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Oklahoma 'Games As Porn' Bill Halted By Judge

Oklahoma 'Games As Porn' Bill Halted By Judge

October 12, 2006 | By Jason Dobson

October 12, 2006 | By Jason Dobson
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US District Judge Judge Robin J. Cauthron of the Western District of Oklahoma has issued a preliminary injunction against HB30004, which was signed into law by Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry in June, and was set to go into effect on November 1.

The legislation redefines a list of items, such as hardcore pornography, which are deemed "harmful to minors", to include video games which use "inappropriate violence".

However, the Court stated that plaintiffs, including the Entertainment Software Association and Entertainment Merchants Association, presented "strong arguments" that the legislation contains content that is unconstitutional and wording that is unconstitutionally vague. Judge Cauthron has given the state until October 18 to address the trade groups' request for a permanent injunction.

The new law would make it a felony for anyone in Oklahoma to sell, rent or display games which contain inappropriate violence, with stores required to keep such games hidden in a similar manner to pornographic magazines and videos. The bill ignores the ESRB age rating for games, and instead makes its own definition of inappropriate violence.

"This marks the ninth Court decision in the past five years to enjoin restrictions on video games," said Doug Lowenstein, president of the ESA. "We're grateful for the preliminary injunction and look forward to prevailing in the effort to permanently strike down the law."


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