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July 25, 2011 - WASHINGTON, DC - The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) today announced that it filed in the United States Supreme Court a motion for reimbursement of $1.1 million in attorneys’ fees from the State of California. The motion follows the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of ESA in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association/Entertainment Software Association. On June 27, 2011, the Court ruled that a 2005 California law regulating the distribution of computer and video games was an unconstitutional violation of protected expression, upholding the decisions of both lower courts. The decision was a landmark victory for the First Amendment rights of video game creators, parents, and consumers.
“We look forward to moving forward and working together to raise awareness about the valuable tools and information available to parents,” said Michael D. Gallagher, CEO of the ESA, the trade association representing U.S. computer and video game publishers. “From the start of this misguided legislation, then-Governor Schwarzenegger and specific California legislators knew that their efforts to censor and restrict expression were, as court after court ruled, unconstitutional and thus a waste of taxpayers’ money, government time, and state resources.”
In the motion to recover its attorneys’ fees, ESA argued that “California persisted in defending a law that Plaintiffs warned the Legislature was unconstitutional before it was passed; that was previously found to be unconstitutional by the district court and a unanimous panel of the Ninth Circuit; and that is similar to at least eight other laws invalidated as unconstitutional prior to the time that California sought certiorari in this case.”
Gallagher stated that the video game industry still welcomes the opportunity to work with legislators in raising awareness about the Entertainment Rating Software Board (ESRB) video game rating system and other tools, like parental controls, that the industry voluntarily provides to parents. That information helps caregivers make informed choices about the entertainment for their families. The ESRB independently rates computer and video games and was lauded by the Federal Trade Commission as the gold standard of entertainment ratings systems and recognized again for its integrity and effectiveness.
The U.S. video game trade association also noted its commitment to partnering with retailers in enforcing the ESRB system at point of sale. In a recent study, the FTC found that the vast majority of children (about 87 percent) who tried to buy M-rated games were prevented by retailers from doing so — a figure higher than any other entertainment industry.
The Entertainment Software Association is the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of companies publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet. The ESA offers services to interactive entertainment software publishers including a global anti-piracy program, managing the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), conducting business and consumer research, and representing the video game industry in federal and state government relations, First Amendment and intellectual property protection efforts. For more information, please visit www.theESA.com.