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Groups sue California over minors video game ban

October 17, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Two industry trade groups sued
the state of California on Monday after the state passed a law
barring the sale of violent video games to minors.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former screen
“Terminator” who is himself portrayed in several video games
based on his Hollywood roles, vowed to fight the suit, which
was filed in federal court in San Jose.

“I will do everything in my power to preserve this new law
and I urge the attorney general to mount a vigorous defense of
California’s ability to prevent the sale of these games to
children,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

“California’s new law will ensure parental involvement in
determining which video games are appropriate for their
children. I believe strongly that we must give parents the
tools to help them protect their children.”

The trade group Entertainment Software Association
announced its intentions to fight in court immediately after
Schwarzenegger signed the ban 10 days ago. Video Software
Dealers Association joined in the suit.

“It is not up to any industry or the government to set
standards for what kids can see or do; that is the role of
parents,” Douglas Lowenstein, the group’s president said.

“Everyone involved with this misguided law has known from
the start that it is an unconstitutional infringement on the
First Amendment freedoms of those who create and sell video
games.”

Federal courts have ruled against violent video game
legislation in Washington state, the city of Indianapolis and
St. Louis County in Missouri, saying the moves violated
constitutional free speech guarantees.

The California ban came in the wake of lively debate after
game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. pulled its
best-selling game “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” from
retailers this summer because of hidden sex scenes.

The state’s measure bars the sale and rental to minors of
games that show serious injury deemed especially heinous,
atrocious or cruel. Violators are subject to a $1,000 fine.




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