California voted in a law that that by 2006 was supposed to ban the sale of computer games deemed violent or for sexually mature audiences to anyone under the age of 18. Not surprisingly the entertainment industry contested it, with the Entertainment Merchants Association and the Entertainment Software Association both fighting the case.
In two courts now the trade bodies, who count Microsoft, Sony, Electronic Arts and Take Two (publisher of Grand Theft Auto) among their members, have convinced the court that there is not enough evidence to allow such a ban. California disputes this and now the highest court in the land will give Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Assn., 08-1448 a hearing.
"Courts throughout the country have ruled consistently that content-based regulation of computer and video games is unconstitutional. Research shows that the public agrees, video games should be provided the same protections as books, movies and music," said Michael D. Gallagher, president of the Entertainment Software Association.
"We are hopeful that the Court will reject California's invitation to break from these settled principles by treating depictions of violence, especially those in creative works, as unprotected by the First Amendment."
The decision of the Supreme Court is going to be final in this so all the big guns are going to be pulled out by both sides. While the games industry may have a good case, the case is far from certain, particularly given the more conservative makeup of the judges.
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