[JURIST] US District Judge James Brady has issued a preliminary injunction [ruling, PDF] preventing Louisiana state officials from enforcing a recently enacted statute [PDF text] banning the sale of violent video games to minors. Brady ruled that the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) [trade website] and the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) [trade website], "are likely to succeed on the merits of their claims under the First and Fourteenth Amendments." The two industry groups sued the state [press release] in June, arguing that the law violates the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech. The statute 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.Anyone convicted of violating the law can be fined up to $2,000, sentenced to a year in prison, or both.
(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.
Judges have struck down similar laws as unconstitutional in Michigan, California and Illinois and Minnesota [JURIST reports]. Thursday's preliminary injunction follows the temporary restraining order [PDF text; JURIST report] Brady issued in June. CNET News has more.