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ESA 'humble' about chances against California in Supreme Court case


Entertainment Software Association President Michael Gallagher mentioned in a briefing yesterday that he has a "great amount of respect for the Supreme Court" and feels modest about the trade group's chances of defeating the California game law heading to the United States' highest court.

"We're very humble about our prospects before the court greatly. We believe we're on the side of right here," Gallagher stated. "We've believed that for 10 years. That hasn't wavered one iota. You go into this preparing to win, but also very prepared to handle the other conclusions as well." The State of California and ESA will submit briefs to the court, along with supporting briefs, over the next few months. Oral arguments are expected this fall with a decision by the court next spring.

Asked if he believes winning will change the way States go about game laws, Gallagher explained, "[State government] moves like lightning and moves -- depending on where you are -- in an informed or uninformed manner. If we win, then we feel we'll be done at long last with these content issues. Video games ... it's already been recognized through a dozen decisions that we're entitled to the same first amendment treatment as movies, as music, as books. That is what we're hoping will be the law of the land at the conclusion of this case. So, we win, we can put this behind us and focus on incentives for the industry." Gallagher expressed those incentives included focusing on jobs and tax incentives for the industry, instead of regulatory issues.

Of course, if the Supreme Court finds in favor of California, the executive believes states will react immediately and the industry will be embroiled in trying to figure out what to do. He also notes that such a decision wouldn't just be about regulating games, but it opens up the door to going after movies, television and books.

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