Ruth Bader Ginsburg may not be a Duke Nukem gamer, but the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the video game industry in an important ruling on Monday that struck down a California law preventing the sale of violent games to children. In a 7-2 ruling in the case, Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, No. 08-1448, the Court said the 2005 California law that would have fined stores $1,000 for selling violent video games to customers under the age of 18 violated the First Amendment’s free speech protections.
The video game industry applauded the result, as did the movie industry, which potentially could’ve been effected if the ruling had gone the other way. “The motion picture industry is no stranger to governments’ incursion on freedom of expression,” said MPAA’s chairman Chris Dodd, a U.S. senator from Connecticut for 30 years. “From the very inception of the movie industry, attempts to restrict speech have threatened the creativity of American movie-makers. We applaud the Supreme Court for recognizing the far-reaching First-Amendment implications posed by the California law.”
Parents Television Council president Tim Winter denounced the decision saying, “This ruling replaces the authority of parents with the economic interests of the video game industry. With no fear of any consequence for violating the video game industry’s own age restriction guidelines, retailers can now openly, brazenly sell games with unspeakable violence and adult content even to the youngest of children.”