The Entertainment Software Association has released a public statement on the recently passed Minnesota video game bill, which adds fines for underage gamers who buy M or AO rated games, condemning it and announcing an imminent legal challenge.
The full text of the statement from the ESA's Doug Lowenstein reads: "The Entertainment Software Association is deeply disappointed by the actions of the Minnesota legislature and Governor Pawlenty. We believe that SF 785 is unnecessary and will restrict the First Amendment rights of Minnesota's citizens. To enact 'feel good' bills knowing they're likely to be tossed by the courts is the very height of cynicism. The computer and video game industry intends to file suit in Minnesota federal district court shortly, asking that the state's new video game law be overturned."
Lowenstein continues: "Six courts in five years, including the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals which governs Minnesota, have struck down similar laws, ruling that they were unconstitutional. This has resulted in legal costs of nearly one million dollars to the taxpayers of the states in which these bills were passed, and countless wasted hours spent by government officials attempting to defend the laws."
In fact, it's noted: "As recently as March 31 of this year, The Honorable George Caram Steeh, US District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, issued a permanent injunction halting implementation of a similar bill, stating that, 'this Court finds that video games contain creative, expressive free speech, inseparable from their interactive functional elements, and are therefore protected by the First Amendment.' Further, the judge wrote that, 'Not only does the Act not materially advance the state's stated interest, but it appears to discriminate against a disfavored 'newcomer' in the world of entertainment media."
The statement concludes: "We hope that sooner or later state legislators and candidates will stop trying to seek headlines by subverting the constitution and frittering away desperately needed taxpayer dollars and instead enter into a constructive partnership to educate parents about the tools available so they, not government, can raise their kids as they see fit and buy the games that are right for their unique families."