Mummy Buzz


US Supreme Court Rules Against Video Game Ban

Protect Video Gamers, Not Children

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a California law banning the sale or rental of violent video games to children, claiming a ban would infringe the First Amendment. In other words, video games have the same rights to free expression as books and movies.

The 2005 California law allowed for fines of up to $1,000 for selling or renting video affects sales and rentals to those under 18. Similar laws were rejected by courts in six other states, including Michigan and Illinois.

According to the Entertainment Software Association, 72 per cent of American households play computer and video games, spending $25.1 billion on video games and accessories in 2010 alone.

President and CEO of the association, Michael D. Gallagher claimed the Court's ruling reaffirmed that "parents, not government bureaucrats, have the right to decide what is appropriate for their children".

The State of California maintained that, in spite of a voluntary rating system already in place, the ban was in the interest of protecting children against increasingly interactive video games, which allows players to simulate and "act out" violence rather than just watching.

And it goes without saying, some retailers and parents are not scrupulous about what games kids play.

Despite some dissent among Supreme Court members, the ruling was viewed as an historic win "for the creative freedom of artists and stories everywhere."

In Canada, most provinces already have laws in place restricting the sale of restricted titles to those under 17. But California went one step further, banning games in which a player has the "option" to kill, maim, dismember or sexually assault an avatar.

Should the Canadian government attempt to piggyback California's move, it could meet with similar resistance due to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Should freedom of expression take priority over the protection of children who aren't yet mature enough to process what they see? Is it up to the Government to act as the ultimate parent?