Debate on video game violence to be held in San Francisco

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Leland Yee Does violence in video games lead to real-life violence? This has been a hotly discussed and controversial topic for many years, to the point that it has reached the Supreme Court. If you happen to live in or near San Francisco, the Commonwealth Club will be hosting a debate on this topic on Thursday March 17, 2011, and all are invited.

In 2005 then-Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger passed a law called AB 1179 that banned the sale of “violent video games” to minors. This law was deemed unconstitutional by the lower courts and not put into effect. It was eventually turned over to the Supreme Court as the Justices heard both arguments on November 2, 2010 and are expected to make a decision soon.

The panelists scheduled to appear include California State Senator Leland Yee (pictured), the author of the highly controversial bill; Activision Blizzard Executive VP and Chief Public Policy Officer George Rose; and Michael McConnell, Director of the Stanford Constitutional Law Center and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Although it’s great that Yee himself will be there to defend his bill, I think it would be especially appealing if one of the panelists was someone from a company known for making “violent” games such as Rockstar or Epic, or from a major distributor like EA. Still, the debate sounds quite interesting.

If you’d like to check it out, the debate will be on March 17, 2011 at the Commonwealth’s SF Club Office. The address is 595 Market St, 2nd Floor, San Francisco. It kicks off at 5:30 pm with a networking reception, and the actual debate is at 6pm. The cost is $12 for Commonwealth members, $20 for non-members, and $7 for students with valid IDs.

It’s unclear whether or not attendees can address the panelists after the debate. However, if so allowed, the ECA (Entertainment Consumers Association), a longtime opponent of AB 1179, encourages attendees to speak their mind, according to Online Advocacy Manager Brett Schenker. The ECA is not sponsoring the event.

Site [Commonwealth Club] Also read [NPR] [GamesBeat]

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