Yes Virginia - Games are protected forms of expression!

Posted by: gatorlaw

Yes Virginia - Games are protected forms of expression! - 06/03/03 11:17 PM

I am not sure how many of you have been following recent federal court rulings. But a decision had been handed down not too long ago - that video/PC games were not protected forms of expression as contemplated by the Bill of Rights. While it may have been initiated out of concern about the ever increasing and realistic violence in some games, this meant that all games were lumped in with this decision. I was floored that adventure games - with their emphasis on plot and characters and often complex issues were viewed this way.

It also means that a game could be banned as controversal and that would be ok without any recourse as the content would not be considered a protected form of expression. Odd that the Books of Myst would be protected but not the interactive adventure based on those same books.
That ruling is reported on in GameDaily News here: Federal Court rules video/PC games are not protected forms of expression under the first amendment

Well The Eighth District U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that the First Amendment does protect video/PC games.

[quote] The IDSA submitted scripts and storyboards from videogames to bolster its argument that games are artistic. The Court stated that its review of the records led it to believe that games carry
Posted by: Kickaha

Re: Yes Virginia - Games are protected forms of expression! - 06/04/03 02:38 AM

Slightly baffled by the subject line but I'm glad there's some sense left in the US of A somewhere.

Having just seen "Matrix Reloaded" I'd say games carry more substance than many a film.
Posted by: Becky

Re: Yes Virginia - Games are protected forms of expression! - 06/04/03 06:05 AM

Quote:
The IDSA submitted scripts and storyboards from videogames to bolster its argument that games are artistic. The Court stated that its review of the records led it to believe that games carry “messages, stories, imagery and even an ideology just as books and movies do.”
It would be interesting to know the titles of the games that were submitted to show that games are artistic. Let's see, if it were me -- I'd show them The Longest Journey to show games as stories, RealMyst to show imagry, and Syberia to show ideology.
Posted by: gatorlaw

Re: Yes Virginia - Games are protected forms of expression! - 06/04/03 09:59 AM

Quote:
Slightly baffled by the subject line
Sorry about that. It is a localized reference to the opening lines of a famous US editorial written uhmmm I think in the 40's. "Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus". It was late and the parallel leapt into my mind while I was writing. laugh

Laura
Posted by: Kickaha

Re: Yes Virginia - Games are protected forms of expression! - 06/04/03 10:19 AM

No need to apologise! I sprinkle obscure allusions in my titles and comments.

Thought it was a reference to the State of Virginia and some legal event there.
Posted by: DanF

Re: Yes Virginia - Games are protected forms of expression! - 06/04/03 10:22 AM

I really can't imagine how a game is a form of expression, but... whatever. I guess everything's a form of expression these days. It's what gives us the right to do whatever we want. Of course I'm not opposed folks developing any kind of games they want. But using that argument to defend them is a little weak if you ask me.
Posted by: Howard the Doc

Re: Yes Virginia - Games are protected forms of expression! - 06/04/03 11:02 AM

Laura - in my own self-referential way, I thought, since I am in Virignia, that you were writing to me about my comments on Journey to the Wild Divine. See? One woman's clear thought is a Rorschach for everyone else!!!
Posted by: Jenny100

Re: Yes Virginia - Games are protected forms of expression! - 06/04/03 12:08 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by DanF:
I really can't imagine how a game is a form of expression, but... whatever.
Well, if a book or movie is a form of expression, then some games must be. But considering how movies have age restrictions, I don't see how being labelled "a form of expression" makes a difference in restricting sales of games.
Posted by: gatorlaw

Re: Yes Virginia - Games are protected forms of expression! - 06/04/03 12:27 PM

Well the problem was really the reverse. Placing reasonable age restrictions on access to violent/adult themed games shouldn't be justified on the basis that games don't contain ideas and thoughts the same as movies, comics, books and music.

The problem was that the proponents of the St Louis law argued that they could restrict sales, access or anything else that they wanted regardless because games were different than other forms of entertainment. The judge in that first case agreed. He didn't rule that the restrictions were reasonable because of an over riding interest in the protection of children. The courts have long ruled that local governments have the right to limit children
Posted by: mszv

Re: Yes Virginia - Games are protected forms of expression! - 06/04/03 12:41 PM

Thanks for the clear explanation Laura, We are so lucky to have a lawyer among our very own gameboomer members!

I too am thrilled with the decision.
Posted by: Jenny100

Re: Yes Virginia - Games are protected forms of expression! - 06/04/03 01:05 PM

I wonder what the motive really was for originally separating games from movies. It looks like they wanted some games banned from production rather than just age restricted. Otherwise, why bother with the law.

Thanks for the explanation, Laura.
Posted by: gatorlaw

Re: Yes Virginia - Games are protected forms of expression! - 06/04/03 01:48 PM

Quote:
It looks like they wanted some games banned from production rather than just age restricted. Otherwise, why bother with the law.
That's a very good point. Does seem strange why they wanted the ruling in the first place.

Laura
Posted by: SuMac

Re: Yes Virginia - Games are protected forms of expression! - 06/04/03 05:40 PM

I got it, Laura! The "Yes, Virginia" part, I mean.

And I would think it's obvious that games are a form of expression, just as are movies, books, music, art, or any other product of human imagination. I'm not saying they're all on the same artistic level, but if they start banning games, because some people find them objectionable, what's next???