Il. Sex-Videogame Ban May Succeed: Con Law Expert


Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is in for a fight with his proposal to make it a crime for retailers to sell or rent games with certain sexual or violent content to kids under 18, says Time magazine. Three similar efforts, in Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Seattle–have been overturned in federal courts on the grounds that video games are protected “speech” under the First Amendment.

Blagojevich the hopes to avoid the legal pitfalls efforts by creating a narrower definition of what is violent or sexual. “The violence [banned] would be human-on-human violence and realistic depiction,” says Blagojevich. “It’s a definition comparable to obscenity statutes that routinely get upheld by courts,” he says. University of Chicago law Prof. Geoffrey Stone says the sexual content provision has the best chance of succeeding because it would fall under the category of obscenity for minors, a widely accepted concept. The measure to regulate violent games “is hopeless because there is no recognized constitutional principle that allows the government to shield children from violent expression,” says Stone. Video-game makers and retailers will fight Blagojevich’s plan.


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