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Appeals Court Strikes Down California's Violent Game Ban

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the legislation-terminated dept.

The Courts 190

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has struck down as unconstitutional a California statute purporting to ban the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. In a 30-page decision (PDF), in Video Software Dealers Association v. Schwarzenegger, the federal appeals court ruled that 'the Act, as a presumptively invalid content based restriction on speech, is subject to strict scrutiny and not the 'variable obscenity' standard from Ginsberg v. New York, 390 U.S. 629 (1968). Applying strict scrutiny, we hold that the Act violates rights protected by the First Amendment because the State has not demonstrated a compelling interest, has not tailored the restriction to its alleged compelling interest, and there exist less-restrictive means that would further the State's expressed interests. Additionally, we hold that the Act's labeling requirement is unconstitutionally compelled speech under the First Amendment because it does not require the disclosure of purely factual information; but compels the carrying of the State's controversial opinion.'"

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Tempting fate (5, Funny)

EkriirkE (1075937) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937255)

Tempting fate by going against one of the most violent; a Terminator.

Here's what you get from these "games" (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26937281)

Re:Here's what you get from these "games" (1, Funny)

piratesyarr (1117287) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938571)

She got beaten up by her fella, ella, ella...

Re:Tempting fate (1)

John Allsup (987) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937485)

Fate got bored of temptation long ago, though nice try.

Re:Tempting fate (2, Funny)

GrandTeddyBearOfDoom (1483117) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937525)

I have Fond Memories(TM) of Tempting Fate(TM), once daring to pick up a stick.

Re:Tempting fate (2, Funny)

John Allsup (987) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937535)

Looking at your profile, I wonder how you can pick up anything at all. Well done for being daring!

How long will the ruling stand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26937257)

The Ninth leads in the number of cases that wind up being reversed.

Here's a quarter honey, buy a clue. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26937337)

The ninth also leads in the number of cases that don't wind up being reversed. Not that either statistic tells us anything meaningful about the likelihood of this particular ruling being reversed.

Re:How long will the ruling stand? (4, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937519)

Yeah, and video game laws lead in the number that wind up being reversed, too. I can only imagine how frustrated lawmakers must be that free speech applies to things they dislike, too.

hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26937267)

Brilliant.

I thought all the smart people had killed themselves, but evidently they're lawyers.

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26937453)

No, the smart people are groovin' on the beach in tropical paradise until the ice melts. See ya in May...

tellie tubbies (-1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937273)

tellie tubbies promote violence and sexual ambiguity, but i don't see them getting banned.

He'll be back (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937299)

Shit man, I bet... (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937353)

Legal staff: Governor, we lost in the appeal.
Governator: No way, josé... we'll be back!

Re:Shit man, I bet... (4, Insightful)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937423)

While many here will certainly applaud this decision, I find the double-standard amazing. If we can ban sales of pictures of people having sex to minors and impose other draconian punishment, then why is obscene violence any different?

I somehow doubt the founding fathers would have equated free speech to depictions of extreme violence, though I'll undoubtedly get modded down for this.
There's certainly a case for forbidding censorship of any kind, but mixing up the values brings up crap like this.

I certainly am not happy about my freedom to criticize politicians being considered on the same level as some spotty fifteen year old kid's "right" to buy GTA.

Re:Shit man, I bet... (0, Flamebait)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937527)

ahh the old founding fathers chestnut. don't you think it's pretty pompus of you to assume you know what the founding fathers were thinking hundreds of years ago, not to mention inaccurate?

we don't need anymore people making rules for us or telling others how to raise their kids. i grew up on doom and wolfenstien3d and it didn't make me (along with 100,000's of others) damaged goods. i suspect there is nothing wrong with the cartoon style violence depected in video games. next you'll want to ban bugs bunny because he is depected in acts of violence against elmer fud.

Re:Shit man, I bet... (4, Interesting)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937569)

I don't think the GP was arguing that the lifting of the ban is bad, it's just a curious double standard. I've never understood the US (and increasingly UK) regulators' belief that violence is good and sex is bad. I have far more sympathy for the continental European tendency to view sex as good and violence as bad (even if -- or perhaps because -- it does lead to the French tendency when confronted with a war to say "f*** it...").

Re:Shit man, I bet... (3, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937863)

I don't think the GP was arguing that the lifting of the ban is bad, it's just a curious double standard. I've never understood the US (and increasingly UK) regulators' belief that violence is good and sex is bad.

