Washington – The U.S.
Supreme Court has agreed to review a California
law restricting the sale of video games featuring violent or sexually explicit
content to minors, which was struck down as unconstitutional by lower courts.
The law was signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005, but was never
enforced, as both a U.S. District Court and the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals blocked its enforcement as an unconstitutional restriction on free

The law would have required additional labeling on games, and provided
fines for retailers found selling such titles to minors.

"I am pleased the
U.S. Supreme Court has decided to take up this issue, and I look forward to a
decision upholding this important law that gives parents more tools to protect
their children, including the opportunity to determine what video games are
appropriate," Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

The Entertainment
Software Association (ESA), the trade group that represents U.S. video game
developers and publishers, noted that many similar attempts to regulate game
sales to minors have been struck down by the courts.

"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 ESA president and CEO Michael Gallagher.

"As the Court
recognized last week in the US
v. Stevens case, the First Amendment protects all speech other than just a few
‘historic and traditional categories’ that are ‘well-defined and narrowly
limited.’ 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."


Related Links:

(San Francisco Chronicle)