The video game industry's trade body, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has announced that US District Court Judge George Caram Steeh has ordered the state of Michigan to pay $182,349 to the ESA, for attorney's fees and costs derived from the legal battle that found the state's anti-violent game law unconstitutional.
Judge Steeh handed down a permanent injunction against the law in April, dismissing the state's claim at that time that the interactive nature of video games makes them less entitled to First Amendment protection.
This comes on the heels of yesterday's news concerning the ESA's aim to reclaim attorney's fees from the state of Louisiana derived the legal battle that found the state's video game legislation unconstitutional, and marks the third such ruling this week.
According to ESA officials, this latest ruling brings the total amount currently owed or paid by states to the video game industry for legal fees to over $1.5 million. In addition to the Michigan ruling, officials note that thus far US judges have ruled that the following states and municipalities must pay the game industry's legal fees for similar legislative efforts to regulate games: Illinois, $510,000; Washington state, $344,000; St. Louis, $180, 000; and Indianapolis, $318,000.
"States that pass laws regulating video game sales might as well just tell voters they have a new way to throw away their tax dollars on wasteful and pointless political exercises that do nothing to improve the quality of life in the state," commented ESA president Douglas Lowenstein. "In nine out of nine cases in the past six years, judges have struck down these clearly unconstitutional laws, and in each instance ESA has or will recover its legal fees from the states.”
He added: “What's worse, the politicians proposing and voting for these laws know this will be the outcome. Our hope is that we can stop this pick pocketing of taxpayers and start working cooperatively, as we have with several states and elected officials, to implement truly effective programs to educate parents to use the tools industry has made available -- from ESRB ratings to parental control technologies."