California Law Should Fail Due to First Amendment Concerns
WASHINGTON D.C. — Today the Supreme Court took up EMA v. Schwarzenegger, reviewing a lower court's decision to throw out a California law, which banned the sale and rental of violent video games to anyone under 18 years of age. This will be the first major First Amendment case regarding video game speech rights heard by our nation's highest court. The following statement may be attributed to Adam Thierer, President of the Progress & Freedom Foundation:
"I hope the Supreme Court is taking this case to affirm the free speech rights of game creators and users, and not to overturn ten years of solid, sensible lower court decisions granting video games the same First Amendment protections as books, film, music and other forms of entertainment. Government regulation of game content is unnecessary because parents have been empowered with sophisticated video game parental controls and a highly descriptive ratings system that is widely recognized and easy to use. Lawmakers should focus their efforts on making sure parents are better aware of existing tools and ratings instead of trying to censor game content in such a plainly unconstitutional fashion. Let's hope the Supreme Court affirms that educational approach and Ninth Circuit's decision at the same time."
Thierer is the author of a regularly-updated PFF special report, Parental Controls & Online Child Protection: A Survey of Tools & Methods, which is in its fourth edition, and he has served on three major online safety task forces, including the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's Online Safety and Technology Working Group. In 2008, he received the Family Online Safety Institute's "Award for Outstanding Achievement."
The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.