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Industry groups challenge Indianapolis violent video game law

By The Associated Press

08.22.00

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INDIANAPOLIS — Two video game industry groups have filed a lawsuit claiming a new city law banning minors from playing violent and sexually explicit video games is unconstitutional.

The law requires coin-operated games featuring graphic violence or strong sexual content to have warning labels and be kept at least 10 feet from nonviolent games. The machines must also be separated by a curtain or wall so minors cannot see them. The law bars people under age 18 from such games unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The American Amusement Machine Association and the Amusement and Music Operators Association hope to obtain a temporary restraining order to keep the law from taking effect Sept. 1. They say they support the city's desire to curb juvenile violence, but believe the ordinance violates First Amendment rights.

"What's next after banning video games depicting violence?" AMOA president Frank Seninsky said yesterday in a statement. "Movies? Books? ... We are on the edge of a slippery slope, and our industry has been forced to litigate to protect core constitutional rights."

The federal lawsuit, filed yesterday in Indianapolis, names Mayor Bart Peterson, Marion County Prosecutor Scott Newman, and city and county law officers who would enforce the ordinance.

Mayoral spokesman Steve Campbell said the city expected a lawsuit over the ordinance — believed to be the first of its kind — but remains confident it will meet constitutional muster.

"We can't ever guarantee anything that goes on in a court of law, but we did our homework on this one," Campbell said. "We did quite a bit of research to make sure that this would stand up under judicial scrutiny."

Updates

Federal appeals court puts Indianapolis video game law on hold
7th Circuit judge grants industry request for stay of judge's Oct. 11 order allowing ordinance to take effect.  10.19.00

Federal judge hears arguments over Indianapolis' video game law
Industry groups say games are free speech, ordinance is too vague to enforce.  09.18.00

Previous

Indianapolis mayor signs law restricting youth access to violent video games
Ordinance requires coin-operated games with graphic violence or strong sexual content to have warning labels, be kept at least 10 feet from nonviolent games.  07.18.00

Related

Arkansas legislators hope to defeat violent video games
Measure would establish rating system, criminal penalties for people who provide such games to minors.  12.12.00

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