ESA plan legal action against Cali game bill

Freedom of speech?

The Entertainment Software Association, the trade body that represents major games firms on the national scene, has announced fresh legal action stateside in a bid to stop a law cracking-down on games sales from being passed in several states. Cases are already underway in Illinois and Michigan, with the Californian bill recently endorsed by governor Schwarzenegger being targeted by a new filing expected soon. The Californian law aims to crack-down on retailers supplying M-rated games to minors through strict labelling and fines. The games industry has however come out fighting, and plan to challenge the governor himself through the courts, before the law becomes official at the beginning of 2006.

President Douglas Lowenstein commented that the ESA "intends to file a lawsuit to strike this law down and we are confident that we will prevail." Despite the bill receiving initial legal backing, similar attempts to regulate games sales in other states have already been rejected by Federal courts in Washington, Indianapolis and St. Louis County upon freedom of speech grounds. The ESA must therefore be confident that the will of the industry will prevail in California, as well as Illinois and Michigan.

However with US senator Hillary Clinton now adding her not-inconsiderable weight in favour of censorship, it seems unlikely some form of system can be avoided forever, indeed changes may even be introduced at a national level before long. We'll keep you posted on all this legal wrangling.

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