A law in California that makes it illegal to sell violent video games, or games that have an “M” rating, to children has been overturned by the US Supreme Court for violating the constitution’s free speech provisions.
The US Supreme Court found that the state-based law violates the First Amendment, saying that “California’s claim that ‘interactive’ video games present special problems, in that the player participates in the violent action on screen and determines its outcome, is unpersuasive.” They also found that the restrictions have little impact on the gaming world. The court also said that it was up to the parents to decide what games their children should buy.
In the Court’s ruling, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote: “California’s argument would fare better if there were a long-standing tradition in this country of specially restricting children’s access to depictions of violence, but there is none. Certainly the books we give children to read – or read to them when they are younger – contain no shortage of gore.”
One if the most important part of the ruling is “Video games qualify for First Amendment protection. Like protected books, plays, and movies, they communicate ideas through familiar literary devices and features distinctive to the medium.”
Michael Gallagher, the president of the Entertainment Software Association, said: “This is a historic and complete win for the First Amendment and the creative freedom of artists and storytellers everywhere.”
Should video games be considered as free speech?