yee’s recent “Don’t buy these video games” press release to parents for a few good suggestions.
In an exclusive interview with Verizon Foundation's Thinkfinity Education Speaker Series, retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor urged educators in the United States to do their part to enliven civics education and engage students in the democratic process.
"You have to study [civics] and be taught how our system of government works," Justice O’Connor said. "And you have to be shown how each individual can be part of it and can make things work.”
It looks like the State of California and the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) have not quite completed their courtroom business together, but the rest of their battle will take place in a lower court.
The Supreme Court of the United States chose not to make a ruling on the EMA’s request that the court award it $1.4 million in attorney’s fees and expenses related to Brown v. EMA (08-1448). Instead, the court sent it back to the Ninth Circuit Court for adjudication.
You may think the unprecedented and massive security breach that took down multiple Sony services including Sony Online entertainment and PlayStation Network is what pushed Sony to make the changes it did recently to the PSN Terms of Service, but a CNN report points to another reason: The Supreme Court. Last week Sony changed the document for PlayStation Network asking customers to give up their rights to file class-action lawsuits against the company and its partners.
Metro weekly profiles Paul Smith, one of the leading Supreme Court litigators in the country, and particularly his noteworthy work on Brown v. EMA. But before tackling that landmark case, Smith has (and still does) fought to advance gay equality in the courts. Smith was a key factor in successfully arguing Lawrence v. Texas before the Supreme Court in 2003, which resulted in ending sodomy laws.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan recently attended the Aspen Institute’s McCloskey Speaker Series, in Aspen Colorado. During a conversation with moderator Elliot Gerson, Kagan reflected on her experiences as a new Justice, the misconception that Justices don't like each other and the case she found the most difficult to rule on during this term. It turns out that the case she is referring to as most difficult was Brown v. EMA, commonly referred to as the California Violent Video Game Law."
Mark Methenitis finally delivers a Law of the Game column over on Joystiq that tackles the Brown v. EMA Supreme Court decision. First he apologizes for the delay, then jumps right into the important take-aways that impact the industry and the public.
In a July 1 opinion piece in First Things, Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput wrote that the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on the California video game violence law (Brown v. EMA) is "wrong," and will add "poison" the country's future.
Chaput also wrote that the court's ruling "extends and elevates the individual’s right to free expression – or in this case, a corporation’s right to make a healthy profit - at the expense of family sovereignty, the natural rights of parents and the intent of the Constitution’s authors."
Chaput went on to write that the ruling overlooked the government's duty to protect "human dignity and the common good."
"A law which respects mothers and fathers trying to make good choices for their family does just that," he wrote.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart takes a few jabs at the Supreme Court's ruling on Brown v. EMA. At first glance it seems like Stewart goes hard after videogames, using several admittedly gratuitous video clips from the new Mortal Kombat game. As the first scene unfolds on the monitor Stewart feigns holding back on vomiting and screams, during the second scene he makes a joke about the female character having a wardrobe malfunction. In between he throws a joke in about Super Mario Boners (a Photoshop of a Super Mario Galaxy cover with a huge fleshy erection).
Stewart's point is one that many are making this week; that sex is even taboo at the Supreme Court and that sexual imagery continues not to be treated on the same footing as depictions of gratuitous violence.
Point taken and noted.
The Video Game Bar Association issued a statement Monday welcoming the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Brown v EMA. The Video Game Bar Association was formed in 2011 to provide a community for lawyers working in the video game industry to discuss issues of common interest to all lawyers around the world. It is the very first bar association dedicated to the industry and draws members from around the world.
"The Court’s decision reaffirms that it is parents who can best decide what is appropriate content for their children," said David S. Rosenbaum, president of the VGBA. He added that the Supreme Court ruling "puts to rest the notion that video games are entitled to less First Amendment protection than books, newspapers, films and music and other entertainment speech."
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press issued a statement praising the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling Monday that declared a California law restricting the sale or rental of violent video games to minors was an unconstitutional limit on freedom of speech.
