American Amusement Machine Association, et al. v. Kendrick, et al.
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
244 F.3d 572
In a unanimous three judge panel decision, the Honorable Richard A. Posner, of the Seventh Circuit, declared the Indianapolis Arcade Ordinance unconstitutional, reaffirming that children have First Amendment rights.
In his ruling, Judge Posner stated that "[T]o shield children right up to the age of 18 from exposure to violent descriptions and images would not only be quixotic, but deforming; it would leave them unequipped to cope with the world as we know it. Maybe video games are different. They are, after all, interactive. But this point is superficial, in fact erroneous. All literature (here broadly defined to include movies, television, and the other photographic media, and popular as well as highbrow literature) is interactive; the better it is, the more interactive. Literature when it is successful draws the reader into the story, makes him identify with the characters, invites him to judge them and quarrel with them, to experience their joys and sufferings as the reader's own. Protests from readers caused Dickens to revise Great Expectations to give it a happy ending, and tourists visit sites in Dublin and its environs in which the fictitious events of Ulysses are imagined to have occurred. The cult of Sherlock Holmes is well known."
In reference to scientific studies, such as research by Craig Anderson, et al., provided to the Court arguing that interactive games cause violent behavior, the Court wrote "[T]here is no indication that the games used in the studies are similar to those in the record of this case or to other games likely to be marketed in game arcades in Indianapolis. The studies do not find that video games have ever caused anyone to commit a violent act, as opposed to feeling aggressive, or have caused the average level of violence to increase anywhere. And they do not suggest that it is the interactive character of the games, as opposed to the violence of the images in them, that is the cause of the aggressive feelings. The studies thus are not evidence that violent video games are any more harmful to the consumer or to the public safety than violent movies or other violent, but passive, entertainments. It is highly unlikely that they are more harmful, because 'passive' entertainment aspires to be interactive too and often succeeds."
After striking the Indianapolis Arcade Ordinance as unconstitutional, the Court ordered the defendants to pay the arcade industry $318,000 to cover their attorney's fees in this case.
To view this decision in its entirety please go to: http://tinyurl.com/zgo4n