Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Videogames

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I wasn't really expecting it to pass anyway, the whole thing was pretty ridiculous, I'm pretty sure parents are the ones that should be responsible.

gnomebard:

thePyro_13:
Why even bother having a rating system?
Why isn't porn free speech as well, by the sounds of this article, all media should be?

I love my games, but I think it should still be regulated properly. The ratings should be enforced, rather than being half-hearted guidelines. This is just going to worsen the reputation of games as parents see their younger children bring home games which are wholly unsuitable for them to possess.

Games would never be "Banned" but the rating system should be in control of the government and retailers should be legally obliged to uphold them.

The thing is that the system in place now (as mentioned in the case if you care to read it in full)is 80% effective. Compare that to the LAW governing alcohol sales to the underaged at 82% effective. Having government oversight would only give about a (perhaps) 5% increase in success.

Like it or not the ESRB is one of the most effective rating systems in the United States. And also note that movie ratings are not government enforced either. It's simply that retailers and distributors have set up a system that helps avoid lawsuits from parents who misguidedly buy a game/movie or let their kids buy a game/movie that's too "obscene" for their kids (in their view).

If kids bring home some "M" rated games (that most game store employees would card them for if they look younger than 17) and the parents don't like it, they should take it upon themselves to take the games away.

Had this law passed then any game with "deviant violence against a human image" (the definition of a human image was very broad) would have to be bought by somebody 18+. Which I'll note would include every final fantasy game ever made, super smash brothers games, metroid games, world of warcraft, the entire lego series and many more games that have a rating of "E" or often lower.

What I've just said is nothing new, if you care to read the first 3 pages of this comments section you'll see other similar posts (often with better examples) about this subject.

I see. I assumed the US had a system like Australia(although with an 18+ rating) where violent games like FF would be classed as 15+ and more obscene games would be adult only. And that this issue was about whether to actually enforce these by law as or leave them as a recommendation enacted on at the whim of the industry.

I suppose that's what I get for assuming the goal of the legislation was logical and relevant based on other systems currently in place. :S

Though I completely disagree with the summary the escapist used: "Prohibiting sale of "violent games" to minors is unconstitutional." As I find that to be insane.

Is it unconstitutional then for parents to ban their children from playing violent videogames?

I dont think there is a need for a celebration. its only logical that this would be the decision and thinking otherwise would be insane. Then again Rockstar did get penalized because someone made a mod, so USA law sometimes is insane.

Hawk eye1466:

Lawz:
Ok, I'm from the UK where we have the BBFC rating system and most violent games can only be brought by people over 18, and I'm now really confused as to how it works in the US.

So it's not illegal for retailers to sell R rated games to anyone, but they have the choice to refuse the sale, right? So instead of your elected government being in control (by proxy, whatever) of what content children can access, some random at Gamestop is? Sounds pretty odd to me.

Right retaliers can sell M rated games but store and company policy say the kid either has to be old enough or have an adult there to approve the sale the law california was trying to pass would make it illegal to sell them to minors while this doesnt sound that bad what would happen is if a kid made a fake id or someone just made a mistake the store would have to pay a fine for selling to underage kids so most stores would stop selling m rated games just to eliminate all chances of being fined and game companies would either have to stop making m rated games or just go out of business.

That's what I dno't get. Over here it is illegal, and stores get fined for selling games to underage kids. It doesn't stop them selling them, it just puts pressure on the store to make sure they are not selling to underage kids. If a parent is ok with their kid playing the game, they can buy it for them, no problems.

It still doesn't make sense to me that the rating are controlled by common consent, rather then a dedicated group of people directly accountable to government, but I do understand that this particular law seems to have been poorly drawn up and I'm happy that it was thrown out.

You know, if it weren't for the fact that the only reason this was ruled the way it was is so that big corporations can make their money no matter who it hurts I would be pretty happy with this.

we fought the law and we won!

666Chaos:

Jordi:
So, does this mean that a 10-year-old can now go out and buy Duke Nukem or any other R rated game?

It will be the same as it always was. That 10 year old can go out and try and buy the game and it is entirely up to the retailer if they want to sell it to them or not. In all likelyhood if the child went to gamestop he would be denied but if he went anywhere else he would be able to buy the game.

This is good.. why?

Baneat:

666Chaos:

Jordi:
So, does this mean that a 10-year-old can now go out and buy Duke Nukem or any other R rated game?

It will be the same as it always was. That 10 year old can go out and try and buy the game and it is entirely up to the retailer if they want to sell it to them or not. In all likelyhood if the child went to gamestop he would be denied but if he went anywhere else he would be able to buy the game.

This is good.. why?

