Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Permanent Injunction Against ‘Safe Games Illinois Act’
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has upheld the prior Illinois District Court permanent injunction against the implementation of Illinois’ “Safe Game Illinois Act” that provided for two new criminal laws, the Violent Video Games Law and the Sexually Explicit Video Games Law. Illinois had not appealed the Violent Video Games Law portion of the earlier decision. The Court of Appeal held that the Sexually Explicit Video Games Portion of the Law swept too broadly:
The game God of War… is illustrative of this point. Because the (Illinois law) potentially criminalizes the sale of any game that features exposed breasts, without concern for the game considered in its entirety or for the game’s social value for minors, distribution of God of War is potentially illegal, in spite of the fact that the game tracks the Homeric epics in content and theme. As we have suggested in the past, there is serious reason to believe that a statute sweeps too broadly when it prohibits a game that is essentially an interactive, digital version of the Odyssey.
Similarly, it seems unlikely that a statute is narrowly tailored to achieving the stated compelling interest when it potentially criminalizes distribution of works featuring only brief flashes of nudity.
The Court of Appeal also held that the portion of the law requiring a 4″ warning sticker in addition to the ESRB warning was not sufficiently narrowly tailored.