A large fraction of those involved in the entertainment industry are heaving a sigh of relief hoping that the Supreme court squashing of the California video game law will make way for leniancy towards movies and other form of media as well.
In a 7-2 ruling, the US Supreme Court barred states from banning the sale or rental of violent games to children citing that doing so would be a violation of freedom of speech.
Even where the protection of children is the object, the constitutional limits on governmental action apply, opines Justice Antonin Scalia.
With this ruling the Supreme Court has established that like movies, video games come under the protection of the First Amendment.
The court held that, Like protected books, movies and plays, they (video games) communicate through familiar literary devices and features distinctive to the media. And the basic principles of freedom of speech do not vary with a new and different communication medium.
The most basic princple - the government lacks the power to restrict expression because of its message, ideas, subject matter, or content.
By striking down California's ban on selling violent video games to minors, the court declared unconstitutional a law that has been blocked by court orders since it was passed in 2005.
As the ruling has largely evoked positive reaction for upholding the First Amendment and applying to a newer avatar of entertainment, well-crafted arguments have emerged on how the ruling will affect the entertainment media at large.
An LATimes blog said that the ruling was greeted with a collective sigh of relief from many in the entertainment industry who saw the law as having broad ramifications for not just games but also movies, music and books that deal with topics that touch on violence.
Today, the Supreme Court affirmed what we have always known that free speech protections apply every bit as much to video games as they do other forms of creative expression like books, movies and music, Michael Gallagher, chief executive of the Entertainment Software Assn., a games industry group was quoted as saying.
Another opinion piece on the Washington Post argues, 'The Supreme Court was right to strike down California's video game law.'The justices rejected a radical challenge to free speech - in the process protecting all of us, not just children, writes Catherine J. Ross who is a professor at George Washington University Law School and is also writing a book on the First Amendment and public schools.
While the squashing of the law aimed at protecting the children from obscene violence has the parents dejected, the Supreme Court has left a larger crowd happy, including observers and those in the entertainment industry. But as Justice Scalia pointed out, it is difficult to distinguish politics from entertainment, and dangerous to to try.