New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning Labels to Video Games

January 12, 2009 -

A California Congressman with a long history of targeting video games for legislation is at it again.

Last week Rep. Joe Baca (D) introduced H.R. 231, a bill which would require that warning labels be placed on any game rated T (13 and older) or higher by the ESRB. Baca's bill is titled "The Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2009."

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) co-sponsored the measure which would apply to both packaged and digitally distributed games. The bill has been referred to the House Energy & Commerce Committee.

As reported by the San Bernardino Sun:

[The bill] creates a new rule within the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which forces games with a Teen rating or higher to be sold with a simple warning label, reading: "WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior."

While Baca has proposed several video game-oriented bills in Congress over the years, none have passed. Lately, he seems to have focused his attention on the ESRB rating process.

In 2007 Baca introduced a bill which would have required the Federal Trade Commission to report on the ESRB's effectiveness.

UPDATE: Rep. Baca's office has issued a press release on H.R. 231, including these comments from the Congressman:

The video game industry has a responsibility to parents, families, and to consumers – to inform them of the potentially damaging content that is often found in their products. They have repeatedly failed to live up to this responsibility.  Meanwhile research continues to show a proven link between playing violent games and increased aggression in young people.  American families deserve to know the truth about these potentially dangerous products.

We must hold the video game industry accountable and do everything in our power to ensure parents are aware of the detrimental effects that violent games can have before making decisions on which games are appropriate for their children to play. I am proud to introduce the Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2009, and am hopeful my legislation can work to stop the growing influence of violent media on America’s children and youth.


Comments

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning ...

Why is this guy so obsessive about video games? It’s not like the millions of people buying and playing games everyday are turning into murders. You might as well put warning signs on any movie that has violence as well… I wish this guy would be fired.

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning ...

WARNING: Excessive pointless legislation may lead to congressional job opening.

He can purpose just as much if not more pointless legistation as a private citizen.What a good way to spend tax payers money and to abuse what little time he has left.

Honestly there is so much more he should be focusing on. I hope he and others like him are replaced by someone who can put their petty disagreements on how our childern should be raised (by parents not the gov) and actually does what they should be doing.

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

"The video game industry has a responsibility to parents, families, and to consumers – to inform them of the potentially damaging content that is often found in their products."

By that reasoning, every product ever made should have a warning label.  Everything is 'potentially damaging'.  There's not a single product on this planet that is 100% guaranteed not to be potentially damaging.

What next - food labels that say that food can potentially choke you?  I mean how friggen stupid do lawmakers have to get?

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

"The video game industry has a responsibility to parents, families, and to consumers"

No, they don't. Once you have purchased a videogame, it is up to the consumer to take responsibility for their own actions. This kind of mindset is moving along the same lines of putting the responsibility to act witha  little common sense int he hands other the companies, the government, and any other organization so the parents don't have to do all of that hard decision making. I don't see how this warning label BS is going to get anywhere.

"Meanwhile research continues to show a proven link between playing violent games and increased aggression in young people."

Actually, it's been the other way from what I've seen. The only thing that research has proven is that an unhelathy amount of exposure to anything has the potential to mess with a person's behavior. The research they've come up with is along the lines of, "If a person watches a video of someone being brutally murdered with a chainsaw for 6 hours they may begin to have thoughts about murder."

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

 This guy come from my backyard and all you need to know about him is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Baca under "controversies". This guy has been in the wrong for quite a while, ethics-wise.

 

There is FAR too much crime and poverty in his district for him to be focusing on such trivial nonsense. It's a fairly mormon part of the state but I'm not sure if they'll like this all that much.

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

Acutally, I think this bill is a great idea, they just stop short.

What they need to do is label *everything* this way. Especially sports. Don't let any baseball, basketball, football or shuttlecock go un-marked. Parents should be warned of the highly aggresive behavior that is spawned from these implements in their children, sometimes even spreading to the parents themselves.

We can only hope that later legistlation will do more to stem the tide of violence between players eternally flowing from sporting events around the world.

 

</sarcasm>

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

 "WARNING: Excessive exposure to Joe Baca and other Idiot Congressmen has been linked to aggressive behavior."

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

I think we should have a new bill submitted by the readers of game politics.

 

The Politicians of the USA has a responsibility to parents, families, and to consumers – to inform them of the potentially damaging comments that is often found in their speechers. They have repeatedly failed to live up to this responsibility.  Meanwhile research continues to show a proven link between blaming violent games and increased waste of tax payers money in the American Governemnt.  American families deserve to know the truth about these potentially dangerous legislation especilly in a time of Recession.

