Minnesota Appealing Video Game Law Ruling

April 11, 2008 -

The state of Minnesota has filed an appeal of a recent 8th Circuit Court decision which invalidated its 2006 "fine the buyer" video game law.

Perhaps more than any previous case, the unusual Minnesota law, which would fine underage buyers of violent games $25, has a chance to beat the video game industry's legal challenges.

As previously reported on GamePolitics, the Minnesota statute was signed into law by Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) on June 1st, 2006. The game industry immediately filed suit to block its implementation on constitutional grounds.

Eight weeks later a U.S. District Court judge ruled that the law was unconstitutional. Then-Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch (D) filed an appeal.

In February, 2007 a three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit heard arguments in the case. As GamePolitics reported at the time, audio of the hearing revealed the panel to be skeptical of some game industry arguments.

Last month the 8th Circuit issued its finding that the law was unconstitutional. But, as we noted in our coverage, the Court expressed a certain degree of sympathy for Minnesota's position, accepting research put forth by the state to a degree that no previous court has:
 

We believe that the State’s evidence provides substantial support for its contention that violent video games have a deleterious effect upon the psychological well-being of minors...

We are not as dismissive of that evidence as have been some of the courts that have found similar evidence to be inadequate to establish the causal link between exposure to violent video games and subsequent behavior.


Because the three-judge panel was bound by a prior 8th Circuit ruling in the 2003 IDSA vs. St. Louis County case, there was never really a doubt that they would find in favor of the video game industry. However the opinion written by Judge Wolman could be viewed as inviting the state to appeal en banc. If that were to occur, the case would be re-argued before the full 8th Circuit as opposed to a three-judge panel. This might be an attractive strategy for the state because only an en banc decision could reverse the earlier IDSA vs. St. Louis ruling.

Indeed, this process is already underway. We note that the Media Coalition's tracking of the case indicates that Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson (D, pictured) filed a petition for an en banc hearing on March 28th. This excerpt is taken from the state's en banc request:
 

The panel [stated] that it was bound by the precedent set by another panel of the Court in [IDSA] v. St. Louis County... Nevertheless, the panel questioned the analysis of the [IDSA] decision. (stating that [IDSA's] “requirement of such a high level of proof may reflect a refined estrangement from reality, but apply it we must”).

Because of the importance of the issue of whether the State can lawfully restrict minors’ access to extremely violent and patently offensive video games, this case should be considered by the entire Court.


The video game industry has until April 21st to respond the Minnesota's petition for an en banc hearing.  

In related news, the video game industry is seeking to recover $60,458.91 in legal fees from Minnesota, but A.G. Swanson has filed a motion to delay any action on that request while the en banc issue is resolved.

The bottom line?

Don't count Minnesota's video game law out just yet.

Comments

[...] The video link contained in the article will give you access to the testimony; however, I ask you: is society frightened with the entry of a new medium of entertainment, especially one that has managed in many ways to outpace the established norm? This question is especially important considering this latest attempt by legislatures to limit video games. [...]

[...] The video link contained in the article will give you access to the testimony; however, I ask you: is society frightened with the entry of a new medium of entertainment, especially one that has managed in many ways to outpace the established norm? This question is especially important considering this latest attempt by legislatures to limit video games. [...]

I can't believe you people. I am a 16 year old kid. I love violent video games OK. But People my age should not be playing grand theft auto and going around killing people for fun. You can not tell me that someone who finds it fun to kill lifelike people haven't ever thought about doing it in real life. There is a reason we have people to rate games as M. So people know that it is acceptable for people of only 18 to play them. I know people think this is stupid but it is the same thing as movie ratings. Are you saying that 15 year olds shoulf be seeing R rated movies with no rastrictions. Everyone who thinks this is unconstitutional should seriously think about what they are saying. Havent we banned nudity from TV. Is that unconstitutional. You people are all just a bunch of little Cry babies.
 
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PHX Corp@zippy I'm Probaly going to Warn my uncle who is a techie that it may come out at the end of july04/20/2015 - 8:45pm
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ZippyDSMleeMy body is readY! http://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2015/04/20/amd-microsoft-to-launch-windows-10-at-the-end-of-july04/20/2015 - 7:54pm
PHX CorpI may have posted this before but a leaked email from Sony pictures has the MPAA written all over it http://www.extremetech.com/computing/203654-leaked-sony-emails-show-mpaas-opposition-to-fair-use-confirms-users-are-viewed-as-thieves04/20/2015 - 4:53pm
Mattsworknameyet another reason the DMCA should be dismantled and rewritten04/20/2015 - 4:41pm
Matthew Wilson@zippy that is worse than the ESA thing.04/20/2015 - 4:26pm
ZippyDSMlee0-o good luck with that car companies, http://www.autoblog.com/2015/04/20/automakers-gearheads-car-repairs/04/20/2015 - 4:07pm
Andrew EisenYes, hence my subsequent shout.04/20/2015 - 3:15pm
Matthew Wilsonwhile the article itself isnt that great, but the point is still valid.04/20/2015 - 3:14pm
Andrew EisenProfessionals do need to be mindful of what they say on social media though. That's true.04/20/2015 - 3:11pm
Andrew EisenWell, it was almost a decent article from Techraptor. Some day. Some day...04/20/2015 - 3:09pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://techraptor.net/content/gamings-pr-problem both game devs and pr people alike need to to keep in mind, when your on twiter you are also representing the company you work for.04/20/2015 - 2:39pm
E. Zachary KnightI don't really care either way, but that was just my understanding based on previous reads.04/20/2015 - 2:13pm
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E. Zachary KnightOk. Just checked another of my Twitter accounts and there is a setting, opt-in. So it looks like a slow roll out.04/20/2015 - 1:17pm
E. Zachary KnightI agree. I looked but could not find any settings for DMs. So either there is no opt-out or they are slowly rolling it out one block of users at a time.04/20/2015 - 1:11pm
Andrew EisenI can't find the setting for direct messaging but I agree, it should absolutely default to off.04/20/2015 - 12:54pm
Matthew Wilson@james the issue is that it is way to easy to make a troll twiter acount. if I had it my way I would set it so you can fallow anyone, but if you want to send tweeta, you have to pay a one time 5$ fee.04/20/2015 - 12:38pm
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