Supreme Court Expected to Give Gaming Verdict Monday

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Supreme Court Expected to Give Gaming Verdict Monday

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The legal fate of the gaming industry could be decided at the beginning of next week.

More than half a year ago, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) heard arguments in "Schwarzenegger v. EMA," a case that would decide once and for all whether games had the same rights under the US Constitution as other media like movies, music and books. According to the ECA's Hal Halpin (via Twitter), the court is expected to give its verdict on this coming Monday.

The case has been referred to as gaming's "single most important challenge" in this country, as a SCOTUS ruling in the favor of the state of California could spur states from the Pacific to the Atlantic to enact anti-game laws of their own.

Though initial impressions from observers were positive, it's worth noting that the Schwarzenegger case is the only case from that Supreme Court session that has not yet been decided. This could be because it's more hotly debated than the others, or it could be because one of the justices is taking his or her sweet time in writing what could be a landmark decision.

Fingers crossed, everyone. We all know that gaming should have all the rights to free speech as any other medium, and let's hope that the Supreme Court recognizes that as well.

(@HalHalpin on Twitter)

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Been waiting a long time for this, and also the Extra Credits video on the verdict.

Gonna be a good week.

Nervous...little excited. Monday can't get here fast enough.

Good thing its on a monday, that gives Extra Credits some time to write an episode on it.

Well, I usually don't post very often and I also try not to let my emotions get the better (logical) side of me.... But:

OH GOD!!! YESYESYESYESYESYESYESYES!!!!! For all things just and true, may the verdict be in our favor!!! Screw you Schawn-shineagger (that's right, I misspelled your name on purpose, you jerk!) Whoever you are, your logic is flawed and hinges on nothing more than on the ignorance of the masses!!!!

....That is all...

Edit: Thanks Eri

Angel Molina:
Well, I usually don't post very often and I also try not to let my emotions get the better (logical) side of me.... But:

OH GOD!!! YESYESYESYESYESYESYESYES!!!!! For all things just and true, may the verdict be in our favor!!! Screw you Schawn-shineagger (that's right, I misspelled your name on purpose, you jerk!), your logical is flawed and hinges on nothing more than on the ignorance of the masses!!!!

....That is all...

Actually, Arnold has nothing to do with this case. His name is only on the dockett because he is the governor. If anyone else had been governor, their name would have been on it.

John Funk:

Fingers crossed, everyone. We all know that gaming should have all the rights to free speech as any other medium, and let's hope that the Supreme Court recognizes that as well.

True, but then again, after the prohibition of the 1920s we were supposed to understand that criminalizing intoxicating substances accomplishes nothing besides funneling massive amounts of taxpayer money to criminal organizations and filling up our prisons with addicts who really haven't done anything else wrong.

Amirite?

Oh I thought this had already been dealt with and I missed it...Well...Shit just got real kids.

Here's hoping, folks. Monday's gonna be huge.

You forgot one thing though, the American justice system is broken to the point where we need an entirely new one. I've seen it in action first hand and as an observer. The antagonist always wins.

I'm hoping the delay was caused by them taking turns playing New Vegas and GTA IV.

If we win, video games become an established art form platform with a greater scope of possibilities open to designers as to what they can create for us to experience (I'm looking at you Six Days To Fallujah) without people saying "You will NOT trivalise this for "kids" to play and disrespect people or the subject matter" where books, films and T.V can do so

If we lose, EVERYONE LOSES, designers, companies, gamers, publishers. WE WILL ALL LOSE due to the knock-on effect that publishers will have to consider in lieu of this.

Do the right thing for the world Supreme Court, not just for California, not just for the publishers, not just for parents and kids.

Fingers crossed. Here's hoping for some sanity from the Court!

While I can see where this'll have a great impact on the US, I am seeing a potential upside to games loosing this one: Quite a lot of Devs will then leave the states, and with them gone their impact on US economy will be made clear(er), which could maybe lead to a wider acceptance of video games as an actual INDUSTRY all over the world. Also, If the devs move to europe, I may finally get a jab at working in the industry without having to move to a country that does not interest me in the slightest...

Edit: Not saying it'll be good if this was lost, just that there may be something salvagable _in spite of_ loosing.

Question: If games are already considered art in the U.S., why are we worried or even arguing over this?

ToastiestZombie:
Good thing its on a monday, that gives Extra Credits some time to write an episode on it.

You think so? I feel like they spend more than a couple days throwing each episode together.

I had felt pretty confident about this at first, but now... this isn't a good sign. Since the Supreme Court is supposed to rule on every law during June, this means that this must be a fairly contested law to be taking so long. There's always the hope the reason it's so contested is to decide if it's unlawful due to how it's worded or due to first amendment rights. But even if it loses on how it's worded, that could still lead to stronger laws popping up in the future with even more regulation.

