[JURIST] The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) [official website] Tuesday asked a federal district court judge to block a Minnesota law [text] taking effect August 1 that imposes fines of up to $25 on minors who purchase games rated for adults and requires retailers to post notice of the fines. The ESA claims [press release] that although the law targets consumers rather than retailers, it violates the First Amendment [text] of the US Constitution. Minnesota legislators supporting the law contend that it is constitutional because it assesses civil fines instead of criminal penalties. In 2003, the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit [official website] declared that video games are protected under the First Amendment, but many lawyers believe the ruling could be overturned.
Judges have struck down similar laws as unconstitutional in Michigan, California and Illinois [JURIST reports]. In Louisiana, a federal judge has temporarily blocked the enforcement [JURIST report] of Louisiana's new law banning the sale of violent video games to minors. AP has more. The Star-Tribune has local coverage.