U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte has
ruled California’s 2005 video game law that banned the sale of violent software
to minors as unconstitutional.
The law has been stuck in the legal system for the past two
years, since it was signed by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
in October 2005. The law would have gone into effect on January 1, 2006, had
Judge Whyte not have issued
an injunction just days before the new year blocking the law.
On Monday, Judge Whyte ruled, “The evidence does not
establish that video games, because of their interactive nature or otherwise,
are any more harmful than violent television, movies, internet sites or other
“The court, although sympathetic to what the legislature
sought to do by the Act, finds that the evidence does not establish the
required nexus between the legislative concerns about the well-being of minors
and the restrictions on speech required by the Act,” read the ruling.
California State Senator Leland Yee, one of the original
supporters of the bill, said in a press
release, “I am shocked that the Court struck down this common-sense law. AB
1179 worked to empower parents by giving them the ultimate decision over
whether or not their children should be playing in a world of violence and
Yee continued, “We simply cannot trust the industry to
regulate itself. I strongly urge the Governor and the Attorney General to
appeal this decision to a higher court and to the Supreme Court if necessary
until our children are protected from excessively violent video games.”
It appears that Governor Schwarzenegger heard
Yee’s cries, and said in another press
release that he will appeal the ruling: “I signed this important measure to
ensure that parents are involved in determining which video games are
appropriate for their children. The bill I signed would require that violent
video games be clearly labelled and not be sold to children under 18 years old.
Many of these games are made for adults and choosing games that are appropriate
for kids should be a decision made by their parents.”
“I will vigorously defend this law and appeal it to the next
level,” added Schwarzenegger.