Not much we can do for now, but each passing week makes me feel worse and worse about the whole thing.

With Scalia and Thomas on the court, as well as the other conservatives, I simply cannot be hopeful about this. The total butchering of decades of legal precedent that they have accomplished so far is astounding in it's audacity. So much damage has been done that I think all of the decisions they've made should be declared invalid and taken up by a new court. I don't know how the fuck someone would go about doing that, and I definitely doubt anything like it exists.

FalloutJack:
Question: If games are already considered art in the U.S., why are we worried or even arguing over this?

They don't have the legal status of art. On Monday, the Supreme Court will rule whether video games have the same First Amendment protections as movies, books, and music.

This is a very important decision, even to non-Americans, because the United States is such a big market that it will definitely influence the decisions of most game developers. I hope the Supreme Court makes the right ruling.

Jabberwock King:
With Scalia and Thomas on the court, as well as the other conservatives, I simply cannot be hopeful about this.

To my surprise (I don't like Scalia either), it seems that Scalia definitely wants free speech protection for video games. The conservative members of the Supreme Court see this as a matter of freedom, and so do the more liberal ones. I'm more concerned about the justices with the following ideology:

KiqJaq:

ToastiestZombie:
Good thing its on a monday, that gives Extra Credits some time to write an episode on it.

You think so? I feel like they spend more than a couple days throwing each episode together.

If we get an episode on this, it'll be 2 weeks from the announcement at least. Since they'll have episodes already in the pipeline and produced beforehand

I'm not too worried. Even if the verdict is against us, we will still treat it as an art because that is how we feel about it.

deserteagleeye:
I'm not too worried. Even if the verdict is against us, we will still treat it as an art because that is how we feel about it.

You can still feel it's an art, but if this verdict is against us, the United States government will be legally able to suppress and censor video games because they don't have the legal protections granted by officially being an art form.

Wait, wasn't this already declared? I'd swear that the Supreme Court already ruled in favour of games being their own art form.

Though to be perfectly honest (and I know a lot of people are going to explain to me why I'm wrong by saying this) I don't really care one way or the other. The only reason why I even hope that it is declared an art is because I know it'd be more beneficial for more people than detrimental for others.

I am most interested to read the justices opinion. I find it likely the Judge writing for the majority is taking his or her time as the medium of games has not been defined before under the 1st Amendment.

I'm not too worried. Even if the verdict is against us, we will still treat it as an art because that is how we feel about it.

Maybe you ought to read up on Fredric Wertham, Seduction of the Innocent, the Comics Code Authority, and what the CCA did to eviscerate the comic book industry from the 50s all the way through the 90s, all in the name of "the children!!!!!!".

Make no mistake, this shit is REAL, and if we lose, it's very bad news for the game industry.

Stammer:
Wait, wasn't this already declared? I'd swear that the Supreme Court already ruled in favour of games being their own art form.

You might be thinking of the national arts and humanities organization declaring a game could receive public moneys for the proper artistic project that promoted the public good.

Just to inform everyone and to reinforce what Eri stated, Schwarzenegger did not actually push this through. His name is only on it because of the matter was being handled by the state and not Schwarzenegger himself.

If you really want to point fingers of why this has gotten so far then you must look at the Democratic State Senator Leeland Yee from California. He is the man who pushed this to the Supreme Court and appealed from the state level. Not playing politics of democrat or republican because both sides have people who are against video games but Mr.Yee is the specific person who pursued this action.

I know this sounds like hyperbole but I sincerely believe it. If the court finds for the state then rule of law in this country is finished and completely supplanted by rule of men.

Quoted from the previous article "California is arguing that video games are special for two reasons: First, because the level of violence is "deviant" or "obscene"; and second, because of the "the interactive nature of gaming." That is, the state can censor violent games, even though it can't censor violent books or violent movies, because the level of violence is so deviant as to be obscene, and because the consumer of a videogame is actively engaged with the content, rather than merely consuming it."

If the court agrees that games are "extra deviant" then there is nothing stopping any other content from being declared the same.

I wish there was a way to banish anyone who used the "think of the children" argument. These people are pushing an agenda and appealing to emotion without any kind of logic.

This case should never have made it that far in the first place, there needs to be some kind of consequence for supporting unconstitutional laws.

DanDeFool:

John Funk:

Fingers crossed, everyone. We all know that gaming should have all the rights to free speech as any other medium, and let's hope that the Supreme Court recognizes that as well.

True, but then again, after the prohibition of the 1920s we were supposed to understand that criminalizing intoxicating substances accomplishes nothing besides funneling massive amounts of taxpayer money to criminal organizations and filling up our prisons with addicts who really haven't done anything else wrong.

