ESA Wins Injunction Against Chicago Transit Authority

ESA Wins Injunction Against Chicago Transit Authority

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The Entertainment Software Association has won a preliminary injunction against the Chicago Transit Authority in its lawsuit over the CTA's prohibition of ads for M and AO-rated videogames.

Trouble between the ESA and the CTA began back in April 2008, when the Transit Authority pulled ads for Grand Theft Auto IV from its buses and buildings in response to a Fox News report suggesting they were somehow responsible for a rise in criminal behavior in the city. Take-Two sued and won, forcing the return of the ads; the CTA followed that up by implementing new regulations in January 2009 that banned all advertisements of Mature and Adult Only videogames on CTA property.

That decision led the ESA to sue again in July 2009, saying that the videogame industry was being unfairly targeted because the restrictions apply only to games and not other forms of media. "Courts across the United States, including those in the CTA's own backyard, have ruled consistently that video games are entitled to the same First Amendment protections as other forms of entertainment," ESA Chief Executive Michael Gallagher said at the time. "The CTA appears unwilling to recognize this established fact, and has shown a remarkable ignorance of the dynamism, creativity and expressive nature of computer and video games."

Today, the ESA came out on top in the first round of that lawsuit, winning a preliminary injunction against the Transit Authority. The court ruled that the ESA is "likely to succeed on the merits of [its] claims at trial" and therefore blocked the enforcement of the CTA's restriction until the case is resolved.

"The advertisements the CTA wishes to ban promote expression that has constitutional value and implicates core First Amendment concerns," Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer said in her decision.

"This ruling is a win for Chicago's citizens, the video game industry and, above all, the First Amendment," Gallagher said. "It is our hope that the CTA sees the futility of pursuing this case further. To do so will waste taxpayer money and government resources. Chicago deserves better and we look forward to bringing this matter to an end."

The ball is now in the CTA's court, said ESA Senior Director of Communication Dan Hewitt. "Right now, it's up to the CTA to determine whether they want to push forward," he said. "We'd rather the CTA see that this was a futile effort and stop pursuing this."

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One point for the good guys lol

Good for the ESA. I'm really glad to hear this. This case is a prime example of the issues video games face: Unfactual (is that a word?) news reports that border on slander spreading misinformation and fear about video games to the public, which turns against video games with a false belief that they are somehow worse than all other forms of media, which besides being incorrect and unfair, does at least border on violating the First Amendment.

I hope this case is more widely publicized, and if it continues that the ESA will continue to be victorious, so the courts can bring some sense to this pointless controversy.

Maybe the ESA can do a victory lap down to Australia next? :)

The_root_of_all_evil:
Maybe the ESA can do a victory lap down to Australia next? :)

Would be nice, but I'm not sure what they could do there. This case is built on the US's surprisingly good track record for this sort of thing, Australia hasn't been so good in the past.

the funny part is if they can show examples of them advertising R rated movies, if they can, then the CTA is screwed. tho they are basically screwed as it is

First thoughts after reading the title: "European Space Agency vs Chicago Transit Authority? What?"

This bothers me. The Chicago Transit Authority owns the ad space and can contract it out to anyone they damn well please, and (assuming they obey the contract/buyout/refund terms) terminate said contract at will.

This is not a free speech issue. If it were, then in theory, consider the following scenario:

US Department of Agriculture and National Dairymen's Association decide that they want to address the issue of widespread vitamin D deficiency (look it up) by promoting the consumption of more milk by schoolchildren.

PeTA gets wind of this, buys ad space on billboards along school bus routes and near schools with their latest anti-milk propaganda bullshit.

Whoever owns the billboards (Viacom/Clear Channel/whoever), realizing they've got a public-relations nightmare on their hands, sets internal policy barring the use of their billboards for advertising by "extremist groups" or whatever term they care to use to make PeTA persona non grata.

PeTA sues, gets injunction forcing anti-milk ads to stay up.

Quoth Jon Stewart: "Oh, it's not funny when it's YOUR guy!"

Well this is a well deserved kick to the nuts that companies like Fox news and people like JT deserve I am a little confused. Isn't this against the rights of the CTA? Was there a contract when they pulled them the first time? Cuz t ome it almost sounds like the ESA is abusing the first.

SimuLord:
This bothers me. The Chicago Transit Authority owns the ad space and can contract it out to anyone they damn well please, and (assuming they obey the contract/buyout/refund terms) terminate said contract at will.

This is not a free speech issue. If it were, then in theory, consider the following scenario:

US Department of Agriculture and National Dairymen's Association decide that they want to address the issue of widespread vitamin D deficiency (look it up) by promoting the consumption of more milk by schoolchildren.

PeTA gets wind of this, buys ad space on billboards along school bus routes and near schools with their latest anti-milk propaganda bullshit.

