NEWS - Thursday, September 15, 2005

ESA Fights Back

ESA threaten legal action over Michigan games bill The violent videogames bill signed into law by Michigan governor Jennifer M. Granholm has sparked the immediate threat of legal action from trade body ESA. Not wasting any time in making its decision, the Entertainment Software Association has announced its intention to file a lawsuit designed to have the new law overturned. The ESA claims the new violent videogames bill is too vague in its definitions of what constitutes a violent game, citing infringement of First Amendment rights as further grounds for its legal action. ESA president Douglas Lowenstein is anticipating a positive judicial result for the action, following the successful overturning of a law in the state of Washington which sought to ban the sale of games that showed violence against law enforcement officers to anyone under the age of 17. The ESA were instrumental in overturning the Washington law. Further positive steps for the industry were made recently in Indianapolis, where the US Supreme Court upheld a decision to block the enforcement of a law which required arcade operators to enforce parental consent/guardianship to play arcade units deemed as violent. Machines displaying violent games were, according to the law, to be separated from other arcade units and display signs that explicitly state the requirement of parental consent to play. Commenting on the latest legal challenge for the Michigan bill, ESA president Douglas Lowenstein stated "I’m confident the court will affirm our position given the rulings on similar statutes in other jurisdictions. Indeed, the facts, the science, the law, and the US Constitution have not changed since those decisions were handed down." The ESA is continually striving to further implement the widespread use of its self regulating Entertainment Software Ratings Board. Political intervention into the videogames industry continues unabated however, as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger considers the approval of the violent videogames bill in the state of California. Governor Schwarzenegger, who has appeared in numerous videogames under the Terminator movie license during his career as a Hollywood actor, has until 9th October to either pass or veto the Californian bill.


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