ANA Joins Broad Media Coalition In Opposition To Video Game Law

ANA Joins Broad Media Coalition In Opposition To Video Game Law

Washington, D.C. - ANA (Association of National Advertisers) and a broad coalition of media and entertainment groups have argued that a California law regulating the sale of violent video games should be struck down because it violates the First Amendment.  The groups filed a "friend of the court" brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association, No. 08-1448.  The Supreme Court is reviewing a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which held that the California law is unconstitutional.

ANA Executive Vice President Dan Jaffe stated: "We agree that children should be protected from inappropriate material, but the California law is far too sweeping and clearly violates the First Amendment.  We joined in this brief to respond to the growing effort of policymakers across the country to 'childproof' ever widening categories of speech in our society.  The Supreme Court repeatedly has held that speech that is perfectly lawful for adults cannot be overly restricted under the guise of protecting children.  Also, treating older teenagers up to the age of 18 as if they were very young children is constitutionally suspect."

Jaffe stated: "This case also has important implications for the issue of the impact of various media on children, something the FCC is presently examining.  It is ironic that this case is being pursued by California Governor Schwarzenegger, whose career was propelled by a series of movies that contained substantial violent content and which spawned video games based on them."

Joining ANA in the brief were: the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the Association of American Publishers, the Freedom to Read Foundation, the National Association of Recording Merchandisers, the Recording Industry Association of America, the Amusement & Music Operators Association, PEN Center USA and the Recording Academy.

The industry brief notes that the U.S. Supreme Court has never recognized any exception to the protections of the First Amendment for violent content: "According First Amendment protection to textual descriptions and visual depictions of violence recognizes the fact that such descriptions and depictions, both fictional and real, have always been a part of our civilization's art, history and literature, both for children and for adults."

Jaffe stated: "Efforts by the government to define and regulate violent content inevitably result in overbroad and vague laws.  Similar laws in other states have uniformly been struck down as unconstitutional.  The exceptions to the First Amendment that have been proposed by the California law and officials would create a gaping hole in First Amendment protection of our citizens.  They should be summarily rejected and the Ninth Circuit's decision striking down this law should be upheld."

The industry comments are available here.


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About the ANA
Founded in 1910, the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) leads the marketing community by providing its members with insights, collaboration, and advocacy. ANA's membership includes 400 companies with 9,000 brands that collectively spend over $250 billion in marketing communications and advertising. The ANA strives to communicate marketing best practices, lead industry initiatives, influence industry practices, manage industry affairs, and advance, promote, and protect all advertisers and marketers. For more information, visit

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