Whoever owns the billboards (Viacom/Clear Channel/whoever), realizing they've got a public-relations nightmare on their hands, sets internal policy barring the use of their billboards for advertising by "extremist groups" or whatever term they care to use to make PeTA persona non grata.

PeTA sues, gets injunction forcing anti-milk ads to stay up.

Quoth Jon Stewart: "Oh, it's not funny when it's YOUR guy!"

I have to agree here. The ad space is the property of the Chicago Transit Authority. I have a feeling the sentiments here would be much different if it had been someone else (Jack Thompson) being allowed to post ads condemning video games.

EDIT: Having read more on the case, I'd have to side with the Transit Authority. It's their advertisement space to do with as they see fit. If they want to miss out on the revenue that renting the space out to M and AO rated games, then it's their loss.

I suppose if it's the CTA's ad space, then it's theirs to do as they wish. A shame they react like this. I'd like them to ban advertising all violent films, books, animes (Dragonball Z anyone?) and music.

I mean if it's violent, if could harm someone, especially the children. Think of the children!

SimuLord and theSovietConnection:

If I understand correctly from a short round of Wiki browsing, Chicago Transit Authority isn't fully private. If it rejects ads based on ideology, the costs ultimately come out of tax dollars channeled through the Regional Transportation Authority. If this is how it is, then running it by ideology is total bullshit, and justice was done here.

and this was because of FOX? who trust Fox anyway? ho well, I live here and Grand Theft auto really isn't the only thing they are going after. they had some add before for a dumb ass movie that said "a blind women can't see you cumming and a deaf women can't hear you cumming". yep, good old Chicago, full of sex, crime, and sexy crime.

Being a Chicagolander, and a gamer, this is kinda weird

On one hand CTA should be able to because its their space, and they can choose to sell it to anyone they damned please. But then again it just seems like they're caving because some random group got pissy

orannis62:

The_root_of_all_evil:
Maybe the ESA can do a victory lap down to Australia next? :)

Would be nice, but I'm not sure what they could do there. This case is built on the US's surprisingly good track record for this sort of thing, Australia hasn't been so good in the past.

I'll probably regret asking this, but why is America's good track record in this area surprising?

paragon1:

orannis62:

The_root_of_all_evil:
Maybe the ESA can do a victory lap down to Australia next? :)

Would be nice, but I'm not sure what they could do there. This case is built on the US's surprisingly good track record for this sort of thing, Australia hasn't been so good in the past.

I'll probably regret asking this, but why is America's good track record in this area surprising?

Not because of anything inherent to America, if that's what you're thinking. I just find it hard to accept that society as a whole has become as accepting of games as it has.

orannis62:

paragon1:

orannis62:

The_root_of_all_evil:
Maybe the ESA can do a victory lap down to Australia next? :)

Would be nice, but I'm not sure what they could do there. This case is built on the US's surprisingly good track record for this sort of thing, Australia hasn't been so good in the past.

I'll probably regret asking this, but why is America's good track record in this area surprising?

Not because of anything inherent to America, if that's what you're thinking. I just find it hard to accept that society as a whole has become as accepting of games as it has.

Oh, okay thanks for explaining that. Really, the only reason videogames aren't treated here the way they are in Germany or Australia is because of the way the First Amendment gets interpreted these days.

pimppeter2:
On one hand CTA should be able to because its their space, and they can choose to sell it to anyone they damned please.

That would be true if the CTA was fully private, but alas, it is not. The CTA is like a big public utility, but instead of pumping water or electricity to the home, it moves people around cheaply.

And because its pretty much public property, they must be fair in regards to the First, just like ads at parks (on the benches or on light poles inside the park with a banner on 'em, what they typically put up on Millennium, Grant, Lincoln, and a bunch of other Chicago parks).

SimuLord:
This bothers me. The Chicago Transit Authority owns the ad space and can contract it out to anyone they damn well please, and (assuming they obey the contract/buyout/refund terms) terminate said contract at will.

This is not a free speech issue. If it were, then in theory, consider the following scenario:

US Department of Agriculture and National Dairymen's Association decide that they want to address the issue of widespread vitamin D deficiency (look it up) by promoting the consumption of more milk by schoolchildren.

PeTA gets wind of this, buys ad space on billboards along school bus routes and near schools with their latest anti-milk propaganda bullshit.

Whoever owns the billboards (Viacom/Clear Channel/whoever), realizing they've got a public-relations nightmare on their hands, sets internal policy barring the use of their billboards for advertising by "extremist groups" or whatever term they care to use to make PeTA persona non grata.

PeTA sues, gets injunction forcing anti-milk ads to stay up.

Quoth Jon Stewart: "Oh, it's not funny when it's YOUR guy!"