Oh no its definatly not good. The law they were trying to inact was in reality extremely poorly written and far to vague on many points so its a good thing that that perticular law was thrown out but something should probably be done.

I dont live in the US so that may be why but I just dont understand the point of these self regulating systems, especially when they dont work all that well.

666Chaos:

Baneat:

666Chaos:

It will be the same as it always was. That 10 year old can go out and try and buy the game and it is entirely up to the retailer if they want to sell it to them or not. In all likelyhood if the child went to gamestop he would be denied but if he went anywhere else he would be able to buy the game.

This is good.. why?

Oh no its definatly not good. The law they were trying to inact was in reality extremely poorly written and far to vague on many points so its a good thing that that perticular law was thrown out but something should probably be done.

I dont live in the US so that may be why but I just dont understand the point of these self regulating systems, especially when they dont work all that well.

Replaced a shitty law with a less shitty law, but still shitty.

Yay!

rossatdi:
Is it unconstitutional then for parents to ban their children from playing violent videogames?

No.

Lawz:

It still doesn't make sense to me that the rating are controlled by common consent, rather then a dedicated group of people directly accountable to government, but I do understand that this particular law seems to have been poorly drawn up and I'm happy that it was thrown out.

I understand, as an American it doesn't make sense to me that the government would be involved in rating movies or video games.

Marc Gibson:

rossatdi:
Is it unconstitutional then for parents to ban their children from playing violent videogames?

No.

Why not? If the Supreme Court says that there can't be an age limit on game retail that assumes children of any age have the right to own and therefore play any game they want.

rossatdi:

Why not? If the Supreme Court says that there can't be an age limit on game retail that assumes children of any age have the right to own and therefore play any game they want.

I think you're a little confused about what the Supreme Court does in the United States. That's not a dig at you. I'm not up on British, Australian or German jurisprudence myself given that I'm not really affected one way or the other by the court systems of those countries. What the Supreme Court did was rule that a particular law was unconstitutional. It doesn't preclude retailers from refusing to sell certain games to minors nor does it stop parents from keeping their children from playing certain games, watching certain movies or even reading certain books. In this particular case, it just prevents the government from taking an action that violates the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Amendment I:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It's more about restricting what the government can do rather than what private citizens can do. A principal of a public school in the United States cannot require his students to pray before eating lunch as it would violate the establishment of religion clause in Amendment I. However, he could certainly require his own children at home to pray before meals without violating the Constitution.

I cant help feeling like everyone is going a bit overboard in celebrating this. I mean people are acting like Lincoln just declared the slaves free. Its a victory but lets have some perspective.

Also, does that mean someone can make a porn game and sell it to minors without any restrictions?

manly tears of joy are shed today

Marc Gibson:

Why not? If the Supreme Court says that there can't be an age limit on game retail that assumes children of any age have the right to own and therefore play any game they want.

I think you're a little confused about what the Supreme Court does in the United States. That's not a dig at you. I'm not up on British, Australian or German jurisprudence myself given that I'm not really affected one way or the other by the court systems of those countries. What the Supreme Court did was rule that a particular law was unconstitutional. It doesn't preclude retailers from refusing to sell certain games to minors nor does it stop parents from keeping their children from playing certain games, watching certain movies or even reading certain books. In this particular case, it just prevents the government from taking an action that violates the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

[/quote]

Well having studied US politics whilst living in the US for several years as well as writing my master dissertation on an element of US politics I don't feel too unqualified.

What the Supreme Court did was establish precedence for the 1st Amendment to apply to minors in the case of violent media. Yes, this is what happened to cinema regulation (technically its self-regulated/optional in the US but most cinemas use the system). I support age regulation for violent media on the condition of hitting age of legal consent (whatever that is regionally) you have full legal privilege to the have access to unlimited depths of filth.

Age classification in the UK is legally established and it hasn't lead to vast censorship of what we can view, it just makes sense to stop adult material reaching minors - and legally enforcing that is fine.

I see a lot of people writing "_________ next please!"

And then there is me, i live in a country that dosen't have any real regulations on games.
A country where politicians dosen't bash on them for votes, i don't think i've ever heard anything about games in the news.

So it's quite funny to see the contrast on the attention games get here, and everywhere else, i'm wondering why politicians dosen't care about games here...

Anyways, YAY I LIVE IN A COUNTRY THAT DOESN'T BASH, AND NEVER HAS BASHED ON GAMES!! :D:D:D:D:D

rossatdi:

Well having studied US politics whilst living in the US for several years as well as writing my master dissertation on an element of US politics I don't feel too unqualified.

Then color me confused. Why would you ask if this ruling made it unconstitutional for parents to prevent their children from playing certain video games?

