If California Wins Video Game Law Appeal, ESA Must Send Back the Money

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.

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  1. 0
    Sukasa ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    One more reason why not to watch that sad channel.

    I would think it would be smarter using whatever money you get to help support your family but what do I know.

  2. 0
    tony selby says:

    the difference is simple between the 2, with the smoking they have found a direct causal link between smoking and lung cancer, as such, allowing smoking in the bar runs afoul of health code, which any owner or a public establishment must meet if they wish to stay in bussiness, and the idea is not to protect children, but more the employee’s of said bar, that don’t neccessarily have the option to not go to it

  3. 0
    Anonymous says:

    I see a lot of people spouting off about unconstitutional this and unconstitutional that.  What about that Anti smoking thing they put through a while ago.  You know, the one that says if you OWN a BAR or restaurant you CANNOT let people smoke inside of it!  Thats more a violation of the constitution if I ever seen one.  The solution to that one was simple.  If you dont like that Bar that lets people smoke in it, don’t go.  Let tme businessmen/women decide.  But no… California thought it would be in the best interest of the "Children" *In bars?!*.  And made it illegal.  I don’t know about you but if I owned a Bar or Restaurant, and I wanted people in my business to smoke at their will.  I would be pretty upset at the state for playing big brother.

  4. 0
    Alteffor says:

    They game industry will fight and win against the appeal, then they’ll make California pay more. Its not confusing, so why the hell are they so dumb?

  5. 0
    Laughing Hyena says:

    Huh, I was thinking about that sales tax increase Arnold recently wants…

    I wonder why?

    Maybe if they stop doing this kind of shit to waste taxpayer money and do massive payment cuts for the Gov., Sentors, and those in office’s salaries, I sure all us Californians would love to get behind that. Not that would ever happen, but one can dream Sacramento gets it’s final comeupance some day.

  6. 0
    Jeremy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Wow the people of California must really like footing bills for unconsitutional laws.  I mean does Arnold really think his law is suddenly going to be consitutional and does he really think the ESA isn’t going to seek reimbursement for the legal fees they are going to spend in the appeals court ….

  7. 0
    SS says:

    I feel bad for Americans right now.  The country’s idiotic leadership has definately helped create some of the current problems right now.  Don’t know how Indian politicians will handle it if we become a superpower.  Our Parliement house behaves like 3 year olds.  They keep walking out of debates and shouting out like infants.

    What’s up with the education here?  It’s around three grade levels behind India’s education.

    I can imagine another generation of closed minded people who will try to censor the next new form of media.


  8. 0
    DeepThorn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    That’s horrifying…  I can still name/locate every state on the map of the US, and almost all of the capitals… Damn, I wish I could say all…  I forgot Alaska, the Dakotas and Montana’s capitals…  Not too bad still…

    AHHHH a rock the vote pop-up…  I hate both of the idiots, I want new selections damnit.  I will take Romney and Edwards paired up.  It is pretty bad when Paris Hilton looked more educated, WAS more well spoken, and yeah…  Our country has problems…  It isnt only the educational system…  Our entire government structure was suppose to change as the country changed to make it so that it could stay of the people, for the people and by the people…  Our founding fathers set it up to change with the times, but when you make it so that ONLY old people are in office, with little to no youth to keep things mixed up…  Things turn bad…  The young and old balance eachother out…  There have been little to no new ideas on how to improve our country or the world as a whole…

    Things like this make me realize why people from other countries hate Americans… 

    Anyways, if I had to vote right now, I would vote in Paris Hilton with Lewis Black as VP, haha.

  9. 0
    SS says:

    yeah the schools here are pathetic.  A’s are handed out if u do a competant job.  In my old school in the Indian himalayas I got 70s for projects that get A’s here.  Classes are too easy.  i study in a school that’s in the top 3% of US public schools.  I can’t imagine what the situation is in worse schools.  Teachers give out free extra credit just so the class doesn’t fail.   

