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Schwarzenegger's Anti-Video Game Law Nullified

Adam Kirchner

Posted: Feb 21st 2009 5:14PM

Filed under: National News, Pop Culture, Towson University

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for the state of California ruled on Friday that legislation restricting the sale of violent video games violates the First and Fourteenth amendment rights of free speech and equal protection.

Three judges reviewed the case, Video Software Dealers Association v. Schwarzenegger, et al., and invalidated Civil Code 1746-1746.5, which California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had signed into law (formerly AB 1179) on October 7, 2005.

Code 1746 had prohibited the sale of a violent video game (refer to the code for the definition) to a minor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000.

The appeals court, however, upheld that video games "are a form of expression protected by the First Amendment" and that "minors are entitled to a significant measure of the First Amendment protection," referencing Interactive Digital Software Association v. St. Louis (2003) and Erznoznik v. City of Jacksonville (1975).

The decision also found that "when the government seeks to restrict speech 'it must demonstrate that the recited harms are real, not merely conjectural, and that the regulation will in fact alleviate these harms in a direct and material way,'" citing Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. v. Federal Communications Commission (1994).

One might remember Gov. Schwarzenegger's career, prior to his term in office, as a Hollywood movie star where he portrayed a sword-wielding "barbarian," a "commando," a mercenary fighting a headhunting alien, and a time-travelling cybernetic organism programmed with an expertise in "terminating" humans (in three films), among other roles.

Et tu, you big brute?

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