Video Game Industry to Illinois Guv: Pay Up

November 28, 2006 -


According to an Associated Press report, the administration of Gov. Rod Blagojevich (left) has failed to pay $510,260 to the video game industry.

That figure represents the cost of legal fees which the industry ran up defending itself against Illinois' unconstitutional 2005 video game law.

Lawyers for the game industry were back in court this month seeking payment. U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly is scheduled to rule in December on the issue. Kennelly initially ruled the "Safe Games Illinois" act unconstitutional late last year.

Of the dispute, ESA General Counsel Gail Markels said:
The end result of the governor's quixotic and politically motivated effort is that Illinois taxpayers now owe the video game industry over half-a-million dollars.

In addition to the original amount, the industry is now seeking $7,800 in interest.
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Comments

heh they should get every penny and the interest should state the day these morons start the minute they pass these stupid bills....

Hopefully they donate the money to charity or something. Otherwise they'll be seen as just doing this for the money.

Some needy Illinois charity that Blagojevich cut funding to. That would be perfect. :)
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

Too bad the people apparently relected the douche.... I guess his opponent must have really sucked. Kinda of like Michigan...

Hopefully, this will discourage him from censoring.

@jabrwock Good idea in principle, and I'd agree if there were punitive damages involved.

But the reality is that the ESA probably had to hire a legal team (one based in Illinois so it could act on the ESA's behalf) and those are actual expenses that the organization had to shell out to pay for the legal proceedings. Now if they have to sue Illinois to get what is owed, then I say include Blagojevich as a defendant and go for punitive blood money. Then donate THAT money to say GetWellGamer and Child's Play.

@verbinator - I agree with jabrwock. $500k isn't really big money to the organisations involved.

The games industry really doesn't want to be seen as stealing from the taxpayers. Even though the claim is clearly justified, that is probably how it would be perceived.

Verbinator: The $500K IS the expenses involved with ESA hiring its legal team. On the one hand, the ESA might as well recover what the state made them spend and what the ESA would not have spent otherwise. On the other hand, putting it towards charity - or at least putting it directly towards an education campaign of some sort - will generate some goodwill for the industry at a time when goodwill is scarce.

Personally I think the recovery of legal fees is somewhat questionable - it's understandable why it should be the case, but it also allows courts to be a tool of financial warfare - rack up lots of legal fees and then stick the other guy with them. I think that it's fair that, in some cases, the losing side pay legal fees. But it shouldn't be so for all cases, and there should be a limitation on billable hours or rates so groups don't overspend on legal fees in an attempt to bankrupt the other side, which could potentially happen. And somehow I doubt that $500K was the minimum amount necessary for the amount of time the trial took. But that's perhaps a rant for another time. In the meanwhile this would ideally help deter such misguided efforts in the future - though maybe that's hoping for too much, since we've already heard testimony to the effect of "no amount of $$ is too much to spend for teh childrenz!"

500K wasn't even the full amount, was it? I thought the court agreed to have the state reimburse 80% of total costs.

I think it's important to remember that the ESA is a trade organization representing the interests of the publishers of entertainment game software. It is not the game industry. It is a separate entity from them and uses the fees and dues paid into it by companies large and small to fun its activities.

They are expected to be good stewards of that money. When they are not, the manufacturers tell them as much ... as they did by voting with their feet regarding E3 recently. To not pursue recovery of costs would be poor stewardship on the part of a trade organization, regardless of the appearance of stealing from taxpayers (which IMHO was actually done by politicians).

I can't imagine the ESA earning even a dollop of goodwill from the public by making donations of the recovered money. The public has no clue who the ESA is. They are a non-entity to 99% of "taxpayers" (gamers and non-gamers alike). It's not particularly sexy news.

But maybe something like "Governor costs taxpayers $1M legal fees" might be. Because what one side expends in a trial is usually matched by the other side.

And that recovery of legal costs after a trial, I'm pretty sure the intent of it was to have a chilling effect frivolous lawsuits or laws.

I wonder if the state now owes the industry for the Appeal as well.

nightwng2000
NW2K Software

WHERE'S MY MONEY MAN?

Post moar like this.

@nightwng: If so it'd likely be a comparatively small amount. The appeal isn't a new trial; the two sides just say if anything's changed in the case and the superior judge double-checks the ruling to make sure the lesser judge wasn't retarded in his judgments.

Oh come on donate the money for their fees? With how many of these types of bills we have and will see that would just be insane.

The ESA is entitled to compensation. The fact is, if it became commonplace for states to put forward ridiculous laws like this and then expect not to have to pay the fee for forcing the ESA to defend it, we'd see a lot more of them, and that, in itself, could make it too expensive for the ESA to keep defending.

This is not a fee to 'punish' Illinois taxpayers, these things cost money, and the governors office needs to be reminded of that before they start pushing forward blatantly unconstitutional laws.

