PTC Denounces Supreme Court Ruling on CA
Video Game Law
Ruling Puts Video Game Retailers Ahead
LOS ANGELES (June 27, 2011) – Today, the
Supreme Court upended a California law that would hold video game
retailers accountable for selling or renting adult games to
unaccompanied minor children. The
Parents Television Council™ denounced today’s ruling in Brown v.
Entertainment Merchants Association, but pledged to continue holding
irresponsible video game retailers publicly accountable.
“When an industry trade group files a federal
lawsuit to defend a child’s constitutional rights, the alarm bells
should be deafening. It is hard to imagine a more cynical
proposition. Sadly, today’s ruling proves the United States Supreme
Court heard the video game industry loud and clear, but turned a
deaf ear to concerned parents. The Court has provided children with
a Constitutionally-protected end-run on parental authority,” said
PTC President Tim Winter.
“This ruling replaces the authority of parents
with the economic interests of the video game industry. With no fear
of any consequence for violating the video game industry’s own age
restriction guidelines, retailers can now openly, brazenly sell
games with unspeakable violence and adult content even to the
youngest of children.
“The carefully-worded California statute would
not have interfered in any way with the rights of the creators of
adult games or the adults who wish to buy them; and in fact, it
would not interfere with parents who wanted to purchase such a game
for their children. Rather, the measure only would have prevented an
unaccompanied minor child from buying or renting the product.
“Countless independent studies confirm what
most parents instinctively know to be true: repeated exposure to
violent video games has a harmful and long-term effect on children.
Despite these troubling findings, video game manufacturers have
fought tooth and nail for the ‘right’ to line their pockets at the
expense of America’s children. Today, the Supreme Court sided with
them and against parents.
“We call on the Entertainment Merchants
Association to redouble its efforts for increased enforcement of the
industry’s age-based vending restrictions. The Federal Trade
Commission and the PTC’s own ‘Secret Shopper’ campaigns have
routinely demonstrated an abysmal failure rate for video game
retailers to uphold the industry’s own age-based restrictions. With
the exception of GameStop, many in the video game industry appear to
be either unwilling or unable to prevent the sale of M-rated games
to kids. Now with no threat of consequence for failure, we are
concerned that the self-regulatory efforts will be violated in even
greater numbers than they already are. We will be monitoring this
“The Parents Television Council is proud of its
unwavering support for California State Senator Leland Yee’s
leadership and legislative efforts to protect children. We will
continue to use all the resources within our power to call out
unscrupulous retailers. If the federal courts won’t stand for
parents, then we hope the court of public opinion will,” Winter
with a representative from
the Parents Television
Council, please contact
Megan Franko at (703)
859-5054 or Liz Krieger at
(703) 683-5004 ext. 120.