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Press Release

April 26, 2010


PTC Urges Supreme Court to Empower Parents and Protect Children by Upholding California Violent Video Game Law


LOS ANGELES (April 26, 2010) – The Parents Television Council™ praised the U.S. Supreme Court for taking on violent video games and urged the Court to uphold a California law that was designed simply to provide meaningful consequences for retailers who rent and sell violent games to underage kids.


The law passed in the California State legislature in 2005 and was later attacked by the video game industry’s lawyers and overturned. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appealed, and the Ninth Circuit Court ruled that the law violates the rights of minors under the Constitution’s First and 14th amendments. The appeal of that ruling will now be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.


“We are thankful that our nation’s High Court has agreed to hear this case, and we hope the Justices see through the video game industry’s hypocrisy and smoke screens to uphold this important measure,” said PTC President Tim Winter.


“The California statute does nothing more than provide meaningful consequences for the industry’s own retail standards that – supposedly – are in place to protect children.  But when those standards are regularly or routinely ignored by such a large number of game retailers, the result is that harmful products remain easily within a child’s reach. 


“Mature and Adults Only-rated games are getting into the hands of minors and the industry is unwilling to accept the consequences.  And the reality is that the video game industry profits by ignoring its own age restrictions and selling games to minors, which creates an undeniable conflict of interest.  Though recent Federal Trade Commission investigations demonstrate retailer compliance is not as bad as it was several years ago, the failure rate remains too high.  The PTC’s own ‘secret shopper’ research found that video game retailers sell M-rated video games to minors 36% of the time.


“The California law does not impact in any way the rights of those who create ultra-violent video games, nor does it impede the marketing or distribution of the games to adults.  But it does prevent a child from purchasing an adult product without their parent or guardian present at the time of purchase.  And with a growing volume of medical and clinical research demonstrating a long-term harmful impact on children, parents need to know that a video game retailer will not sell an adult-themed product to children behind the parent’s back. 


 “We strongly urge the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the children and families that this law was intended to protect. No longer should the video game industry be allowed to line its pockets while disregarding its own age restrictions and suffer zero consequences,” Winter concluded.


For more information on our Video Game Campaign click here.


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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