Apple has a mysterious, yet evidently strict, approach to controversial content its App store. Does this limit freedom of expression?
Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson describes fan pressure on developers to implement more female video games as censorship, but is this fair?
A deep dive into the fear that immersive fictional content has historically provoked.
Most often, when FIRE talks about “disinvitations,” the conversation revolves around colleges formally rescinding invitations to speakers because of something controversial associated with the speaker, or students protesting the speaker so much that the school either withdraws its invitation or the speaker backs out “voluntarily.” In more extreme cases, sometimes students will shout down the speaker on stage. However, a different type of disinvitation happened last week at Utah State University—thanks to a heckler’s veto of the worst kind. Feminist video game critic Anita Sarkeesian was slated to speak at Utah State until the university received an anonymous terrorist threat […]
The post Threats of Violence Lead Feminist Critic to Cancel Speech at Utah State appeared first on FIRE.
In what ways are video games like comic books, or early cartoons? What educational purposes do they serve? What do they teach us about ourselves? Can designing and playing video games make us better people? NCAC invited a panel of gaming designers and educators to open up these questions during our Video Games in the Crosshairs film screening this past [...]
Our second place winner is “A Virtual Reality,” by Peter Ackerman of Augusta, Maine. Ackerman interviews friends, video game enthusiasts and a psychologist, in a lively documentary exploring gaming and its effect on gamers. A paintball excursion provides a unique backdrop to investigate how gamers separate virtual reality from violence in the real world. “It’s appealing to people it’s just [...]
Austin Guerrero of Gresham, OR placed third with his dramatic action thriller “Initial Testing," in which a night playing video games veers into the unknown, in the tradition of The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. After complaining that he’s bored with “easy” shooter games, a friend gives Grant a challenge like he’s never imagined. What will Grant do when the [...]
The winner of this year’s Youth Free Expression Project Film Contest, addressing the theme Video Games in the Crosshairs, is “Future Warfare III” by Ani Akpan of the Bronx, NY. Using dazzling visual effects, Akpan thrusts the viewer into a near-future society where gaming approaches virtual reality and Big Brother takes a hard line stance, spurring gamers to speak back. [...]
Since our op-ed on New Jersey Senate Bill 2715 landed in the Times of Trenton, and our subsequent letter to Gov. Chris Christie was picked up by video game journalists, we've seen a couple questions pop up in comments and emails. To recap, Senate Bill 2715 would require the New Jersey Department of Education to publish pamphlets, websites and other [...]
Check out today's Times of Trenton op-ed page for a piece by NCAC Executive Director Joan Bertin calling out the dubious logic and "research" behind a bill the New Jersey legislature just passed that would put the state Department of Education in charge of a disinformation campaign to scare parents about the effects of "violent media." This kind of initiative [...]
Early in February, we wrote a letter in response to reports that the public library in Paterson, NJ had banned the playing of video games on their public computers. While the policy was conceived with children in mind, it ostensibly applied to anyone. Despite reports to the contrary, as soon as we sent them a stern letter, the library back-pedaled, claiming [...]
Yesterday we sent a letter to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, questioning the DOT’s decision to remove a number of video games in rest areas along the Massachusetts Turnpike after a visitor at one rest stop complained the games were “inappropriate.”
This weekend, the New York Times featured comments on the debate over violent media in its Sunday Dialogue segment. The letters were written in response to one penned by Susan Linn, director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. A couple of the responses were thoughtful and incisive; others, not so much. Here are the highs and lows... HIGHS From Chris [...]
Speaking of stories straight out of the 1950s playbook, here's one from right after New Years: A group in Southington, CT decided to collect and destroy violent video games, bribing incentivizing resident participation with a $25 gift certificate for other forms of happy-sunny family fun, like a trip to a water park. In a somewhat contradictory statement, the group stated that "there is ample [...]
Last Monday the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 to strike down a California law that banned the selling of violent video games to minors. The Supreme Court ruled that video games are allowed the same protection under the first amendment as books, plays, and movies. The ruling also distinguished the California statute from the Ginsburg vs. New York decision, in which [...]
This Fact Sheet answers some frequently-asked questions about social science research into the effects of media violence. The bottom line is that despite the claims of some psychologists and politicians, the actual research results have been weak and ambiguous. This should not be surprising: media violence is so pervasive in our lives, and comes in so many different contexts and [...]
On June 27, 2011, the Supreme Court put an end to the attempts of state and local lawmakers to censor violent video games. Or at least, one hopes so. After two decades of political grandstanding, vaguely drafted laws, and unproven claims that “excessive” or “gratuitous” violence in this particular medium of entertainment has harmful effects on children and teenagers, Justice [...]
