Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States finally passed their ruling on the video game case, Brown vs. EMA. This ruling was a long time coming, clocking at 7 months. What came as no surprise was that the ruling was in favor of the video game industry on the grounds that the California restrictions on the sale of violent video games to minors was a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech.
I am glad that this ruling came out this way. I am also glad that they ruled the California law was a violation of free speech rather than ruling against it on grounds of “vagueness.” The ruling ended up being 7 against the law and 2 for it. The ruling itself comes in 4 parts. The first part is the majority opinion. This is the actual ruling and what has become the law of the land. This was written by Justice Scalia and was joined by 4 other justices. The second part is a concurring opinion written by Justice Alito and Chief Justice Roberts in which they agree that the law should be struck down, but on a different reason than the majority. While the majority ruled the law unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds, Alito and Roberts feel the law is justifiable but needed to be struck down on vagueness grounds.
The third and fourth parts are dissenting opinions from Justices Thomas and Breyer, respectively. I will be focusing on the concurring and dissenting opinions in another post.
I want to focus on some of the key points I liked in the majority opinion. (more…)
Support the ECA's Gamer Petition
Recently, the Supreme Court of the United States took up a case from California. This Case involves a law that was passed in 2005 that would regulate the sale of violent video games to minors. The video game industry, represented by the ESA, has challenged this law in federal court. Twice it has been ruled unconstitutional. It is now up to the Supreme Court to decide once and for all.
The Entertainment Consumers Association has issued a petition that they want all people who play games to sign. This petition puts to voice of the people behind the defense of the game industry from this law. I have already put my name on it and I think you should as well.
Here are my thoughts on why. (more…)
The Supreme Court of the United States recently decided to review the California Law that would regulate the sale of video games to minors. There is a 10 court precedent that is in favor of the video game industry which means that the Supreme Court would most likely rule in favor of the video game industry as well.
But if they do, will that be the end of all such legislation? My answer is no. I base this off of what has happened in Oklahoma. (more…)
Throughout the games industry there is a big debate on the legality of Mod Chips, those nifty little circuit boards and cartridges that allow for people to do things with video game consoles that the manufacturers did not intend. We all know what they are capable of doing, pirating games being the most hotly debated. What we may not realize is that they have a lot in common with another device that has become a home staple, the VCR.
Back in the 70s, Sony introduced their entry in the home video cassette format war, Betamax. Betamax, much like VHS, allowed for the recording and playback of television broadcasts. Some companies in the entertainment business were not happy as they felt that the ability for home viewers to record shows and movies and play them back at later times constituted copyright infringement and that Sony should be held liable for providing the tools that made it so easy.
So what did these entertainment companies do? They sued Sony. This case went all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States and became known as Sony Corporation of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc. (http://supreme.justia.com/us/464/417/case.htm) (more…)