US Supreme Court Strikes Down Violent Video Game Ban

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the video game industry, saying states cannot ban the sale or rental of violent games to children because doing so would violate free speech rights.

In its 7-2 decision Monday, the justices struck down a 2005 California law covering games sold or rented to those under age 18. The law, which has never taken effect, defines a violent video game as one that depicts “killing, maiming, dismembering or sexually assaulting an image of a human being.”

In writing for the majority, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that even where the protection of children is the object, the constitutional limits on governmental action apply.

One of the dissenting judges, Stephen Breyer, said it makes no sense to legally block children’s access to pornography yet allow them to buy or rent violent video games.

The Parents Television Council denounced the court’s decision, saying in a statement that retailers can now openly and brazenly sell games with unspeakable violence and adult content even to the youngest of children.

The Entertainment Software Association welcomed the decision. The ESA issued a statement describing the ruling as a historic and complete win for the First Amendment and the creative freedom of artists and storytellers everywhere.

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Posted in Human Rights
One comment on “US Supreme Court Strikes Down Violent Video Game Ban
  1. NMC says:

    I read this yesterday and I think is a good thing as government and parenting agencies need to stay out of the video game industry. As a gamer myself, I will regulate from my home what is and isn’t appropriate for my youngster. Gamestop for one has a fairly liberal return policy on games and it is imperative for the parent to decide, not the state. Kudos on this one for the anti-censorship guys.

    The article I read went further to show at least three other things Judge Scalia ruled on and these are:

    • Voted 5-4 to strike down a provision of a campaign financing system in Arizona that gives extra cash to publicly funded candidates who face privately funded rivals and independent groups.

    • Agreed to hear arguments in the fall or winter on whether police need a warrant before using a global positioning system device to track a suspect’s movements.

    • Refused to hear an appeal from former detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq who wanted to sue defense contractors over claims of abuse.

    Rick @ NMC

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