Amirite?

I will lawl so hard if that happens with gaming....A prision full of guys just wanting to play some damn CoD or something lol

SRS face/ This better not screw us over or else law school will have someone extra studying really REALLY hard to get this reversed.

Jabberwock King:
With Scalia and Thomas on the court, as well as the other conservatives, I simply cannot be hopeful about this. The total butchering of decades of legal precedent that they have accomplished so far is astounding in it's audacity. So much damage has been done that I think all of the decisions they've made should be declared invalid and taken up by a new court. I don't know how the fuck someone would go about doing that, and I definitely doubt anything like it exists.

If you go back and read the transcripts Scalia especially was particularly on our side (seemingly)

Stammer:
Wait, wasn't this already declared? I'd swear that the Supreme Court already ruled in favour of games being their own art form.

Though to be perfectly honest (and I know a lot of people are going to explain to me why I'm wrong by saying this) I don't really care one way or the other. The only reason why I even hope that it is declared an art is because I know it'd be more beneficial for more people than detrimental for others.

No, it was decided that another part of the goverment would give grants to games as an artistic medium.

Remember our goverment is divided into seperate branches that are all designed to balance each other out. The guys who pass the laws (Legislative) are not the guys who actually run the goverment and get to interpet them in practice (Executive), and then you have a seperate branch (Judicial) with the Supreme Court which exists as oversight, it can't actually do anything like pass laws or directly run the goverment, but it can review laws in accordance with the constitution and shoot them down, or overule things done by lower courts. This is an intentionally simplistic version of things... which might be useful to some from the US, or who haven't paid much attention to the goverment and the way it works.

In short what's going on is the State of California (Scwartzneggar is the Governor) passed a law allowing the goverment to regulate games. The right to do that has been challenged, and The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case (they don't have to, they get to choose what to review). Right now we're waiting for it to rule on whether it agrees that the law is constitutional or not, due to govermental enforcement of ratings creating a massive free speech issue that goes beyond the intent of the law (it could snowball easily). I won't break that down, but that's what the Supreme Court is up to.

At any rate, while this was ongoing, part of the executive branch of the goverment decided that it thinks games are Art, and decided that it would invest money in the creation of games, much like it does other areas of artistic endeavor.

Now, this could have been done to try and sway The Surpreme Court's opinion (ie other parts of the goverment disagree with California), we don't really know all the motivations behind this desician. Technically The Surpreme Court isn't supposed to consider things like that though.

Generally speaking if the worst happens and The Surpreme Court allows the regulation of video games, in this case it won't nessicarly influance the policies of other parts of the goverment. We might very well see regulated games, alongside art grants being given to indie game developers. There is a good chance they will remain two entirely differant issues. It seems unlikely that a ruling from The Surpeme Court, even if it says "games are not to be granted artistic protection" is going to directly force the end of those grants, though it COULD happen, and down the road when we see a change of administration someone would probably cut that end of things though.

That's what's going on as I understand it.

That said, if The Surpreme Court rules in favor of allowing the goverment to rate games and enforce the ratings, I'm going to be a bit disappointed if nothing happens as a result. Though in the end I suspect there will just be a lot of bellyaching and that will be the end of it, along with the beginning of the end for what remains of our free speech rights.

I'm hoping for the best though, let's see what happens Monday.

Fingers crossed. As one of the few non-jaded, still-believing-in-the-American-legal-system types in my area, I'm hoping that the SCOTUS will make the right decision on this one. Here's to hoping... because I honestly cannot think of a logical reason that the ruling would not be the favor of games' free speech.

Is anyone in the UK (and probably everywhere else in the world just not looked it up) reading this and thinking

"Why not just make it illegal to sell a game to someone under the age rating on it?"
(as I understand it that is not what this law is doing)

If I remember right in America it's the games industry who actually gives the age ratings there so they should have no reason to complain.

It would be the shops who are punished for breaking it and don't they have some agreement not to sell games to someone under its age rating anyway?

It will not stop free speech because if a parent wants to buy an 18 rated game for their kid then they can.

Side note, I think that should be applied to films, books and music so it is not singling out games. Else what is the point in you even having age ratings in the first place?

I have confidence the old guys on the judge chairs will make the intelligent decision here, especially considering the recent

"Games are art"

decision by the federal government.

I believe at this point if the Supreme Court rules that Arnold Schwarzenegger is better qualified to judge for the whole what is and is not suitable for the moral development of our children than those childrens' individual parents, I'm going to have to make a quick trip to Washington D.C. to spit on a justice.

(Please don't hurt me, Feds, I'm not serious.)

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