Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Video Game Law, Manga, the Taliban and Nazis

As the November Supreme Court date looms, the video game law is much of a hot topic. As all of you may know, California State Senator Leland Lee Phd authored the controversial law with Attorney General Brown and Governor Arnold Schwarznegger appealing the a lower court's decision. While researching news articles, videogame and entertainment outlets have deemed the law an infringement of free spech. And giving the law no chance in winning its' appeal at the Supreme Court. We are wrong, very wrong.

First and foremost, a few Westernized countries have become more and more consevative over time. We all know about the Internet censorship in China, North Korea, Iran and Cuba, but did you know the US, Australia and the UK all partake in their form of censorship? From the creation of free speech zones in the US, a draconian Austrialian Classification Board and the UK's Coroners and Justice Act 2009 are examples of such means to protect its' citizens. The United States has a similiar law as the United Kingdom with the PROTECT Act. Ask American Manga collector Christopher Handley who was sentenced to 6 years of prison for importing lolicon and yaoi Manga from Japan.

My keen eye readers are to notice that there is a key difference between Leland Lee's Law and the PROTECT Act, one is set to protect children from violence rather child pornography. And I agree, the material is rather different, yet the process of censorship is the same, elected officials are dead set to protect America's children with the all for nothing blanket of protection.

Pornography (even if the material of under age sex as drawn a la The Lost Girls) came first and now violence is next. Where does it stop? Why dont we start to, in a effort to fight child obesity, fine fast food joints who offer a toy in their meal without offering a healthy food? That law exists in one county. Yet school yard bullying continues in the LBGT community, anchor babies are under fire and education in the US continues to be understaffed and underbudgeted. The hypocrasy is thick with American elected officials.

The law may be very well upheld, even after all the legal mumbo jumbo, in the eyes of the Supreme Court they will protect the children from violent images and content, just like they do with child pornography. They might argue brain maturation or how violence does indeed affect children after researching countless of medical studies that hardly make any sense. More mumbo jumbo. Or they might just upheld the previous rulings, striking down the law and say it is a Federal duty to protect the children or something to that effect.

Maybe the Supreme Court Justices will ammend the PROTECT Act and include violent images too. Especially if violent images are brutal, henious, atrocious or cruel, because anyone with a law degree can tell difference. Hopefully, we can start to protect our children from brutal violent movies too. Let's start with California Governor's Terminator movie. After watching the movie as a child, I was compelled to vote for him, too scared to think of the consenquences if I had voted democrat. When the video game law does get upheld, and lets just say it does, other entertainment mediums alike; film, music and comic books may come under fire.

The comic book industry has suffered these attacks as well. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (think the ACLU of comics) have come to aid of defendants when proscecutors have encroached into the First Amendment Rights of creators, retailers and consumers. CBLDF even filed a brief on behalf of the ESA, saying the law to the LA Times "would undermine more First Amendmeny principles in a single case that any decision in living memory." The line between art and a consumer good are being blurred.

There is much discussion on the definition of video-games, which are popular with all ages, a consumer product or have artistic merit like a novel or a movie. The argument is, video-games, in the creation and marketing process, have more in common with a bar of soap than a comic book.

Regardless, the decision may be handed to Americans by the Supreme Court in the the ruling of Scharznegger v ECA, which is a scary thought.
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