Minnesota Pays ESA $91K for Illegal Game Law

By Aaron Linde, Jun 30, 2008 11:37am PDT The state of Minnesota has reimbursed $65,000 in attorney fees and other expenses spent by the Entertainment Software Association in its successful challenge of an unconstitutional game law, the organization announced today.

The ESA, which is dedicated to the business and public affairs needs of game developers and publishers, also noted that it has now been awarded close to $2 million in fees and expenses spent battling unconstitutional game law in nine other districts.

"Minnesota's citizens should be outraged at paying the bill for this flawed plan. Minnesota's public officials ignored legal precedent and instead pursued a political agenda that ultimately cost taxpayers money," said ESA CEO Michael Gallagher.

Signed into law in June of 2006, the law sought to penalize minors for the rental or purchase of games rated M for Mature and above. An injunction to halt the law prior to implementation was issued two months later by Judge James M. Rosenbaum of the US District Court of Minnesota.

"Several other states have tried to regulate minors' access to video games. Every effort has been stricken for violating the First Amendment... The Court will not speculate as the motives of those who launched Minnesota's nearly doomed effort to 'protect' our children," Judge Rosenbaum said in a statement.

The ESA was reimbursed $91,000 after successfully challenging a similar law in the state of Louisiana, which was also deemed unconstitutional.

Last week, an overwhelming majority in the New York State Senate passed a bill proposing an advisory council for videogames. Introduced by Sen. Andrew Lanza (R) of Staten Island, the aim of the bill is to bring government oversight to game ratings beyond the service provided by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board.

The ESA's CEO added that "politicians need to realize that the key to protecting our children from inappropriate media content is not haphazard legislation, but rather parental education."

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