The Entertainment Software Association made a bit of a splash yesterday with news that the state of California had forked over $282,794 to the game publishers' lobbying group.
The money represents legal fees incurred by the video game industry while fighting California's 2005 video game law in U.S. District court. Judge Ronald Whyte ruled the statute unconstitutional in August of 2007.
However, as GamePolitics has reported, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (left) appealed Judge Whyte's decision to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court earlier this year. While it is unlikely that the state will prevail in its effort to keep the video game law on the books, if it does pull an upset, the ESA is required to return the money.
The details of this arrangement are spelled out in a November, 2007 agreement between the ESA and the state, which says, in part:
If, after all appeals have been exhausted or the time for all remaining appeals has expired, plaintiffs [the video game industry] are no longer the prevailing party in this case, the plaintiffs shall pay back the amount stipulated in paragraph 1 within thirty (30) days of the disposition of the final appeal or the expiration of time for all remaining appeals.
It's also interesting to note that the amount paid to the ESA by California was subject to some negotiation. As GamePolitics reported last September, the ESA initially sought $324,840.
Grab a copy of the settlement agreement here.