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California Video Game Law Overturned

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By Billy Gil | Posted: 20 Feb 2009

On Feb. 20 the U.S. Court of Appeals in the case of Video Software Dealers Association v. Schwarzenegger held that a California video game restriction law is unconstitutional.

“We are extremely gratified by the court’s rejection of video game censorship by the state of California,” said Bo Andersen, president and CEO of the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA). “The ruling vindicates what we have said since the bill that became this law was introduced: ratings education, retailer ratings enforcement, and control of game play by parents are the appropriate responses to concerns about video game content.”
Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association, responded to the ruling: “This is a win for California’s citizens. This is a clear signal that in California and across the country, the reckless pursuit of anti-video game legislation like this is an exercise in wasting taxpayer money, government time and state resources.”
The 2005 law would have restricted the sale or rental of video games to minors if they were classified as violent in an “especially heinous, cruel, or depraved” manner. The law was to go into effect Jan. 1, 2006, with the Video Software Dealers Association (now the EMA) filing suit against California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and others before it went into effect, claiming the law would have violated freedom of expression and equal protection of the laws and was unconstitutionally vague.

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