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The U.S. Supreme Court said on Monday it would decide whether a California law banning the sale and rental of violent video games to minors violated constitutional free-speech rights, the first time it will consider a video game case.

The justices agreed to hear an appeal by the state after a U.S. appeals court based in California struck down the law, which also imposes strict video game labeling requirements, as unconstitutional.

The high court is expected to hear arguments in the case and then issue a ruling during its upcoming term, which begins in October. It will be one of the most important cases so far for the upcoming term.

In appealing to the Supreme Court, the state argued that the free-speech guarantees of the First Amendment do not bar a state from prohibiting the sale of violent video games to minors under 18.

The law, which was adopted in 2005, has never taken effect because of the legal challenge.

The law prohibits the sale of an interactive video game to anyone under 18 if the game was so violent it was "patently offensive," according to prevailing community standards and lacked serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

Michael Gallagher, president and chief executive of the Entertainment Software Association, which represents U.S. computer and video game publishers, said the group looks forward to presenting its arguments and defending the industry's works.


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