A Michigan law aimed at restricting the sale of violent video games was struck down on First Amendment grounds Friday. The ruling follows a similar pattern by judges to side with game manufacturers and gamers, citing that freedom of expression prohibits such laws.
The law was originally blocked from taking effect in November through a temporary injunction. The legislation was signed into law by Governor Jennifer Granholm and was supposed to be enforced beginning December 1.
It would have made the sale of violent video games to minors illegal, and imposed fines of up to $40,000 and three months jail time for those who sell the games, or pose as a parent or guardian to purchase a game for a minor.
“The notion that video games are protected free speech under the First Amendment is becoming widely adopted in Circuit Courts around the United States,” U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh wrote in his decision. “Video games are a form of creative expression that are constitutionally protected under the First Amendment.”
Similar laws in Washington, Illinois and California have all been ruled unconstitutional, and it’s likely that a federal law now making its way through Congress would meet a similar fate.
In each case, judges have cited the lack of hard evidence that violent games beget violent behavior as the reason for erring on the side of free speech. Supporters of the law realize this, and it may be why Senators Hillary Clinton and Joseph Leiberman late last year successfully pressed for a Senate investigation into the effects of such games.
News source: betanews