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ESA President Michael Gallagher  (Source: theesa.com)
ESA believes the Supreme Court protected the rights the video game industry felt it already had, and does not foresee any more similar cases in the near future

Yesterday marked a huge victory for the video game industry as the Supreme Court ruled against sale restrictions of violent video games to children. While certain Californians like Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) are not thrilled with the decision, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) was pleased with these results and even classified video games as protected speech at a press call yesterday.

ESA President Michael Gallagher gladly responded to questions regarding the Supreme Court decision, saying that this was "the thirteenth consecutive decision, and obviously the most important," and that the court upheld "the First Amendment rights of video game developers and video game companies."

California has been battling the video game industry in court since 2005 in an attempt to restrict the sales of violent video games to those under the age of 18. Yee was an avid supporter of this law, and described "violent" as killing, sexually assaulting, dismembering or maiming another human being.

"The state of California spent six years and hundreds of thousands - it will probably approach over a million dollars - in fees and creating uncertainty in the marketplace, and now we've reached this result where the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) is, in fact - as we've been saying for years - is the right approach," said Gallagher.

While Gallagher believes the video game industry and ESRB are in the right, he wanted to make it clear that the Supreme Court's decision did not extend the rights of video game companies. In other words, it doesn't mean that more violent games can be made. Rather, Gallagher says it guarantees the rights the industry already had.

"Today's decision is not going to confer any new rights onto the video game industry; it simply affirms the rights that we believe we've always had," said Gallagher. "The court decision didn't create a new right or a new opportunity and the industry is not going to take a different tack when it comes to ratings and making sure that we're being clear with parents about what our industry is providing."

From a lawyer's perspective, the Supreme Court's decision will likely keep the argument regarding violent video games at bay, but recognizes that the topic may come up again at some point.

"There's always the possibility that a change in personnel will change the views of the court," said lawyer Paul M. Smith. "This is a very strong opinion and the court does not overrule itself very readily. The quickest you see is decades at a time, in most cases.

"They didn't exactly suggest how you could write a law that could pass constitutional muster, and it's my view having worked on these cases for a decade that it is not possible using the tools of the English language to write a law that separates out permissible from impermissible violence for minors in a way that would have anywhere near the clarity you would require under the First Amendment, even if you got past all the other constitutional problems that the majority pointed out."

Smith added that any state attempting to pass a bill trying to regulate video game content is "just asking to pay my legal fees," and that the chance of another similar case anytime soon "has been slammed shut."

One question posed to Gallagher was what the chances of another similar case were if science proved that there was a link between violence in video games and violence in children, and Gallagher insisted that there is no link.

The question of more realistic graphics and content in the future was brought up as well.

"You could look at electric toothbrushes and microwave ovens and probably have similar concerns and right now, I'm not dealing with hypotheticals," said Gallagher. "Based on everything we know right now, the court did exactly the right thing."


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Regardless
By cjohnson2136 on 6/28/2011 11:49:38 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
One question posed to Gallagher was what the chances of another similar case were if science proved that there was a link between violence in video games and violence in children, and Gallagher insisted that there is no link.


Regardless if this is true or not, it falls on the parents to make sure their kids are not playing violent games. It is not up to the game industry or the gov't but up to only the parent. If parents would actually parent instead of using video games and tvs as babysitters then maybe this wouldn't be an issue at all.




RE: Regardless
By neogrin on 6/28/2011 11:57:39 AM , Rating: 2
^^^ what he said ^^^


RE: Regardless
By quiksilvr on 6/28/2011 12:38:20 PM , Rating: 1
It isn't entirely that simple. A lot of game stores sell M rated games to minors because, hey, its money. And kids can easily hide it from their parents.

Parents need to buckle down, I agree, but there needs to be at least some form of regulations at these stores to avoid selling M rated games to minors without parents.


RE: Regardless
By Lazarus Dark on 6/28/2011 9:17:51 PM , Rating: 3
Walmart already requires a drivers license be shown to buy a M rated game. This decision does not prevent a store from doing this. California was trying to force all stores to do this and that is unconstitutional. Gamestop, Walmart, Target, etc can still refuse to sell to minors if they choose.


RE: Regardless
By OoklaTheMok on 6/28/2011 1:12:12 PM , Rating: 2
Remember when they said cigarettes don’t cause cancer and aren’t addictive…

I have no issue with reasonable laws restricting access to non-educational portrayals of violence to children. As a parent, I work hard to keep such things away from my children, but this work is undermined when you see other small children talking and bragging about the games they are playing. My children then have to interact with these kids.

The problem is that some parents, would rather be seen as "cool" rather than as parents. This makes being a parent even more difficult. If I had my way, I would love to be able to slap with sense into these "parents", but alas I can't.


RE: Regardless
By BailoutBenny on 6/28/2011 1:17:35 PM , Rating: 1
It is your job as a parent to police your children, period. So what if it makes their interactions with other children a little awkward? Who cares about the "cool" parents except parents who are envious of status over substance? The government is not needed to protect children from anything really, but especially not from something like video games.


