WASHINGTON, DC – April 3, 2006—[p]Today, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) hailed the federal district court for ruling against a Michigan bill which sought to ban video game sales to minors, ruling that the bill is unconstitutional and cannot be implemented. [p]The opinion was issued by The Hon. George Caram Steeh, US District Court, Eastern District of Michigan. In his decision, the judge dismissed the state’s claim that the interactive nature of video games makes them less entitled to First Amendment protection. Rebutting claims that interactive entertainment is more harmful than TV or movies, the judge stated, "It could just as easily be said that the interactive element in video games acts as an outlet for minors to vent their violent or aggressive behavior, thereby diminishing the chance they would actually perform such acts in reality.”[p]The state’s scientific evidence, purporting to show a link between violent games and violent actions, was no more persuasive on the judge. "The research not only fails to provide concrete evidence that there is a connection between violent media and aggressive behavior, it also fails to distinguish between video games and other forms of media," the Judge wrote.[p]The judge concluded that the proposed bill fundamentally discriminates against a “newcomer” in the entertainment market, and doing so in no way would advance the state's alleged goal of protect children from violent media.[p]The ESA is the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of the companies publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet. ESA members collectively account for more than 90 percent of the $7 billion in entertainment software sales in the U.S. in 2005, and billions more in export sales of entertainment software. For more information about the ESA, please visit www.theESA.com.
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