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Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Monday signed a law meant to keep adult video games away from minors, although similar measures in other states have been rejected by the courts. The law, which takes effect Jan. 1, bars stores from selling or renting extremely violent or sexual games to minors. Violators could be fined $1,000. Stores also will be required to label their games with content ratings and to post signs explaining the rating system. The video game industry immediately sued in federal court to block the law, calling it a restriction on free speech. It argues the government cannot restrict the sale of non-obscene games, just as it cannot impose restrictions on books or music. “It will limit First Amendment rights not only for Illinois residents, but for game developers and publishers, and for retailers who won’t know what games can and cannot be sold or rented under this vague new statute,” said Douglas Lowenstein, president of the Entertainment Software Association. The governor’s office said the law will stand up to court scrutiny because it has been narrowly tailored and responds to new research showing a link between video games and violent behavior. Since the 1999 Columbine school shootings sparked an outcry over games and violence, lawmakers in several states have proposed bans on sales of violent video games, but none that became law has survived legal challenges. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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