Minnesota coughs up $65K for failed game law

ESA claims final victory in legal tussle over proposed fine on minors who purchase M-rated games.

After dealing with a number of high-profile defections in recent months, the Entertainment Software Association trumpeted a bit of positive news today. The trade group announced that Minnesota has paid $65,000 in legal fees and expenses related to the fight over the state's overturned gaming law.

In May of 2006, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty signed into law SF 785, which imposed a $25 fine on minors who purchased games rated M for Mature or AO for Adults Only. A federal judge blocked the law and declared it unconstitutional before it could take effect, a decision the state twice appealed unsuccessfully.

This is by no means the first time the ESA has won such an award of legal fees. In total, state and local governments have turned over nearly $2 million in combined fees and expenses to the ESA in First Amendment cases. Among the states that have had game-related laws overturned are Louisiana, Illinois, and California.

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Discussion

41 comments
akiwak
akiwak

As a parent I try to do my best to make sure my son understands right from wrong. 'I decide' what is the punishment for disobeying the rules. I don't need the government "helping" me raise my son, they don't pay my bills and the current US public education system is a joke! WORK ON THAT INSTEAD!

BewilderedRonin
BewilderedRonin

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

BewilderedRonin
BewilderedRonin

*cough* Joseph Burstyn, Inc v. Wilson *cough* It's already been decided. State and Federal government may not promote nor restrict works of art. Period. The only way government could do so would be to declare video games solely a business with no artistic merit whatsoever. Pawlenty and his ilk are the same kinds of knee-jerk folk that try to ban "filthy, immoral" literature like The Scarlet Letter, Catcher In The Rye, Flowers For Algernon, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Of Mice And Men, Slaughterhouse-Five, Brave New World, and the Harry Potter series. If they had their way, we'd all live in a Christian theocracy. (it's called dominionism) And if you think comparing video games to some of the greatest works of literature is absurd, I found Metal Gear Solid to be just as wonderful, endearing, and as masterful a tale as any other great tome that graces my book shelves.

McGregor
McGregor

I agree with minors not buying M and AO games. But i wish we didn't have to create laws to let parents know that they aren't being parents.

goldeneye_basic
goldeneye_basic

Tim Pawlenty signed it into law, but the ones in the House and Senate are to blame because they introduced it, wasted time and money discussing this during the legislative session, and then voted for it. They are as much to blame, if not more, than the governor.

grigjd3
grigjd3

This is what the ESA should be spending their time doing.

necronaux
necronaux

Great news for gamers, first amendment rights, and reluctantly I'll say, EA. Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty should have to pay the full $65k himself, as opposed to the tax payers.

Get_Shorty
Get_Shorty

Who cares I'm not a minor this law won't affect me. Minors shouldn't be buying Mature games anyways.

Autolycus
Autolycus

what concerns me is why those companies left the ESA. That usually means (since they are some of the largest publishers) that the government is going to put some sanction on it and those BIGGGGG publishers don't want to get caught in the middle. THey know something others dont.

cheerios3d
cheerios3d

HA Ha Sucks to be you Tim Pawlenty

Lucribis
Lucribis

To Bart247 Even better man: Gamers - 4 Politicians - 0 (Minnesota, Lousiana, Illinois, and California)

markharris31
markharris31

The reason it is unconstitutional is because you can't fine a minor for purchasing something that is legally sold and is rated by a private organization, not a government agency. Those ratings are there as a guildline for parents, children, and retailers so that they may make sound buying/selling decisions. The judge in this case used common sense, and found the responsibility to be on retailers to verify age and on parents to monitor what their kids choose to play. Score one for a judge who actually interprets laws based on the constitution instead of trying to legislate from the bench, or suggest amendments to the constitution to allow censorship and strip freedom from the people.

dragonsama
dragonsama

I really didn't see anything wrong with this. the games are rated M then someone under 17 shouldn't be buying it at all. If the parents want to get them the game it's all fine and dandy though.

Stabby
Stabby

All I will say to Tim Pawlenty is; to quote Nelson: HA HA!

phase4illini
phase4illini

Nonsense. If it's pretty much a law that retailers cannot sell to underaged gamers, then why should a law punishing underage gamers trying to beat the system be deemed unconstiutional. It's completely ridiculous from a simple point of logic. The Constitution does not protect the rights of children, teens, and young adults (and full adults for that matter) to do stupid sh!te. Will it now be deemed unconstitutional for movie theaters to toss kids out of NC-17 movies if the kid sneaks in? And of course... where are the (apparently retarded) parents in all of this?

mrklorox
mrklorox

$25 on top of a $60 dollar game is still much less than Australians pay for all videogames... and they don't even have a rating above age 15.

AlphaHawkP
AlphaHawkP

Dumbasses. I would hope people in that state elect people who won't try stupid **** like this that they KNOW won't go through, and they KNOW will cost people.

jasonbarbour
jasonbarbour

like any of you people are taxpayers *lol*

bulletsword
bulletsword

as someone from Minnesota, i'm just glad that nothing's getting extreme

Bart247
Bart247

Gamers - 1 Politicians - 0

hunter8man
hunter8man

Terrific use of money there guys.... Gas costs and arm and a leg, groceries costing more, unemployment rate going up, so it seems like a great time to spend 65k on a law that was never going to pass anyway.

nickollie
nickollie

Gotta love us minnesotans, we sure know how to use our money! (sarcasm)

dn3datomiced
dn3datomiced

If I hear one parent/group turn around and yell at the ESA for any of this, I am going to lose it. I've already had it with these jack*** politicians pre-parenting and wasting their constituents' money on this crap. Even the judge has about had it this time.

ibanezdropd
ibanezdropd

it's not the states job to moniter this stuff.. it's the parents

vidplayer8
vidplayer8

Its kind of ridiculous how much they AREN'T trying to get parents to be more involved in their kids lives. Help make parents more involved in what games minors should and should not be playing. But Instead they want to throw fines and sue people.

Lord__Darkstorn
Lord__Darkstorn

Well, Pawlenty is an idiot. He's also supposed to be one of McCain's top Republican VP picks...

DukeEdwardI
DukeEdwardI

that's my state! i'm so proud... /sarcasm

ptown58
ptown58

Lawyers are lovin it and the wheel of waste keeps rolling. Follow the money. You make a bill we sue and we all win.

DeltaSpirit
DeltaSpirit

Jesse "The Body" Ventura would have won this case. Lawler: finisher, it looks like the ESA is going to win. *ESA taunts as Jesse pushes the ref and kicks the ESA in the nards* Vince: what a cheap shot 1-2-3!. anyway good win by the ESA showing they won't be pushed around and have their rights violated

leke
leke

Keep wasting tax payers money okay?

lamprey263
lamprey263

it's good to see the ESA is successful in the courts, but it's sad everybody is dropping out of the group, but you can't blame them with those hefty annual dues anyhow, it's good to see the gaming industry triumph over all those haters, way to go ESA!! ^_^

delorean529
delorean529

More like another good reason game laws are pointless.

RockaWuzHur
RockaWuzHur

Another great reason why politics should mess with games.