In my view the bans on 'obscenity' are equally idiotic, just political pandering.

Re:Shit man, I bet... (2, Funny)

TFer_Atvar (857303) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938439)

I am contractually obligated to mod up anything you say. Fortunately, that contract doesn't keep me from posting after I mod you up.

Re:Shit man, I bet... (5, Funny)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937757)

I think when the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, they never meant it to mean that a black guy could be president.

Re:Shit man, I bet... (4, Insightful)

geekboy642 (799087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937835)

That is an absolutely salient observation for any time somebody parrots the line about the founding fathers. Those guys, well, they're dead. WE are the country now.

Re:Shit man, I bet... (3, Interesting)

Ravon Rodriguez (1074038) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938295)

That may be true, but there is a branch of government whose sole purpose for existing is to interpret the Founding Fathers' intention in the words of the Constitution. That's pretty much what the Supreme Court does all day.

Re:Shit man, I bet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26938297)

The founding fathers wanted YOU to be the country now. The sad part is that you believe that you actually are and apparently have no idea what it even means to "be the country now".

Re:Shit man, I bet... (0)

geekboy642 (799087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938777)

Troll more please.

I've served in the armed forces and voted in 3 Presidential elections. No one can ask more from a citizen than to intelligently vote and to take up arms when needed.

Re:Shit man, I bet... (2)

pcolaman (1208838) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938863)

Your response to his post doesn't really make any sense, other than to ignore his argument. What does you having served in the military or voting have to do with the Supreme Court?

Re:Shit man, I bet... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938613)

That might just be the first time I have heard Obama's race brought up in a non-racist way.

Re:Shit man, I bet... (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937919)

I think when the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, they never meant it to mean that a black guy could be president.

I don't laugh out loud much, but you got a big laugh out of me on that one; I hope you get modded to +5 funny. Truer words were never spoken.

Re:Shit man, I bet... (4, Interesting)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938461)

And you both could not be more wrong. While many states at the time of the American Revolution relied on slavery for their economy, many of the founding fathers (especially Thomas Jefferson) sought to abolish it. They were certainly aware that blacks could be the intellectual and educational equals of whites, because they met some such people in business and from African nations.

Some of the founding fathers would be delighted at how far Mr. Obama has come, and see it as a vindication of their dreams of liberty and justice for all.

Re:Shit man, I bet... (2, Interesting)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937579)

While many here will certainly applaud this decision, I find the double-standard amazing. If we can ban sales of pictures of people having sex to minors and impose other draconian punishment, then why is obscene violence any different?

Even better, just look at the FCC.

Saying "Fuck" is most definitely speech; why can the FCC ban that on public radio waves?

Re:Shit man, I bet... (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937775)

Saying "Fuck" is most definitely speech; why can the FCC ban that on public radio waves?

Because while you have a right to freedom of speech, you don't have a right to express yourself without restriction on publicly owned airwaves.

Re:Shit man, I bet... (3, Interesting)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937847)

Publicly owned airwaves are exactly the place where you should be able to express yourself. Not much of a free speech if the only place you can exercise it is in your own bathroom

Re:Shit man, I bet... (0, Offtopic)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937991)

your confusing the right to speak with the imaginary right to force others to listen to you. it could very well be that no one wants to hear you and the bathroom is the place for you.

Re:Shit man, I bet... (2, Interesting)

Ravon Rodriguez (1074038) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938273)

That's all fine and good, but profanity is words, like any other word. If I say shit, I'm in trouble. if I say poop, it's okay. Why? Why make one word worse than another of the same meaning? Somehow, saying God dangit instead of God Dammit is better. Won't you be going to hell for both anyway?

Re:Shit man, I bet... (1)

MWoody (222806) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938023)

Public radio waves are broadcast directly into your home. You might not have a radio set to listen in, but they're there. With that mode of distribution comes a requirement to pander to the lowest common denominator of offense, as it should.

Re:Shit man, I bet... (5, Insightful)

JustNilt (984644) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937649)

I won't get into the should kids or shouldn't kids buy various games issue. I don't think that's the real question these articles raise. The real issue is why would any politician vote for a law such as this which has already been shown time and again to be an automatic failure then waste money defending the failed law. As far as why judges strike these down, that's an interesting question so I asked a client of mine that happens to also be a judge once.

