April 26, 2010

California Video Game Law Unconstitutional?

The Supreme Court said Monday it will be deciding if a Californian law passed last to prevent the sale and rental of  “patently offensive” titles to minors is  unconstitutional.

Justices agreed to hear the appeal after a U.S . appeals court based in California struck down the law, which also imposes strict video game labeling requirements, as unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear and rule on the arguments during it’s upcoming term which starts in October.  It’s one of most important cases for the term so far. 

“In appealing to the Supreme Court, the state argued that the free-speech guarantees of the First Amendment do not bar a state from prohibiting the sale of violent video games to minors under 18.”

The law was adopted in 2005, however it has never been put into effect because of the mounting legal troubles it has faced.

“The law prohibits the sale of an interactive video game to anyone under 18 if the game was so violent it was “patently offensive,” according to prevailing community standards and lacked serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.”

On a personal level I have no objection to barring the sale of M rated titles to minors.  I just don’t believe children, especially ones in the 8 – 13 year old range, should be playing violent video games.   It will be interesting to see how this pans out.  This is the first time the Supreme Court has heard a case on Video Games.

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