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EMA Brief Released in Schwarzenegger Video Game Case

Written by Alex Koroknay-Palicz Sep 10, 2010

The respondent’s brief (the main argument/brief on our side of the case) has been finished and released for the Schwarzenegger v. EMA case. The US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in this case on November 2, 2010. Their decision will be handed down a few months later, no later than June 2011. NYRA, as many of you know, is working with the ACLU and the National Coalition Against Censorship on our own brief in this case. We are hopeful it will be finished and released soon.

In the meantime, definitely read through the awesome Entertainment Merchants Association brief. They build a very solid case for why California should not censor violent video games for youth. NYRA is making the whole brief available for download in our download section. Be sure to check it out.

Basically the brief states that video games are fully protected under the First Amendment and so are depictions of violence. California’s desire to censor “offensively violent” video games is unprecedented and “the government does not have unfettered power to ban speech to minors.”

Throughout US history violence has never been treated the same as sex, as California claims. The brief even goes through a lot of the evidence California cites and absolutely torpedoes it by showing the laws they cite have all been struck down.

The brief states that here is no “significant societal problem” caused by violent video games and California hasn’t shown that voluntary ratings and parental controls aren’t doing the job. Nor have they really done a good job of proving that violent video games are actually harmful to youth.

Finally, the law doesn’t advance a compelling state interest, isn’t narrowly tailored, isn’t the least restrictive means of accomplishing the state’s goals and is unconstitutionally vague.

Plus… the EMA takes a small shot at the Governator himself:

Some games are based directly on popular books
and movies. For example, Rainbow Six 3 (another
game in the record) is based on the Tom Clancy novel
Rainbow Six. Both the novel and the video game
concern a clandestine anti-terrorist group composed
of American ex-special-forces soldiers. J.A. 78-80.
Several video games have also been based on The
Terminator, a popular movie series in which
Petitioner Schwarzenegger portrayed an android-like
creature sent back in time as part of a future war
between humans and computers.

It is a great brief, and all supporters of youth rights, free speech or video games are strongly encouraged to read the EMA brief.

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