‘Games as Porn’ Bill Stopped by Judge

‘Games as Porn’ Bill Stopped by Judge
Michael Hayes
OKLAHOMA CITY — A bill designed to treat some video games like pornography under state law has been dealt a serious blow by a federal judge, who issued a preliminary injunction against the legislation.

HB-30004, which Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry signed into law in June, was set to go into effect Nov. 1. But U.S. District Judge Robin Cauthron issued a preliminary injunction delaying the effective date of the law, citing 1st Amendment concerns.

Under the bill, retailers who sell, rent or display video games, which depict “inappropriate violence,” must keep titles hidden from minors or face felony charges.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which brought suit to enjoin the law, presented strong arguments as to the bill’s vague language, Cauthron said.

Cauthron also said the language of the bill contains unconstitutional content-based restrictions on speech.

The bill ignores a rating system established by the ESA.

“This marks the ninth court decision in the past five years to enjoin restrictions on video games," ESA President Doug Lowenstein said. “We're grateful for the preliminary injunction and look forward to prevailing in the effort to permanently strike down the law.”

Cauthron has given attorneys for the state an Oct. 18 deadline to address the trade group’s arguments.