The main issue for the courts, it seems, is that it's extremely difficult, if not impossible, to tailor legislation to violence alone in the same manner as it is with pornography. This difficulty of is the real issue from what I can gather. We can say any evidence of bloodshed is obscene but then what about a safety video showing actual injury? By definition, these things are both bloody and violent yet are absolutely something minors should see before they operate certain power tools.

What it boils down to is what is considered obscene, really. Pretty much everyone (I suppose there are some few who'd disagree, thus the qualifier) agrees that nudity can be obscene, although not always. We likewise can agree that certain subject matter such as sexually explicit material are inappropriate for people under a certain age. Not everyone, however, agrees that violence, in and of itself, is necessarily obscene.

I hope this makes sense; I'm neither a lawyer nor a legal expert so I may habve mangled this somewhat.

Re:Shit man, I bet... (4, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937879)

What it boils down to is what is considered obscene...

What I want to know is where does one group of people get the right to legislate for the rest of us what is 'obscene'.

Re:Shit man, I bet... (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938075)

they get it when you vote them into power. sure you don't on who is in the FCC but the people you appoint to be your voice do.

Re:Shit man, I bet... (2, Informative)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937985)

We likewise can agree that certain subject matter such as sexually explicit material are inappropriate for people under a certain age.

Speak for yourself. There's no factual evidence that viewing sexually explicit material is harmful to anyone under any particular age. Calling it "inappropriate" is a matter of opinion, no different from calling political or religious material "inappropriate".

Re:Shit man, I bet... (1)

the_bard17 (626642) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938623)

I'd like to point out that I've yet to see a study that says breast feeding causes perverts.

Re:Shit man, I bet... (3, Interesting)

geoskd (321194) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938631)

Speak for yourself. There's no factual evidence that viewing sexually explicit material is harmful to anyone under any particular age. Calling it "inappropriate" is a matter of opinion, no different from calling political or religious material "inappropriate".

Allowing anyone to view sexually explicit material anytime they wish is quite harmful to the various Catholic denominations, as it undermines their "god-given" authority. They have a vested interest in preventing it, since the bible says so. If they allow it to go unchallenged then they are hypocrites. For that reason, there is a strong religious need to prevent others from doing the things they themselves are prohibited from doing in order to justify their own faith.

People don't have an inability to govern themselves, they have a fundamental inability to refrain from governing others.

-=Geoskd

Re:Shit man, I bet... (2, Informative)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938629)

The real issue is why would any politician vote for a law such as this which has already been shown time and again to be an automatic failure then waste money defending the failed law.

Because that way, the politician can say he "did something" about the issue. When stupid angry parents write letters to the legislator, he can assure them he's working hard to protect their poor little children.

Re:Shit man, I bet... (0, Flamebait)

Ravon Rodriguez (1074038) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938255)

Because the majority of Americans consider sex something to be kept behind closed doors. It's a double standard, really, to say violence is okay but sex isn't, but nobody ever called the American voter rational.

Re:Shit man, I bet... (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938283)

"If we can ban sales of pictures of people having sex to minors and impose other draconian punishment, then why is obscene violence any different?"

Religion condemns pleasure it does not control. Violence OTOH is intrinsic to the superstitions of the desert and they favor it as a tool.

Re:Shit man, I bet... (3, Informative)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938303)

Yes, it is a double standard. We should scrutinize laws banning all forms of speech, not just video games.

Re:Shit man, I bet... (4, Insightful)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938315)

While many here will certainly applaud this decision, I find the double-standard amazing. If we can ban sales of pictures of people having sex to minors and impose other draconian punishment, then why is obscene violence any different?

I completely agree, and I hate the double standard myself. Personally, I do applaud this decision, and I'd similarly applaud a decision banning sales of pictures of people having sex to minors.

I somehow doubt the founding fathers would have equated free speech to depictions of extreme violence

That might be true, but it's quite irrelevant. If you think it's right that they would be able to decide what equates to free speech and what does not, what you're actually doing is advocating a state-vetted list of things you can and cannot say. That's exactly the opposite of free speech. What makes them right?

I certainly am not happy about my freedom to criticize politicians being considered on the same level as some spotty fifteen year old kid's "right" to buy GTA.

