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Washington Game Restriction Ruled Unconstitutional

Judge Robert Lasnik of the U.S. District Court in Seattle today granted summary judgment to overturn a Washington state bill set to ban minors from purchasing certain vid...

Jill Duffy

July 15, 2004

1 Min Read

Judge Robert Lasnik of the U.S. District Court in Seattle today granted summary judgment to overturn a Washington state bill set to ban minors from purchasing certain videogames, ruling the legislation unconstitutional. “This is a sweeping victory. Today’s decision once again affirms that video games are protected speech, and efforts by states to ban the sale of games they find objectionable will inevitably run afoul of the First Amendment,” said Entertainment Software Association (ESA) president Douglas Lowenstein in a press release today. The statute, HB 1009, would have prevented minors from purchasing excessively violent videogames—particularly ones that reward crimes against law enforcement—claiming that the playing the games causes increased aggression and violence in children and young adults. “Neither causation nor an increase in real-life aggression is proven by these studies,” Judge Lasnik wrote. “The Court finds that the Legislature’s belief that video games cause violence, particularly violence against law enforcement officers, is not based on reasonable inferences drawn from substantial evidence.”

About the Author(s)

Jill Duffy

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Jill Duffy is the departments editor at Game Developer magazine. Contact her at [email protected].

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