[JURIST] A federal judge has temporarily blocked the enforcement of Louisiana's new law banning the sale of violent video games to minors. US District Judge James Brady [official profile] of the Middle District of Louisiana [official website] in Baton Rouge granted a temporary restraining order [PDF] requested by two industry groups, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) [trade website] and the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) [trade website], which sued the state [press release] last week. The statute [text, PDF], which took effect when Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D) [official website] signed it on Friday, forbids the sale or rental of electronic games to anyone under age 18 if:
(1) The average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the video or computer game, taken as a whole, appeals to the minor's morbid interest in violence.Anyone convicted of violating the law can be fined up to $2,000, sentenced to a year in prison, or both. The industry groups argue that the law violates the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech.
(2) The game depicts violence in a manner patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community with respect to what is suitable for minors.
(3) The game, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.
Judges have struck down similar laws as unconstitutional in Michigan, California and Illinois [JURIST reports], and the ESA sued Minnesota [press release] earlier this month. In Louisiana, Brady has scheduled a hearing for June 27 to consider whether to issue a preliminary injunction. Reuters has more.