The Supreme Court will hear the State of California vs. the Video Software Dealers Association and Entertainment Software Association on November 2nd. Anti-censorship groups like the Video Game Voters Network have made their voices heard through various creative campaigns throughout the long running case. One organization fighting this law, the National Youth Rights Association, will be holding a rally on the Supreme Court steps the day of the hearing.
NYRA is a grass roots organization started by Alex Koroknay-Palicz. NYRA was founded on the principal that young people are should be treated as equally to adults as much as possible. As such they devote much of their time to fighting age discrimination. Recently, they had a device that was used to drive away teenagers in Washington D.C. shut off. NYRA believes that the California video game law unfairly discriminates against young gamers and they have fought it at every turn through protests and legal action.
NYRA is one of the various groups on the amicus brief filed for the VSDA and ESA. They filed because most of the people involved in the case have never played video games. Alex and other members, most of whom are gamers or have been gamers at some point in their life, thought it wasn’t right that the opinions of gamers, especially young gamers, weren’t being heard and wanted to do something about it Their section of the brief is unique in the fact that the people cited aren’t lawyers or politicians It contains comments from gamers that they solicited from their blog, “Age of Reason.”
Next, they’re headed to the steps of the Supreme Court. Wrecked Gamer sat down and talked with Alex about the rally.
WG: What is the purpose of the rally?
Alex: The purpose of the rally is to bring attention to the rights of young people. The Court is assessing the Constitutionality of a California law which put an age limit on violent video games. With a stroke of a pen, California stripped away the free speech rights of millions of young people, young people who never had a chance to vote for those lawmakers. youthrights: The Court, who was appointed and confirmed by politicians never voted for by the individuals their decision will affect, will ultimately decide this case. But no one in this process has any need to listen to or represent the rights, liberties or interests of youth, since youth are cut out of the political process entirely. We seek to call attention to the free speech issues involved here, the fact that video games are not “murder simulators” as some claim, but valuable artistic expression, and since the oral argument is on election day, the disenfranchisement of Americans under 18.
WG: According to some, the fact that parents are allowed to buy the games for the kids makes protest of the law unnecessary. What do you say to this?
Alex: It places an unnecessary burden on families. Parents are currently involved in 80% of video game purchases already, and have made very good use of the ESRB rating system to guide family decisions. This law doesn’t fix a problem. It simply creates new problems in a system that is running well.
WG: What sort of new problems?
Alex: Parents are busy. Work, family and everything else takes time, and this law places an additional burden on them by prohibiting them to allow their kids to just buy games themselves. There are many parents out there who would have no problem with their son or daughter playing a game who just won’t make the effort to go to the store themselves and buy it. We mustn’t forget either that there are many teens who are emancipated or in foster care who would be affected most directly by laws such as this.
WG: When will this rally be taking place?
Alex: On November 2nd from 8:30 to 12 p.m.
WG: Any special requests for attendees?
Alex: Act professionally. We want to portray gamers in a positive light to counter the stereotypes pushed by anti-video game politicians.
WG: Are there any other ways gamers can get involved?
Alex: Please support youth rights by attending and spreading word of this rally. You can RSVP at the Facebook event here: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pi...19181914806973
We’re also looking for slogans to write on signs and banners. If you’ve got an idea for a sign that:
Makes a strong argument why video games should not be censored or banned
Shows off the value of video games
Defends the First Amendment rights of youth
Pokes fun at the star of violent action films (Schwarzenegger) defending a ban on violent video games
Highlights the fact that youth are denied the right to vote across the nation
Shows support for the equal rights of youth
If you want to get involved and post your sign ideas use the comments in this link: http://blog.youthrights.org/2010/10/...ally/#comments
We here at Wrecked Gamer wish the National Youth Rights Association luck in defending the free speech rights of gamers everywhere.
Written by: Matt Stafford