Sony: Help Defend Video Gaming and Sign the Gamer Petition!


197w ago - Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) President Hal Halpin has extended an invitation to video gamers to sign the Gamer Petition to preserve video gaming in America.

To quote: This winter, the game industry – developers, publishers, retailers, et al – will face the single biggest legal challenge that such entertainment, broadly, has ever been up against and in the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).

The State of California had appealed the U.S. Ninth Circuit decision to strike down the so-called CA "video game violence" law in Schwarzenegger v EMA, which every court had done in every such "violent video game" case. But this time was different; For the first time, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the case (via "accepting certiorari" aka "cert").

To be blunt, none of us expected it and we were all taken back by the decision. Just 1% of cases filed are granted cert – one percent!

At stake: gaming in America. Yes, you read that correctly.

California State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) is the former child psychologist who championed the "violent video game" bill from inception and is coordinating with California Attorney General, Jerry Brown (D-Oakland), and their legal team to muster forces representing the anti-game side.

In the pro-games corner are trade associations which represent the corporations which make and sell games and other groups which have skin in the game, such as First Amendment rights organizations.

Both sides have an impressive roster of academics, researchers and legal teams committed to a decisive win. Forget 800-pound gorillas; this is more like armies going to war. And the reason is simple: all legal precedent can go right out the window. The slate is cleaned.

In the time since the Court's announcement there has been a lot of media coverage, both from the enthusiast outlets and the national press. A disturbing theme that you'd find too often in the consumer comments is one of apathy. Perhaps it arose from winning in each of the violence in video game cases.

Maybe because, from our perspective, it's hard to wrap your head around the idea that we could lose – the logic seems pretty obvious. But this is the U.S. Supreme Court, the only court in our country where the Justices don't have to "follow the law" because they make the law that everyone else follows.

And here's the rub, as industry executives will openly admit: a loss wouldn't just be limited to any one demographic, such as minors; or any one area, such as California; or even to any one art form, such as video games.

It wouldn't solely change how games are merchandised and sold. Should the U.S. Supreme Court determine that games may not necessarily enjoy the same First Amendment protections as music and movies do now, it would be catastrophic and the implications for gaming and gamers, and entertainment consumers generally, widespread.

Many states and legislators across the country will be watching the outcome of this case closely and are eager to see that there may be an opportunity to re-start their regulatory efforts. Developers are anxious because their rights as artists and creators may be substantially diminished.

A loss would have a chilling effect on the medium as a whole – not limited to the United States. Other forms of media could quickly follow, with movies, music, books and all other previously protected First Amendment free speech on the block. Foreign governments often fashion and amend their own laws after SCOTUS decisions.

Retailers and publishers, who presently employ a self-regulated ratings system (ESRB), not unlike movies, may be forced to comply with a regulatory environment, like alcohol, tobacco, and firearms.

This case may significantly impact the rights of minors, as one of many First Amendment points to be debated will likely be whether minors have them or deserve to keep them. The age of majority is also inconsistent from state to state... The business, legal and cultural implications are mind-boggling.

In most SCOTUS cases, the perspective of the citizens is represented by the politicians – who are presumed to be representing the will of the people. The industry and its trade organizations represent the business. The idea of abdicating our personal consumer representation to the political figures in this case was and is unfathomable.

The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) is the non-profit membership organization which represents the rights of gamers in the U.S. and Canada. Our members pay an annual dues fee and in exchange receive advocacy representation, affinity benefits and discounts on games-related goods and services.

We will be submitting a Friend of the Court document, called the consumer amicus brief, in support of the industry. That move, while it may appear obvious, is very uncommon. Similar membership organizations such as AAA or AARP are among the few that have the resources to bring such a document to bear.

Additionally, ECA will be attaching a consumer petition, which any American of any age can sign on to. It simply, but emphatically, states:

We, the undersigned American video game consumers, purchase, rent and play video games the way we do other entertainment content such as movies and music. We respectfully request that you hold that video games are indeed free speech, protected under the First Amendment, like other entertainment media.

Petitions, historically, have not made or broken any SCOTUS cases; they have little legal bearing. The vast majority of what will determine whether we win or lose is predetermined.

What a consumer amicus, and attached petition, will do is inform the justices, staff, clerks, historians, members of the Bar and Supreme Court press corps that consumers, in this case, are represented by consumers – not politicians.

We will be showing that the will of the people is present, is not "covered" by a few select elected officials, and that we are making our case via the consumer amicus and also backing it up with the convictions of petition signatories.

A petition that is viewed as successful may or may not be impactful, but one that is not successful could in fact harm the case. Maybe the amicus and petition will only change the game by one percent. Maybe it'll be the same long odds that led to it being heard in the first place.

If you care about gaming and your rights, please, consider signing the petition.



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xxLindenxx's Avatar
#5 - xxLindenxx - 197w ago
How stupid, parents shouldn't even be buying their kids video games that say 16 + on the box..The best way to actually counter this is to make publicity with the effects of violent video games on kids instead of banning violence of games all at once.

inginear's Avatar
#4 - inginear - 197w ago
i agree with you. however we are in this position here in the states because of so called parents. pretty much every child born from 1990 to the present has parents that are only interested in themselves and their facebook friends and twitter followers.

if parents actually interacted and spent time raising their kids instead of letting television and games do it then we wouldn't have this problem.

i'm sure there are some parents that are the exception and raise their kids themselves, but with the number of big lawsuits against "objectionable" material in games and media those parents would be a small minority.

Starlight's Avatar
#3 - Starlight - 197w ago
Typical US as they want to ruin everything that is good in life, how about movies there is violence in them and you don't see them up in arms about that.

They should just move all the production plants and game makers out of the US and setup else where as the US is just trying to run the world besides this as they are pressuring our govt. about this retarded copyright law which if it goes through won't allow us to make a copy of a original we bought which is total crap.

Not sure were these airheads come up with such stupid things about gaming as everyone should know it is not real and just a video game that should be enjoyed but with the young moron generation we have now a days that play the game and spin out afterwards is they have the problem not the video game.

You never seen this kinda crap when i was young and video games were first out as it was enjoyable, but now a days as soon as something is violent they want to blame something, they might as well take violence out of movies or don't make movies and take off all the violence we see on tv and see what we have left in the end which is basically nothing in the end then.

I actually feel sorry for you good Americans as your country is really raking you people over the coals and this is just another moron move by these authorities on this who have no life but to see how they can mess up things.

Well i have said enough i guess and hope this will not fly as this can ruin video gaming in a sense for senseless morons and these kids that flip out on video games shouldn't even be playing them if this is all they do and will wreck it for the rest of us good gamers..well that was my 2 cents worth on this subject.

xUb3rn00dlEx's Avatar
#2 - xUb3rn00dlEx - 197w ago
And yet again we see our rights diminish ever more, slowly, yet surely... I call for a revolution. This country lost it's purpose, which was that it was founded as a rebellion against exactly these practices! I SIGN!

ekrboi's Avatar
#1 - ekrboi - 197w ago
WTF.. sometimes it makes me sick that i'm an american.. California State Senator Leland Yee can go eff himself.. if u dont like video games dont play them or let your kids play them (and let them hate you too).. but dont go screw it up for everyone else.. there are already laws in place to keep minors from obtaining so-called "violent" games.

why not work on making those laws work better.. in my days ive been carded and seen other carded for video games.. either someone isnt doing their job or the parents are getting these games for their kids in which case i believe thats their right.

Now i may be wrong i have had a few beers at this point and may have misread.. but it seems like they want to be able to regulate what developers could do with their video games and other media. sounds a little Nazi if you ask me..













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