Fun Supreme Court Arguments

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Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby Dianora » Tue Nov 09, 2010 1:58 pm

Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Assn.
audio, pdf.

JUSTICE SCALIA: What’s a deviant — a deviant, violent video game? As opposed to what? A normal violent video game?
MR. MORAZZINI: Yes, Your Honor. Deviant would be departing from established norms.
JUSTICE SCALIA: There are established norms of violence?
MR. MORAZZINI: Well, I think if we look back


JUSTICE KAGAN: Well, so how do we separate violent games that are covered from violent games just as violent that are not covered?
MR. MORAZZINI: Well, Your Honor, I think a jury could be instructed with expert testimony, with video clips of game play, and to judge for themselves whether
JUSTICE SCALIA: I’m not concerned about the jury judging. I’m concerned about the producer of the games who has to know what he has to do in order to comply with the law. And you are telling me, well a jury can — of course a jury can make up its mind, I’m sure. But a law that has criminal penalties has to be clear. And how is the manufacturer to know whether a particular violent game is covered or not?
MR. MORAZZINI: Well, Your Honor -
JUSTICE SCALIA: Does he convene his own jury and try it before — you know, I really wouldn’t know what to do as a manufacturer.


They really don't believe in the California Attorney.
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby Melathys » Tue Nov 09, 2010 5:18 pm

I love it when common sense prevails.


as for the argument...heaven forbid that parents actually, you know, be parents. I'm so tired of all this legislation to control things that a parent should be doing.
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby Arnock » Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:16 pm

Melathys wrote:I love it when common sense prevails.


as for the argument...heaven forbid that parents actually, you know, be parents. I'm so tired of all this legislation to control things that a parent should be doing.



So many times this.
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby Zobel » Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:26 pm

Melathys wrote:I love it when common sense prevails.

It hasn't yet.
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby Shoju » Thu Nov 11, 2010 1:45 pm

Parenting is tough. Really tough. And instead of stepping up, some people check out. It sucks. My 13 year old son thinks I'm the worst thing in the world right now because I took his cell phone away.

Well, you know what buddy? Give me the 80 bucks to cover the downloads, and you can have it back.
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby Nikachelle » Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:08 pm

Shoju wrote:Parenting is tough. Really tough. And instead of stepping up, some people check out. It sucks. My 13 year old son thinks I'm the worst thing in the world right now because I took his cell phone away.

Well, you know what buddy? Give me the 80 bucks to cover the downloads, and you can have it back.

I'd thumbs up this post if I could.
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby Koatanga » Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:42 pm

It's a real tough call as a parent.

If you insulate your kid from the bad things that are out there, you raise a child with an artificially optimistic view of the world that is going to be shattered when the kid steps out into said world.

If you expose your child to the realities of life, you're a bad parent for letting things happen to them.

If you don't punish your child, your child loves you but grows up to be a monster. If you do punish your child, your child hates you but grows into a wonderful and responsible person.

Anyway you go as a parent it's a fine balance between protection and exposure, love and discipline.

We let our kid watch some movies that are a bit scary for her age (some scenes in Harry Potter are pretty scary for a 5-year-old), but we watch them with her and we tell her it's make-believe and just a story. We dispel the scary parts by saying "wow, look at that <special effect>. They really did a good job making that <made up thing> look like a real thing." It's less scary because it is understood for what it is - a special effect in a movie - rather than somethign that exists that could come get her in her sleep.

Sometimes I think the job of a parent is not to insulate, but to explain.
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby rodos » Thu Nov 11, 2010 4:28 pm

I principle, I agree with the law. The USA already restricts the sale to minors of other goods such as alcohol and tobacco.

The problem that the judge is pointing out is that without a government classification board, it is very difficult for game publishers and retailers to comply with the law. Alcohol and tobacco are very easily defined, so there is no uncertainty. Australia has a classification board (i.e. a government censor), so we can have very clear cut laws about what is and is not allowed to be sold to, or seen by, persons of various ages. You may not, for example, sell a minor a ticket to an R18+ movie.

Of course, our system has a lot of problems. Firstly, there is no R18+ category for games, so anything not suitable for 15-year-olds cannot be sold here. Plus, it adds a burden to the producers of content to have their work classified (which costs money). This is a particularly important problem for businesses that want to import, say, a wide range of niche films from overseas which were never released in Australia and thus never classified. Pornography, manga, Iranian arthouse, whatever. If you want to bring in a couple of copies each of 1000 titles, the classification costs would be crippling.

On the issue of parenting, these kinds of laws actually give more control back to the parent. You can send your kid to the game shop with $50 they got for their birthday and be satisfied that they'll come back with something appropriate. If they want to buy a restricted game, they have to tell you about it and take you along, so you get a chance to review the content.
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby Koatanga » Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:26 pm

rodos wrote:I principle, I agree with the law. The USA already restricts the sale to minors of other goods such as alcohol and tobacco.

The problem that the judge is pointing out is that without a government classification board, it is very difficult for game publishers and retailers to comply with the law. Alcohol and tobacco are very easily defined, so there is no uncertainty. Australia has a classification board (i.e. a government censor), so we can have very clear cut laws about what is and is not allowed to be sold to, or seen by, persons of various ages. You may not, for example, sell a minor a ticket to an R18+ movie.

