ESA files suit in Michigan over recent video game law.

On the day that Gov. Granholm signed Michigan’s video game law the ESA vowed they’d file a lawsuit in the state just as they had with the very similar Illinois bill. Now the folks over at Game Politics are reporting that the filing has taken place. The 29 page legal brief can be seen at the Media Coalition’s website. If you don’t feel like reading it yourself then this quick overview of the arguments by the user jabrwock at GamePolitics might be of interest:

– previous ruling have found violence to not be “obscene”
– therefore restricting access violates 1st Amendment
– video games are as expressive as other mediums
– definitions vague, some T rated games would only be able to be sold to 17 , no reasonable way for store clerk to know
– state already requires ESRB ratings to be posted
– “harm to children” “findings” based on “measurable & long-lasting” effects, a claim which is not sufficiently backed up by studies, and is contradicted by others.
– “affirmative defense” is only usable by managers, cashiers can still be charged
– because of the definition of “disseminate”, 16 year old cashiers would not be allowed to sell certain games (sometimes even T games)
– courts tried to legislate MPAA ratings before, and they too were not allowed
– violation of Due Process by delegating a private organization (presumably the ESRB) to decide which games are subject to the law

All in all a pretty good argument and a near mirror copy of the brief the ESA used to kill similar legislation in Washington State back in July of 2004. More information on various video game related legislation is available from the IGDA website.

Kudos to GamePolitics and Cathy Kirkman’s Silicon Valley Media Law Blog for tracking down the brief.


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