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Oklahoma Game Law Targeted

23 Jun, 2006 By: John Latchem

Representatives of the computer and video game industry filed suit Friday, June 23, in Oklahoma to overturn a new state law that criminalizes the sale or distribution of violent video games to minors.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA), are seeking to overturn the law on the grounds that similar laws in other states have been found to be unconstitutional.

“Legislators have sold parents a bill of goods for political expediency,” said Doug Lowenstein, president of the ESA, the trade group representing U.S. computer and video game publishers. “They know the bill will be struck down, they know it's based on bad science, and they know it won't help parents do their jobs. What they won't tell voters: We just picked your pocket to the tune of a half-million dollars, the amount the state will have to reimburse the ESA after the inevitable decision is made to strike down the law.”

The ESA stated the law, which stems from the theory that violent games cause aggression, takes punishment a step further than other laws, which mostly go after retailers, by also targeting parents who give such games to their children, which they say is tantamount to the government claiming to know what is better for children than their own parents.

"Parents, not local police offices, should decide what games are suitable for their children," Lowenstein said.

Further, the law's definitions are so vague that no retailer could reasonably figure out if a video game is covered by the restrictions, according to EMA president Bo Andersen.

The EMA and ESA joined forces earlier this week to target a Louisiana violent video game law.

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