Of course, our system has a lot of problems. Firstly, there is no R18+ category for games, so anything not suitable for 15-year-olds cannot be sold here. Plus, it adds a burden to the producers of content to have their work classified (which costs money). This is a particularly important problem for businesses that want to import, say, a wide range of niche films from overseas which were never released in Australia and thus never classified. Pornography, manga, Iranian arthouse, whatever. If you want to bring in a couple of copies each of 1000 titles, the classification costs would be crippling.

On the issue of parenting, these kinds of laws actually give more control back to the parent. You can send your kid to the game shop with $50 they got for their birthday and be satisfied that they'll come back with something appropriate. If they want to buy a restricted game, they have to tell you about it and take you along, so you get a chance to review the content.


I agree they give more control to the parent, but I disagree with the concept as a whole. Sure, you can set out some black-and-white cases where it would definitely be good to have the material locked behind doors that only parents could unlock via genetic identification, but the vast majority of cases are going to fall into gray areas. Gray areas are really bad for the freedom-of-speech concept.

And gray areas aren't just about game content. My aunt wouldn't watch the LOTR trilogy because of the violence in it. People have wildly different views on what is acceptable and what isn't. You may agree with the concept assuming you are of the norm and things would be classified in ways you agree with, but what if my aunt is the one doing the classification?

It's a bit like a referrendum that gets attention every now and then where people talk about changing the New Zealand flag. A lot of kiwis would be in favour of that, based on the thought of a silver fern on a black field. But the referrendum is not to change the flag to a silver fern on a black field, it's to change the flag. By the time it gets out of committee and approval by varioius influential groups, we'll have some red, white, and brown Maori flag.

The video game industry is voluntarily self-regulated via their rating system. I think that's fine. I think if government gets involved, it'll end up being what nobody wanted in the first place.
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby Koatanga » Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:51 pm

Just further to my last post, keep in mind that government doesn't respond to what the average person would find acceptable, or the majority. It responds to the likelihood of re-election. Grandmas who think Hello Kitty is plenty violent, thank you very much, vote more than kids or young adults do.

Individuals 45 years old and older are more than twice as likely to vote as people under 20. They are half again as likely to vote as people up to age 30. The people deciding on acceptable video game content will be very far removed from that content.

Retirement-age people vote 70% of the time. Under-20's who are qualified to vote only go to the polls 30% of the time.
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby fuzzygeek » Thu Nov 11, 2010 6:23 pm

Koatanga wrote:I think if government gets involved, it'll end up being what nobody wanted in the first place.


Isn't this always the case?
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby rodos » Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:30 pm

Koatanga wrote:I agree they give more control to the parent, but I disagree with the concept as a whole. Sure, you can set out some black-and-white cases where it would definitely be good to have the material locked behind doors that only parents could unlock via genetic identification, but the vast majority of cases are going to fall into gray areas. Gray areas are really bad for the freedom-of-speech concept.

And gray areas aren't just about game content. My aunt wouldn't watch the LOTR trilogy because of the violence in it. People have wildly different views on what is acceptable and what isn't. You may agree with the concept assuming you are of the norm and things would be classified in ways you agree with, but what if my aunt is the one doing the classification?

This is why I agree with restricting what minors can buy, but not what adults can buy, at least with regards to expression/media (the only exception being material which depicts actual criminal activity being committed, such as child abuse or snuff films).

Any classification system with only a single vector which attempts to encompass all potentially objectionable content is always going to be a compromise, and it's always going to depend on the standards of the society -- and a country as big as the USA has a lot of areas and communities with different majority social values, which makes it even more complex. I don't have kids, but if I did I'd like to see all the ratings broken out by level of violence, language, drug use, and sexual activity so I could make decisions that match my own standards.

The situation is further complicated by the community perception of the rating itself. As I understand it, an NC17 rating for a US film will greatly reduce it's revenue, on account of people thinking of these films as "obscene" or "pornographic", and many cinemas refusing to show them. In Australia, films with the (even more stringent) R18+ rating are quite commonly shown at all suburban cinemas. Indeed, in my younger days, a key criteria for my group of friends when choosing a movie to see was that anything rated less than R18+ was probably too tame/lame to be worth watching.
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby Arnock » Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:51 pm

Also, to be honest, the problem with a rating system of any kind is that people have vastly varying opinions as to what is and isn't appropriate for their children. Unfortunately, a lot of people see a game that doesn't have the "18+" stamp on it, and thus assume that it is okay for a kid to play.


See: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/M ... x1116nu5ji
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby Fivelives » Thu Nov 11, 2010 9:04 pm

How can you even begin to compare video games to alcohol and tobacco products?
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby Koatanga » Thu Nov 11, 2010 9:42 pm

Fivelives wrote:How can you even begin to compare video games to alcohol and tobacco products?

Possibly because they are examples of other commodities that were regulated such as to keep them out of the hands of kids. How's that working out for everyone?

Another regulated commodity is porn. Surely no kids would ever have access to skin mags, would they? I know I was looking at Playboy when I was 12.

Then there are certain drugs, illegal for everyone regardless of age, that are prevalent in many high schools and are even used by pre-high-school kids. Do you know anyone who got high before his 13th birthday? I know several, and I'm not social enough to know a lot of people.

Seems to me that attempts to impose regulation have failed accross the board, and it all comes back to the parents and upbringing.

What would be the point of imposing subjective regulations that are difficult to enforce and ineffective anyway?
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