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Court Lifts Ban on Selling Videogames to Minors

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals overruled June 3, 2003 a St. Louis County, Missouri law banning sales of violent videogames to minors. The court ruled that games are "analytically indistinguishable" from other kids of entertainment projected the by the First Amendment. The court said the games' interactivity does not make them different from books, music, movies or live performances. "If the First Amendment is versatile enough to 'shield painting of Jackson Pollock, music of Arnold Schoenberg or Jabberwocky version of Lewis Carroll' we see no reason why the pictures, graphic design, concept art, sounds, music, stories and narrative present n video games are not entitled to a similar protection," the court wrote.

The court said viewers of DVDS or videocassettes exercise equal control watching movies, that they can skip to and isolate the action sequences in action-packed movies like THE MATRIX and CHARLIE'S ANGELS. Just because technology has increased viewer control, that does not make the movies unprotected under the First Amendment, and that the player of games should enjoy just as much protection for that modern media as one has for motion pictures.

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