Violent video game law scotched by US judge

A US judge has deemed that Michigan’s attempts to ban retailers from selling violent video games to children is unconstitutional. The ruling is a success for trade groups representing US games publishers, which filed a lawsuit last year.

Federal District Judge George Caram Steeh has ruled in favour of a lawsuit declaring that the law is unconstitutionally vague and limits First Amendment rights (regarding freedom of expression), reports The Washington Post.

The governor of the US state signed the law in September, which was intended to take effect 1 December 2005, but Judge Steeh issued a preliminary injunction back in November. His latest ruling, made at the end of last week, will make the injunction permanent.

‘Video games contain creative, expressive free speech, inseparable from their interactive functional elements, and are therefore protected by the First Amendment,’ the paper quotes Judge Steeh in his ruling.

A spokesperson for Governor Jennifer Granholm said she would discussing legal options, including the possibility of appeal.

Michigan is not alone in trying to curb the sale or rent of violent games to minors – California, Illinois and Washington are among those who have attempted similar legislation, which has also been struck down or put on hold.

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