27 June, 2011
The good news today was that the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the California video game law that restricted sales of “violent” video games to minors, known as “Brown vs. EMA” (previously “Schwarzenegger vs. EMA” before the change of governor in California). The upshot is that the highest court has said that computer games enjoy the same protected status as other forms of expression such as movies and books.
I’m overjoyed to hear this on many levels. I’m a game developer first and foremost. I’m a resident of California, so it’s nice that the state got put in its place when trying to regulate. I’ve been arguing in support of legitimacy for games for a while for this very reason. (Could you imagine if this ruling had happened, say, 15 years ago? Might have been a much different prevailing opinion.)
Of course, just last weekend President Obama was criticizing video games in an off-handed comment while the courts were deciding on the issue. But, this shows that there is still a lot of thought along the lines of “video games = bad, books = good” in the government, even from a president as relatively “young and hip” as Obama.
The Terra Nova blog has a short analysis of the ruling. You can also find a lot of information about the different filings on the SCOTUS blog on the case. Particularly interesting to see who filed briefs in support of the state and who filed against the law. There’s also a division between different states supporting and against the law you can see by who filed briefs. I find it particularly interesting that Scalia wrote the majority opinion and tends to be one of the more conservative of the justices and is self-described as “pro-family”.
Of course, his is a major victory but it doesn’t mean everything is settled. I’m sure we’ll see other states try to
What do you think? Major victory, or just the beginning of the rest of the struggle?