Judge nixes Minnesota game law

Measure to fine minors for buying M-rated games declared unconstitutional; federal judge cites lack of evidence showing games are harmful.

Another proposed bill to restrict the rental or sale of games to minors has been stricken down today. US chief district judge James M. Rosenbaum upheld a suit filed by the Entertainment Software Association and Entertainment Merchants Association to block a Minnesota law today, deeming it unconstitutional.

In May, Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty signed into law a bill that would fine minors $25 for purchasing or renting games rated M for Mature or AO for Adults Only and required retailers to post appropriate signage detailing the law in stores, much like alcohol warnings in liquor stores. The law was scheduled to go into effect tomorrow until today's ruling shot it down.

Like other game laws that were blocked before it, Judge Rosenbaum said the Minnesota law invalidly violates the First Amendment, which protects games as a form of free speech.

The state argued that the law would protect "the psychological well-being of minors" and foster "children's moral and ethical development." However, the judge's decision stated that the state failed to provide "empirical support for its belief that 'violent' video games cause psychological harm to minors."

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56 comments
bulletsword
bulletsword

they just said it was Struck Down, so this law ain't happening. I'm from minnesota too, and FREE SPEECH RULES! Don't worry kids. There's plenty of GTA for all of you. Just walk in, give the cashier guy a couple of bucks, walk out, and enjoy.

reallycool
reallycool

Im from minnesota and if they past this law, i would probably die. Free Speech RULES!

chicken_dude_05
chicken_dude_05

Well I'm from Minnesota so i wont be able to buy M or AO games. Not that i would.... Well, it sounds like a good law.

Scorpion16
Scorpion16

I hear the next generation of consoles(PS3 and Wii) will have parental controls on them similar to what's already on the Xbox and Xbox 360. I think that is the best way to deal with this because with that, the retailers selling them to kids won't even be an issue because the kid won't be able to play it. But this is still great news and it shows how well our judicial system works.

Koovaps
Koovaps

As many times as stories like this come up, I am unable to see how these laws infringe on the first amendment. Clearly they do, or so many judges wouldn't strike them down, but I personally have no problem with keeping M and AO rated games out of minors hands. Am I really the only fool that reads these idiotic ramblings on these boards that thinks this way? Oh well, who gives a crap anyway. At least I'll have fun reading the responses to this message.

Evanrocknuma
Evanrocknuma

READ THIS. I have heard that Hilary clinton is either going to run for presidant or help someone else get to be presidant of the us next election. This is BAD because she is going to try to ban all video games from even being sold in public stores! Tell your parents not to vote for her or whoever she may help get into office. She has no right to do this it goes against the constitution. She wants to use her respect as the first female presidant to get ppl to agree to the madness of banning video games. This isnt just a rumor i read it in a gameinformer magazine. POST THIS EVERYWHERE YOU CAN TO HELP STOP THIS INSANITY!! HIGHLIGHT IT AND RIGHT CLICK AND PRESS COPY THEN PAST IT ON WEBSITED YOU KNOW OF THE EVIL HILARY CLINTON MUST BE STOPPED!

Strag3n
Strag3n

good, so that means we dont need it in oklahoma either. i want me that dead rising!

Rec-neps
Rec-neps

Great News, maybe they can stop the game law in Oklahoma

jimbo102671
jimbo102671

(singing "Another one bites the dust.")

bcfish
bcfish

Whoo-hoo! USA! USA! USA! USA! The system CAN work!

InfectX
InfectX

Unfortunately, it may only be a matter of time before they DO start citing "evidence" that prevents judges from declaring these laws unconstitutional.

Autolycus
Autolycus

no state or goverment official is above the law and this exactly why we have a court system

wemhim
wemhim

I like that judge, some judges wouldn't be like that, they would be bias, like most people, but he speaks the truth.

MC_Hammerty
MC_Hammerty

Mad props go to the Gamespot staff on using a screen from Fargo for the picture. ...I can't beleive I said "mad props"...

-the_mole-
-the_mole-

this one isn't really that bad...i am worried about the oklahoma law...especially since my mom and i play m games together, like unreal...

Spincut
Spincut

and that's why Minnesota rocks. As one of the few midwestern states that actually voted blue during the 2000, and especially the very sad to watch 2004 elections, it's a very progressive metropolitan place.

the_real_VIP
the_real_VIP

Most judges are better at judging situations than politicians. They know what is the meaning of common sense and logic.

LordPoncho
LordPoncho

funny thing is, i'm 16, and live in minnesota, and got away with buying an m-rated game the other day lol

Valen_Ca
Valen_Ca

Here is what I don't get about this whole bill, why are they issuing fines to the people buying the games? Were they issuing fines to the retailers as well? If they weren't that would be like arresting a fence for purchasing "aquired" merchandise right in front of the person that did the "aquiring" and then just letting said person go about their business? I had a better (funnier actually) comparison but it got censored.

leviathanwing
leviathanwing

sheesh, what will the government think to do next, tap our phones? monitor our internet activity? follow our credit transactions?... oh, wait a minute... atleast they need court order and a warrant... oh, wait...

Baller_023
Baller_023

oh thank god!!! I live in minnesota and this is amazingly great news for me and all my fellow minnesotan gamers, and yes it is unconstitionunal =)

Gamer2174
Gamer2174

A great day for gamers in Minnesota

ketsuatama
ketsuatama

At last a blow against Big Brother laws! Go, Judge R!

VegetaMaelstrom
VegetaMaelstrom

If this bill went into effect then I am sure some kids would have just said "Ok, $50 for the game and $25 for the fine. Mom I'm going to the store and I need $75 for a game." Mom hands over the cash to the kid. Nothing solved.

Metron4
Metron4

I saw what you did there.

umbrae
umbrae

Your Minnesota state dollars at work... :/

3000s
3000s

Thats right! We the gamers will win against the infedels. :-)

jonnyjd
jonnyjd

This was really a dumb idea to begin with. I never got a clear picture of how this would be enforced. I was imagining that a minor goes to a store to pick up GTA:SA. He pays his money and is about to leave. The clerk, after closing the cash drawer starts to ring him up again. Before the kid can take a step, the clerk says, "And that will be $25 because you just broke a law." Or (another scenario) there would be a second register at the entrance that would then verify age. As the kid leaves, he is rung out again, handed a receipt that lists "You're a minor and you just broke a law: $25" which he has to pay before he leaves. Watch out if the kid makes a break for it. S.W.A.T. is on standby.

Xendercide
Xendercide

Ah good old Judicial branch doin' its job once again. Should start writin' to these guys to thank them.

SOLIDUS_SNAKE
SOLIDUS_SNAKE

great news! not that it makes a difference cause i dont live in minnesota

bacomonk
bacomonk

Too bad the game industry won't win in New York. Maybe I should move to Michigan :D

deathknight107
deathknight107

It's a friggin $25 fine. If parents are too stupid to do their jobs then let the law go into effect its not like its going to kill anyone.

deadlyassassin_
deadlyassassin_

Didnt really matter for me. even if it went into affect ill be 17 in 3 weeks..

demollyon
demollyon

Eat that! Censorship must die

darkfox101
darkfox101

Let our parents do the jobs.. they can read ratings too .. stop wasting your time and go make your own babies to push around

Supermodified
Supermodified

All of the laws passed recently are just political fodder for a campaign race. The people writing these laws (if they had spoken with a Constitutional scholar) would have known they would have been trashed by the higher courts at some point. I think they DO KNOW THIS, and don't care anyway. "Vote for me: I think of the children!"