Michigan Ordered to Pay Back Video Game Industry

A Michigan judge ordered the state to pay $182,349 to pay for legal fees the ESA incurred to challenge an unconstitutional law banning the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. Governments now owe or have paid over $1,500,000 in legal fees trying to pass unconstitutional laws, including the more than $500,000 owed by the state of Illinois.

You can read the ESA press release.

In his decision declaring the law unconstitutional, the judge dismissed the state’s claim that the interactive nature of video games makes them less entitled to First Amendment protection. “The interactive, or functional aspect, in video games can be said to enhance the expressive elements even more than other media by drawing the player closer to the characters and becoming more involved in the plot of the game than by simply watching a movie or television show. It would be impossible to separate the functional aspects of a video game from the expressive, inasmuch as they are so closely intertwined and dependent on each other in creating the virtual experience. Not only does the Act not materially advance the state’s stated interest, but it appears to discriminate against a disfavored ‘newcomer’ in the world of entertainment media. Thus, ‘singling out’ the video game industry does not advance the state’s alleged goal.”

Eventually taxpayers have to notice this waste, right? I mean, maybe the first time a government official authorizes an unconstitutional law, he/she made a mistake, but after so many end up failing for the exact same reasons, it has to be obvious that these officials are purposefully wasting our money and our time, right?

3 comments to Michigan Ordered to Pay Back Video Game Industry

  • I read this great bit on GamePolitics.com

    —–
    “I know if I vote against this bill, it could end up on a mail piece that I’m somehow for violent and crazy video games,” state Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, said at the time.
    —–

    Isn’t it great that the lawmakers are more interested in protecting their images than the constitutionality (and perhaps even sanity) of the laws they pass? It’s scary.

  • Jesse: That’s the reality of living in a sound-bite news world, where argument and reason is just too hard for many people, and who yells “UNPATRIOTIC!” or “YOU HATE AMERICA!” louder wins.

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