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Judge Rules Louisiana Game Law Unconstitutional

Judge Rules Louisiana Game Law Unconstitutional

November 29, 2006 | By Brandon Boyer

November 29, 2006 | By Brandon Boyer
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More: Console/PC

Following his preliminary injunction filed last August, U.S. District Judge James Brady has officially ruled Louisiana's HB 1381 unconstitutional, marking the end of the state's controversial anti-violent game law.

Though full details are not yet clear, weblog has reported that the law was stricken down in the Louisiana court earlier today.

The bill, first passed in June of this year, and drafted with the help of controversial Florida attorney and anti-game activist Jack Thompson, allowed 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 have faced fines ranging from $100 to $2,000, plus a prison term of up to one year.

Judge Brady quickly filed a temporary block against the law, which was stayed days later, leading to a months-long legal process before the August temporary injunction.

Judge Brady was cited in the injunction ruling 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."

News of the ruling follows a similar injunction held against Illinois' Safe Games Illinois Act, which would have would have required retailers to use warning labels in addition to the existing ESRB labels, as well as post signs within stores explaining the ESRB rating system, and fined retailers $1,000 for sales to minors. The Safe Games Act also called for a fine if a retailer was found to not have posted explanatory signage of $500 fine for the first three violations and $1,000 for each subsequent count.

Gamasutra will be updating this news as more details emerge.

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