The state of Minnesota has paid the ESA $65,000 for unconstitutional game legislation.
After losing a legal battle with the Entertainment Software Association over an appeal against the state’s unconstitutional law regulating gaming, Minnesota compensated the industry $65,000 to cover attorney fees and expenses related to the case. This small payment brings the ESA’s total collected legal victories to over $2 million.
“Minnesota’s citizens should be outraged at paying the bill for this flawed plan. Minnesota’s public officials ignored legal precedent and instead pursued a political agenda that ultimately cost taxpayers money,” declared an angered Michael Gallagher, Chief Executive Officer of the ESA. “Courts across the United States have ruled consistently that video games are entitled to the same First Amendment protections as other forms of art, such as music and literature.”
On July 31, 2006, the US District Court of Minnesota killed the law that sought to fine minors for buying M and AO-rated titles instead of the retailers who sell the games. Presiding Judge James M. Rosenbaum stated that “there is no showing whatsoever that video games, in the absence of other violent media, cause even the slightest injury to children.”
Gallagher believes that “politicians need to realize that the key to protecting our children from inappropriate media content is not haphazard legislation, but rather parental education. Video games have a first class ratings system supported by retailers, opinion leaders and parents. It would be a far better use of public funds to help support this system, rather than continue to pursue unconstitutional legislation that works against it.”
This legal compensation comes as a small success for the ESA, which has had a number of recent questionable financial and leadership decisions. However, it’s worth noting that when the ESA won the appeal against Minnesota, previous ESA president Doug Lowenstein was at the operation’s helm.