By Brian Lynch

Should violent video games enjoy free speech protection? That is the issue the U.S. Supreme Court takes up this week in a case involving a 2005 California law that bans selling violent video games to children. The state argues that the harmful effects violent games have on children outweigh any artistic or creative merit of the games. The gaming industry counters by arguing that a broad ruling could lead to overly restrictive self-censorship and further restrictions on other media industries. Critics have readily pointed out that the law was signed by none other than The Terminator, also known as California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has starred in numerous violent action movies. A transcript of today’s oral arguments can be read here (.pdf). Case filings and additional coverage can be found here and Attorney Stephen Riden from Boston firm Beck Reed & Riden posted an analysis of each side’s arguments here.

Photo “DualShock 3” courtesy of Flickr user joo0ey, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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