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Research: PFF – Cal. Video Game Law Violates 1st Amendment

By 1 October 2010 No Comment

Progress & Freedom Foundation
California’s Violent Video Game Law Violates First Amendment

Adam Thierer, Berin Szoka, and Lee Tien
September, 2010

Progress & Freedom Foundation’s Thierer and Szoka believe the California video game law on violent video games that will be heading to the Supreme Court in November violates the 1st Amendment.  PFF joined forces with the Electronic Frontier Foundation asking the court to uphold the lower courts ruling that the law was unconstitutional.  The groups believe that the law violates the speech rights of both those who make and play video games.

EFF and PFF filed a joint amicus brief which states that they believe the current voluntary video game ratings system is perfectly suited to inform those who play video games and the parents of minors what type of content is within the game.  They believe the system allows parents to have the responsibility and final decision making on what they allow their children to play.

“Video games are fully protected speech, and both the ‘violence’ and ‘interactivity’ feared by California’s law are expressive aspects of books, plays, and movies — not just video games,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien. “The government can’t regulate speech content, even to protect children, if there are reasonably effective private rating systems and parental control tools that don’t interfere with our First Amendment rights.”

PFF states that every violent video game law to date that has been challenged in the courts has not made it past a careful examination of the 1st Amendment.

You can read the joint EFF/PFF amicus brief here.

The PFF press release can be found here.

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