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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Andrew EisenUbisoft's Child of Light.07/29/2015 - 11:45pm
MattsworknameEnjoy man, Im gonna be playing split second myself07/29/2015 - 11:45pm
Andrew EisenSorry. That just slipped out. Off to play.07/29/2015 - 11:43pm
Andrew EisenWords have meanings, people! Use the damn dictionary! They're online! They're free! Arrggghhhh!07/29/2015 - 11:42pm
Andrew EisenThis is just depressing. I'm gonna go play video games.07/29/2015 - 11:42pm
Mattsworknameproliferation of the whole "internet movment" thing, people dont debate, they try to attack and go after peole to shut them down, casue it's easier then trying to debate the issues07/29/2015 - 11:39pm
MattsworknameWhen you break it down, what it is is the shifting of the media lanscape and how it effects news sites and other groups. once upon a time, you could have run that same article and it would have created debate, not online campagns, now, cause of the07/29/2015 - 11:38pm
MattsworknameCall it waht you wil, but thats how its viewed, not just by me, but by just about EVERYONE right now. Media, new networks, they dont' want to call it what it is, soe they call it "accountability"07/29/2015 - 11:34pm
Andrew Eisen"Gamasutra... had to pay" Yes. That's EXACTLY what it was. "Accountability" is and always was horse poop.07/29/2015 - 11:29pm
MattsworknameSo to speak07/29/2015 - 11:28pm
MattsworknameThats why this happened, you get people who felt hurt, marginalize, bettrayd, or otherwise offended, and they don't actually look at teh facts, they just attack and try to get there Blood for Blood07/29/2015 - 11:28pm
Mattsworknamefalse. Weather you think the article was right or not, there was a large group who felt taht gamastura and the other media sites had to pay for there actions, weather they deserved it or not07/29/2015 - 11:27pm
Andrew EisenTrying to yank advertising over a single opinion piece on a site that I would bet money most of the offended (if you will) didn't read, is no more an attempt at accountability than the Brown shooting's subsequent riots.07/29/2015 - 11:27pm
MattsworknameMy point andrew is that it's not about them, its about the people responding to the situation. THe brown shooting was eventually shown to be completely justified, but the "Black lives matter" meme kept on rolling despite all it's intiall claims being07/29/2015 - 11:26pm
Andrew EisenDude, you're comparing an opinion piece with someone who was shot to death. Gamasutra and Alexander already were accountable for the opinion piece in question.07/29/2015 - 11:25pm
Mattsworknamekinds of events. nor has it stopped them from being asshats in my opinion, but in there view, they have to hold someone accountible for recent events, so they are doing what they think they must, even if it's based on falsehoods07/29/2015 - 11:22pm
MattsworknameAndrew: It's really a matter of context for the people involved. For example. The "Black lives matter" thing is based on an entirely false account of events in the brown shooting, but that hasnt' stopped it from triyng to hold Polititcians accountable for07/29/2015 - 11:22pm
Andrew EisenWouldn't surprise me. A lot of words' actual meanings escape many people on the internet.07/29/2015 - 11:17pm
Andrew EisenSo, "they must be held accountable" means "we must hurt them for publishing an opinion piece we don't like."07/29/2015 - 11:17pm
Mattsworknameor me thats demanding accountability on this, it's the ones who undertook the actiosn against these sites and went after the advertisers07/29/2015 - 11:13pm
 

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