The Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) applauds the Supreme Court’s 7-2 decision today in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association striking down a California law that prohibited, in part, the sale of certain video games to minors. ACT Executive Director Morgan Reed issued the following statement.
One of the most important aspects of this decision was the court’s recognition of media equality; electronic media receive the same first amendment protections as books and movies.
The Court correctly noted that, “the basic principles of freedom of speech and the press . . . do not vary ‘when a new and different medium for communication appears.’” This recognition that all content creators enjoy the same constitutional rights, regardless of the format, provides a strong foundation on which emerging technologies may rely. In addition, the Supreme Court today helped remind us that our founders likely did not want laws disfavoring certain industries on the basis of technology.
The Court recognized that voluntary, self-regulatory rating systems like the ESRB rating system for video games may provide a better mechanism for creators to communicate information about content to parents than overly broad laws.