The United States Supreme Court has decided to take on a case linked to the violent videogames bill, which has been enacted in the state of California. The law was supported by state governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and it would make it illegal for shops to sell videogames considered violent to those buyers who are under the age of 18, setting up a fine of 1,000 dollars for those who not respect it.
The California videogame law has been declared unconstitutional by lower courts, which have found that it contradicts the First Amendment of the United States Constitution that provides for the freedom of speech and its distribution.
Michael Gallagher, who is the president and the Chief Executive Officer of the Entertainment Software Association
, said, “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.”
The United States Supreme Court recently ruled that it is lawful under the Constitution to distribute video content that shows off animal cruelty, even if there are laws aiming to eliminate animal cruelty itself. The pro freedom of speech stance of the court will probably also come into play in the case involving the California videogame bill. It's not known when the Supreme Court might deliver a verdict.
Both industry representatives and gamers have long argued that as long as parents have adequate information and take a look at the ratings information offered on all videogame packaging, there's little chance of them buying something like Modern Warfare 2
for their 8 year old. It's easier to make shop keepers enforce voluntary standards and agree to offer the information buyers need than to pass a tough law that might sound good but is hard to actually enforce.