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VSDA Files Suit Against California Violent Video Game Law

18 Oct, 2005 By: Kurt Indvik

A lawsuit challenging the recently enacted California law banning the sale or rental of so called “violent video games” was filed yesterday in a federal district court in San Jose by the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Oct. 7 signed legislation that requires suppliers to label certain videos that qualify, under the terms of the new law, as being too violent to rent or sell to persons under the age of 18. Retailers can be liable for fines or other legal action should they be caught renting or selling these labeled games.

The VSDA and ESA are seeking to have the new law declared unconstitutional by the federal court.

“We wish we did not have to take this action, but we must protect the First Amendment rights of video game retailers and distributors and their customers,” said VSDA president Bo Andersen. “Courts have consistently held that restrictions on video games because of depictions of violence within the games violate the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech.”

The associations also claim that language in the new law is poorly drafted and makes it almost impossible to decipher what is or is to be considered a “violent video game” under the law.

The new law is set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2006.

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