ESA Wins Final Judgment Over Chicago Transit Authority

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The Entertainment Software Association has won a final judgment over the Chicago Transit Authority, which has been told by the courts that it cannot ban advertising for mature videogames on its buses and facilities.

The trouble began back in 2008 when the CTA removed ads for Grand Theft Auto IV from its buses in the wake of a critical Fox News report. Publisher Take-Two Interactive sued on Constitutional grounds and won, leading the Transit Authority to implement a new regulation at the beginning of 2009 that banned all ads for mature and adult-only videogames on its property. That led to a second lawsuit, this time from the Entertainment Software Association, for essentially the same complaint: That the restriction was a violation of the First Amendment rights of videogame companies.

The ESA won a preliminary injunction in January of this year that blocked the enforcement of the new regulation and now the courts have made it permanent. “Defendant CTA… [is] permanently enjoined and restrained from enforcing or directing the enforcement of Ordinance No. 008-147 (‘the Ordinance’) in any respect,” Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer wrote in her ruling.

She also ruled that the ESA is “entitled to its reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs incurred for any action to enforce the terms of this Consent Judgment and Permanent Injunction based on the CTA’s failure to comply, in any way, with its obligations set forth herein.” The CTA has agreed not to “appeal or otherwise attack the validity or enforceability” of the decision.

Another day, another First Amendment win for the videogame industry. Let’s hope the winning streak holds when SCOTUS comes to town.

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