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Schwarzenegger Urged to Keep Mum On 'Unconstitutional' Game Law

| 1 Mar 2009 19:49
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Leading Californian newspaper, the Los Angeles Times, is urging Governor Schwarzenegger not to appeal against the decision of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that a law limiting the sales of violent games to minors is 'unconstitutional'.

The law, authored by Democratic senator Leland Yee and signed by the Governator on October 7th 2005, would make the sale of games featuring 'virtual harm' to humans or "characters with substantially human characteristics" illegal to anyone under the age of eighteen.

The videogame industry was understandably unhappy about the law and filed a suit to block the law ten days later. After nearly two years of legal battling, the law was declared unconstitutional on August 6th 2007.

Governor Schwarzenegger decided to appeal this decision, saying: "We have a responsibility to our kids and our communities to protect against the effects of games that depict ultra-violent actions. These games are for adults, and the law I signed ensures that parents have the chance to determine which video games are appropriate for their children."

Fast forward to today, and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal upheld the original verdict and the Governor is said to be considering taking his appeal to the Supreme Court. This is where the L.A. Times steps in.

In an editorial published yesterday, the newspaper implores Schwarzenegger not to appeal the ruling a second time. Describing the law as a 'bipartisan blunder', they had this to say about not only the law in question, but videogame legislation in general:

"Important as it is, the court's legal analysis doesn't identify an easy alternative for parents who are justifiably concerned about the effects of violent video games, films or comic books on their children. But the primary responsibility for protecting minors from potentially harmful influences lies with parents, as it did long before video games were a twinkle in a programmer's eye.

Parents don't need a law to urge makers of video games to strengthen their current voluntary ratings systems. More important, they don't need permission from a legislator or judge to keep an eye on what their children are doing -- or playing."

At a time when California can ill afford another costly legal battle, we can only hope that Governor Schwarzenegger won't be back, at least not to court.

Source: Game Politics

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