Lawyer: "Brown v. EMA is Monumental"

Lawyer: "Brown v. EMA is Monumental"

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Jennifer Mercurio has been fighting the good videogame fight for years and the Supreme Court judgement gives her more ammunition.

After being present in the Supreme Court room in November last year when oral arguments were heard for Brown v. EMA, Mercurio was optimistic about the legal future of videogames. The decision announced yesterday that struck down California's proposed legislation to make it illegal to sell "deviant" games to minors has proven that her optimism was deserved. The fight is far from over, as the opinions of Justices Alito and Thomas proved, but Mercurio is confident that the videogame industry, and any industry whose First Amendment rights are threatened, can beat back any opposition armed with the decision of Brown v. EMA.

"Brown v EMA is monumental, not only for the video game world, but to First Amendment jurisprudence," Mercurio told me via email. "The decision will guide discussions of future bills, which we are sure to see in the coming months and years. While there is much to be gratified of in Brown v EMA, the conversation is far from over, and we at the ECA look forward to fighting similar misguided legislative efforts to criminalize video games and other First Amendment protected content."

Mercurio once told me that she thought Chief Justice Roberts wanted his tenure to be known for further establishing the bounds of the First Amendment. What was the significance, then, of Roberts signing on to the opinion written by Alito that might leave the door open to future attempts by state legislatures to regulate game sales?

"By the Chief Justice signing onto Justice Alito's concurrence, he agrees that the CA law fails, but he and Justice Alito want to highlight the impropriety of the actual law in question, not all possible violent video game laws," she said. "They leave open the possibility that a violent video game law drafted in another way could be held constitutional. I'm sure legislators across the country will introduce legislation worded differently in an attempt to pass constitutional muster."

If they do, the laws will likely be struck down, just like the one proposed by California Representative Leland Yee was on Monday.

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I still think Alito had the best opinion.

He agreed that video games deserve constitutional protection, but also understands that there ARE differences in how the brain deal with video games vs. movies and books.

I'm just glad that not all old guys are dinosaurs.

This may seem like flame-bait, but here goes: Why the fuck is America still basing its laws around a 224 year old piece of paper?

Perhaps Americans view it differently, but we manage just fine over here in Europe without the constitution. M rated games shouldn't be legally sold to minors anyway, but the only way to change that is to make games unprotected by the 1st amendment and therefore ruin the gaming industry. It's ridiculous.

hue

The Plunk:
This may seem like flame-bait, but here goes: Why the fuck is America still basing its laws around a 224 year old piece of paper?

Perhaps Americans view it differently, but we manage just fine over here in Europe without the constitution. M rated games shouldn't be legally sold to minors anyway, but the only way to change that is to make games unprotected by the 1st amendment and therefore ruin the gaming industry. It's ridiculous.

Most European countries still operate off of a constitution...

Many of those were written much more recently than ours, but that's only because most of those countries do not have the same government that they did in 1788.

France's was adopted in 1958.
Germany's was adopted in 1949.
Belgium's was adopted in 1831.
Poland's was adopted in 1997.

England is the only exception I know of, since it essentially adopted its current form of government in 1649.

Jabberwock xeno:
I still think Alito had the best opinion.

He agreed that video games deserve constitutional protection, but also understands that there ARE differences in how the brain deal with video games vs. movies and books.

Movies have different effects on the brain then books.

The first amendment doesn't differentiate.

The Plunk:
This may seem like flame-bait, but here goes: Why the fuck is America still basing its laws around a 224 year old piece of paper?

Perhaps Americans view it differently, but we manage just fine over here in Europe without the constitution. M rated games shouldn't be legally sold to minors anyway, but the only way to change that is to make games unprotected by the 1st amendment and therefore ruin the gaming industry. It's ridiculous.

It may not be intended as flamebait, but it is ignorant.

