US Supreme Court Strikes Down Violent Video Game Ban

Posted June 27th, 2011 at 7:30 pm (UTC-5)
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The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the video game industry, saying states cannot ban the sale or rental of violent games to children because doing so would violate free speech rights.

In its 7-2 decision Monday, the justices struck down a 2005 California law covering games sold or rented to those under age 18. The law, which has never taken effect, defines a violent video game as one that depicts “killing, maiming, dismembering or sexually assaulting an image of a human being.”

In writing for the majority, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that even where the protection of children is the object, the constitutional limits on governmental action apply.

One of the dissenting judges, Stephen Breyer, said it makes no sense to legally block children's access to pornography yet allow them to buy or rent violent video games.

The Parents Television Council denounced the court's decision, saying in a statement that retailers can now openly and brazenly sell games with unspeakable violence and adult content even to the youngest of children.

The Entertainment Software Association welcomed the decision. The ESA issued a statement describing the ruling as a historic and complete win for the First Amendment and the creative freedom of artists and storytellers everywhere.