California deems violent videogame law unconstitutional… again

Looks like it’s time for one of those moments where the videogames industry faces things like state legislature from people who don’t play them. It’s the same story time and time again, where certain people in public administration find current efforts to keep Little Timmy from stealing his first virtual car as virtual sociopath Nico Bellic. The slight difference in this case, though, is that it’s also quite literally a rerun.

In 2007, a law was proposed that would add to videogames an additional rating to the already-on-the-package ESRB one, and that they were to be strictly adhered to by retailers. Sell Little Timmy Grand Theft Auto IV and you’d face some serious fines. After the last lawsuit cost the state of California $282,794 in legal fees of defeat, Governor Schwarzenegger vowed to appeal the ruling, and appeal California did. Fast forward to 2009, and the appeals court agreed with the ruling of defeat, deeming it, again, unconstitutional and a waste of taxpayer money. Little Timmy, they decided, should simply lack access to violent games on the grounds of parents seeing the, yes, already-on-the-package ESRB rating, and making a sound judgment. Other sound judgments may, in fact, need the assistance of state legislature, like disbarring Jack Thompson. That was kind of cool.

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