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Video Game Restrictions Threaten First Amendment, Columnist Says

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 05/03/2005 @ 10:08 am

John Hrabe, president of the California Legislative Institute, equates a pending California bill that would restrict access to violent video games with a dead pope’s banned book list.

Today, the Assembly Arts and Entertainment Committee will review a bill by Assemblyman Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, that would restrict minors’ access to certain “ultra'’ violent video games. Although well-intended, Yee’s bill represents the scariest approach to unwanted expression. AB 450 not only violates the First Amendment, but also dangerously conflates violence with obscenity.

Video games have made significant advancements since the days of “Pong'’ and “Frogger.'’ With those advancements, anti-violence advocates claim that expression standards must adapt. But, the First Amendment was designed to protect such technological innovations. When our founders debated the adoption of the First Amendment, every attempt to weaken the amendment was soundly defeated. Consequently, new technologies like radio, television and the Internet have all been recognized as protected means of expression.

Read it all in the San Jose Mercury News.

See also: When is violent speech free speech? CivilRights.org


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