Don't think of it in those terms. It's not that they have a right to buy GTA. It's that the government doesn't have a right to stop them. That's the job of the parents of this spotty fifteen year old kid. Parents these days think that educating their kid means sending them to school and plopping them in front of the tv. Monitoring your kids, especially during the teenage years is tough, but that doesn't mean the government should do your job for you.

Re:Shit man, I bet... (2, Interesting)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938327)

Ugh...I should read my previews.

I meant to say I'd applaud a decision against the banning of pornography sales to kids. Again, if the parents care, they should be the ones to monitor their kids.

Sorry for the confusion

Re:Shit man, I bet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26938417)

While many here will certainly applaud this decision, I find the double-standard amazing. If we can ban sales of pictures of people having sex to minors and impose other draconian punishment, then why is obscene violence any different?

I somehow doubt the founding fathers would have equated free speech to depictions of extreme violence, though I'll undoubtedly get modded down for this.
There's certainly a case for forbidding censorship of any kind, but mixing up the values brings up crap like this.

I certainly am not happy about my freedom to criticize politicians being considered on the same level as some spotty fifteen year old kid's "right" to buy GTA.

I agree with you. By all means, to raise a better society the smart idea is to of course deny the parent the opportunity to limit violence a young mind sees. Isn't in our best interests to let the state raise our children but taking away a parents responsibility to see or not see EXTREME VIOLENCE.

Why, that could lead to a reduction in fucked up kids, and what state can survive without having as many fuckups as possible.

Re:Shit man, I bet... (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938805)

we do ban sales of violent games to miners. in this case they just banned them outright.

"Sale or rental" (2, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937355)

So this doesn't apply to piracy, right? Then the kids won't be affected anyway.

I Believe in censorship. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26937365)

So what do the ESRB warnings mean? Or are they going to make it illegal++ So there might even be a sum of money involved when violated (get parents where it hurts)

Re:I Believe in censorship. (2, Informative)

Faylone (880739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937479)

The ESRB warnings do not hold the weight of law, they are a private company. I can make a game and it doesn't HAVE to be rated.

Time to celebrate with a marathon of violence.... (0, Troll)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937383)

Grand Theft Auto III, Doom, Mortal Kombat II, Resident Evil 4, Super Mario Galaxy, Pong....let's show these uptight bastards!!

The Jack Thompson of Video game research (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26937435)

HAHAHAHA! Once again the Jack Thompson of violence in video game research, Dr. Craig Anderson of Iowa State University, has been thoroughly rejected by some clued-in judges

From the FPDF

Even upon lay review, however, the disclaimers in this article, alone, significantly undermine the inferences drawn by the State in support of its psychological harm rationale.17

      17
            Dr. Anderson's hearing testimony in the Blagojevich case, which is in
the record, contains his assent to the statements that there is probably an
"infinite" number of stimuli that could cause aggression or aggressive
thoughts in a person (e.g., a picture of a gun), and that his selection of vio-
lent video games was "largely a matter of [his] choice."

...

Thus, Dr. Anderson's research has readily admitted flaws
that undermine its support of the State's interest in regulating
video games sales and rentals to minors, perhaps most impor-
tantly its retreat from the study of the psychological effects of
video games as related to the age of the person studied.18
Although not dispositive of this case, we note that other
courts have either rejected Dr. Anderson's research or found
it insufficient to establish a causal link between violence in
video games and psychological harm. See Kendrick, 244 F.3d
at 578; Granholm, 426 F. Supp. 2d at 653; Entm't Software
Ass'n v. Hatch, 443 F. Supp. 2d 1065, 1069 & n.1 (D. Minn.
2006); Blagojevich, 404 F. Supp. 2d at 1063.

Ever wonder where the "scientific" studies that stupid lawmakers use as a basis to establish justification for these crap laws come from? Well, now you know. Thankfully, the judges can tell the difference between good science and bullshit science. Too bad the fucking politicians can't.

Re:The Jack Thompson of Video game research (1)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937539)

Oh but they can. They just diregard good science and present bullshit when it suits their interests.

Re:The Jack Thompson of Video game research (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937563)

Thankfully, the judges can tell the difference between good science and bullshit science. Too bad the fucking family values voters, who vote more often than people who don't have agendas to push and get politicians who pander to their votes, can't.

Fixed that for you. The politicians don't care one way or the other. If those voters got it in their heads that painting the washington monument pink would prevent violence, then we'd have serious proposals to start buying pink paint and lots of rollers.

