ESA wins Louisiana suit

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


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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