The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is known for exhibiting a panoply of video game products and innovations, so IGN blogger Michael Tomeson recently quested to find video games dealing with sex. Despite a medium that presents simulated activities ranging from invading Normandy to designing entire civilizations, Tomeson noted the continuing informal ban on sexual content within the mainstream game market. [...]
NCAC devotes the latest issue of Censorship News to video games and the latest in a series of efforts to “protect” minors by restricting their freedom of speech. We discuss the video game case heard in the Supreme Court on November 2, Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association. The Court will decide whether the state can impose criminal penalties for selling [...]
Like all the other forms of expression that were feared initially – including the printing press – video games will certainly become part of mainstream culture, and the anxiety over their effects on young people will appear foolish in retrospect.
Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association et al: The brief challenges a California law designed to prevent minors from purchasing "violent video games." The law requires that any violent video game "that is imported into or distributed in California for retail sale" be labeled with a two inch by two inch label marked "18."
This is a familiar debate. In 1948, the Supreme Court rejected the claim that graphic crime stories and reports corrupt minors and contribute to juvenile crime and anti-social behavior.
Video games are ruining our children! A look at an amicus brief supporting CA violent video game law
Spilling a little red type. GamePolitics does quick work on an amicus brief filed by the Eagle Forum (“leading the pro-family movement since 1972”) supporting California’s video game law by highlighting the most problematic claims of the brief. As GamePolitics writes, “In the amicus brief, the Eagle Forum lays an array of societal problems at the feet of violent video [...]
From GamePolitics.com, a review of the Lousiana bill SB 152 By a 35-0 vote June 10, 2009, the Louisiana Senate passed SB 152, a bill which would make a pattern of distributing sexually explicit material to children a deceptive trade practice under state law. GamePolitics readers may recall that in its original form, SB 152 was drafted by disbarred Miami attorney Jack [...]
In recent weeks, a Spider-Man comic book and Nintendo Power magazine have been challenged in school libraries in Cleveland, Ohio, and in Millard, Nebraska, respectively. Parents have asked whether a scantily-clad cartoon woman (in one case) or violence in a video game magazine (in the other case) constitute appropriate reading materials for students in school. Here, NCAC takes a look [...]
The National Coalition Against Censorship asks you to support Governor Huntsman’s veto of House Bill 353. We agree with the Governor that H. B. 353 poses both constitutional and practical problems.
Jack Thompson, who penned HB 353 (the bill pending in Utah that we asked you to help stop) has written a letter to President Obama calling for a national plan similar to the one proposed in Utah. In response to a recent tragedy in Germany where a young man shot 15 people at his former school, German and American media [...]
Writing that "the language of this bill is so broad that it likely will be struck down by the courts as an unconstitutional violation of the Dormant Commerce Clause and/or the First Amendment," Utah Governor Jon Huntsman has vetoed bill HB 353.
Last week, the Utah Legislature overwhelmingly approved House Bill 353, the “Truth in Advertising” amendments in yet another effort to legally enforce the private voluntary rating schemes used by industry to inform consumers about the contents of movies, video games, and music. We strongly oppose it and urge you to veto it.
Jurist reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has held that a California ban on the sale of video games to minors is unconstitutional. According to Jurist: The bill, originally signed into law by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in October 2005, prohibited the sale or rental of violent video games to minors under the age of [...]
Russell Bradburn writes at examiner.com: All politicians, left or right, engage in this sort of media scapegoating, and games are a particularly soft target for it. … What has our new president to say on the issue? Not much, apparently. The Obama campaign went as far as to place ads in the Xbox 360 game Burnout paradise, so Obama clearly [...]
The state legislature of New York passed two bills in recent weeks seeking to further restrict the sale of video games containing "depraved violence" and "indecent images" to minors.
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan granted the Entertainment Software Association’s (ESA) request for a preliminary injunction to block implementation of the recently enacted Michigan statute seeking to ban the sale of certain video games to minors.
First Amendment Protected in Case Involving Video Game Violence Judge Whyte of the District Court of Northern California granted a preliminary injunction preventing a California statute from going into effect on January 1, 2006. The Act required that violent video games be labelled, and prevented the sale or rental of these video games to minors. In his decision, Judge Whyte [...]
Video Games Upheld as Protected Speech In a decision hailed by free speech advocates, the Illinois District Court Judge Kennelly issued a strongly worded 53 page opinion in which he concluded that both the restrictions on violent and non obscene sexually explicit games violate the First Amendment and granted a permanent injunction against their implementation. In his opinion, Judge Kennelly [...]