Entertainment Merchants Association v. Henry

No. CIV-06-675-C (W.D. Okla. Oct. 11, 2006)

Summary: This case is a challenge to an Oklahoma law banning the sale of video games with “inappropriate violence” to minors by adding a definition of “inappropriate violence” to the state’s harmful to minors law.

History: On June 23, 2006, Media Coalition members Entertainment Merchants Association and Entertainment Software Association filed a complaint in a challenge to an Oklahoma video game law that would ban the sale of materials with “inappropriate violence” to minors by adding a definition of “inappropriate violence” to the state harmful to minors law.

On October 11, 2006 U.S. U.S. District Court Judge Robin Cauthron granted the motion for preliminary injunction. The judge granted a permanent injunction on September 17, 2007.  In her decision, Judge Cauthron wrote video games are expression protected by the First Amendment and that depictions of violence cannot be regulated in the same way as obscenity.  Additionally, the Judge wrote that there “is a complete dearth of legislative findings, scientific studies, or other rationale to support passage of the Act.”  Judge Cauthron also wrote that the law would burden the First Amendment rights of adults seeking to purchase the restricted games.