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Gaming Industry: California Censorship Law Is Unconstitutional

September 22, 2010 by  

Gaming industry: California censorship law is unconstitutionalA major player in the video game industry believes a California statute violates the First Amendment and the group recently filed a lawsuit with the United States Supreme Court.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), a trade organization which represents some of the gaming world's largest manufacturers, asked the Supreme Court to rule that a California law, which bans the sale and rental of violent computer and video games to minors, is unconstitutional.

The statute was signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005. It has yet to go into effect because, in the last five years, both a District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals have ruled that the law violates the First Amendment's freedom of expression right.

On Monday, the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) and International Game Developers Association (IGDA) provided their support for ESA, filing a brief with the Supreme Court that says video games should be a constitutionally protected form of expression.

"Censorship based on content should not be acceptable to a free society," said Jim Charne, an attorney representing the IGDA.

Arguments in Schwarzenegger v Entertainment Merchants Association and ESA are scheduled to commence on Nov. 2.

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