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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MaskedPixelanteNumber 3: Night Dive was brought to the attention of the public by a massive game recovery, and yet most of their released catalogue consists of games that other people did the hard work of getting re-released.04/17/2014 - 8:46pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 2: If Humongous Entertainment wanted their stuff on Steam, why didn't they talk to their parent company, which does have a number of games published on Steam?04/17/2014 - 8:45pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 1: When Night Dive spent the better part of a year teasing the return of true classics, having their big content dump be edutainment is kind of a kick in the stomach.04/17/2014 - 8:44pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.giantbomb.com/articles/jeff-gerstmann-heads-to-new-york-takes-questions/1100-4900/ He talks about the future games press and the games industry. It is worth your time even though it is a bit long, and stay for the QA. There are some good QA04/17/2014 - 5:28pm
IanCErm so they shouldn't sell edutainment at all? Why?04/17/2014 - 4:42pm
MaskedPixelanteNot that linkable, go onto Steam and there's stuff like Pajama Sam on the front-page, courtesy of Night Dive.04/17/2014 - 4:13pm
Andrew EisenOkay, again, please, please, PLEASE get in a habit of linking to whatever you're talking about.04/17/2014 - 4:05pm
MaskedPixelanteAnother round of Night Dive teasing and promising turns out to be stupid edutainment games. Thanks for wasting all our time, guys. See you never.04/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the consequences were not only foreseeable, but very likely. anyone who understood supply demand curvs knew that was going to happen. SF has been a econ/trade hub for the last hundred years.04/17/2014 - 2:45pm
Andrew EisenMixedPixelante - Would you like to expand on that?04/17/2014 - 2:43pm
MaskedPixelanteWell, I am officially done with Night Dive Studios. Unless they can bring something worthwhile back, I'm never buying another game from them.04/17/2014 - 2:29pm
PHX Corphttp://www.msnbc.com/ronan-farrow/watch/video-games-continue-to-break-the-mold-229561923638 Ronan Farrow Daily on Video games breaking the mold04/17/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoAh yes, because by building something nice they were just asking for people to come push them out. Consequences are protested all the time when other people are implementing them.04/17/2014 - 2:06pm
Matthew Wilsonok than they should not protest when the consequences of that choice occur.04/17/2014 - 1:06pm
NeenekoIf people want tall buildings, plenty of other cities with them. Part of freedom and markets is communities deciding what they do and do not want built in their collective space.04/17/2014 - 12:55pm
Sora-ChanI realize that they have ways getting around it, but one reason might be due to earthquakes.04/17/2014 - 4:42am
Matthew WilsonSF is a tech/ economic/ trade center it should be mostly tail building. this whole problem is because of the lack of tail buildings. How would having tail apartment buildings destroy SF? having tail buildings has not runed other cities around the US/world04/16/2014 - 10:51pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the issue is you can not build upwards anywhere in SF at the moment, and no you would not. You would bring prices to where they should have been before the market distortion. those prices are not economic or socially healthy.04/16/2014 - 10:46pm
ZippyDSMleeYou still wind up pushing people out of the non high rise aeras but tis least damage you can do all things considered.04/16/2014 - 10:26pm
ZippyDSMleeANd by mindlessly building upward you make it like every place else hurting property prices,ect,ect. You'll have to slowly segment the region into aeras where you will never build upward then alow some aeras to build upward.04/16/2014 - 10:25pm
 

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