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Retailers, publishers challenge law limiting sales of cop-killer video games

By The Associated Press
06.06.03

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Video-game publishers and retailers sued yesterday to overturn Washington state's new ban on selling minors video games that depict violence against police officers.

The Interactive Digital Software Association filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Seattle, contending that the new law violates the First Amendment's free-speech guarantees.

"Earlier this week, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously and resoundingly ruled that video games are a constitutionally protected form of expression with the same First Amendment status as art, books, film, and music," said Douglas Lowenstein, president of the IDSA. "Based on this decision, and a similar one issued by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2001, we believe the Washington statute will be struck down as well."

State Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, the bill's sponsor, said the Washington law was crafted specifically to withstand such challenges.

"Unlike the St. Louis ordinance ... our state law is narrowly focused on the compelling state interest of protecting the safety of law enforcement officers and firefighters," said Dickerson, D-Seattle.

Under the new law, retailers face a $500 fine for selling or renting out video games depicting violence against police to children under 17.


Update
Washington video-game law in suspended animation
Federal judge temporarily blocks statute that limits sales of cop-killer games, saying opponents have raised serious questions about its constitutionality. 07.11.03

Previous
Washington state bars sale of cop-killer video games to kids
State becomes first to enact such legislation; industry officials promise to challenge measure, calling it 'unnecessary and unconstitutional.' 05.21.03

Related

8th Circuit strikes down limits on kids' access to violent video games

St. Louis County ordinance required children under 17 to have parental consent before they could buy violent or sexually explicit video games or play similar arcade games. 06.04.03

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