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U.S. Supreme Court overturns ban on video game sales to kids

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One should note that when the First Amendment has been created, it was an era of civilized gentlemen. Violent video games and pr0nografy didn't exist or wasn't as accessible as now (who can get an election with paintings those days?). If you don't want to expose your kids to that, living in woods is the only solution, maybe. I am all about freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is essential but I think the Founding Fathers had the morale in mind to decide what is acceptable or what not.

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Tumbledry, i agree to a point, but parents should be parenting their children, violence is part of our culture, in film, books, news, will we start banning that too?

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“The practices and beliefs of the founding generation establish that “the freedom of speech,” as originally understood, does not include a right to speak to minors (or a right of minors to access speech) without going through the minors’ parents or guardians,” Thomas wrote.

This might not be a landmark decision, but it is huge news, as it's only about what -- the 5th? -- time Justice Thomas has ever taken the trouble to write an opinion over the previous 20 years. He's finally becoming aware of the wave of criticism over his negligible judicial record, his wife's failure to file a tax return on income of around 1 million dollars, and other peccadillos.

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This is a parental decision, and not something the government should be sticking its nose into. I hate nanny states.

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Video game makers and sellers celebrated their victory, saying the decision puts them on the same legal footing as other forms of entertainment. “There now can be no argument whether video games are entitled to the same protection as books, movies, music, and other expressive entertainment,” said Bo Andersen, president and CEO of the Entertainment Merchants Association.

The video game industry and its associated lobby groups in America is getting more powerful. Not that I mind it, I love video games. But I am guessing that there is a lot of pressure on the judges to quash this case and promote one of America's few future growth industries.

“What sense does it make to forbid selling to a 13-year-old boy a magazine with an image of a nude woman, while protecting the sale to that 13-year-old of an interactive video game in which he actively, but virtually, binds and gags the woman, then tortures and kills her?”

Which game is he talking about and where can I get a copy? Just kidding, but his supposed example of a video game seems half fantasy and half sensationalist to me.

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On the one hand I feel that everything should be a choice of the parent. On the other, parents are often absent or unaware of their child's every move, and therefore, I believe the games, books, movies etc. should be regulated.

A violent video game such as Grand Theft Auto is done in an amusing, almost fantasy way, and therefore I would allow my child to play as long as they know that viloence is 'wrong', and that this is merely a game.

However, a game such as Manhunter was beyond acceptable, it was even for me an adult, sickenning.

Soemtimes it is blatantly obvious what is o.k. for children and what is not. But then that is in my view....

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Money (there is a lot, a lot of it) talks.

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Wonder why the pipes to the crippled nuclear power plant leak (would never happen in 1970s, 80s)? Read Professor Mori Akio's "Geemu No no Kyofu" (Horror of a Game Brain).

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The video game industry is already quite good at self-regulating itself with its ESRB ratings. Stores actually follow the ESRB ratings.

A store can still make a mistake and get sued, but on civil court, not criminal court. And stores don't want to get sued for lots of money.

If it's the parents' decision to assess whether their kids are ready for more mature games, then it's the parents' responsibility for the consequences, not the store's or the government's.

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Wonder why the pipes to the crippled nuclear power plant leak (would never happen in 1970s, 80s)? Read Professor Mori Akio's "Geemu No no Kyofu" (Horror of a Game Brain).

No.

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As much as I can't stand Scalia, he really writes some great opinions. Considering this is a rare case involving free speech and totally awesome video games, and violent ones at that, this should be a good read. Today is a good day.

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This is a great decision. I also hate nanny states.

The video game industry already self regulates anyway.

In any case there is scant evidence that violent video games are actually harmful to kids. But I can understand if a parent doesn't want their kids play R18 games. Let the parents set the rules.

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This isn't a simple matter of conservative justices versus liberal justices. The majority opinion was written by Justice Scalia, joined by Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Justice Alito filed an opinion concurring in the judgment (agreeing with the result but giving his own reasoning) joined by Chief Justice Roberts. Justices Thomas and Breyer filed dissents. Many of the courts opinions are split on political ideological grounds. This wasn't one of them.

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wow! looks like the SCOTUS actually thinks maybe parents should be responsible for their kids not Uncle Sam... what a novel approach, who would have guessed it...

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Hurrah! Down with censorship! Up with Parental Responsibility!

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Pornography is banned. Strong words are banned. Violence cannot be banned. I don't want to enter the subject whether it is appropriate for the state to ban things in order to protect children, but there is an apparent imbalance here. Let me ask a provocative question: is the root of this imbalance the fear of certain people that their holy books would get banned in the process?

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Ban violence??? Nonsense! America and so many other countries were established based on one of the most violent, inhumane acts of violence ever..... war.

How can you ban games of fictitious violence, when the government is responsible for real war and death?

If violent video games/books/movies were banned, all kids would have to do is turn on the tv and watch the news for some violence... war in afgan? OBL got shot and people want to see the body? convenience store got robbed and someone was shot? Hey, they don't even need the news, kids can go look and touch daddy's shotgun/rifle/crossbow/handgun he uses for hunting/protection.

