A federal judge today handed down an opinion (PDF link) putting a stop to an Oklahoma law that created a $1,000 fine for disseminating violent games to minors. Oklahoma now joins California, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Washington in the list of states that have had such laws have been overturned by the U.S. courts.
Besides reaffirming the oft-stated judicial opinion that games are a form of speech protected by the first amendment, U.S. District Court Judge Robin Cauthron included some harsh words for the defense in her opinion. "Beyond Defendants' generalized statements, there is a complete dearth of legislative findings, scientific studies, or other rationale in the record to support the passage of the Act," the opinion reads in part. "Defendants' argument that 'common sense' dictates that playing violent video games 'is not good for children,' and that the onus is on Plaintiffs to prove otherwise, completely fails." Ouch! This wasn't just a win for the game industry, it was a rout.
Of course, Oklahoma could follow California's lead and appeal the ruling, but given the strong language in this opinion, we really think Oklahoma should cut their losses and just stop wasting the taxpayers' money.
Read - GamePolitics report
Read - Law of the Game analysis
PDF - Full text of the legal opinion