California game ban getting a second look.
by Jim Reilly
April 26, 2010 - The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review a federal court decision to throw out a proposed law that would prohibit the sale or rental of violent videogames to anyone under the age of 18 in the state of California.
The law, which was signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005, opposed the sale of violent games to minors and could fine retailers up to $1,000 for each violation. A federal appeals court previously blocked the law, deeming it unconstitutional, before it could take effect.
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), a U.S. trade group representing videogame publishers and developers, says it's confident the court will dismiss the law.
"Courts throughout the country have ruled consistently that content-based regulation of computer and video games is unconstitutional," said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the ESA. "Research shows that the public agrees, video games should be provided the same protections as books, movies and music."
"We are hopeful that the Court will reject California's invitation to break from these settled principles by treating depictions of violence, especially those in creative works, as unprotected by the First Amendment."
Offering a different view, San Francisco democratic state senator Leland Yee, who originally wrote and proposed the bill, said he is thankful for the court accepting the case.
"I am very pleased that the Supreme Court has accepted our case to help protect children from the harmful effects of excessively violent, interactive video games," Yee said in a statement. "The Supreme Court has never heard a case dealing with violent video games. I am hopeful that the high court will determine our law to be Constitutional, but regardless, states are now certain to receive direction on how to proceed with this important issue."
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a statement earlier today saying the court's decision to review the law is important for protecting children.
"We have a responsibility to our kids and our communities to protect against the effects of games that depict ultra-violent actions, just as we already do with movies," Schwarzenegger said.
"I am pleased the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to take up this issue, and I look forward to a decision upholding this important law that gives parents more tools to protect their children, including the opportunity to determine what video games are appropriate."
The case will be decided in the court's next term, which begins this October.