California instituted a Violent game law in 2005 which states that minors should not be sold any video games that were deemed to be overly violent or which had what they considered to be adult content. This law was fought vigorously by those in the gaming community because it was deemed to be a violation of the First Amendment. Later that same year, this law was blocked by the United States District Court. The drama over this law has not gone away quietly into the night and there is more news regarding it. The controversy is heating up in the gaming industry and there have been many cries of foul from it.
The United States Supreme Court is hearing the case in early November to the surprise of many in the gaming industry. The creators of Call of Duty: Black Ops and other titles, which are extremely violent video games, Activision Blizzard is helping with the fight against this law. They have prepared a statement that is supporting the overall gaming industry and their right to provide games of all age levels to the general public. They were not involved when the initial law was put into place but have since joined in the cause.
Joining the video game industry are ten legislators from around the country who are in fear of a loss of freedom of speech. The Entertainment Software Association has also filed a brief with the Entertainment Merchants Association. There are seventy eight pages of reasons why the California law is a breach of the First Amendment. It questions the right of a state to make these types of judgment calls for the good of their state. It also claims that lower courts around the country and in California have agreed that video gaming is not harmful to children and that there is no evidence to prove that it does. Supporters of this theory believe that games are for entertainment purposes only, are meant to be pretend or imaginary and that any one of sound mind will realize this.
The problem with the law is that it should not be up to the government to decide what video games are appropriate for the children in anyone’s household. This is a matter best left to parents of children and for adults to make on their own about what they feel is appropriate. There were previous cases decades ago when music was facing this same censorship. Musicians around the country banned together with legislators to keep the government from censoring the music industry. This fight led to the explicit lyrics labels that are found on covers that we have become so used to seeing today.
Cnet.com Free Speech Is Violated by Violent Game Laws
NextGen.biz Esa Joins Submits a Brief