U.S. District Judge James Brady has filed a preliminary, parish-specific injunction against Louisiana's HB 1381, signalling a possible end to the months-long fight over the violent game law.
The measure proposed by HB 1381, which was drafted with the help of controversial Florida attorney and anti-game activist Jack Thompson, allows a judge to rule on whether or not a video game meets established criteria for being inappropriate for minors and be subsequently pulled from store shelves. A person found guilty of selling such a game to a minor would face fines ranging from $100 to $2,000, plus a prison term of up to one year.
Judge Brady had already filed and stayed a temporary block of the bill just days after it was signed into law, promising a ruling on a temporary injunction soon afterward.
Brady is cited in the ruling, provided at weblog GamePolitics.com with further specific legal ramifications, as finding the connections and precedent for "social science evidence demonstrating that violent video games are harmful" both "tenuous and speculative" and that without the injunction "the statute will have a chilling effect on both video game developers and retailers."
Entertainment Merchants Association president Bo Andersen has issued a statement in response to the injunction:
"We are gratified that Judge Brady has granted a preliminary injunction effective in the East Baton Rouge Parish to protect retailers from this blatantly unconstitutional law,” said Bo Andersen, President of the Entertainment Merchants Association. “We are optimistic that District Attorneys throughout the state will follow the constitutional guidance in Judge Brady’s decision and abstain from attempting to enforce this law pending further action in this case.
We also hope that this ruling will cause the State of Louisiana to rethink its position and abandon its strident defense of this misguided and poorly drafted law. A less wasteful approach for the State and its citizens would be for the State to encourage parents to utilize retailers as a source of information and make effective use of the industry’s voluntary game ratings system."
Further feedback from industry associations, including the ESA, is expected in the near future, and Gamasutra will add it as it becomes available.