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Illinois Game Bill Injunction Upheld, Attorney Fees Due

An Illinois court has upheld the permanent injunction issued in December 2005 against Illinois' Safe Games Illinois Act, to the approval of game industry bodies, while it's been reve
The industry trade association the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) has issued a statement following a court's decision today to uphold the permanent injunction issued in December 2005 against an Illinois state law that would, if passed, have restricted video game sales. The bill, dubbed the Safe Games Illinois Act, would have required retailers to use warning labels in addition to the existing ESRB labels, as well as post signs within stores explaining the ESRB rating system. Sale of offending games to minors will earn stores a $1,000 fine on a petty offense, while failure to post explanatory signage will draw a $500 fine for the first three violations and $1,000 for each subsequent count. The statement, made by EMA president Bo Andersen, begins: "Now that the Court of Appeals has affirmed the holding of the district court, it is time for the Illinois governor and the legislature to respect the Constitution and its guarantee of freedom of speech.” Anderson concludes: "Video game retailers have voluntarily committed to parents to enforce video game ratings to ensure that minors do not gain access to video games their parents do not want them to have. We call on Illinois' elected officials to support these industry initiatives, which the court suggested is a constitutional and effective way to address the concerns that motivated this law." In related news, back in August, U.S. courts ordered the State of Illinois to pay the Entertainment Software Association, Video Software Dealers Association and Illinois Retail Merchants Association $510,528.64 in attorney’s fees that the industry associations incurred while fighting the would-be law. However, a new Associated Press report indicates that the money has not yet been paid. Because of this, the report notes that original case attorneys Jenner & Block have sought the assistance of a federal judge in claiming the money owed, plus an additional $7,800 in interest. A spokeswoman told the AP that the Attorney General's office is seeking a "payment mechanism", and awaiting identification of the budget account from which the fee should be paid.

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