Supreme Court strikes down California law aimed at barring some video games from sale to minors

Shane McGlaun - Jun 27, 2011, 10:42am CDT
Supreme Court strikes down California law aimed at barring some video games from sale to minors

Most of the time legal battles that have to do with technology and the sale of certain items are decided in lower courts. On a few occasions the fight goes all the way to the top court in the land with the Supreme Court being the place when the final decision is made. That is where the legal battle between Brown v. Entertainment merchants Association was finally decided. The case centered on a California law that would restrict the sale of violent video games to minors.

The plaintiff argued that the law was a violation of First Amendment rights. The Supreme Court ruled that the ban of the games to minors does in fact violate their First Amendment right to free speech. The court ruling read, “Video games qualify for First Amendment protection. Like protected books, plays, and movies, they communicate ideas through familiar literary devices and features distinctive to the medium.” The ruling was a split decision though at 7-2.

The court also specifically stated in the ruling that “California’s claim that ‘interactive’ video games present special problems, in that the player participates in the violent action on screen and determines its out-come, is unpersuasive.” The core here is that the ruling has once and for all stated that video games are expression and afforded the same protections as books, music, and film.

[via Ars Technica]


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