A new statement from the Entertainment Merchants Association has hailed a federal district court ruling that California's anti-violent game law is unconstitutional, calling the decision "inevitable" and calling on the state legislation to work with the industry on ratings education.
Under the terms of AB1179, which would have come into effect on January 1, 2006, but has been plagued by judicial orders halting its progress, customers purchasing games with the label would be required to show ID; retailers who either did not check for ID or did not show the labels will be liable for a $1,000 fine per infraction.
In the statement, EMA president Bo Andersen said:
It was inevitable that the federal district court would find the California video game restriction law unconstitutional, as eight similar laws around the country have been overturned in the past six years. We informed the legislature that this would be the eventual result when it was considering the law, and it is indeed unfortunate that legislature ignored the prior cases.
It is now time for the California legislature to move beyond political grandstanding and accept the video game industry’s invitation to work with them to educate the public about video game ratings and encourage parents to utilize those ratings when selecting video games for their families.
The challenged law was authored by state senator Leland Yee, and was to apply to games if depictions of violence in the games were "offensive to the community or if the violence depicted is committed in an 'especially heinous, cruel, or depraved' manner."
[UPDATE: The ESA's director of media relations Dan Hewitt has released a statement saying the ruling "cements nationwide judicial consensus that our self-regulatory efforts work" -- full text of the statement follows:
The computer and video game industry leads in providing caregivers the most comprehensive and effective information and tools to ensure the entertainment children enjoy is parent-approved. As such, the ESA is pleased with today's permanent injunction ruling as it cements nationwide judicial consensus that our self-regulatory efforts work and attempts to regulate computer and video games are unconstitutional.
We look forward to the opportunity this ruling now affords us and invite legislators, community leaders, and family advocates to raise awareness and usage of the resources we provide.]