  10. 0
    gs2005 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Assume 20% of the population is generally stupid/ignorant who live in the USA, and I’ve met some high school kids this year (3 in fact from my part time teaching gig) who cannot find the USA on a globe.  PATHETIC.  I directly asked them (in private), to let them get out of a class early-they did not get to go home early of course.  We are talking 16, 17 and 18 year old kids.  Wait until THEY grow up…


  11. 0
    Buckeye531 says:

    Senator Yee also contradicts himself on the ESRB. Last holiday season, he said that parents have to trust the ratings even though he said "they (ESRB) can’t be trusted".

  12. 0
    Laughing Hyena says:

    Save face? That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard about Californian politics.

    Knowing them, I don’t think they would really fight that much to get the money back. They’ll just make exuses again and cut money from education, health, and places Californina needs to have running or working for the state. It’s not like those a-holes are going to make cuts to their own salaries. Do they really need that much money to work for office? Why does everyone else in the state has to work for minimum wage and they don’t?

    I don’t think my own natives are going to let this go down, be sure to see opinion pieces or letters in newspapers from pissed off Californians who either want that money back or hate Arnold and Lee for that stupid piece of Law in the first place. I know I hate Lee and Arnold.

  13. 0
    M. Carusi says:

    The California government is just attempting to save face with the populace.  Forking over nearly 300k of tax dollars can be pretty humiliating.

    Michael Carusi

    Capitol Gaming


  14. 0
    DeepThorn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Don’t you love election years, where these guys try to make examples of any and everything to get attention and try to get more votes, or more votes for the people they support…

  15. 0
    gs2005 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The state senator who is ready to defend his fucked up, unconstitutional law is named Leland Yee.  He’s of the uber-liberal mentality that, "it takes a village to raise a child", which is just unrealistic, yet he can’t see it any other way.  Yee initates a LOT of laws in California.  Law-this, law-that, if there is a problem make a law!  Yee can’t effectively defend his blocked anti-video game law against constitutional scrutiny, so he just parrots "save the children", "defend the children", "protect our children" over and over, and over again.

    Meanwhile, he fights for other 1st amendment issues for college newspaper protections and such, revealing his blatant double-standard.  According to Yee, video games don’t get those same protections.  The state of California *will* eventually lose.  Just because Schwarzenegger is at the helm doesn’t mean the constitution will change.  Kids who really want GTA4 will get it anyway and in the end Yee’s efforts do nothing but waste taxpayer dollars, which he has no problem doing for the sake of his ego.

  16. 0
    heroinahalfshel (Xbox Live gamertag) says:

    I hope California loses the appeal. Gov Schwarzenegger and Senator whoever are wanting a law that is unnecessary, unconstitutional, will cost too much taxpayer Dollars and in the end, will accomplish NOTHING. To make matters worse, it would result in 17 year olds, who are old enough to buy M rated games (and the M rating means *17* and up) not being allowed to buy them! Such a law is totally stupid an unnecessary. Enforcing laws against under-age game sales is NOT the answer, Teaching about the ESRB IS the answer.

  17. 0
    Zero_Beat ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    It’s actually smarter to.  Put it in the bank, let it gather interest, and even if the case is overturned (which won’t happen) they still come out a winner.

  18. 0
    Anonymous says:

    You know what’s really ironic?- The Governator wants an unnecessary (and unconstitutional) media law to "PROTECT T3H CHILDRENZZZ", yet how many movies has he starred in that are far from appropriate for kids?

  19. 0
    Shoehorn O'Plenty ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Appeals can lead to court decisions being overturned in many cases. New evidence comes to light that was not available at the beginning of a case, new technology is available to more accurately analyse existing evidence, etc. However, I don’t think that the Constitution of the United States is going to change to omit one of it’s principle facets…

  20. 0
    Vake ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Never Underestimate Arnold. He’s seriously had a nack for getting what he wants, one way or another. If he was on our side, he’d be a great ally. But he’s an idiot when it comes to politics.

    With all the success of bringing games to mainstream, why are we losing so bad in legislation?

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