The Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association (IEMA), a body representing video game retailers, has released an official statement regarding the recent signing
by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of AB1179, a much-debated California violent video game bill.
The California-specific bill requires warning labels to be placed on violent games. Customers purchasing games with the label would be required to show ID; retailers who either did not check for ID or did not show the labels will be liable for a $1,000 fine per infraction.
Hal Halpin, president, IEMA, commented in regard to the bill's signing into law:
"We were disappointed that Governor Schwarzenegger signed A.B. 1179 into law. Given his tireless speeches about taking the politics out of lawmaking and prohibiting government waste of valuable taxpayer dollars, this decision seems counter to that message. It is clear that this course will lead only to this law, like all previous efforts to alter the First Amendment regarding violent video games, being overturned - yielding no significant change and squandering much-needed resources.
IEMA retailers are already voluntarily committed to inhibiting the sale of Mature-rated games, not unlike the successful self-regulatory efforts of the motion picture business. We would have hoped that legislators would work proactively with the industry to help educate parents about the ratings system, and are disheartened to learn that this politicization of the issue is instead becoming an opportunistic trend. We remain supportive of the ESRB and stand ready to aid the ESA in their lawsuits, as we have done in the past."
AB1179 will take effect on January 1, 2006, unless it is successfully challenged in court by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which has announced plans to mount a legal effort to overturn the California bill, as it is currently doing
for a separate law in the State of Illinois.