updated 8/25/2006 12:51:59 PM ET 2006-08-25T16:51:59

A state law that would ban sales of violent video games to minors violates free speech rights and cannot be enforced, a judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge James Brady said the state had no right to bar distribution of materials simply because they show violent behavior.

“Depictions of violence are entitled to full constitutional protection,” Brady wrote in issuing the injunction Thursday.

The law signed by Gov. Kathleen Blanco in June sought to ban the sales of video games to minors if an “average person” would conclude that they appeal to a “morbid interest in violence.” Sellers would face fines of up to $2,000, up to one year in prison or both for selling games found offensive.

The law was challenged by a video game trade group, the Entertainment Software Association.

The law also sought to ban sale of games to minors if the “average person” would conclude they depict violence that is “patently offensive” to standards in the adult community, and the games are deemed to lack artistic, political or scientific value.

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