I support age regulation for violent media on the condition of hitting age of legal consent (whatever that is regionally) you have full legal privilege to the have access to unlimited depths of filth.

I know we're focused on the violence aspect of games but the court took a broader look at the issue. Scalia said that the government can have laws to protect children but that these laws "[do]not include a free-floating power to restrict the ideas to which children may be exposed." For the court, it isn't just about violence it's about communicating ideas. My favorite poem, Homer's Iliad, is chocked full of violence. There's a passage where someone gets hit over the head so hard with a rock that his eyes pop out. In another passage a character can taste the bronze spear as it pierces his skull from beneath his chin. At what age should someone be permitted to read the Iliad? Is 12 too young? 14? Or is it so violent that we must wait for the minor to become an adult?

Age classification in the UK is legally established and it hasn't lead to vast censorship of what we can view, it just makes sense to stop adult material reaching minors - and legally enforcing that is fine.

I agree, it makes sense. I just don't think it makes sense for the government to be in charge of enforcing that. Does the United Kingdom have an equivalent of the 1st Amendment for the United States Constitution? I don't mean some feel good declaration but someone that carries the full weight of law throughout the realm?

Twilight_guy:
I cant help feeling like everyone is going a bit overboard in celebrating this. I mean people are acting like Lincoln just declared the slaves free. Its a victory but lets have some perspective.

Also, does that mean someone can make a porn game and sell it to minors without any restrictions?

Well, this for us is a legal declaration that the games are legally speech, with all the implications therein. So yes, it is a big step for our medium.

However the larger implications of this are for minor rights and freedom of speech in general, which makes the case noteworthy for all media. If you read the vote and opinion breakdowns what you will realize is that this case wasn't REALLY about video games. It was about the rights of minors, and the implications are far reaching.

rossatdi:

Marc Gibson:

Why not? If the Supreme Court says that there can't be an age limit on game retail that assumes children of any age have the right to own and therefore play any game they want.

I think you're a little confused about what the Supreme Court does in the United States. That's not a dig at you. I'm not up on British, Australian or German jurisprudence myself given that I'm not really affected one way or the other by the court systems of those countries. What the Supreme Court did was rule that a particular law was unconstitutional. It doesn't preclude retailers from refusing to sell certain games to minors nor does it stop parents from keeping their children from playing certain games, watching certain movies or even reading certain books. In this particular case, it just prevents the government from taking an action that violates the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Well having studied US politics whilst living in the US for several years as well as writing my master dissertation on an element of US politics I don't feel too unqualified.

What the Supreme Court did was establish precedence for the 1st Amendment to apply to minors in the case of violent media. Yes, this is what happened to cinema regulation (technically its self-regulated/optional in the US but most cinemas use the system). I support age regulation for violent media on the condition of hitting age of legal consent (whatever that is regionally) you have full legal privilege to the have access to unlimited depths of filth.

Age classification in the UK is legally established and it hasn't lead to vast censorship of what we can view, it just makes sense to stop adult material reaching minors - and legally enforcing that is fine.[/quote]

No, it's not fine. Frankly I consider the idea that government has to protect children from particular types of ideas extremely backwards. Deciding what ideas people may or may not consume is extremely authoritarian and leads to many unfortunate implications, regardless of who the material is targeting.

Children already have protection against consuming material that is inappropriate for them, their parents. But once the government steps in and usurps parental authority as occurred in this case, then you get what amounts to censorship (due to the chilling effect that the restrictions would have if passed).

More importantly, in order to do this, the court would have to establish the ability to dynamically create new categories of unprotected speech, an incredibly dangerous road. If they did in fact rule that video games were unprotected speech this would regulate them eternally to children's toys in terms of governmental thought.

I've long been disappointed by Australia's game rating system (which does in fact amount to censorship due to the lack of an M rating) and Germany's system (which again, amounts to censorship), and frankly the more I read about European video game regulation, the more backwards it seems.

Words cannot describe my satisfaction. This is very, very pleasing to hear.

Frehls:

Projo:
How does no one else see this as a bad thing? Just imagine more Duke Nukem Forevers. Now the mindless, sophomoric humor and violence-sells appeal that is obviously geared at children can more efficiently target those children.

Now we can just expect more of that, because it's easier to do, and more sought after by a larger audience. The law that was in place was perfectly logical. The argument against it was, what, what Saturday morning cartoons were "violent"? Look at the most violent video game, and then at the most violent cartoons. There are dumb and irrational parents out there, ones that don't understand video games, they won't know what their eight year old is getting into with that Manhunt game.

