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Court blocks Calif. video game sales restriction

Old 12-23-05, 04:39 AM
  #1  
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Court blocks Calif. video game sales restriction

http://today.reuters.com/news/newsar...VIDEOGAMES.xml

Court blocks Calif. video game sales restriction

Thu Dec 22, 2005 5:40 PM ET163

By Lisa Baertlein

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - <b>A federal judge has blocked a California law that would have made it illegal to sell or rent violent video games to minors, saying he doubted whether such sales could be banned even if the games were proved to cause violent behavior among children.

The preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the law was based on a finding that the statute risked violating the right to free speech.</b> The decision comes amid a political and cultural war over the content of video games, which last year accounted for $7.3 billion in U.S. sales and rivaled Hollywood box office receipts.

<b>A week ago, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton spearheaded federal legislation aimed at prohibiting the sale of violent or sexually explicit video games to minors</b>, saying the industry's self-rating system was being inadequately enforced.

But in his ruling issued on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte sided with the video game industry, as have other federal and state judges.

The Video Software Dealers Association and the Entertainment Software Association, acting on behalf of video game merchants and publishers, had challenged the proposed California law, which would have imposed civil penalties of up to $1,000 for each violation.

"For the sixth time in five years, Federal courts have now blocked or struck down these state and local laws seeking to regulate the sale of games to minors based on their content, and none have upheld such statutes," said Douglas Lowenstein, president of the ESA, referring to rulings in Illinois, Michigan and elsewhere.

Whyte, who sits on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, said in his ruling that the ESA and the VSDA "have shown they are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that the Act violates the First Amendment, or at least that serious questions are raised."

The ruling discussed several violent games, including "Postal II" in which players have the opportunity to shoot, decapitate or urinate on characters such as police officers or school girls.

Some researchers have claimed a link between violent video games and violent behavior in youths. Previous court rulings on laws aimed at restricting game sales have questioned whether such studies have established true cause and effect.

But Whyte said: "It is uncertain that even if a causal link exists between violent video games and violent behavior, the First Amendment allows a state to restrict access to violent video games, even for those under eighteen years of age."

California Assemblyman Leland Yee, <b>a San Francisco Democrat and sponsor of the legislation</b>, called the preliminary injunction "a temporary pause" and said backers of the new law would ultimately prevail.

Many video games that contain violent content carry ratings of "Mature 17+" by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

That rating agency and video game makers have been under fire since this summer, when game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (TTWO.O: Quote, Profile, Research) pulled its blockbuster title "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" from store shelves following complaints over the discovery of sex scenes that could be unlocked and viewed with a downloaded program.
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Old 12-23-05, 06:25 AM
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It's kinda funny you have Hillary, a Democrat, attacking morality, when this is mostly a Republican's job (which is interesting you bolded the Democratic parts). Kinda weird we don't see Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed, and a shitload of other Republicans joining her.
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Old 12-23-05, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
It's kinda funny you have Hillary, a Democrat, attacking morality, when this is mostly a Republican's job (which is interesting you bolded the Democratic parts). Kinda weird we don't see Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed, and a shitload of other Republicans joining her.

If one of those others were spearheading the opposition, grundle wouldn't have posted this story.

The judge is right BTW. The movie industry self-regulates when it comes to sales to children, so I don't see why video games should be any different.
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Old 12-23-05, 09:03 AM
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Someone is attacking morality?
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Old 12-23-05, 10:29 AM
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Good for the judge.
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Old 12-23-05, 10:40 AM
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After playing Grand Theft, I now feel the urge to shoot a few hookers and have sex with cops.

I'm a bit torn on the topic as I would prefer the industry were able to self-regulate, but it appears that The Almighty Dollar is the only regulation they care about. That said, I really don't the government stepping on things either.
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Old 12-23-05, 10:40 AM
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This is another one of those issues that breaks up the liberal-conservative labelling system. Are you a morality-conservative or a freedom-conservative? A freedom-liberal or a dogooder-liberal?
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Old 12-23-05, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Bronkster
After playing Grand Theft, I now feel the urge to shoot a few hookers and have sex with cops.

I'm a bit torn on the topic as I would prefer the industry were able to self-regulate, but it appears that The Almighty Dollar is the only regulation they care about. That said, I really don't the government stepping on things either.
The video game industry has a comprehensive ratings system in place.
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Old 12-23-05, 11:47 AM
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If it is not constitutional to sell mature video games to kids, does the 1st amendment protect selling pornography to kids?
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Old 12-23-05, 12:31 PM
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As long as the video game industry can make whatever game they want to, I have no problem with making sure mature games are not sold to minors be it government mandated or self-regulated.