This is such an evil tactic the ESA uses. They keep noting that its the taxpayers who will be paying the bills and they phrase it as, "IT'S ALL THIS GUY'S FAULT! BLAME HIM!".

By doing this they are hoping to have these particular politicians kicked out of office. It's sort of a reverse vexation. It's a tactic that makes sense to be coming from Blank Rome which is comprised of not only lawyers but politicians as well...politicians who know how to play games. It's funny. I wouldn't condone it if the other side was doing it, so I won't condone it from the ESA, but it's really funny and almost ironic because at it's roots, Jack's tactic all along as been vexatious litigation. He admitted it once I believe.

@theroy
“This is such an evil tactic the ESA uses.”

It is not an evil tactic it is actually a safe guard that protects the public from corrupt politicians and unjust legislation. This happens all the time in these type of case it not even a tactic it’s standard procedure really. If the ESA couldn’t ask for fees all the state would have to do is keep passing unconstitutional laws till the ESA is bankrupt are bankrupt, this type of thing prevents law from become a financial war, not cause it to be. (Remember the ESA is not the game industry money is a factor in there continued operation.) They aren’t trying to effect the political game if they did they would be pushing this into the mainstream media, (a quote saying the obvious truth doesn’t count) all there doing is get justing compensation for defending themselves against the state’s unconstitutional legislation.

@Dan

I couldn't have said it any better. You have it right down. Without having to pay compensation for losing in a court battle, the governemnt could keep passing the same unconstitutional laws over and over again without any penalty for doing so.

It is evil that the ESA shouldn't swallow its legal costs? God knows, if someone sues me for no good reason and I win, i should have to pay a huge amount of money in lawyers fees, something I didn't want to pay in the first place something someone else forced me to pay for.

Wait.. no I counter sue the bastard for my time and money I spent defending myself as well as money I lost because i had to take time away from my job to appear in court.

This is awesome!!!!! Now maybe stupid retarded politicians will stop listening to Jack Thompson, whose very appropriate nick name is Wack Jacko. This is going to hurt their cause immensly Jack Thompson and all other anti-game activists out there SUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CHA-CHING!

Daniel, ease up on that Shift key dude, multiple exclamation marks = Not good for the formatting ;)

@Theory

Well, when it comes down to it, it IS "all that guys fault", along with everyone who supported him on the legitislation. They ignored the constitution, ignored the REAL experts, and they ignored previous court cases. Instead of listening to the experts that told them that the law would not stand against a constitutional challege, they decided to pass the law anyway. In reality, had those politicans NEVER passed the law in the first place, the industry would have never needed to defend itself, and the govnment wouldn't owe them over half a million dollars.

All in all, Illinois is an example of the consiquences of trying to pass clearly unconstitutional laws; not just against the game industry and the freedom of speech but against anyone and any ammendment. If a politican is gonna pass a law then they better damn well make sure it's constitutional or the taxpayers will be the ones who pay penalities. The half-a-million WASTED by the government could have been money better spent on doing something that would ACTUALLY help protect kids, such as PSA campaigns to increase awarness, or better educational programs...

@Daniel

You know, Jack isn't the only one is this battle... in fact, i'm not even sure if jack was in anyway involved in the illinois law(though i could be mistaken). If that's the case, then i would wager that these politicians were probably influenced by Lee, Hilary, or Lieberman... Though keep an eye on the law in louisanna; it's not dead yet, but it's well on its way, and Jack was directly involved in writing that one.

@Terminator44

actually, the $510,260 is how much the game industry spent in defending itself. So really, the money the government owes them is just so they can break even. The only actual profit the industry gets is the $7,800 in intrest...

@Monte

I already knew that. The cash register sound was for signifying the high cost the state has to pay for a law that never should have been passed in the first place.

Paper or plastic, Small Rod Blagobitch? Which kind of bag do you think would look better over your head? You're going to need one or the other if the taxpayers of Illinois hear about how much of THEIR money you and your administration wasted on a clearly unconstitutional bill.

@ Monte

Yes, you're right. Jack Thompson, or Wacko Jacko, isn't the only moron on that side of the fight, but he's the biggest one. I usually bash him because he's the big fish on the other side, but you're right. We need to attack the arguments of all of them, not just Wacko Jacko. Although he may be the worst, he certainly isn't the only one.

Let's see, what does the state own...

Here we go. A lien on the Governor's mansion.

They'd do it to me in a heartbeat.

Methinks Illinois is getting pwned. (pardon the leet-speak)

Seriously, they need to pay up. I grew up in Illinois, and that state is poor enough as it is. The longer they delay, the more the ESA is going to keep attatching interest, which the state MUST pay! I'm all over the idea of putting a lien on the governor's mansion - that sounds like an AWESOME idea.

Give the money to Child's Play or some other video game charity :)

This is yet another case of politics doing what they do best; try a quick fix and hope it works instead of trying to fix the cause of the problem.

As for the ESA wanting to recover their expenses I can't blame them. It just sucks for my taxes, though.
 
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