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California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has vowed to appeal a federal judge's ruling striking down a state law that prohibits the selling or renting of violent video games. The decision, issued in a case brought by video game industry groups, said the restriction violated the freedom of speech provision in the US Constitution.

In 2005, Schwarzenegger signed a bill into law that required publishers to put an "18" label on games that were deemed to be violent. The law provided for fine of as much as $1,000 for anyone selling or renting such games to a minor.

In a 17-page ruling issued Monday, US District Judge Ronald Whyte permanently blocked the law, saying he had not found sufficient evidence supporting the state's contention that violent video games cause minors to behave violently.

"The court, although sympathetic to what the legislature sought to do by the Act, finds that the evidence does not establish the required nexus between the legislative concerns about the well-being of minors and the restrictions on speech required by the Act," Whyte wrote, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Schwarzenegger, who was personally named in the lawsuit, criticized the ruling.

"I signed this important measure to ensure that parents are involved in determining which video games are appropriate for their children," he said in a statement. "Many of these games are made for adults, and choosing games that are appropriate for kids should be a decision made by their parents."

Federal judges have struck down similar laws in other states, including Michigan, Washington and Missouri, according to the San Jose Mercury News. ®

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