California to reimburse ESA for Supreme Court legal fees

By Steve Watts, Jan 26, 2012 8:15am PST

The Supreme Court ruled last year that video games are protected as free speech, but lawsuits are expensive. That's why, once the dust settled on the court case, the Entertainment Software Association requested $1.1 million in reimbursement from the state of California. The state has agreed to pay most of that amount, and the ESA will donate a portion to a new self-started California charity initiative.

The reimbursement comes to $950,000 in legal fees for the case, a portion of which will go towards after-school programs in Oakland and Sacramento communities. The charitable initiative will launch this spring, and use video games to teach underserved communities about job skills.

"Senator Yee and Governor Schwarzenegger wasted more than $1 million in taxpayer funds at a time when Californians could ill afford it," said ESA president and CEO Michael D. Gallagher. "However we feel strongly that some of these funds should be used to improve services for California's youth."

Including reimbursements from lower rulings, the state will have paid a grand total of $1,327,000 to the ESA. If you're a California taxpayer and miffed about the large pay-out, the announcement notes that as of 2009 the video game industry had added more than $2.1 billion to the state economy. Plus, as noted in the initial reimbursement request, California chose to push forward with the case despite being repeatedly warned that it was unconstitutional. In other words, blame your elected officials.

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