Supreme Court: California’s Ban On Violent Video Games Unconstitutional

In a 7-2 decision by the Supreme Court of the United States, they’ve found that California’s ban on violent video games was an “unconstitutional content based restriction on speech”, and further ruled that the ban was a violation of the first amendment.

While the ruling by the Supreme court was a clear win for video game studios there was more at stake then just video games.  Cable operators, represented by the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, feared that if passed, the law would allow courts to make the decisions regarding programming.

More after the break

The NCTA said “Courts would have little ability to undertake the critical task of distinguishing regulation of truly harmful speech from regulation of merely objectionable speech,”

TV studios voiced an equal concern “the government would presumably be empowered to proscribe the distribution of depictions of violence in motion pictures, television and books,”. Studios were represented by the Motion Picture Association of America, the same organization that holds the responsibility of determining movie ratings.

Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonya Sotomayor and Elena Kagan sided with the content providers. In Scalia’s opinion, they all agreed “The Act does not comport with the First Amendment. Video games qualify for First Amendment protection. Like pro-tected books, plays, and movies, they communicate ideas through fa-miliar literary devices and features distinctive to the medium. And ‘the basic principles of freedom of speech . ..”

Source: Broadcasting & Cable