Failed California Game Law Costs State $282K

The Entertainment Software Association would like to remind the citizens of the United States that letting their politicians run around pursuing unconstitutional video game laws is a very costly affair. Just as they did with Minnesota, Illinois, and Michigan before, the ESA has issued a press release detailing just how much California's failed game law is costing the taxpayers. $282,794 to be exact, and as the ESA points out, this is at a time when CA is facing a $15 million billion budget gap, firing 10,000 state employees and seeking to cut wages for the rest.

The California game law was terminated in federal court last year. The state, never the brightest of the bunch, is currently pursuing an appeal.

CALIFORNIA REIMBURSES TRADE GROUP OVER $280,000 FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES

AUGUST 5, 2008 - WASHINGTON, D.C. - The state of California today reimbursed the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) $282,794 for attorney's fees. The monies were received after the state attempted to defend an unconstitutional law restricting the constitutional rights of video game publishers, developers and consumers.

"California deserves more from its legislators than pursuing flawed legislation. State employees are facing pay cuts. California's services are being scaled back. And, anxiety is rising in Sacramento to find funds," said Michael D. Gallagher, CEO of the ESA, the trade association representing U.S. computer and video game publishers. "Rather than tackling real problems affecting Californians, they chose to waste time, money and state resources. It is shameful that legislators pursued personal agendas in spite of the facts."

The ESA noted that this payment comes at an especially troubling time for the state, calling to mind other pressing budgetary and legislative priorities and issues, including:

* California is currently facing a $15-billion budget gap[1]
* More than 10,000 California state employees were laid off last week in light of the budget crisis[2]
* Governor Schwarzenegger is seeking to cut wages for nearly 200,000 state employees[3]
* The state already cut 10 percent to its Medicaid reimbursement rate and deferred payments to vendors[4]

"Caregivers are not well-served by court battles and legal fees. Rather, they would have been far better off if state officials worked together with our industry to raise awareness about video game ratings and the parental controls available on all new game consoles-both of which help ensure that the games children play are parent-approved."

On August 6, 2007, Judge Ronald M. Whyte ruled in favor of the ESA's Motion for Summary Judgment, permanently enjoining enforcement of the California video game law that regulated the sale of computer and video games in that state. Judge Whyte acknowledged that video games are protected by the First Amendment and found there was no evidence that playing violent games results in real world violence. The state currently is appealing this decision.

"It is unfortunate that the state is stubbornly pursuing an appeal that is likely to lead to even more court-awarded fees," concluded Gallagher.

The Entertainment Software Association is the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of companies publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet. The ESA offers services to interactive entertainment software publishers including a global anti-piracy program, owning the E3 Media & Business Summit, business and consumer research, federal and state government relations, First Amendment and intellectual property protection efforts. For more information, please visit www.theESA.com.

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