Federal appeals court puts Indianapolis video game law on hold
By The Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS Kids who enjoy mutilating and maiming video game
monsters can keep at it for a while, as the city has been ordered to hold off
on enforcing its violent video game ordinance.
The coin-operated video game industry has asked the 7th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals in Chicago to issue an injunction against the ordinance, and
yesterday an appeals judge granted a stay until the injunction hearing is held.
The stay puts on hold a federal judge's
ruling last week that allowed the
law to go into effect.
The injunction hearing has been scheduled to begin with oral arguments
the week of Nov. 27.
Steve Campbell, spokesman for Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson said
city authorities had begun implementing the new ordinance, which was approved
last week by U.S. District Judge David Hamilton.
"We had started sending people out to do random visits to different
arcades and other sights, basically to educate business owners about what the
law is all about," Campbell said. "We actually hadn't planned on writing any
tickets at this point. We just wanted to let them know about it."
The ordinance believed to be the first of its kind
requires coin-operated games featuring graphic violence or strong sexual
content to have warning labels and be kept at least 10 feet from any
non-offending games. They must also be separated by a curtain or wall so minors
cannot view them. The law bars people under the age of 18 from such games
unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Businesses can be fined $200 per day for violations. Three violations
in one year can result in the business losing its amusement location
The City-County Council passed the ordinance July 10, and it was to go
into effect Sept. 1. But the American Amusement Machine Association and the
Amusement and Music Operators Association, along with a group of Indiana
distributors and operators, filed suit against the city in August.
They argued that the ordinance's restriction on games with "graphic
violence" were content-based restrictions on speech, in violation of the First
Amendment. They also contended that the ordinance was unconstitutionally
In his Oct. 11 decision, Hamilton noted that the ordinance "does not
bar or significantly limit adults from using the games in question, it does not
engage in viewpoint discrimination, it does not limit the expression of ideas
or other messages, and it authorizes only civil enforcement mechanisms."
Elliott Portnoy, a Washington, D.C., attorney representing the
industry associations, said yesterday he was pleased to see the circuit court
respond quickly to his clients' request for an emergency injunction.
"The industry is certainly pleased and heartened by the court of
appeals decision, as we believe the district court's decision was
unprecedented," Portnoy said
Campbell said the city wasn't surprised that the circuit court
followed up the industry's appeal by issuing the stay.
"It's part of the process," he said.
Federal judge: Indianapolis video game ordinance can take effect
Law doesn't engage in viewpoint discrimination, doesn't limit expression of ideas, judge says in preliminary ruling.
Federal judge hears arguments over Indianapolis' video game law
Industry groups say games are free speech, ordinance is too vague to enforce.
Industry groups challenge Indianapolis violent video game law
'We are on the edge of a slippery slope, and our industry has been forced to litigate to protect core constitutional rights,' says association president.
N.J. lawmaker introduces bill to rein in violent arcade games
'We can't continue as a society promoting the notion of violence as fun and expect to develop and encourage humane children,' says Assemblyman Leroy Jones.