Louisiana game law temporarily blocked

Industry trade groups' legal challenge clears first hurdle; hearing for a preliminary injunction to be held next week.

When the governor of Louisiana signed a bill to prohibit the sale of some violent games to minors last Thursday, it went into immediate effect. However, it didn't stay in effect very long.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) filed suit Friday to overturn the law. According to court filings, later that day a federal judge, James J. Brady, granted the trade groups' request for a temporary restraining order preventing the law from being enforced.

According to the text of the law, it is illegal to sell, rent, or lease a game to a minor if it meets the following three conditions:

(1) The average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the video or computer game, taken as a whole, appeals to the minor's morbid interest in violence.
(2) The game depicts violence in a manner patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community with respect to what is suitable for minors.
(3) The game, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.

The bill was based on obscenity laws that have previously withstood legal challenges. Violators could be fined between $100 and $2,000, imprisoned for up to a year, or both.

In the lawsuit, the ESA and EMA argue that the law is a violation of the 1st and 14th Amendments of the Constitution.

"Not only does the Act directly restrict the dissemination and receipt of a considerable amount of fully protected expression," the suit claims, "but, because of its numerous vague terms, the Act also creates a chilling effect on a great deal of speech, as video game creators, publishers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers will respond to the Act's uncertainty by self-censoring, depriving both adults and children of access to undeniably protected expression."

The suit also says the law creates an unfair burden on those who disseminate games, requiring them to play through every possible part of a game and see if it falls in line with the law's vague guidelines before distributing them. It goes on to say that such vagueness would lead to enforcement by authorities "on an unfair, subjective, and ad hoc basis."

A hearing for a preliminary injunction on the law is set for June 30.

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67 comments
starcutter20000
starcutter20000

"Not only does the Act directly restrict the dissemination and receipt of a considerable amount of fully protected expression," the suit claims, "but, because of its numerous vague terms, the Act also creates a chilling effect on a great deal of speech, as video game creators, publishers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers will respond to the Act's uncertainty by self-censoring, depriving both adults and children of access to undeniably protected expression." EXACTLY what happened to comics only the self censoring came without vague, sickening laws being made. Look at comics in the early days with horror and violence then go about five years later and you have nothing but these A-Moral linear-straight-line stories where you couldn't say certain words (Fear, kill, Death etc) picture authorities figures (cops, army, etc.) As evil with the exception of the "enemy." NO vampires, zombies, or any mythological horror like entity. There was more but that's all of it in a nut shell. Lots of jobs lost, people ending up on the street but at least human decency within the media was sustained. Lets not let what happened to comics happen to video-games as well. I'm tired of people thinking that reading Frank Miller's Sin City is a kids thing.

starcutter20000
starcutter20000

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Fallout_red
Fallout_red

You, You, Fight!!... FINISH HIM!!! (Really where is this fight going? Ban games or gamers!!??)

elgobbes
elgobbes

Without violent video games as a child, I wouldn't have been able to get all my agression out in a non-existant world instead of this one. Wow what a loser I still am. Splatter House, is my pick for awsomeist violent video game of my childhood. I never owned the game, or the system, but my friend had it, and it rocked.

elgobbes
elgobbes

But it's true...games do lead to violence. Iv'e been playing video games for about 20 years, and I've killed almost 20 people. See how things work out?

metdevthegamer
metdevthegamer

Neat. Glad something, though only temporary, is being done about this stupid law.

NeoJedi
NeoJedi

This is a very vague and unconstitutional law. Even though I live in Canada and am an adult, I think this is very unfair.

xerxes5678
xerxes5678

This law was absurd anyway. *"Absurd" by Fluke Starts Playing*

rynmls
rynmls

parental guidance is advice...

nintendorocks
nintendorocks

I'm glad this stupid and unnecessary bill has been at least temporarily blocked. Hopefully, the next step will be permantly get rid of this law.

jimbo102671
jimbo102671

The problem is that this "law" (and I use the term sarcastically) specifically targets video games. If it was meant for all media (many of which have such standards that've been generally accepted), it may have a better chance. As it currently stands, it is doomed to failure. Pre-teens shouldn't be exposed to M or AO rated games. (They are meant for adult audiences, after all.) But to generalize all video games (and undermine the ESRB) with this lackluster piece of cr*p is pathetic. The politicians (and a certain Florida lawyer) that wrote up this "law" need to be force-fed the paper they wasted writing it up.