Kids are the broadest target audience. Kids like mindless violence. Kids have their parents' income to get those games. Developers/Publishers want money. How does this not look like one to the worst things to happen to gaming?

Retailers, even after the parents try to buy the game, generally at least read the ESRB content warning to the customer. Also, they still refuse to sell these games to kids. You really should read some of the posts on this thread to get an idea of why this is actually a good thing.
And the law that "was in place" wasn't even put into action yet, as it had been turned down by two other courts prior to the Supreme. The law was also not perfectly logical, it was vague, had virtually no criteria, and was easily exploitable.

So standard procedure for US law?

Greeeat, yet to expect even more twelve year olds running around with their parents in my gym gabbing off about using their shotgun to kablam a bad guy's face. Kids don't have the maturity necessary to understand violence, that's why they shouldn't be as exposed to it in video games with the frequency they are today. The idea that they'll grow up and somehow the morals taught to them will over--oh fuck it.

Projo:
How does no one else see this as a bad thing? Just imagine more Duke Nukem Forevers. Now the mindless, sophomoric humor and violence-sells appeal that is obviously geared at children can more efficiently target those children.

Now we can just expect more of that, because it's easier to do, and more sought after by a larger audience. The law that was in place was perfectly logical. The argument against it was, what, what Saturday morning cartoons were "violent"? Look at the most violent video game, and then at the most violent cartoons. There are dumb and irrational parents out there, ones that don't understand video games, they won't know what their eight year old is getting into with that Manhunt game.

Kids are the broadest target audience. Kids like mindless violence. Kids have their parents' income to get those games. Developers/Publishers want money. How does this not look like one to the worst things to happen to gaming?

It is not "Easier" to do. There was no law in place. This just means that everything stays as it currently is. Also as a matter of policy anyone under 17 can't go out and buy a game like that without parents consent. Also for the last and simplest reason. THE GOVERNMENT DOESN"T NEED TO BE ANY MORE INVOLVED IN OUR LIVES THEN IT ALREADY IS.

rossatdi:

If the Supreme Court says that there can't be an age limit on game retail that assumes children of any age have the right to own and therefore play any game they want.

You seem to be confusing your idea of the word "right" here with the U.S. legal term. A right in this context is something the government can't force you not to do. Also, I find it highly suspect that you've actually studied U.S. law, but that's another issue.

Retailers are welcome to refuse to sell video games to kids, and parents are welcome to ban their kids from any games they want. That's what this ruling means.

rossatdi:

Marc Gibson:

rossatdi:
Is it unconstitutional then for parents to ban their children from playing violent videogames?

No.

Why not? If the Supreme Court says that there can't be an age limit on game retail that assumes children of any age have the right to own and therefore play any game they want.

Like Marc Gibson said, the Court's decision matters only in the arena of lawmaking. Parents are still the custodians of their children, and are legally capable of deciding a great number of rules for them, so long as they don't do anything that falls into the category of abuse as legally defined. If a child becomes legally emancipated, then sure, they could go out and buy an M-rated game from the internet, from someone not contractually obligated to abide by the ESRB's ratings, regardless of their age. As long as they live at home, though, they can't claim constitutional protection against their parents' decisions. The parents can't send the kid to jail for disobedience or anything, but it's still within their purview to make and enforce rules over their kid that contradict certain rights contained within the constitution. And while yes, this situation does become confusing at times, the point is that this ruling has done nothing to modify the status quo - all it did was reaffirm the notion that STATES can't make laws prohibiting the kid from doing all this. It said nothing about what parents can and can't do.

Who wins here? The entire state of California, and the rest of the US besides!

Hell yeah, one more victory for the good guys :D

It's what we've been saying for years, glad the Supreme Court seems to agree.

This is such a great time to be a gamer.

Disappointed Jon Stewart has a problem with the decision. Obviously his researchers had time to find a violent game, but not enough time to work out that the game is not freely available for sale to kids as the industry won;t allow it. The case was saying that it was not the job of the government to decided this. Very disappointing.

This is just great!! Even though ignorant people still enjoy arguing with me about it (I win every time) Its good to know our thoughts on video games is now in the majority.

ph0b0s123:
Disappointed Jon Stewart has a problem with the decision. Obviously his researchers had time to find a violent game, but not enough time to work out that the game is not freely available for sale to kids as the industry won;t allow it. The case was saying that it was not the job of the government to decided this. Very disappointing.

Mind-bogglingly ignorant section.

Especially the (totally wrong) point about the nipple shot.

Miller test, read it. It's not sexual content in general, it's what is legally obscenity.

This was a triumph.

azurine:
This was a triumph.

I'm making a note here:
"Huge Success".

All we do is win!

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