A quick follow-up

Gamestop posted a summary of the Senate hearing on video games, which is referenced in my earlier post about the proposed video game legistlation.

From the review (you can get all the pertinent links, including testimony transcripts here), it seems like the testimony was stacked in favor of the legislation, but there was some heartening quotes, like this one from Paul M. Smith, a partner in the law firm Jenner & Block:

The attorney went on to explain that “Every court to have considered the issue has found ‘violent’ video game laws would not pass constitutional muster because the government lacks a legitimate and compelling interest in restricting video game content. Under well-settled First Amendment principles, expression may not be censored on the theory that it will cause some recipient to act inappropriately, unless it falls into the narrow category of speech ‘directed to inciting’ and ‘likely’ to incite ‘imminent’ violence.”

Unfortunately, that is countered with this argument from Kevin Saunders, a Professor of Law at Michigan State University:

Saunders’ second legal basis will likely prove the most troubling to gamers. This approach would argue that “is that video game play, like the play of pinball machines, is not an activity protected by the First Amendment.” It would legally differentiate the expression of a game designer, which would be protected, from the playing of games, which would not be. As an example, he compared a sexually provocative dancer’s movements, which is a performance and therefore expression, to a gamer playing in an arcade, which is not, even though others were watching him.

This definitely far from over, but there seems to at least seem to be a level of civility between both sides. No one attacked (verbally or otherwise) the otherside, so I guess that’s a good thing.

I guess they’ve never played Grand Theft Auto.

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