Re:The Jack Thompson of Video game research (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938825)

If those voters got it in their heads that painting the washington monument pink would prevent violence, then we'd have serious proposals to start buying pink paint and lots of rollers.

Yey another stimulus bill! Or should I call it paint industry bail-out?

Re:The Jack Thompson of Video game research (2, Insightful)

pcolaman (1208838) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938885)

I love how people who are pushing family values have an agenda to push, while other people "don't have an agenda." Dude, everyone has an agenda. You are naive if you believe otherwise. There are people who want god as a fixture in every aspect of public life. They have an agenda. There are people who feel that god should never be mentioned in any context in public life. They have an agenda. There are people who don't care. Even THEY have an agenda. Hell, there are people who think we should worship their poodles. Everyone has an agenda, it's the people who's agenda you agree with who you blindly don't see as having an agenda. And he's right, the politicians, in the end, really don't give a rats ass about any of these agendas, by and large. Yeah, some might, but most follow their own separate agenda.

Good Call (4, Interesting)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937441)

This was a really good ruling. Leave censorship to the parents. There has been yet to prove a direct corollation between violent behvior and video games. Some studies have shown that operrant conditioning is happening where video game players may overcome the natural inhibition to kill. However, this theory fails to explain why most people that play violent video games do not go out and act like that in the real world. Behavioral science, while fascinating, is inexact at best. Legislating people's actions based on an inexact science is never a very good idea.

Re:Good Call (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26937471)

Legislating people's actions based on an inexact science is never a very good idea.

But it's the one thing Democrats seem to excel at. See "global warming".

Re:Good Call (4, Insightful)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937753)

I'm not so sure.

We ban R-rated films from minors without a parent accompanying the kids. The reason for this is the graphic nature of many films. (See Saving Private Ryan)
Kids are exceptional impressionable, and many of these games are as violent if not more so than many R-rated movies.
I have no problem if the kid's parent comes to the store and buys the game with the child. However, children alone and without supervision should not be allowed to randomly pick up ideas that they have no guidance for.

I know I'll get modded down. There's a reason these things should not be available to kids without guidance. The human brain does not develop its judgement part until between 18-22 years old, and the judgement of kids younger than 18 is notoriously horrible.

IMHO, there are a majority of kids who don't have proper guidance and have no moral frame of reference to deal with these situations. Examples:

- Recent story about a girl arrested for text messaging during class and putting the phone in her underwear so the teacher couldn't get it.
- The many people who do professional wrestling moves on their little brothers and end up killing or disabling them.
- Kids who do karate moves on others because Chuck Norris is so badass.
- The girls at a Massachusetts middle/high school who treat getting pregnant is no big deal and mom will take care of the baby anyway.
- The fact that two spaces after the end of a sentence seems to be too much to ask for.

I love libertarian views, but this stuff is not meant for people who have no rational frame of reference. I do not want these people influenced by something they are physically incapable of understanding. That said, there are a few exceptions, and the parents need to be the judge to determine whether that maturity is there or not.

Re:Good Call (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26937795)

We ban R-rated films from minors without a parent accompanying the kids.

Except we don't. MPAA ratings are just guidelines, exactly the same as ESRB ratings. Most theatres choose to prevent people under the age of 17 from entering R-rated movies when not accompanied by a parent, just as most video game resellers choose to prevent people under the age of 17 from buying MA-rated video games when not accompanied by a parent.

It never ceases to amaze me that, despite the seemingly weekly "Someone's trying to ban video games!" article on slashdot, there are still people with the misguided notion that MPAA ratings are enforced by the government.

Re:Good Call (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26938491)

No they are enforced by the MPAA. You let children in you will no longer receive are films. Not a bad idea but that does require scruples something companies like RockStar do not have. I agreed with the law the gaming industry is not doing enough. Ask any 50 year old about movie ratings, then ask about game ratings.

The simple fact remains I have seen a 7 year old by GTA 3 at EB Games with there Grandma there. I had to explain what the ratings meant to the Grandmother. It is a sad statement when X rated movies can't be advertised but a game that glorifies murder and rape is OK to advertise.

Re:Good Call (2, Insightful)

TriezGamer (861238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938715)

If you think GTA glorifies rape, you need to get your head checked.

Re:Good Call (4, Interesting)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937899)

The human brain does not develop its judgement part until between 18-22 years old, and the judgement of kids younger than 18 is notoriously horrible.

