U.S. Law and Video Games

A piece of news that should be of interest to folks both in industry and in the academy: A couple weeks ago, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a law that would have limited the sales and rentals of video games to minors. The court found the California statute to be a violation of minors’ rights based on the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. It’s possible the victory for the industry will be a short-lived one: the case is likely to continue winding its way through the appeals process and may eventually land in the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court previously ruled in 1982 on issues of minors and video games in the case of the City of Mesquite vs. Aladdin’s Castle, Inc. In that case, the court ruled that limitations on minors’ ability to play coin-operated video games violated minors’ rights to free speech and to freedom of association. That case effectively established games as a protected form of free speech.

You can read more about the recent court decision here, and if you’d like to read up on the earlier case I mentioned, the text of the decision is available here from FindLaw.

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