There wouldn't be a case if the CTA was purely private, but they do receive tax dollars, therefore placing them under rules of rights. Since the only content being targeted is videogames, then there is a strong argument for discrimination. If the CTA banned all mature media content from being advertised, including movies, audio, and the like, then the ESA wouldn have a weaker argument. Frankly I find the CTA reacting because of a single source disgusting, when they are not even looking at all the facts of the situation.
As for PETA, they are as ignorant as Fox News, but what they put out for ads is worse than the videogame ads, since the content is RIGHT THERE for everyone to see, whether it be a mostly naked skinnyass model, or some poor rabbit butchered for all to see.
Any sort of advertising is waste of time towards my part, because I could care less. But I believe when it comes to institutions that are using MY tax dollars, there best not be any discriminating going on. Even if it's an ad for Rush Limbaugh. I may oppose many points of view but I will fight to let you express it. That's something Fox can't seem to get their head around. They speak for certain rights and less government, but they would just as soon see more restrictions and denial of rights for many people.

The_root_of_all_evil:
Maybe the ESA can do a victory lap down to Australia next? :)

I wish them luck if they decided to take up that torch. Atkinson has a lot still going for him to hold onto his office.

Somethingfake:
I suppose if it's the CTA's ad space, then it's theirs to do as they wish. A shame they react like this. I'd like them to ban advertising all violent films, books, animes (Dragonball Z anyone?) and music.

I mean if it's violent, if could harm someone, especially the children. Think of the children!

That reminds me of a great Simpson Quote

Homer: I believe that the children are our future...unless we stop them now.

I've lived with that belief for many years

For some reason(?) this reminds me of how much I enjoy living in Sweden. Because only in America...

Chicago is the second abroad city in the world when it comes to my countrymen population outside our country (first being Wienna) so great news indeed. Video game industry strikes back! (episode V).

I can't believe they finally accepted this:

"The CTA appears unwilling to recognize this established fact, and has shown a remarkable ignorance of the dynamism, creativity and expressive nature of computer and video games."

Surely if CTA owns the space they can choose what goes on it. I mean, its not like they /have/ to put up an advert for games. That's like me giving you £10 and insisting that you kick a kitten in the face, and saying that you have to do it because i can give you money to do it.

Stupid thing to compare it to, but i couldn't think of anything that would get my point across better than kittens.

SimuLord:
This bothers me. The Chicago Transit Authority owns the ad space and can contract it out to anyone they damn well please, and (assuming they obey the contract/buyout/refund terms) terminate said contract at will.

This is not a free speech issue. If it were, then in theory, consider the following scenario:

US Department of Agriculture and National Dairymen's Association decide that they want to address the issue of widespread vitamin D deficiency (look it up) by promoting the consumption of more milk by schoolchildren.

PeTA gets wind of this, buys ad space on billboards along school bus routes and near schools with their latest anti-milk propaganda bullshit.

Whoever owns the billboards (Viacom/Clear Channel/whoever), realizing they've got a public-relations nightmare on their hands, sets internal policy barring the use of their billboards for advertising by "extremist groups" or whatever term they care to use to make PeTA persona non grata.

PeTA sues, gets injunction forcing anti-milk ads to stay up.

Quoth Jon Stewart: "Oh, it's not funny when it's YOUR guy!"

You seem to be missing the point. The whole reason for this is that they are not treating games as they would other media. You can't just pick and choose, they all should get the same treatment.

Love it how they have Grand Theft Auto being advertised on a mode of transport. Anyone else smell the irony?

Jiraiya72:

SimuLord:
This bothers me. The Chicago Transit Authority owns the ad space and can contract it out to anyone they damn well please, and (assuming they obey the contract/buyout/refund terms) terminate said contract at will.

This is not a free speech issue. If it were, then in theory, consider the following scenario:

US Department of Agriculture and National Dairymen's Association decide that they want to address the issue of widespread vitamin D deficiency (look it up) by promoting the consumption of more milk by schoolchildren.

PeTA gets wind of this, buys ad space on billboards along school bus routes and near schools with their latest anti-milk propaganda bullshit.

Whoever owns the billboards (Viacom/Clear Channel/whoever), realizing they've got a public-relations nightmare on their hands, sets internal policy barring the use of their billboards for advertising by "extremist groups" or whatever term they care to use to make PeTA persona non grata.

PeTA sues, gets injunction forcing anti-milk ads to stay up.

Quoth Jon Stewart: "Oh, it's not funny when it's YOUR guy!"

You seem to be missing the point. The whole reason for this is that they are not treating games as they would other media. You can't just pick and choose, they all should get the same treatment.

And I say the CTA can do whatever it damn well pleases, no matter how asinine.

 

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