Skip to comments.Michigan Violent Game Bill Ruled Unconstitutional
Posted on 04/04/2006 9:37:02 AM PDT by Fractal Trader
Judge George Caram Steeh, United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, has handed down a permanent injunction halting the implementation of the new Michigan state law that would restrict video game sales to minors. This marks the sixth court in three years to rule video game sales as being unconstitutional.
In his decision, the judge dismissed the state's claim that the interactive nature of video games makes them less entitled to First Amendment protection. "The interactive, or functional aspect, in video games can be said to enhance the expressive elements even more than other media by drawing the player closer to the characters and becoming more involved in the plot of the game than by simply watching a movie or television show," Judge Steeh wrote. "It would be impossible to separate the functional aspects of a video game from the expressive, inasmuch as they are so closely intertwined and dependent on each other in creating the virtual experience."
"Judge Steeh's ruling represents a sweeping rejection of the state's claims regarding the harmful effects of violent video games and we will move immediately for reimbursement of the substantial legal fees incurred in this court fight which the state could have, and should have, never triggered," said Douglas Lowenstein, President of the ESA, the trade group representing U.S. computer and video game publishers. "It is noteworthy that Judge Steeh specifically chastised the state for not doing what we urged them to do from the start, which is to find less restrictive ways to help ensure that parents make sound choices about the games their kids play. With this wasteful litigation behind us, we hope the state will now do just that and we remain ready to work cooperatively with them."
In addition, and echoing the sentiments of researchers at the recent subcommittee hearing entitled Whats in a Game? State Regulation of Violent Video Games and the First Amendment regarding the difficulties in associating video game violence and real world aggression, the court said, "Dr. [Craig] Anderson's studies have not provided any evidence that the relationship between violent video games and aggressive behavior exists." It added that the evidence introduced alleging that new brain mapping studies show a link between violent games and aggressive thought is equally unpersuasive. "The research not only fails to provide concrete evidence that there is a connection between violent media and aggressive behavior, it also fails to distinguish between video games and other forms of media," the Judge wrote.
Addressing the state's claims that video games are more harmful than TV because the player controls the action, the court said there is no evidence to support such a claim, adding that "it could just as easily be said that the interactive element in video games acts as an outlet for minors to vent their violent or aggressive behavior, thereby diminishing the chance they would actually perform such acts in reality....Not only does the Act not materially advance the state's stated interest, but it appears to discriminate against a disfavored 'newcomer' in the world of entertainment media. Thus, 'singling out' the videogame industry does not advance the state's alleged goal," the Judge concluded.
"Nominated by William J. Clinton on September 24, 1997"
Whoever wrote this spends too much time playing video games and not enough time editing.
Now excuse me while I start up HALO!
We don't need more cops, we need more common sense and self control.
Yes, kids under 18 need more self control. Why are there age limits on porn, drinking etc, etc?
In two places in the article, the auther actually says the opposite of what he means. Incredible.
We certainly can't expect the parents to be at all responsible.
Why is the availability of M rated games even an issue?
Every time I buy M rated stuff at Best Buy I get carded. I'm in my 30's for chrissakes. I have a few gray hairs! Don't tell me retailiers aren't carding people on this stuff. Several retailers I've purchased M rated games for have cash register triggers asking for DOB's like they do for cigarette sales.
Before any anti-gaming types stand up and ask what the big deal is since these games are obviously "murder simulators" or "crime simulators" please note that games like Halo 2 where players engage in combat with aliens and there's purple "blood" are M rated games. So are other science fiction games like Doom 3.
Meanwhile games like Burnout where the entire object of the game is to crash into other vehicles, cause massive million dollar wrecks and plow other racers into walls is rated T for teen.
Placing the criminal or financial onus on retailers is BS. It's passing the buck for bad parenting and lack of supervision. Making it so your Xbox 360, for example, can't play M rated games or R and X rated movies is easier than typing in a URL in your browser. Those settings, once programmed, can be password protected and can't be changed by a kid.
This is just political posturing for special interests and completely pointless.
Then Clinton did something right.
IYHO, not mine.
Can't watch 'em 24/7. Some of them go to school, have friends, go to the mall. Of course, if we could just lock them up until they are about 30, that might work.
Clearly not everyone is a responsible adult or parent.
Exactly, which is why you need to instill good values in your children - teach them right from wrong and all that.
Nanny state is never the solution.
If you fear that as soon as your child gets out of view, all hell breaks loose you have clearly failed as a parent (which many have).
(and that's 'you' in general, not you, mlc)
nanny state smacked down ping
Actually video games are the least of my kids' problems! LOL
What does this mean? It's unconstitutional to not sell a sex laden video game to a 10 year old?
I have to wonder how many opinions would change on both sides of this argument if the video games depicted only cock fighting or pit bulls fighting and killing each other.
What does this mean?
Try reading the article.
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