The not so slow march to oblivion
Ruining America, one sprite at a time
Federal Videogame Regulation Proposed
Senators Clinton and Lieberman to introduce bill in two weeks.
by Wade Steel
November 29, 2005 - The controversy surrounding the sale of adult-themed videogames to minors climbs to another level with today's announcement that Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) intend to introduce federal legislation that would prohibit the sale of "mature" titles to minors when Congress reconvenes in two weeks.Why Hillary, why?
The legislation, called the Family Entertainment Protection Act, will prohibit "any business [from] selling or renting a Mature, Adults-Only, or Ratings Pending game to a person who is younger than seventeen." The Act states that its intent is not to punish "retailers who act in good faith to enforce the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) system" but rather provides them with an "affirmative defense" against liability if they are shown what appears to be a valid identification at the time of purchase.
Further provisions of the Act include:
- an annual analysis of the ESRB rating system to determine its effectiveness,
- authority for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate misleading ratings (this provision is in response to the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas "Hot Coffee" situation),
- the authority for consumers to register complaints with the FTC regarding game content,
- and authority for the FTC to conduct random annual audits of retailers through a "secret shopper survey" to determine the ease with which young people can purchase M and AO rated games with the findings being reported to Congress.
In proposing the legislation with Senator Lieberman, Senator Clinton acknowledged that videogames are "fun and entertaining" and that this legislation does not impose any limitations on the production or sale of games to adults. Rather, the Act would "empower parents by making sure their kids can't walk into a store and buy a video game that has graphic, violent and pornographic content...this is about protecting children."
The enforcement of the Michigan legislation is on hold as a federal judge granted an injunction filed by the ESA, VSDA, and the Michigan Retailers Association that the state had failed to "demonstrate the perceived harm it seeks to protect against" and that the Michigan law could be seen as "stifling free
speech" and causing "irreparable harm" to First Amendment freedoms. Courts have used similar arguments to strike down comparable legislation in Washington State, the city of Indianapolis and St. Louis County in Missouri.
Who do you think this helps you with? The right sees you as the Bride of Satan, the left perplexed.
You know most video game owners are adults and they vote.
posted by Steve @ 1:06:00 AM