Friday, December 01, 2006

Regulating the Media Suddenly Becomes a Costly Affair

From Gamasutra, a disturbing story of greed and corruption:
The video game industry's trade body, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has announced that US District Court Judge George Caram Steeh has ordered the state of Michigan to pay $182,349 to the ESA, for attorney's fees and costs derived from the legal battle that found the state's anti-violent game law unconstitutional.

So, let's recap here: The State of Michigan, like many other states (who are also being sued by ESA, by the way, to an overall tune of $1.5 million) tried to pass a law making the video game industry's own (ESRB) ratings system mandatory and enforceable, which would stop kids from being able to legally purchase games rated for teens or adults. The ESA opposed the law, and launched a lawsuit that eventually saw the bill shot down in April on grounds of "freedom of speech" infringement. And now the ESA is suing the state for the legal fees it incurred because it decided to oppose the law in the first place--the one that would make its own ratings system mandatory. ESA President Douglas Lowenstein had this to say:
"States that pass laws regulating video game sales might as well just tell voters they have a new way to throw away their tax dollars on wasteful and pointless political exercises that do nothing to improve the quality of life in the state. In nine out of nine cases in the past six years, judges have struck down these clearly unconstitutional laws, and in each instance ESA has or will recover its legal fees from the states.”

To track these and other developments, I recommend Game Politics.

No comments: