ESA Challanges New Minnesota Video Game Law

The ESA, (Entertainment Software Association), has thrown its two cents into the ring regarding the recently signed bill, SF 785, by Governor Pawlently of Minnesota. The bill, which goes into effect on August 1 of this year, would penalize minors who attempt to purchase M rated games. The fine would be $25 and would be considered a civil penalty, instead of the previous misdemeanor assignment, for the infraction.

The ESA said in an official statement that, "We believe that SF 785 is unnecessary and will restrict the First Amendment rights of Minnesota,s citizens. To enact ‘feel good, bills knowing they,re likely to be tossed by the courts is the very height of cynicism. The computer and video game industry intends to file suit in Minnesota federal district court shortly, asking that the state,s new video game law be overturned."

One of the authors of the bill, Senator Sandra Pappas, stated that the law was merely an attempt to educate parents on the ills of unsuitable video game content for children. She said previously that, “The whole goal is just to educate parents. And by requiring that the retailer post a sign saying it’s illegal and to give the young person attempting to purchase a game a little bit of hesitation–a $25 civil penalty is enough to get the attention of a 12-year-old–that’s really what it is. It’s an educational attempt.”

SF 785 differs widely from other failed video game laws in that the bill attempts to punish the would-be buyer, and not the retailer, for the video game transaction. Several detractors of the law have pointed out that the law is basically unenforceable. Retailers would have to voluntarily screen the suspected young perps in order for the law to be successful. Since the law rests on the shoulders of the game retailers and rental stores, it is doubtful that any of these businesses will change policy following the passage of this new legislation.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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