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Published on June 27th, 2011 | by Cameron Woolsey

Supreme Court: “Video Games Qualify for First Amendment Protection.”

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 7-2 vote on Monday to strike down the California law restricting the sale of violent games to minors.

The law was enacted in 2005 by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Retailers found guilty of selling violent video games to minors would face up to a $1,000 fine. The law was immediately challenged by publishers, which kept the it from taking effect.

The Supreme Court decided in its ruling “that the Act violated the First Amendment and permanently enjoined its enforcement.”

Justice Antonin Scalia delivered the court’s opinion rejecting the law.

“Like the protected books, plays, and movies that preceded them,” Scalia said in his opinion, “video games communicate ideas — and even social messages — through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot, and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player’s interaction with the virtual world). That suffices to confer First Amendment protection.”

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About the Author

Video game journalist since 2006, and gaming since he was old enough to use an Atari joystick. Follow me: @Cam_is_16bit

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