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back to article Supremes poke Schwarzenegger's 'violent' game ban

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday in a case that pits Arnold Schwarzenegger and California lawmakers against what they call violent video games. In essence, the Supremes will decide whether to remove First Amendment protection from games that California lawmakers deem inappropriate for children. In 2005, …

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huh

"themes involving violence often possess socially redeeming value"

Gotta love Americans politicos... they say things like this with a straight face; then throw a wobbler over a fraction of a seconds worth of ugly nipple during a their favourite 'fake violence power sport'.

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Crazier than I thought

"killing ... an image of a human being"? That's their definition of "ultra violent?" So they've banned DIG-DUG.

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Can't be

That can't be a full quote... unless. Are Califuckinya legislators so ignorant as to believe it's possible to kill etc. an image of anything? Here I thought the kids who were supposed to have a problem telling the difference. Then again a four year old might be more mentally developed than most pols.

That said, I can't wait to see the gang bangers going to be saying stupid things like, "daaaamn, jyuo see dat hit? He messed 'at image up!" and "no offisa' dis here is just a image of my boy beatin' the livin' crap outa dat udda image dere."

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Err...

Surely they have a similar law for films in cinemas, DVD rental etc? What's the problem with adding other media to this? (Accepting that there's a responsible ratings system.)

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Actually, no

There are ratings systems for music and movies, but my understanding is that they are voluntary. The vast majority of stores and theatres follow them, but there's no law that says they have to.

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Title

"Surely they have a similar law for films in cinemas, DVD rental etc?"

Nope.

In fact, the MPAA has vigorously resisted attempts by municipalities to pass laws based on MPAA ratings of movies or DVDs.

There are quite a few reasons for this. First of all, the MPAA is a private corporation. If a law is based on MPAA ratings, then essentially what you've just done is you've written the standards and classifications decided arbitrarily by a corporate entity not accountable to the judicial system into law. Generally speaking, we consider that a bad thing to do. If legislators use MPAA ratings systems to determine what is or is not legal, then the control over determining matters of law has passed from the legislative branch of government directly to a private company.

Second, it raises a thorny issue of what to do about movies that aren't rated. If the law regulates the sale of movies with a certain rating, then does it implicitly require all movies to be rated? If I shoot a film with my camcorder and sell copies of it from my Web site, do I need to submit it to the MPAA?

How will I pay for that? The process isn't free; movie ratings boards have to eat, too. It can cost up to $25,000 to have a movie rated by the MPAA--pocket change for a studio but a significant hurdle for an indie filmmaker.

The MPAA rating system is voluntary, and businesses voluntarily choose to comply with it. When you see things like "children under 17 not admitted without parent", that isn't a law, it's a voluntary guideline.

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@franklin

I didn't know that, interesting... The way things work in the UK is that there is a government organisation (or maybe a QUANGO) who rate all films and, I think, videogames also. We have various age restricted ratings up to 18, and a special rating r18 (restricted 18) for hardcore porn etc. The r18 can only be sold in a specially licensed shop. The ratings are covered by law and you can't sell to anyone below the age of the rating or admit anyone to a cinema under the age rating for the film being shown. I presumed that this was the same in other countries who also have ratings.

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Extract from Hustler Magazine V's Falwell Supreme Court Decision.

"The fact that society may find speech offensive is not a sufficient reason for suppressing it. Indeed, if it is the speaker's opinion that gives offense, that consequence is a reason for according it constitutional protection. For it is a central tenet of the First Amendment that the government must remain neutral in the marketplace of ideas."

When you're up against a court that makes decisions like this then you'd better have stronger evidence than some vague and unquantifiable notion of deviance in violent video games.

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and yet

Every time they try to pass this law , the courts reject it . They have tried in 10 other states and failed in 10 states.

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WTF?

This from somebody with Arnold's bodycount

Bizarre.

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Damn

Bet me to it

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This post has been deleted by its author

Anyone for a game of ...

hangman?

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Bad Arnie, go back to fighting Predators

Games that made it:

Space Invaders

Games that didn't:

Hangman (as pointed out)

Anything Good

Seems comical how if Arnie films were made into games, they would be restricted by his own proposed laws.

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Ummm....

Said games are generally aimed at adults and NOT children. When are people going to realise that a lot of these games are aimed the [now] mature audience of game players?

Just because it's a computer game does not mean it's for kids. The word game is not synonymous with "for children".

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Grenade

Parents

As stated despite the fact that the game is aimed at a more mature market it's down to the parents to decide what's suitable for the kids to play. I have no problem with my 12 year old daughter playing CoD or MoH, she's more than capable of realising that however graphic the depiction it's just a game and unlike some americans I'm more than confident that she will not be going on a killing spree in the town centre as a result of playing as a WW2 sniper.

Resident Evil 5: It's not a game, it's survival training ready for the zombie apocalypse.

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I hear he's pretty down on shteroids now as well

Remind me, if consequent harm isn't a consideration in upholding the Holy Free Speech, then there's no law against me shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theatre, or inciting a mob to lynch gay/black/Chinese/Welsh individuals, or even (to get really extreme) offending the feelings of an Important Person by protesting nearby rather than from inside a Free Speech Cage 2 miles down the road?

The USA has a proud tradition of upholding free speech as an *absolute*, right?

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Not when you step on another's toes.

The right of free speech isn't absolute. Indeed, no rights are absolute because people's rights can intersect and clash. The general litmus test for limiting rights is this: one's rights end where another's begin. That's why "Fire in a crowded theater" is prohibited: deliberate inciting of mayhem that denies others the ability to live their own lives peacefully. Now, spouting hateful speech and such is protected since it doesn't in and of itself induce mayhem (people can be disgusted, but they generally turn away of their own accord, not out of panic). But restricting sales of games by law can restrict a young but mature person's ability to play their favorite game. It's also why pornography (as strict as we have it) still has its allowances (keep it clean and keep it away form the kids is generally all they ask).

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Anonymous Coward

financial contract

From what I remember of previous court cases, a minor cannot enter into a financial contract without the legal guardian approving. So... the parent can take the game back and demand their money back. There was a case where a kid sold a very rare and expensive baseball card to in sleazy store owner for far less than it was worth. The parents sued and got it back because the child couldn't legally sell it without their permission. I'm sure the reverse would be true.

My aunt used to take games her kids bought back to the stores. They had to give a refund and after a few times, my cousins weren't allowed to buy them without her present.

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So much for -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_%28game%29

What is that if it isn't a game of dismembering a human being?

Also, those Lego People that hideously split apart into separate plastic pieces - head, torso, legs.

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