Violent video games may be distributed to minors under constitutional free speech protections, says a federal appeals court. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit struck down an ordinance in suburban St. Louis County ordinance that banned distribution of the games to those under 17 except with parental permission.
The use of new technology to transmit the images is irrelevant, the judges said. “The mere fact that they appear in a novel medium is of no legal consequence. Our review of the record convinces us that these ‘violent’ games contain stories, imagery, ‘age-old themes of literature,’ and messages, even an ‘ideology,’ just as books and movies do,” the ruling states.
Douglas Lowenstein, president of the Interactive Digital Software Association, a trade group that was the lead plaintiff in the suit, said he planned to ask the court to order compensation for the roughly $200,000 in legal fees his group incurred. He said he hoped the ruling would sent a warning to other communities considering such laws.