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ESA Seeking Over $300,000 In Legal Fees From California

ESA Seeking Over $300,000 In Legal Fees From California

September 5, 2007 | By Leigh Alexander

September 5, 2007 | By Leigh Alexander
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The Entertainment Software Association announced it has filed a motion with The Honorable Ronald M. Whyte of the Northern District of California to recover $324,840 in legal fees it incurred when it successfully challenged California's anti-violent video game law.

The law, AB1179, which would have required consumers to show ID for the purchase of games the law said were "offensive to the community, or if the violence depicted is committed in an 'especially heinous, cruel, or depraved' manner," and which would have additionally fined non-compliant retailers $1000 per infraction, was recently ruled unconstitutional and overturned.

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has promised to appeal the overturning of the bill he signed into law.

If the ESA's motion is granted, the industry, which has prevailed in eight other jurisdictions against similar unconstitutional laws, says it will have been awarded close to $1.9 million in fees and expenses from these legal challenges.

"California citizens should be outraged at their elected leaders. Hard-earned tax dollars were spent on defending this law that California's state leaders knew was unconstitutional. Before Senator Leland Yee [the bill's sponsor] proposed this bill, federal and district courts across the country ruled that the path California was taking would run afoul of the First Amendment," said Michael D. Gallagher, president of the ESA.

He continued: "From early on, the industry warned Governor Schwarzenegger and Senator Yee that this bill was unconstitutional and would be thrown out by the courts and that California taxpayers would pay the cost." The ESA repeatedly offered to work together with state policymakers to take steps that would truly meet the needs of concerned parents by raising awareness about video game ratings and the parental controls available on all new game consoles."


[UPDATE: In an email to Gamasutra, Adam Keigwin from the office of Senator Leland Yee specifically challenged the ESA's claims that the group 'repeatedly offered to work together with state policymakers' as "flat-out not true."

Said Keigwin, "[The ESA] heavily opposed our other bill, which became law, to make retailers post signs about the rating system and have brochures available explaining the rating system to parents."

"In addition," he said, "we produced a public service announcement to explain to parents the rating system, and the ESRB refused to let us use the rating logos."]


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