The video games industry breathed a sigh of relief after a judge ruled that it was not responsible for the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in the US.
The family of slain teacher Dave Sanders alleged that student gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold had been influenced by violent video games, and sued Sony Computer Entertainment America, Activision and Id Software, the maker of Doom.
But District Judge Lewis Babcock threw out the case saying that games makers could not have foreseen the Columbine shootings.
"Setting aside any personal distaste, as I must, it is manifest that there is social utility in expressive and imaginative forms of entertainment, even if they contain violence," said the judge.
One of the killers had a sawn-off shotgun which he called 'Arlene' after a character in the Doom video game.
But the battle is not yet over. John DeCamp, the lawyer representing Sanders's widow, said that he would almost certainly appeal against the decision.
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