No offense, but I don't agree with a single thing you have said. The human brain starts developing its "judgment part" when it's in the womb. Many children's "judgment" is a lot better than that of most adults.

During the first six years of my legal career I studied under the late Louis Nizer, who was probably the greatest trial lawyer of the second half of the 20th Century. He said that the best way to know whether your position in a case was right or wrong was to present the facts of the case to a 15-year old; if the 15-year old votes for the other side, then settle the case, quick.

Re:Good Call (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26938175)

NYCL, I agree with you. People are conflating the concept that the human brain does not stop developing until later in life with the fact that those so-called "centers" of brain activity are not present yet. Just because a region of the brain which is correlated with increased neural firing or increased blood flow does not appear to be fully developed (which I take to mean fully myelinated) [the gp post can correct me if they meant something else], that does not mean that this particular region of the brain is fully non-functional.

Also, as an aside, Fred Gage at the Salk Institute has also shown that the old saw about the human brain grows during childhood and adolescence and only loses cells after adolescence is incorrect. Gage found stem cells in the adult human brain, and it has been conclusively shown that there is ongoing cellular plasticity and connectivity in adult brains and that neural stems cells divide and create new cells even in adult brains.

NYCL, I thought you were branching out to other legal issues, but then I saw your other comment about the RIAA lawyers being lawyers for this case also.

regards, kl

Re:Good Call (1)

Ravon Rodriguez (1074038) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938211)

Well, from what I've read, it's not judgment per se, but the complete processing of the possible consequences involved in a decision that doesn't fully develop until early adulthood. I'm not sure this applies to the issue at hand, though, except maybe that they'll stay up too late playing. The part of the brain that knows right and wrong are developed by the age of six, and that is ultimately what will stop them from going on a killing rampage. So maybe you ought not let a four year old play the game, but I don't see a problem with teenagers.

Re:Good Call (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938585)

Well, from what I've read, it's not judgment per se, but the complete processing of the possible consequences involved in a decision that doesn't fully develop until early adulthood.

Rare is the adult that ever becomes capable of "complete processing of the possible consequences involved in a decision".

Re:Good Call (1)

ring-eldest (866342) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938471)

He said that the best way to know whether your position in a case was right or wrong was to present the facts of the case to a 15-year old; if the 15-year old votes for the other side, then settle the case, quick.

No offense to your profession, Ray, but I'd say this is a bigger slight against the typical judge and juror (especially the later) than it is any kind of evidence that kids are great analytical thinkers. ;)

Re:Good Call (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938591)

No offense to your profession, Ray, but......

:)

Re:Good Call (1)

Big Bill the Conjure (644483) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938001)

So what are you suggesting? That kids' possession of cell phones, watching of pro rasslin' and Chuck Norris be banned? That knowledge of how to get pregnant be withheld from kids until they are of legal age? You cannot legislate to account for poor parenting supervision or juvenile stupidity. When you attempt to do so, you end up with a society in which the laws for everyone are tailored toward the most ignorant and poorly-raised child. Is this the sort of society you want to live in?

Re:Good Call (0, Troll)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938077)

We ban R-rated films from minors without a parent accompanying the kids. The reason for this is the graphic nature of many films.

More specifically, the reason for this is a common belief that the graphic nature of many films makes them "inappropriate" to be viewed by minors. This belief, however, is based on ideology rather than evidence.

There's a reason these things should not be available to kids without guidance. The human brain does not develop its judgement part until between 18-22 years old

This is blatantly false: minors make judgments all the time. Perhaps you meant to say that minors make judgments you disagree with.

and the judgement of kids younger than 18 is notoriously horrible.

You could say the same thing about any other group: "the judgment of women is notoriously horrible". And it'd be just as inaccurate. You could even come up with five examples of women making bad judgments, but you'd have to overlook the countless examples of everyone else making their own bad judgments.

I love libertarian views, but this stuff is not meant for people who have no rational frame of reference.

Luckily, most minors do have a rational frame of reference, whether you care to admit it or not.

I do not want these people influenced by something they are physically incapable of understanding.

There's no rational reason to believe minors are "physically incapable of understanding" them in the first place. What makes you think there is?

Re:Good Call (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26938187)

The fact that two spaces after the end of a sentence seems to be too much to ask for.

