Veteran campaigner against violence in games and music Jack Thompson had brought a case asking for the game to be banned in Florida as a public nuisance. Judge Friedman has said that though the game is violent it is not a nuisance.
Bully, which will be released as Canis Canem Edit in the UK, is due for release on 17th October. It is a school-based game in which the player becomes a new arrival who has to negotiate his way through the complex and sometimes violent world of boarding school.
Last week Friedman surprised civil rights activists by ordering Bully publisher Take Two to demonstrate the game to him in contravention of recent legal precedent which does not support pre-publication rulings on material.
Friedman, though, said that the game should not be banned before its sale, according to the Miami Herald, which had a reporter in the court room. "There's a lot of violence. A whole lot. Less than we see on television every night," he said, according to the Miami Herald. "Does that mean I would want my children to view it? No. But does it rise to a point that its a nuisance? The answer is no from what I saw."
Thompson's choice of the "public nuisance" argument was an unusual one. Many states had previously passed laws banning the sale of violent and sexually explicit games to young people but courts have by and large ruled the laws unconstitutional. They have found them in contravention of the US Constitution's first amendment, which guarantees the right to free speech.
"In Florida you have what is called a nuisance statute which says that a private citizen can get an injunction to shut down any commercial activity that is dangerous to the public, so I think that the statute is appropriate to apply to this game," Thompson told OUT-LAW Radio last month. "I filed the lawsuit to prevent the sale of the game to school age kids, because this is where the real danger is."
"In the UK, you embody in your laws the notion that there is certain adult entertainment that shouldn't be sold to kids," he said. "No-one is trying to ban it outright, but as it stands now, regardless of the rating that the game may get, anyone of any age will be able to buy it and that is just very dangerous. America has become the land of the free and the home of the utterly depraved."
Friedman said that he would schedule a further hearing after the release of the game. Thompson told the Miami Herald that he did not plan to pursue the case further.