The main problem is parents won't wake up and pay attention to the game ratings system. As usual, someone has to spoon feed today's group of parents.
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Old 12-23-05, 12:34 PM
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Meanwhile, 18-year old HS seniors are pushing for the law knowing they stand to make a boatload charging $5 a head to act as a purchasing middle-man for underclassmen.
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Old 12-23-05, 01:20 PM
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Good. Another stupid law gets nail down.
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Old 12-24-05, 01:02 AM
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Can minors purchase R-rated movies in a store? I know theaters won't let them in without an adult, but can they buy them at Target? I'm not asking to make a point, I really don't know the answer. Anyone?
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Old 12-24-05, 01:20 AM
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Hillary needs to appeal to the middle of America if she is to become president. Generally someone running doesn't do this until they appear wacky to get the nomination, though. She may figure that is locked up, however.
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Old 12-24-05, 02:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Thor Simpson
Can minors purchase R-rated movies in a store? I know theaters won't let them in without an adult, but can they buy them at Target? I'm not asking to make a point, I really don't know the answer. Anyone?
Depends on the retailer. Each one has its own policy regarding sale to minors. There's no law that they have to follow though.
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Old 12-24-05, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Rockmjd23
Depends on the retailer. Each one has its own policy regarding sale to minors. There's no law that they have to follow though.
So then the only "legal" things so far which are legally restricted to sell to minors are:

1) alcohol
2) tobacco
3) porn (right?)
4) gambling (right?)

Am I missing anything?
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Old 12-24-05, 09:34 AM
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Hillary is taking the conservative angle on this issue. It's hardly a liberal stance.

My choice would be the Judge and Social Liberalism.
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Old 12-24-05, 10:07 AM
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In my limited law experience (media law classes in college for my journalism degree) porn is a very strange animal. The whole "obscenity" thing and "community standards" seems like very bad law to me, as it is so open to interpretation and individual preference.

I'm all for striking down this kind of stupid stuff but it seems like these concepts should apply to porn as well.
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Old 12-24-05, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by CRM114
Hillary is taking the conservative angle on this issue. It's hardly a liberal stance.
Definitely a play at pulling some of the soccer mom demographic from the Reps.

Oh yeah, and I'm sure she's also just heart broken and passionate about the state of our youth today blah blah blah.
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Old 12-24-05, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Draven
In my limited law experience (media law classes in college for my journalism degree) porn is a very strange animal. The whole "obscenity" thing and "community standards" seems like very bad law to me, as it is so open to interpretation and individual preference.

I'm all for striking down this kind of stupid stuff but it seems like these concepts should apply to porn as well.

Not a fan of Justice Stewart I see.
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Old 12-24-05, 12:12 PM
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I know pornography when I see it.

Not an exact quote - I'm paraphrasing a little.

Last edited by classicman2; 12-24-05 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 12-24-05, 12:21 PM
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A person's mere propinquity to others independently suspected of criminal activity does not give rise to probable cause to search that person.
Potter Stewart

Abortion is inherently different from other medical procedures because no other procedure involves the purposeful termination of a potential life.
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At the very least, the freedom that Congress is empowered to secure includes the freedom to buy whatever a white man can buy, the right to live wherever a white man can live. If Congress cannot say that being a freeman means at least this much, then the 13th Amendment made a promise it cannot keep.
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Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in itself.
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Fairness is what justice really is.
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For me this is not something that can be swept under the rug and forgotten in the interest of forced Sunday togetherness.
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In fact, a fundamental interdependence exists between the personal right to liberty and the personal right in property.
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It must always be remembered that what the Constitution forbids is not all searches and seizures, but unreasonable searches and seizures.
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May the state fence in the harmless mentally ill solely to save its citizens from exposure to those whose ways are different? One might as well ask if the state, to avoid public unease, could incarcerate all who are physically unattractive or socially eccentric.
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The 4th Amendment and the personal rights it secures have a long history. At the very core stands the right of a man to retreat into his own home and there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion.
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Old 12-24-05, 12:31 PM
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"It's not that he's a bad man," rued Truman. "It's just that he's the dumbest sonofabitch I ever met."

What justice was Truman talking about? A little trivia for today.

Hint: Dumbness, apparently, runs in the family.
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Old 12-24-05, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
If one of those others were spearheading the opposition, grundle wouldn't have posted this story.
Exactly!
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Old 12-26-05, 12:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Thor Simpson
So then the only "legal" things so far which are legally restricted to sell to minors are:

1) alcohol
2) tobacco
3) porn (right?)
4) gambling (right?)

Am I missing anything?
Firearms
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