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Disclaimer: I'm an old fart that plays computer games, but never was attracted to games like GTA because they only seem to be about gratuitous violence. Games like that have no entertainment value, IMO.

That said, I agree with the Court's decision. Monitoring what games a minor plays is the parent's job, not the government's. If the Court had ruled in favor of California, it would have been just one more way parents could abdicate their responsibilities and foist them on the government.

@Jason Lok,

But I am guessing that there is a lot of pressure on the judges to quash this case and promote one of America's few future growth industries.

One of the tenets of the Supreme Court is that you CANNOT put pressure on them in regards to a case. Once they have been appointed to the Supreme Court Bench, they answer to nobody or nothing but the Constitution. They cannot be fired by anyone, even the people who appointed them. The only way a judge steps down is by retiring or by dying. It helps remove the threat of political pressure being brought upon them to affect a decision.

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Games like Grand Theft Auto, Fallout, Call of Duty and Biohazard/Resident Evil are very bad games for children to play.

However some of the stages are real hard to clear and I need my kids to help me. Besides my, "Boom! Headshot!" jokes are more funny if my kids know what I am talking about.

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This might not be a landmark decision, but it is huge news, as it's only about what -- the 5th? -- time Justice Thomas has ever taken the trouble to write an opinion over the previous 20 years. He's finally becoming aware of the wave of criticism over his negligible judicial record, his wife's failure to file a tax return on income of around 1 million dollars, and other peccadillos.

Wow, I'm guessing you hate Thomas, this despite obviously knowing next to nothing about the man or his opinions. Every justice regularly writes opinions. Thomas does not just go along with the majority. Saying otherwise just proves your own ignorance. Let me guess, you're one of the few people who actually think Anita Hill was telling the truth. Sad, truly sad. The man is a great legal scholar. I don't always agree with him, but his opinions are consistent.

Regarding this case. I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand I strongly agree with the freedom of speech argument. I also strongly agree that its the parents job to monitor their kids. However the idea that you can create the most violent of images, and that is just fine. But if you dare show a flash of breast as well, then suddenly thats no longer acceptable. Somehow this seems wrong.

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There are video games depicting sexual assault? Seriously? What is wrong with people?

Taka

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Man, Taka, are you out of the loop.

Take a wild guess at which country is the world leader in rape-based dating sims.

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Triumvere,

I guess I am. My kids have a Wii. I just can't imagine.

As for the country with the most, I'd assume it would be my beloved Japan. But seriously, that's just sick.

Taka

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FadamorJun. 29, 2011 - 04:50AM JST

One of the tenets of the Supreme Court is that you CANNOT put pressure on them in regards to a case. Once they have been appointed to the Supreme Court Bench, they answer to nobody or nothing but the Constitution. They cannot be fired by anyone, even the people who appointed them. The only way a judge steps down is by retiring or by dying. It helps remove the threat of political pressure being brought upon them to affect a decision.

Fadamor: I hear what you're saying, but it sounds pretty naive to me. You really think there's no way for judges to be influenced? You said it yourself; Supreme court judges cannot be fired by anyone, so that actually means they've got a free pass to do whatever they want, doesn't it? (including being secretly bribed or "influenced" by large sums of money, and/or political gain)

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The government (or the schools) will never be able to take the place of good parents. Banning things doesn't make them go away either. Drugs, child porn, even guns in Kanagawa, all banned, all pervasive. Banning just doesn't work.

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TriumvereJun. 29, 2011 - 01:15PM JST

Take a wild guess at which country is the world leader in rape-based dating sims.

Not that I condone this crap, but Japan seems to be the perenial punching bag when it comes to porn and porn-related controversy. Consider this though: Who knows how popular this stuff is in the black market of "western" countires who have stricter laws than Japan?

Of all known child abuse domains, 58 percent are housed in the United States (Internet Watch Foundation. Annual Report, 2008). (http:// www.enough.org/inside.php?id=2uxkjwry8#3)

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Tahoochi,

While I agree that Japan often gets the short end of the stick around these parts, in this case I think the criticism is justified. It shouldn't surprise anyone that there are more child porn domains in the US; It's got 3x the population of Japan for one, and was the birthplace of the internet for another. The point is not that sexual violence in pornography or games is unique to Japan (Custer's Revenge, anyone?). Rather, it is the pervasiveness, that makes it so galling. In the US this sort of stuff is by in large underground. In contrast, I can walk in any conbini and come out again with stacks of sexually violent manga. I can walk in any game shop or video rental place and find a wall of such materials hidden behind the curtain in the back. I don't beleive in censorship, so I don't oppose the "right" to produce or consume such items, but the level of cultural acceptence for them strikes me as distincly unhealthy.

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Interesting read on the Subject:

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/TECH/gaming.gadgets/06/29/violent.video.games/index.html?&hpt=hp_c2

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