Violent video game age limit unconstitutional: US court



A California law that would ban the sale or rental of violent video games to people younger than 18 is unconstitutional because it restricts free speech, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.
A three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a district judge who had prevented the 2005 law, passed by the state Legislature and signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, from taking effect.



Violent video game age limit unconstitutional: US court
The law, which called for fines of up to 1,000 dollars for violators, defined a violent video game as one that includes "killing, maiming, dismembering or sexually assaulting an image of a human being."
Judge Consuelo Callahan, who wrote the panel's 30-page decision, said the state has less-restrictive ways to achieve its goal of keeping such violent video games out of the hands of minors and pointed to the video game industry's voluntary rating system.
Though states have the power to restrict distribution of sexually explicit material to minors, Callahan's opinion said such restrictions cannot be applied to violent material. And her ruling said the state had not proven such video games cause psychological or neurological harm to minors.
"The government may not restrict speech in order to control a minor's thoughts," the judge wrote.
The law's author, state Senator Leland Yee, urged California Attorney General Jerry Brown to appeal to the US Supreme Court.
Yee, a child psychologist, pointed out that the Supreme Court has ruled that minors' access can be limited when it comes to pornography, alcohol and tobacco.
"While I am deeply disappointed in today's ruling, we should not stop our efforts to assist parents in keeping these harmful video games out of the hands of children," Yee said in a statement on his Web site.
"We need to help empower parents with the ultimate decision over whether or not their children play in a world of violence and murder."
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Tuesday, February 24th 2009
AFP
           


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