Still smarting from their blow-out loss at the Supreme Court two years ago, state legislators are laying the groundwork for a new push to censor video games. In the Huffington Post, TF President Berin Szoka shows how censorship efforts in Massachusetts (and in Congress) are doomed to fail:
This week, TechFreedom joined the National Coalition Against Censorship and four other groups to file comments expressing concerns about legislation proposed in Massachusetts. The bill, which would commission a study on video games as causes of real-world violence, sounds harmless at first. But it’s clearly intended to cause the Supreme Court to finally uphold video game censorship. Luckily, the study wouldn’t really satisfy the government’s burden in justifying censorship – but it certainly would unleash years of pointless litigation.
Any law that imposes special restrictions on video games, like minimum age to purchase or subjective labeling, will require a lot more proof than the Massachusetts study could provide. Given the heavy burden born by the government – “ambiguous proof will not suffice” – any scientific study trying to upturn today’s scientific consensus (finding no causal link) would have to be exceptionally rigorous and thorough.
But a study contrived to reach the preordained conclusion that video games cause violence certainly would unleash another flurry of state legislation and years more of protracted litigation. Worse, there’s no doubt it would encourage politicians to resume attempts to browbeat video game publishers into self-censorship – in other words, trying to circumvent the Supreme Court’s Brown decision.