The reason why is because it's the highest law of the land. That's it. We have to abide by it, change it via the amendment process, or have an armed revolution every time we think it's out of date. Which of these options is preferable?

Of course we could function like the British government and have an unwritten constitution, but frankly does ANYONE think that this is a good idea for the United States?

As far as other governments, why is it the business of the government to decide what ideas the public should be exposed to? While I understand the concern for the kids, a far less authoritarian stance would be to simply leave that in the hands of the parents. Frankly, it's a far better choice then letting the government into every contour of our lives.

The Plunk:
This may seem like flame-bait, but here goes: Why the fuck is America still basing its laws around a 224 year old piece of paper?

Perhaps Americans view it differently, but we manage just fine over here in Europe without the constitution. M rated games shouldn't be legally sold to minors anyway, but the only way to change that is to make games unprotected by the 1st amendment and therefore ruin the gaming industry. It's ridiculous.

Short answer.

So stuff like this is less likely to happen.

image

Slightly longer answer. Essentially it's a way to protect people from government oppression by setting down a strict set of rules that the government has to follow while governing. It's more or less a safeguard to prevent the government from passing any silly law it feels like. And it has in fact been changed 27 times.

The Plunk:
This may seem like flame-bait, but here goes: Why the fuck is America still basing its laws around a 224 year old piece of paper?

Perhaps Americans view it differently, but we manage just fine over here in Europe without the constitution. M rated games shouldn't be legally sold to minors anyway, but the only way to change that is to make games unprotected by the 1st amendment and therefore ruin the gaming industry. It's ridiculous.

So that "won't somebody please think of the children!" doesn't work as often as it might. Just look at other English-speaking democracies (just to look for maximum similarity to America) like Canada and Ausfailia which don't have constitutional protection of free speech; the grumpy freedom-hating sections of their society have been much more successful in imposing government control over ideas and art.

The more I got to thinking about Alito's response, the more I got to think the guy has his feet on the ground. But now is a good time to show that laws like this one don't need to be drafted. Now is a good time to show congressmen that parents are more responsible than what is the usual perception, and that game stores are already doing this.
We shouldn't have to have the government doing stuff like this for us. I cry when people beg for more laws, and then when they get passed the same people beg for more freedom.

Jabberwock xeno:
I still think Alito had the best opinion.

He agreed that video games deserve constitutional protection, but also understands that there ARE differences in how the brain deal with video games vs. movies and books.

There is a difference, but in the end it is still an entertainment medium and shouldn't be segregated from movies, books, and music. Movies and music have a self-imposed rating system. So do games. Why should games' rating system be legally enforced when the others are not?
I think now is a good time for the ESRB to start doing some PSA's on network TV to help build awareness. Otherwise down the line there is going to be another senator elected who will try to take the power away, and will want to put in legally enforceable rules that will only cost the country and states more money than we can afford through suppression of the medium and the added expenditures made to enforce the laws.

Jabberwock xeno:
I still think Alito had the best opinion.

He agreed that video games deserve constitutional protection, but also understands that there ARE differences in how the brain deal with video games vs. movies and books.

His second paragraph is truly a thing of beauty.

I just have a different question...

Why do we have

samsonguy920:
The more I got to thinking about Alito's response, the more I got to think the guy has his feet on the ground. But now is a good time to show that laws like this one don't need to be drafted. Now is a good time to show congressmen that parents are more responsible than what is the usual perception, and that game stores are already doing this.
We shouldn't have to have the government doing stuff like this for us. I cry when people beg for more laws, and then when they get passed the same people beg for more freedom.

Jabberwock xeno:
I still think Alito had the best opinion.

He agreed that video games deserve constitutional protection, but also understands that there ARE differences in how the brain deal with video games vs. movies and books.

