Entertainment Software Association v. Foti

451 F. Supp. 2d 823 (M.D. La. 2006)

Summary: This case was a challenge to a Louisiana video game ban.

History: On June 16, 2006, Media Coalition members Entertainment Software Association and Entertainment Merchants Association filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge to challenge a Louisiana ban on video games with violent or sexual content.  The law, House Bill 1381, would have added video games to the existing harmful to minors law as it applied to sexual content and created a separate section in the harmful to minors law applying only to video games with violent content. That section would have deemed a video game harmful to minors if the content included a depiction of any of a list of crimes included in the definition (including but not limited to: carjacking, murder of a law enforcement officer, battery, rape, and kidnapping).  The law also had signage and labeling requirements for retailers.  The judge granted a temporary restraining order the next day, June 17. The law would otherwise have gone into effect immediately.

On August 25, 2006, U.S. District Court Judge Brady granted plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction, thereby blocking enforcement of the video game ban.  In his opinion, the judge said that video games “are as much entitled to the protection of free speech as the best of literature.”  The judge also referenced many of the decisions recently handed down by Federal judges in Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, California, and elsewhere.

On November 30, 2006, Judge Brady, ruling from the bench, permanently enjoined the law.