DeltaCommando07
DeltaCommando07

exactly... we need younger people in the government again not these old geezers. we need someone like trudeau...

ELJUDEZ
ELJUDEZ

jojoxl Don't these idiots have a city to rebuild or something? lol so true.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

The reason it can never work is that the only thing that could legitimately be said to lack serious literary, artistic, social or scientific value is pornography. Consequently, pornography, and not even all pornography, is all that has ever been declared obscene as per the Miller/Ginsgurg definition. Also, this law can never work because it singles out video games. As the judge presiding over the Michigan case noted, the law doesn't accomplish its stated goals. If a kid can't get Resident Evil 4, but can still see Resident Evil: Apocalypse, he's still being exposed to violence.

djester666
djester666

Hasn't it already been demonstrated that violent games only produce violent behaviour in those people who are already predisposed to violence? Otherwise you might as well ban CNN, BBC, FOX and all the other news networks as they show much more graphic and more to the point REAL violence. What about Jerry Springer. Is he going to get outlawed. I might consider the law it gets him of the air ;)

Kalionix
Kalionix

I hope it gets delayed forever. This is just retarded.

gameplayer2105
gameplayer2105

come june 30 jackie boys gonna cry to his fake mommy: "b-but th-they wouldnt l-listen to me *SOB*" "well fake son, thats just too bad, and again im sorry your parents disowned you"

bart3215
bart3215

So what if this passes, people will still ignore it. Take guns for instance, can't have a gun w/o a license. Many people have guns, even teens.

Sgt_So_and_So
Sgt_So_and_So

I am disgusted with the people saying this should pass. It is a weak law that can never get past our court system, unless, of course, our government suddenly turns into a dictatorship over night(i wouldn't be surprised :p). It also impinges on the rights of minors. I mean, they're people too! Why take away their right of free purchase? Next thing you know, games are going to be banned. PERIOD. I am so sad with today's gov... I need to move to UK...

Merl57
Merl57

good common sense is being used by someone

playwrite
playwrite

is anyone really susrprised?

daqua_99
daqua_99

Really, we have game restrictions in Australia, and it does no bad. Why not do the same in the USA?

hunter8man
hunter8man

The first time they arrest someone for selling a kid a violent game, is the day I truly move out of this country. I'm all for a live debate between Thompson and the gaming industry. The ESRB is supposed to be enforced, but it's not the fault of salesmen that there are some truly stupid parents out there who can't take the time to find out about little billy's "murder simulator". Score another one for the gaming industry. That bill will never pass with such a vague set of standards.

Ben-X
Ben-X

Quote from Tremo01 -(3) The game, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.'' That's ridiculous. What's supposed to be the standard of literary, artistic, political and scientific value and who the hell is supposed to decide it? Games aren't supposed to be educating, they're supposed to be fun. This bill is flawed and not even remotelly precise. It's a prime example of the government taking the role of the far too lazy parents. This will be easily taken down in court.- . Same with kids tv shows- power rangers, ninja turtles, etc.- what educational value do they have. The 3rd one has the biggest flaws and the whole thing is flawed.