Unless you're using a monospaced font, you shouldn't need two spaces at the end of a sentence. It's a rule that works fine for typewriters, but is now mostly unnecessary.

Re:Good Call (0)

TriezGamer (861238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938733)

I strongly disagree. Having sentence breaks double-spaced is more readable with any font.

Re:Good Call (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938261)

IMHO, there are a majority of kids who don't have proper guidance and have no moral frame of reference to deal with these situations. Examples:

- Recent story about a girl arrested for text messaging during class and putting the phone in her underwear so the teacher couldn't get it.
- The many people who do professional wrestling moves on their little brothers and end up killing or disabling them.
- Kids who do karate moves on others because Chuck Norris is so badass.
- The girls at a Massachusetts middle/high school who treat getting pregnant is no big deal and mom will take care of the baby anyway.
- The fact that two spaces after the end of a sentence seems to be too much to ask for.

This may come as a real shock to you, but kids have been doing rotten, nasty, stupid and suicidal things since the beginning of time. I have no idea where people like you get the idea that kids trying to hide wrongdoing or being complete morons about sex, karate moves, professional wrestling or anything else is somehow something new. I remember stories from my grandparents about a kid who shot his brother while playing with the old man's rifle, or another kid who chopped off one of his brother's fingers while they were playing with an axe. As to pregnancy, well, the chief difference nowadays is that society frowns on shotgun weddings, because that's the way they used to handle it in the olden days (and not so olden days, a member of my family was pushed into one in 1960).

Kids do stupid things, and about the only way to prevent them is to lock them in a room until their 21.

Re:Good Call (3, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938287)

We ban R-rated films from minors without a parent accompanying the kids.

Please cite the relevant law. I am quite sure that it does not exist.

Re:Good Call (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938469)

You are correct. There are now laws in the books.

The reason there arent is because when congress was getting ready to create a regulatory body specific to this sort of thing regarding movies, the motion picture industry (MPAA) teamed up with the theater industry (NATO, heh) and quickly created a voluntary regulatory body of its own to deal with it.

..and thus movie ratings were born. Movies don't require a rating, nor do theater owners need to abide by rating restrictions. The entire system is voluntary, but works quite well in practice.

Re:Good Call (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938671)

We ban R-rated films from minors without a parent accompanying the kids.

Not quite. Any 17 year old girl who has a 28 year old boyfriend with a mullet and a TransAm can get in to watch one.

Re:Good Call (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26938673)

The adults were the ones out of line in that texting situation. so much for the rest of your argument about the maturity of judgment based on age alone....

Re:Good Call (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26937791)

Yeah, we can prove that exposure to various images has no impact on our behaviour by observing the cost of an advertisment in the middle of your favourite sports game. Clearly no one rushes out to buy tampons/toilet cleaner/shampoo, yet the cost of those slots is way off the scale...

Clearly those companies are wasting their money because clearly no one suddenly changes their behaviour after exposure to those 20 second snippets. Likewise regular exposure day in and day out for multiple hours of computer games will have zero effect on my behaviour patterns...

Re:Good Call (1)

Ravon Rodriguez (1074038) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938227)

big difference between switching your brand of deodorant and going out and killing somebody.

Re:Good Call (2, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937849)

This was a really good ruling. Leave censorship to the parents. There has been yet to prove a direct corollation between violent behvior and video games. Some studies have shown that operrant conditioning is happening where video game players may overcome the natural inhibition to kill. However, this theory fails to explain why most people that play violent video games do not go out and act like that in the real world. Behavioral science, while fascinating, is inexact at best. Legislating people's actions based on an inexact science is never a very good idea.

When I was a kid my favorite game was war and my favorite toys were toy guns. In real life I've never in my life ever used a weapon, not even a stick, against another living creature, or even wanted to.

As far as I'm concerned coming up with a law like is just a bunch of phony politicking, pandering to the dumber voters amongst us.

What about nudity in games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26937533)

At first I am glad for this ruling but on second thought is this just another example of the Violence vs. Sex double standard?

Re:What about nudity in games (4, Insightful)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937731)

Exactly. We can have games in which we run around sawing people's heads off, disemboweling them, torturing them, gunning them down by the thousands - but at least we won't see their nipples!

