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ECA asks US Supreme Court to reject restrictions on depicting violence in video games

The US Supreme Court has agreed to meet with the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) to discuss the depiction of violence in video games in relation to the upcoming Schwarzenegger v. EMA case. “Video games are an expressive medium that should be protected by the First Amendment. There is nothing exceptional about video games’ interactivity that should preclude the Court finding that they are protected artistic expressions,” said Jennifer Mercurio, Vice President and General Counsel of the ECA.


Above: The Supreme Court will decide if video games should be protected artistic expressions

If the Supreme Court agrees with the federal court’s decision in regards to Schwarzenegger v. EMA, video games will enjoy First Amendment protected speech, like books, movies and music. However, if the court disagrees, the ECA believes that this could lead to ‘new bills and laws curtailing video game access in states across the country.

The Entertainment Merchants Association has a good FAQ, detailing the Schwarzenegger v. EMA case, here. If you’d like to sign the ECA’s online petition, you can find it here.

Sep 20, 2010

20 comments

  • D0CCON - September 21, 2010 11:32 p.m.

    Arnold should try to censor his movies as well then. He can't honestly believe that tons of games AREN'T based on Terminator.
  • purple_omlet - September 21, 2010 10:40 p.m.

    Games are most definitely an art form and deserve first amendment protection. It's telling a story more than it is giving you some boobs to ogle at or some people to behead. We already have a rating system, what more do they need restrict us?
  • StoneDreadnaught - September 21, 2010 4:30 p.m.

    @thatblindgamer I know why; Because the general public has come to see video games as being stereotypically about violence, sex, and no value whatsoever. They're purposefully kept unaware of what a game's true potential is, and what it can offer as a medium. Largely though, that's the media's fault, constantly painting the same tired picture whenever a new game comes out. (Mass Effect, anyone?) Personally, I think this court case is almost laughable in that it's being seen by the Supreme Court. This law of the Governator's has already been rejected twice, why should it make any difference what court it's being decided in when the fact's are so very clear that it's goign to go one way and not the other? (Favoring video games as free speech).
  • thatblindgamer - September 21, 2010 2:26 p.m.

    I've always loved how when a movie or book has some sort of overly violent or sexual thing, no one bats an eye. But when a game has something that isn't nearly as bad, then it's a huge controversy. If you want a good example, take the movie Machete. It's overly violent and gory, and features loads of nudity and sexual themes. But I have not read a single article of saying that this movie should be banned for people because of it's content. But when Metal of Honor simply allows you to play as Taliban soldiers, then everyone gets in a uproar on how this game should be banned forever. Really, if you think about it, books and movies have worse stuff out there than the relatively young game industry has put out. So why are games held to a different standard then every other form of media?
  • lincc289 - September 21, 2010 1:50 p.m.

    go!go! About you, fashionable tide Story will start from here! http://fogz.eu/8tthy
  • Bloodstorm - September 21, 2010 12:53 p.m.

    @GoldenMe, Oh don't worry about the political stuff. I mean, if this passes then the government would only get to set regulation for the gaming industry and they only will get to decided what is allowed and what isn't and they only get to decide what constitutes as violence. If Schwarzenegger wins the oly gaming option you will have are learning games and the babiez games.
  • TheBoz - September 21, 2010 9:27 a.m.

    There is a big problem when it comes to what is "art". Throughout the centuries, art has a substancial basis in homosexuality, paedophilia, sex, porn, death, suffering and murder/war. And practically every single well known artist is guilty. Michaelangelo's David, an image of a naked man, cherubs in throughout art which are basically naked children even showing genitalia. How many artists have portrayed death in one form or another, have created gorey images. The only difference now is the techonology. Most general pop is about sex and we have kids singing them, films contain nudity, and talk about rediculous notions, someone at 16 can have sex but are not old enough to watch it in a movie or a game for another 2 years!!! What is all that about??? Sex and nudity is frowned upon in games but we teach kids about it at school with some quite graphic photographs. Movies are ok to portay all kinds of things, Saw, Hostel and not lets go into the adult entertainment industry. At the end of the day, an oil painting on a canvas, a statue of a naked person, a computer game, digital art, music and movies are a form of art. Even classic books can be quite racy. Then shall we go on about male genitals being produced in sweet form being sold in family shops and environments like the coast. The problem with censorship is that it is just plain stupid and has no consistency. If you ban any adult themes from games you have to burn all the art through the centuries, tear down the naked statues and destroy all record of movies that have sex or violence in them. Games need to mature as many gamers have, Nintendo consumers throughout the past 2 decades have been treated less immaturely as other consumers, a classic example is the Mortal Kombat on the Megadrive and SNES. Did Megadrive users then go out and beat up anyone on the street and dismember them. Censorship is no different to having a Nazi regime controlling what the rest of us can and can't do and express ourselves.
  • GoldenMe - September 21, 2010 6:47 a.m.

    Hmm, I'm voting age, I could sign the petition. Will I? No. Because fuck all this political bullshit. Fuck this goddamn bitching about "GAMES ARE ART". Fuck all this BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-ing. Can I please just get some games that are worth playing for once, and not be a waste of $60?
  • Cwf2008 - September 21, 2010 4:55 a.m.

    Hey if this law passes...hmm what was it that the founders mentioned in the declaration of independence? Something about overthrowing tyrannical governments?
  • elpurplemonkey - September 21, 2010 4:52 a.m.

    Wow this is will be a pretty major decision for video games. I agree with the above comments, we all need to sign that petition.
  • destro - September 21, 2010 4 a.m.

    every gamer needs to sign this. if nazis and the kkk are protected under the first ammendment to hold parades and rallies in america then it is completely unreasonable that games - fictitious interactive worlds, not practiced ideologies - should be restricted. petition signature +1
  • CharlieFerret - September 21, 2010 2:09 a.m.

    I'm on their side in this respect, but the ECA is one of the worst organizations I've ever seen. They've blatantly tried to scam money out of gamers by messing with renewal options to prevent any members from being able to cancel out of their paid membership, "coincidentally" right after removing the main features many signed up for. The petition's great, but I just wanted to throw out there that no one should EVER join their site, unless you want Hal Halpin to try and scam you as well.
  • Vulneratus - September 21, 2010 1:58 a.m.

    Thick Austrian accent: "Come on Schwarzenegger you got what you waaanted. Give these people aairrr."
  • darkraichu34 - September 21, 2010 12:59 a.m.

    What's scary? Schwarzenegger is trying to pass a law that will allow him, or any other naturalized citizen, to become president. If that happens, we are screwed.
  • n00b - September 21, 2010 12:59 a.m.

    crap was gona sign it but i live outside the us so
  • batmanboy11 - September 21, 2010 12:52 a.m.

    I really hope these laws don't get past.
  • Jacko415 - September 21, 2010 12:48 a.m.

    It seriously took you guys THIS long to post an article about this!?!?! anyways, if you read the ECA's brief, you will see that Schwarzenegger doesn't have a leg to stand on and if the courts rule in favor of him and California... or freedom of speech is fucked from then on.
  • 435 - September 21, 2010 12:46 a.m.

    If you care about keeping games freely accessible in the United States, please sign the petition. This is a call for censorship, pure and simple. If you're of voting age, please. It's of importance to anyone who cares about, plays or just sells games. Make your voice heard, tell SCotUS that California should stick it in their ear.
  • Destruco33 - September 21, 2010 12:45 a.m.

    Holding up Medusa's head i believe Gotta love art class :)
  • BlankBrush - September 21, 2010 12:44 a.m.

    ummm...i do believe its called "Perseus"

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