Ben-X
Ben-X

why doesnt the goverment just stick w/ the ESRB rating system and apply it. I find it a good way to rate games for their content. It would work just fine.and truly they can make any game sound innapropriate even mario: think about it, he eats mushrooms to make him stonger- its encouraging drugs, -lol

ZeroGravX
ZeroGravX

Finally! Someone with power (money is power in this world these days) is doing something about this ridiculous law.

gamerfps
gamerfps

^Exactly, and you can find those in any middle school library. The government is just filled with too many double standards.

bassman17
bassman17

Yeah. Why can't we leave video games as an issue for parents to decide on? My parents didn't let me play (T) rated games 'til I was 16! And if we have this kind of legislation for video games why don't we have them for books? Books can be violent/morbid. Anyone ever read The Stand or anything by Lovecraft?

tremo01
tremo01

''(3) The game, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.'' That's ridiculous. What's supposed to be the standard of literary, artistic, political and scientific value and who the hell is supposed to decide it? Games aren't supposed to be educating, they're supposed to be fun. This bill is flawed and not even remotelly precise. It's a prime example of the government taking the role of the far too lazy parents. This will be easily taken down in court.

Valkyrie_44
Valkyrie_44

I will alway been a big believer in making a parent do their job. I don't let my nephew (lives in my home) touch any game in a Mature rating on my shelf. Hell, as far as I am concerned he isn't allowed in my study while I am playing those games. What Louisana is suggestioning is a little to vauge, and steps on the toes of parent once more, the ability to rasie a child, anda few admentments mind you. Hell, they should've been more worried about what some of us were playing with before all this video game hub-bub. I remember the erector set I got , and the death traps that were created. Hell, my father has even better stories of what he got for Christmas in the late 1940s.

gamerfps
gamerfps

There should be no ban on any entertainment sold whatsoever. The whole rating system is a joke anyway, last time I checked, "mature" is a state of mind, not an age. The law detracts from parental responsiblity also, the parent should be able to decide what there kid can play, not some vague law or some laughable rating system.

gameloverx
gameloverx

WHAT?!?! WHAT DO YOU MEAN THE LAW IS BLOCKED?!?!?!?!

ChoadS
ChoadS

What the hell is Louisiana doing, that state has much bigger problems than videogame violence to deal with!!

burnsound
burnsound

Look it's not your decision to make whether a minor should be aloud to play videogames. And just saying the word minor is stereotypical. Why shouldn't minors (18-) not be aloud to play videogames. What evidence do you have saying that all minors playing M games are detrimentally effected by it. One rotten apple doesn't spoil the barrel.

burnsound
burnsound

So minors are not innocent people or gamers. I bet you just turned 18 a couple of years ago yourself, leo.

player_leo
player_leo

Score one for the Gamers.....I don't want minors to play M+ games, but I also don't want innocent people or games stores being sued and closed down because it violated some vague law that can be easily misinterpreted ..

burnsound
burnsound

I was saying "no" to comthitnuong. also it's louisiana. but if laws like this do pass bye,bye, videogames.

StupidFox
StupidFox

The law will never stand. That's way too obscure to keep from interfering w/ the first amendment. It says right in the law that old fogeys in the "adult community" decide what's decent. It suggests that we can dissect what gives something artistic value. Even GTA has a story, isn't that artistic? If the law isn't struck down, I'll be very disappointed with Georgia, though it wouldn't be the first time ;)

hump
hump

Unfortunately thias may be part of the plan is to force a showdown in a state that was agreeable with similar laws as they pertained to porn. Then again the ESRB seems to have a strong legal team....

appleater
appleater

All I know is, never bet on the Thompson guy.

20Minutes
20Minutes

Zanoh "If Jack Thompson does say that: He's an idiot..." actually...we already know he's an idiot who never had a child hood and needs to seriously get laid.

ReyWing
ReyWing

Someone should make a video game outta all this madness. Phoenix Wright is prolly the closest. Who'd enforce this though? Police raids? I have a warrent to search your home for malicious adult games? Hm maybe Robocop can and maybe Chuck Norris.

zaphod_b
zaphod_b

Who didn't see this coming?

granalf
granalf

Why do they waiste our taxes mony? Then need to stop listening to Jack tompson and stead try help parentes understand the game contents.