ESA wins Louisiana suit

Trade group says judge ruled in its favor, permanently blocking state's game restriction law from taking effect.

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An Entertainment Software Association representative has confirmed for GameSpot that the industry trade organization has chalked up another victory in court, this time in Lousiana. The representative said that a federal judge granted the ESA's request for a permanent injunction preventing the state from enacting a law designed to limit minors' access to violent games.

Signed in June, the law was built upon the framework of existing obscenity statutes. Its author--state representative Roy Burrell (D-District 2) working with the help of controversial lawyer Jack Thompson--had hoped that borrowing the language of constitutional obscenity laws would ensure that the gaming law could withstand a court challenge. The judge issued a preliminary injunction to prevent enforcement of the law in August.

According to the text of the law, it would have been 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 ESA representative said a written judgment would follow, along with comment from the organization. As of press time, a representative for the Entertainment Merchants Association, another plaintiff in the case, had not returned request for comment.

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