There is a difference, but in the end it is still an entertainment medium and shouldn't be segregated from movies, books, and music. Movies and music have a self-imposed rating system. So do games. Why should games' rating system be legally enforced when the others are not?
I think now is a good time for the ESRB to start doing some PSA's on network TV to help build awareness. Otherwise down the line there is going to be another senator elected who will try to take the power away, and will want to put in legally enforceable rules that will only cost the country and states more money than we can afford through suppression of the medium and the added expenditures made to enforce the laws.

We've gone through Joe Lieberman ('93), Hillary Clinton (Hot Coffee), and Joe Baca (current). I'm sure that with games becoming more popular than movies or even books, more Senators will grandstand on video game issues. That's not going to change.

Why will we continue to have legislature like this? Because some people "know" they are right. Because some people aren't comfortable if they can't control the lives of others. After all they aren't trying to ban / control stuff they do. Just what others do. I suspect they operate on the theory that different is "wrong". They don't look and judge if the behavior has any effect on them, just that it's not what they do / how they think. It's not just about games. They aren't going away, and that's why we have a Constittuion. To protect us from the narrow minded and bigoted.

The Plunk:
This may seem like flame-bait, but here goes: Why the fuck is America still basing its laws around a 224 year old piece of paper?

Perhaps Americans view it differently, but we manage just fine over here in Europe without the constitution. M rated games shouldn't be legally sold to minors anyway, but the only way to change that is to make games unprotected by the 1st amendment and therefore ruin the gaming industry. It's ridiculous.

Paranoia aside, it's more about government not being where it doesn't need to be. The fewer regulations and intrusions a government has to make, the better off a free society is to run its self. Ya, sure, not having Big Brother take over is part of it but mostly it's about not fixing a system that already works by and large.

OT: I'm glad they chose the side of reason. I'm even more glad it was a 7/2 vote. It's about time they decided a major case that didn't go strictly down party lines.

The Plunk:
This may seem like flame-bait, but here goes: Why the fuck is America still basing its laws around a 224 year old piece of paper?

Perhaps Americans view it differently, but we manage just fine over here in Europe without the constitution. M rated games shouldn't be legally sold to minors anyway, but the only way to change that is to make games unprotected by the 1st amendment and therefore ruin the gaming industry. It's ridiculous.

The Constitution: It fuckin works!

Also, games are in fact currently not able to be sold to minors. I'm 20 and almost every gamestop employee still asks for my ID.

Ashcrexl:

The Plunk:
This may seem like flame-bait, but here goes: Why the fuck is America still basing its laws around a 224 year old piece of paper?

Perhaps Americans view it differently, but we manage just fine over here in Europe without the constitution. M rated games shouldn't be legally sold to minors anyway, but the only way to change that is to make games unprotected by the 1st amendment and therefore ruin the gaming industry. It's ridiculous.

The Constitution: It fuckin works!

Also, games are in fact currently not able to be sold to minors. I'm 20 and almost every gamestop employee still asks for my ID.

Yep, because if they sell one to a minor and get caught, they get a far worse punishment than a mere fine; the ESRB will issue SANCTIONS!!! The ESRB has the option of Black-listing any retail which violates their agreement and can anything from reducing the amount of stock they are sold, to cutting of the supply of goods all together. That's a hell of a lot worse than some paltry $1000 fine!

Ashcrexl:

The Plunk:
This may seem like flame-bait, but here goes: Why the fuck is America still basing its laws around a 224 year old piece of paper?

Perhaps Americans view it differently, but we manage just fine over here in Europe without the constitution. M rated games shouldn't be legally sold to minors anyway, but the only way to change that is to make games unprotected by the 1st amendment and therefore ruin the gaming industry. It's ridiculous.

The Constitution: It fuckin works!

Also, games are in fact currently not able to be sold to minors. I'm 20 and almost every gamestop employee still asks for my ID.

I'm 26 and when I went to buy God of War 3 at the midnight release, they clerk started to warn me about the content. I stopped her and informed her that I was well aware of the content.

Good, this is good. Now we need to bring the fight to anime and manga in Tokyo.

 

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