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Video Games Win Again

PoliticsVideo GamingIt’s amazing to me how much time we spend trying to legislate morality while acknowledging that it just isn’t possible. The favorite target of the morality police is the video game industry. So many attempts have been made to regulate the gaming industry that blogs have sprung up dealing with this niche market of legislation.

Well, those who would regulate games have lost again. Ars Technica writes up a good summary and cites the judges findings, which are similar to those in other cases.

The plaintiffs argue that the Act fails the three-part test set forth in Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969), and therefore violates the First Amendment. Under the first prong of the Brandenburg test, free speech may be restricted if it “is directed to inciting or producing the imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” […] The plaintiffs correctly assert that because the video game producers do not intend for the consumers to commit violent actions, the Act fails this first prong. The second prong requires that the danger of violence must be imminent. The research conducted by the State has failed to prove that video games have ever caused anyone to commit a violent act, let alone present a danger of imminent violence. Finally, as discussed below, the State’s research fails to prove that ultra-violent video games are “likely” to produce violent behavior in children.

The gaming industry conceded that sexually explicit games should not be sold to those under 17. That’s a position they have consistently supported. They do, however, take issue with restricting access to violent content.

I’ve always felt it’s kind of ridiculous to argue that violent games lead to violence. You could just as easily argue that violence on the news leads to violence, yet we don’t attempt to regulate the news. Violence was around, and getting worse, long before the invention of the video game.

Written by Michael Turk