The Entertainment Software Association has had a pretty good year zapping its opponents on video-game violence laws, based on the annual report released today for 2009 fiscal year that ended March 31.
The game industry’s lobbying group managed to win legal battles in almost every state where lawmakers tried to introduce bills that made it a crime to sell mature-rated violent games to minors. The ESA fought 43 bills aimed at regulating content or controlling access to video games and none became law. States from Utah to California saw the laws go down in defeat. It turns out that the courts have favored the game industry’s First Amendment and parental education arguments over concerns about protecting kids from violent images. In Arizona, for instance, the ESA stopped a bill that sought to regulate providers of “dangerous material,” including video games.
Meanwhile, five states enacted tax incentives for the creation of game development jobs. Another 17 states are considering enacting the incentives.
The group said that it will be hard to get the attention of the federal government and Congress, which is preoccupied with issues such as climate change and healthcare. The ESA wants more done to stop piracy of games. During the year, the ESA sent takedown notices to Internet service providers to cover more than 45 million instances of alleged piracy in more than 100 countries. The group named the ISPs that were its biggest opponents because they fostered illegal peer-to-peer downloads. Among them were Telecom Italia, Spain’s Telefonica and France Telecom.
Lastly, there are 160,000 members in the Video Game Voters Network, an ESA-inspired group that makes lawmakers aware of issues video gamers care about. The VGVN has been influential in convincing lawmakers via letter-writing campaigns whenever video game violence laws are opposed. In Arizona, for instance, the ESA managed to stop a bill that proposed to regulate those who distributed “dangerous” material
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