"Time and again, from the early days of radio and television, to 10-cent comic books and now to video games, lawmakers have tried to limit speech for what they believe to be the public good. And each time, they have lost because the First Amendment will not tolerate such wholesale limitations on expression merely because someone has created a new mode of communication," said Reporters Committee Executive Director Lucy A. Dalglish.
"The majority decision ensures that violent content in any medium, including content produced by news outlets, will not come under the same censorship."
California Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto, CA) has unsuccessfully sought controls on violent videogames in the past, so it should come as no surprise that he is "disappointed" and shocked at the Supreme Court Decision to uphold the Ninth Circuit Court ruling on Brown v. EMA.
"I am disappointed the multi-billion dollar video game industry will continue to go unchecked in its ability to profit from selling heinous depictions of violence and sex to minors," Baca wrote in a statement issued Monday.
"Unfortunately, the industry is still not doing enough to provide parents with accurate information regarding the content of many games," Baca said, ignoring the ESRB and the latest Federal Trade Commission report that said that the videogame industry had the best record when it came to keeping mature rated content out of the hands of children.
As you can probably guess even before you read the official statement from Common Sense Media, they are not pleased with the Supreme Court's ruling on Brown v. EMA today. The children’s advocacy group said in its reaction statement to the decision that they were disappointed and felt that parents had been let down by the court.
But the Supreme Court isn't congress or the president of the United States; in other words they should really only concern themselves with their area expertise - the law as it relates to our constitution. Nevertheless the group that is squarely against the videogame industry voiced its strong opinion that the court erred in its decision. Below is the full statement from Common Sense Media CEO James Steyer:
While Leland Yee maybe disappointed with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision on Brown v. EMA, he says that he isn't done with the fight against violent videogames, according to multiple reports. One story from ABC station KGO and another from newspaper The San Francisco Appeal report says that Yee was heartened by the dissenting opinions of Thomas and Breyer, and that comments from Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito have left the door open for future legislation.
"Even with the existing court, there may be, if we craft the bill differently, there may be a basis for trying to get another hearing within the Supreme Court on this critical matter," Yee said.
Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) president Patricia Vance issued a statement today praising the Supreme Court's decision on the California violent videogames law and said that it is a validation of the ESRB ratings system's effectiveness in keeping mature-rated games out of the hands of children. She goes on to say that the power to keep games out of the hands of children has always been in the hands of parents when they use the tools that are already available - coupled with retailer enforcement of the ESRB system. Full statement below:
Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello tells IndustryGamers that today's decision from the Supreme Court on California's violent videogame law is a win for everyone. Last year Riccitiello expressed concern that publishers would be forced to ship different versions of the same title if new rules were implemented in California and other states. He feared state level bureaucracies that define what’s marketable in each state. Today's ruling makes that less likely to happen.
"Everybody wins on this decision – the Court has affirmed the Constitutional rights of game developers; adults keep the right to decide what’s appropriate in their houses; and store owners can sell games without fear of criminal prosecution," Riccitiello told IndustryGamers in a statement today.
California State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) issued a statement expressing his disappointment that the Supreme Court of the United States struck down California’s violent videogame law (Brown v. EMA), upholding a previous ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that the law was unconstitutional.
Yee points out in his statement that while the decision was 7-2, only five agreed with the lower court's decision, two dissented completely, and two other Justices left the door open for a law that had a narrower focus on videogames. Justices Roberts and Alito said that a law could be more narrowly tailored and Justices Breyer and Thomas believed that California’s law was perfectly acceptable.
While we wait for California State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) to issue a full statement via a press conference, PC Magazine manages to get the following quote from the man responsible for writing the law that the U.S. Supreme Court today ruled as unconstitutional.
California State Sen. Leland Yee said that today's ruling by the Supreme Court "put the interests of corporate America" before the interests of children.
"As a result of their decision, Wal-Mart and the video game industry will continue to make billions of dollars at the expense of our kids' mental health and the safety of our community," Yee said. "It is simply wrong that the video game industry can be allowed to put their profit margins over the rights of parents and the well-being of children."