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IU Law Professor On California’s Video Game Case

Even if the California law had been upheld, Conkle admitted, it couldn‘t stop kids from playing the games.

video games

Photo: Sean Dreilinger

The Supreme Court has ruled that parental ratings for video games are good enough.

The Supreme Court issued a ruling Monday blocking a California law that would regulate the sale and rental of violent video games to minors. The court ruled that video games have the same first amendment rights as books, movies, comics, and so on.

Professor David Conkle with IU’s Maurer School of Law explained the majority decision. The court ruled that “sex is different from violence,” he said, “and that there is a tradition of permitting regulation of sexually-oriented materials but not one with respect to violent materials. As a result, the law could not stand.”

Video games have a voluntary rating system, similar to that of movies, which Conkle says are unenforceable, but exist for a reason. “As with movies, I think there is sort of the industry standard that maybe has some teeth just in order to protect the PR of the industry and the retailers and so forth.”

Conkle explained that this decision means the Supreme Court decided parental ratings for video games are good enough. But, he added, even if the California law had been upheld, it couldn‘t stop kids from playing the games if they were purchased with parental consent.

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