Re:What about nudity in games (4, Insightful)

Kesch (943326) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938201)

There's a worse double standard here though that was struck down. Video games vs. Every other form of media. In the extreme case, what if they had tried to pass a similar law for books? Not even movies are subject to this though, there is no legal requirement for movies to be rated, or for theaters to bar children from movies. All rating and enforcement is done voluntarily by the theaters.

The double standard we have for sex and violence is a deep rooted societal issue that can't be undone with a few court rulings, but rulings like the one in the TFA can sure as hell beat back the tide of idiot legislators that try to pass this brain-dead anti-video game laws.

All I want to know (1)

mmaniaci (1200061) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937635)

When is music going to go back to being an art, not a product.

(Accidentally posted as AC)

Re:All I want to know (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937787)

Music needs to go back to being a service and an experience. That's more important than it going back to an "art." (There's more art and experimental music than ever, you're just not looking for it.)

Re:All I want to know (2, Interesting)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937917)

Why can't it be both? There is more good music today and it's more accessible to more people than ever before in history. It might be hard to find though since it's buried under a Mt Everest of crap.

OMFG (0)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937659)

What will Jack Thompson say?

Re:OMFG (3, Funny)

bgray54 (1207256) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937801)

I don't know, but I know that he won't be saying it in court!

Re:OMFG (1)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937839)

Who cares? :)

Anyone notice the RIAA lawyers... (5, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26937943)

Did anyone notice that the lawyers who successfully argued for "freedom of speech" here are the same ones who are fighting so hard [blogspot.com] to prevent the televising of the SONY v. Tenenbaum RIAA case?

Re:Anyone notice the RIAA lawyers... (1)

microbee (682094) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938035)

What's so hard to understand?

Lawyers are like hitmen. They just live on the blood, but there is always OTHER PEOPLE who hire them to do the dirty work.

Re:Anyone notice the RIAA lawyers... (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938831)

Wow a lawyer that's in it for the money. I wouldn't have guessed. Ok ok sorry for the sarcasm. I think it's a good thing that lawyers are greedy SOBs that are in it for the money, that way you can be sure they will do the best job possible.

Re:Anyone notice the RIAA lawyers... (2, Insightful)

pcolaman (1208838) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938907)

And you know what, those lawyers probably don't give a fuck other than they are getting paid. Hell, betcha I could find a lawyer who would defend Hitler in German war crimes charges posthumously if he thought he would get really good money out of it. Lawyers are like leeches, they live off of feeding, and in this case, they feed off of money.

Lobbyists Duke it Out (3, Funny)

WallyDrinkBeer (1136165) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938005)

The violent move industry is losing market share to the violent video game industry. The video game industry is not paying their hired scum politicians enough apparently.

Less banning, more parental controls (1)

californication (1145791) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938057)

I happy that the noose is being loosened from around the video game industries nest. At the same time, while we are paying less attention to the accessibility of violence to children, we need to pay more attention to enabling parents to control what their kids do and do not see.

Consoles, DVD players, computers, etc, need to be sold with the strictest parental controls already installed and enforced. After purchasing, the parent can then adjust the level of sex, violence, etc, that they want their children to see, and that they themselves want to see. As of now, the effort to implement effective and user friendly parental controls in media devices has been abysmal.

Almost every one of my relatives with kids and a computer have caught them accessing inappropriate content, but they have no idea how to block it, so they often come to me and I do my best to put restrictions in place and make the controls user friendly for them. They all have the computer in a family area, but they just don't have time to watch what their kids are doing 24/7, and the computer has become a critical tool for kids to do things like homework and yes, play games.

I think everyone should start paying less attention to banning things, and more attention ensuring that parents have the strictest control over what their children watch using their media devices.

I find this incredible ironic (1)

mahohmei (540475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938089)

Let us not remember that Ahnold starred in quite a few extremely violent movies.

This isn't the first Ahnold irony I've found. While watching MSNBC's "lockup", an inmate said that Ahnold took away weights from prisons. Think about it.

Re:I find this incredible ironic (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938365)

"said Governor Schwarzenegger. "I also signed into law legislation that will improve foster care services, guard kids from the dangers of steroid use, protect children and everyone from"
( http://gov.ca.gov/index.php?/press-release/1359/ [ca.gov] )

This isn't the first Ahnold irony I've found. While watching MSNBC's "lockup", an inmate said that Ahnold took away weights from prisons. Think about it.

To the first amendment (2, Funny)

ProfMobius (1313701) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938463)

You have been erased.
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