Judge temporarily blocks Louisiana violent video games law

[JURIST] A federal judge has temporarily blocked the enforcement of Louisiana's new law banning the sale of violent video games to minors. US District Judge James Brady [official profile] of the Middle District of Louisiana [official website] in Baton Rouge granted a temporary restraining order [PDF] requested by two industry groups, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) [trade website] and the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) [trade website], which sued the state [press release] last week. The statute [text, PDF], which took effect when Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D) [official website] signed it on Friday, forbids the sale or rental of electronic games to anyone under age 18 if:

(1) The average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the video or computer game, taken as a whole, appeals to the minor's morbid interest in violence.
(2) The game depicts violence in a manner patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community with respect to what is suitable for minors.
(3) The game, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.
Anyone convicted of violating the law can be fined up to $2,000, sentenced to a year in prison, or both. The industry groups argue that the law violates the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech.

Judges have struck down similar laws as unconstitutional in Michigan, California and Illinois [JURIST reports], and the ESA sued Minnesota [press release] earlier this month. In Louisiana, Brady has scheduled a hearing for June 27 to consider whether to issue a preliminary injunction. Reuters has more.

 

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