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Press Release

February 23, 2009

PTC Calls for Appeal of 9th Circuit Court Ruling Overturning CA Violent Video Game Law


LOS ANGELES (February 23, 2009) – In response to the Ninth Circuit Federal Court ruling that struck down a California law designed to prevent the sale of adult video games to minors, the Parents Television Council™ has called on its members to voice their support for CA State Sen. Leland Yee’s call for the decision to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.


Sen. Yee was the author of the legislation, which passed the California State legislature in 2005.  This law was later shot down due to the video game industry’s lawyers.  CA Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appealed, and the Ninth Circuit Court issued its ruling, saying that the law violates the rights of minors under the Constitution’s First and 14th amendments.


“Let’s be clear on what – exactly – is going on here: The video game industry has established a policy to ‘protect’ children from a harmful product, yet they file lawsuit after lawsuit to oppose any enforcement of that same policy.  And they base their legal argument on a child’s ‘right’ to purchase the very product that they openly admit should not be purchased by a child.  This is the most outrageous example of a non sequitur that I’ve ever seen, and the result is a tragic consequence on America’s children,” said PTC President Tim Winter.


“How does the video game industry even have legal standing to sue on behalf of children who wouldn’t be able to pay them for the very products they admit that kids shouldn’t be buying?  I’ll tell you how: greed.  The only motivation for the industry to sue is to keep collecting blood money from kids who aren’t supposed to be able to buy these games without their parents present at the time of purchase.


“There are very responsible retailers out there – Wal-Mart and Game Stop come to mind – who take their obligation not to sell these games to kids very seriously.  Yet industry representatives claim this law is unfairly biased against them.  They must be forgetting that the goal of this law was solely to enforce the video game industry’s own retail guidelines not to sell M-rated or AO-rated video games to children.”


The PTC 2008 “Secret Shopper” campaign revealed that video game retailers sold Mature (M)-rated video games to minors 36% of the time.


“If the industry actually followed its own rules, then this law would have absolutely no financial impact whatsoever on the industry.  But of course the industry doesn’t follow its own rules, and they don’t want a consequence for violating them,” Winter continued.


 “Shockingly, the Court’s ruling claims that there isn’t enough research to support that children are affected by video game violence.  Yet countless independent studies confirm what most parents instinctively know to be true: repeated exposure to graphic sexual, violent and profanity-laced video games has a harmful and long-term effect on children.  Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine – and countless other objective studies – have  proven violent video games do have an effect by using functional magnetic resonance imaging technology to observe which areas of the brain are stimulated when a subject plays violent video games.


“This federal court decision is a disgrace and should be of great concern to all parents – not just in California but across our nation.  We applaud State Sen. Yee’s efforts to see that this decision goes to the U.S. Supreme Court and we are encouraging our members to do voice their concern as well,” Winter concluded.


To speak with a representative from the Parents Television Council, please contact Kelly Oliver (ext. 140) or Megan Franko (ext. 148) at (703) 683-5004.

The Parents Television Council™ (www.parentstv.org®) is a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. It was founded in 1995 to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media. This national grassroots organization has more than 1.3 million members across the United States, and works with television producers, broadcasters, networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and negative messages targeted to children. The PTC also works with elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast decency standards. Most importantly, the PTC produces critical research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex, violence and profanity in entertainment. This information is provided free of charge so parents can make informed viewing choices for their own families.




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