US Senator: Games Shouldn't Have First Amendment Protection

Suggests games shouldn't be covered by the same 1st Amendment rights as movies.

Posted by Staff
US Senator: Games Shouldn't Have First Amendment Protection
California state Senator Leland Yee has defended his position on a law that seeks to ban "ultra violent" computer games to children under the age of 18. Speaking about the opposition from the games industry - that argues that the law will effectively censor and regulate the work of developers - he suggested that games should not be considered on the same level as movies.

The law, written by Yee, was signed in 2005 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger but is not in effect because of an injunction following outrage from the games industry. In 2007 the law was overturned, but the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal on that decision this week.

The LA Times reports that Yee believes that "violent video games are particularly harmful to children and that the government has the same interest in regulating access to them as it does pornography." The law is considered to be a 'test case' for how the country can tackle the problem of minors obtaining inappropriate material.

"I'm never going to be the person who stands up and says we should ban these ultra-violent video games. I'm just saying children ought not to be allowed to access them unless a parent buys it for them," Yee clarifies in an interview. "Otherwise, video games are just as worthy under the 1st Amendment as movies."

Clearly a lot of people don't seem to want the games and the movies to be seen as equal industries. Surely something is wrong with this picture.

Yee also had some good things to say about games at large though, stressing that "I think video games are artful and it takes a lot of creativity to make them. I also think the interactive nature of them and the technology behind them can have great educational value."

Whether his choice of 'artful' as in 'Artful Dodger' rather than 'artistic' was down to ignorance or politics is open to question.

It becomes more difficult to understand Yee's thought processes when you consider his full answer to the question: "Are you surprised that a bill you wrote may end up deciding the role of government in the video game business?"

He responds, "I always felt that the way we crafted this bill was the right approach to go after ultra-violent video games. I was disappointed that there was an injunction put in place and we lost our first appeal, but I'm very pleasantly surprised that the Supreme Court is taking a look at this issue.

When I decided to get into politics, my mother lamented, "What has my son done?" She helped me to get a PhD in psychology, and I was throwing it away to become a politician. Because this issue deals with children and their behavior and helping them, I feel like I didn't let my mother down."

Right, so... his Mom would be proud.


deleted 29 Apr 2010 13:02
This says to "Ban Ultra Violent Video Games to Children Under 18" and rightly so, but what it really will do is Ban Ultra Violent (Decided by whom?) from sale to all!

Daz 29 Apr 2010 15:56
which is the 1st amendment? is that the right to free speech thingy?
DrkStr 29 Apr 2010 17:41
Daz wrote:
which is the 1st amendment? is that the right to free speech thingy?

Wikipedia says
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

So if your religion is games, you can play them no problem.
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