Jenner & Block

Seventh Circuit Affirms Ruling in Favor of Video Game Industry Clients

In another victory for the Firm’s video game industry clients, a federal appeals court on November 27 affirmed a district court’s permanent injunction against the enforcement of Illinois’ Sexually Explicit Video Games Law (SEVGL) because the law is an unconstitutional violation of the video game makers’ and retailers' freedom of speech.  

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that the law was “overbroad” in its attempt to control minors' access to certain video games.  Moreover, the court agreed that the law’s proposed labeling and signage requirements for certain games unconstitutionally compelled speech in violation of the First Amendment.  

The disputed law would have subjected retailers and store clerks to criminal charges and fines for allowing minors to buy or rent video games designated by Illinois as being “sexually explicit,” and would have also required video game retailers to place labels on all games containing “sexually explicit” content.  

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois had issued a permanent injunction against the enforcement of the Violent Video Games Law and the SEVGL in December 2005.  

Partners Paul M. Smith, Katherine A. Fallow and David P. Sanders, and Associates Duane Pozza, Matthew S. Hellman and Wade A. Thomson represented the Entertainment Software Association, et al., in this matter.  

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