RE: Regardless
By cmdrdredd on 6/28/2011 4:00:09 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
it falls on the parents to make sure their kids are not playing violent games


Wrong. It falls on the parents to GUIDE their kids and explain the difference between reality and entertainment. There is NOTHING wrong with playing games that have some sort of shooting, fighting or violence. Many kids are mature enough and responsible enough to play games like GTA.

Outright prohibiting kids from being exposed to these things can be far more disastrous than you think.


RE: Regardless
By cjohnson2136 on 6/29/2011 10:19:03 AM , Rating: 2
To me it depends on the age of a kid. But I have seen kids at 5 and 6 playing GTA. I think that is ridiculous. If it was a 14 or 15 year old that would be a little different. My comment I was thinking about 5-7 year olds playing these games. Should of been more specific.


RE: Regardless
By rs2 on 6/28/2011 8:00:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Regardless if this is true or not, it falls on the parents to make sure their kids are not playing violent games, if they happen to feel that their kids should not be playing violent video games .


There, I fixed it for you. There's nothing inherently wrong with letting kids play violent video games. It's up to the parents both to decide what content level they are comfortable with, and then to enforce their decision.


The right to be a parent.
By drycrust3 on 6/28/11, Rating: 0
RE: The right to be a parent.
By WeaselITB on 6/28/2011 12:36:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
These companies not only the audacity to say they don't give a damn about all of that, but they turn around and make it their right to force their unethical views upon the rest of America.


WHAT?! Do you even understand what's going on here? The ESA is on the side of the parents, saying that THEY (the parents) have the right to choose what their kids can and cannot view. Yee and the other lawmakers and lawyers pushing for this bill are AGAINST the parents, believing that the government knows better.

I can't possibly fathom what logic was used to come to the conclusion you did, based on the facts presented in the issue.


By OoklaTheMok on 6/28/2011 1:15:00 PM , Rating: 1
The court ruled in favor of parents who fail at being parents, and against parents with common sense.


RE: The right to be a parent.
By JediJeb on 6/28/2011 12:40:43 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
God put the love in of their children in the heart of every parent, and those parents invest a large amount of their time and money on raising children as best they can, and if those parents think it is in the best interest of their children to not see certain videos or play certain games, then I don't give a damn, those parents should have that right.


While I don't feel it is good for young children to be playing these types of games, your very first sentence is what is of more importance than whether or not the game makers can sell to minors. That first sentence puts the welfare of children in the hands of their parents, not the government. If the decision had gone against the game industry then that would have been the government taking the care and welfare of children out of the hands of parents essentially relieving parents of some of their responsibility.

This decision does not allow the game industry to force their unethical views upon America, it merely upholds the rights given to all Americans in our Constitution. I would rather see a decision like this, than the ones that take away some of the rights of parents like the laws being passed in Europe and are being pushed here in America also. Parents are responsible for teaching their children right from wrong and if parents will take a stand and lead by example by not allowing children to play these games that will be a lesson they will take with them into adulthood. I learned more about being an adult from the times my parents restricted some of my decisions than I would have if they had no involvement in my life. Giving children everything they want is not a sign of love, it is simply a sign of a parent not wanting to take responsibility and teaching their children how to act responsibly and make the tough decisions they will need to make as adults. The sooner children learn that the right decisions are not always the ones that are easiest or most pleasant the quicker they will learn to live in the real world.


RE: The right to be a parent.
By cmdrdredd on 6/28/11, Rating: 0
RE: The right to be a parent.
By JediJeb on 6/28/2011 4:47:25 PM , Rating: 2
A little sensitive there I see. It's one thing to be passionate about your ideals, but to just fly off the handle and attack someone of different beliefs hints at immaturity or lack of tolerance, which is what you are accusing myself and the OP of.

I also guess you didn't actually read my post and compare it to the one I was replying to. I was pointing out where the OP mentioned the "unethical views" part. I never said I was against the gaming industry making these games. What I pointed out was that they have the right to make the games and parents have the right and responsibility to control and teach their children to be responsible adults.


RE: The right to be a parent.
By Stuka on 6/28/2011 12:46:08 PM , Rating: 2
You're a moron. Every person in the world has the right not to play a video game they find offensive. No court ruling in the entire world has infringed upon that right. Making my child require a signed, notarized affadavit of parental consent of purchase will do absolutely ZERO to protect your delicate, impressionable, unguided, weak willed, crutch-baby sucking on mama's teat at 14yo. If you tell your child not to do something, and he does it anyway, that is not my fault, and nothing I can do can remedy that. It's all you bro.


By LRonaldHubbs on 6/28/2011 4:46:12 PM , Rating: 2
Regardless of which way the decision went, parents who don't want their kids playing violent games would still have the right and the ability to make that call. However, had the decision gone in favor of the law, parents who do approve of their children buying violent games would have had their authority overridden. Your opinion is wrong by virtue of the fact that it is based upon incorrect information. Please reread this article, or some other, and get your facts straight.


Wow
By icanhascpu on 6/28/2011 12:33:23 PM , Rating: 2
Parents allowed to raise their kids? Madness.




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