We must hold the Politicians of the USA accountable and do everything in our power to ensure parents are aware of the detrimental effects that blaming violent games can have before making decisions on which legislation are appropriate for politicians to make. I am proud to introduce the Stop blaming Video Game for the Violence in Children & Health Labeling Act of 2009, and am hopeful my legislation can work to stop the growing influence of waste of tax payers money on America’s legislation that goes against the freedoms of youth speech and expression protected by the 1st Admendment of the US constitiution.

How about that?

 

Should we try to pass something like that?

 

TBoneTony

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

I think that there is something to that "bill". Remove the focus on the governments attack on video games and replace it with a more general statement that condems their waste of time and our money on stupid topics in general, with video games being one of them.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Responsibility: Something that everyone has, but no one seems to want when something goes wrong. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

I am LCPUCHE and i approve this message

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

You should get someone to bring that Bill to Congress(Us Gov't)

America has just became its own version of the Jerry Springer Show after a bizarre moment in Florida involving a carnival worker.

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

I can't wait to see the USA and the Western World in the next 10-20 years.  Taxes or outright laws aginst fatty foods.  Warning labels on EVERYTHING.  People afraid of everything new.  Businesses afraid to release products or even open their doors lest they get sued.  Its going to be friggin' Demolition Man...

 

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

It's already turning into Idiocracy, then again it already has.

Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra.

Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Pelicans. Solidarity for the Saints = No retreat, no surrender. 2013 = Saints' revenge on the NFL. Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always.

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

i'm so sick of shit like this. where's the warnings for violent movies?

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

There are not warning labels on TV that take unrated media. There are not warning labels on radio stations. There are not warning labels on movies. Only ratings.

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

V-chips are easy to bypass, too.

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

Where's Nick Naylor when you need him?

-----

I'm an attention whore. So visit my DevaintArt and feed my ego. Feed the whore. http://keaton2008.deviantart.com/

I'm an attention whore. So visit my DevaintArt and feed my ego. Feed the whore. http://keaton2008.deviantart.com/

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

This is one of the most idiotic bills i've ever seen proposed. Hope this dipshit get booted out of congress next election although i doubt it. Kim-Jong could be running as a democrat in california and still win because he's got democrat under his name. Anyone else hate the rampant nanny-statism, protectionism and pro-censorship bullshit amoungst the Democrats these days. We need a party that is fiscal/economic: moderate liberal and social/civil: libertarian. No more of this nanny-state bullshit.

 "No law means no law" - Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

"No law means no law" - Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

What next, a bill requiring game store employees to wear hazmat suits because of prolonged exposure?

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

 

I would like a law about bills that politicians either know wouldn't stand up to constitutional muster or should know wouldn't stand up to constitutional muster.  I'd call it the "Legislative Negligence Bill" and it'd carry the following penalties:

- The bill's sponsor(s) would be required to pay out of pocket for court costs.

- Offenders would be required, at their own cost, to submit any further bills they sponsor to a constitutional expert at a major university.

- Repeat offenders would be removed from office immediately and be barred from running for election again due to incompetence in addition to the financial penalty.

 

Might be too harsh and has no chance of passing, but someone needs to rein in stupidity.

 

"That's not ironic. That's justice."

"That's not ironic. That's justice."

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

One gesture.

*gives the finger to the computer screen*

Done.

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

 "[The bill] creates a new rule within the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which forces games with a Teen rating or higher to be sold with a simple warning label, reading: "WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior."

There are SO many things wrong with this... like:

Studies have NOT shown a link to violent video games and aggressive behavior.

It assumes that T or M rated games recieved their rating because of Violent Content. How would it apply to games like Dead or Alive Xtreme 2?

It's entirely unconstitutional due to it singling out video games.

 

 

If he can propose a bill like this, I think I should be able to make one that puts a warning label on Congressmen like him, saying:

 

WARNING: THIS PERSON HAS BEEN PROVEN TO WASTE TAXPAYER MONEY ON USELESS BS LEGISLATION THAT WAS NOT NEEDED IN THE FIRST PLACE.

 

(By the way, this is my first post on Gamepolitics )

 

EDIT: And there is already a "Warning Label", the ESRB ratings. If parents already ignore the rating that is RIGHT ON THE DAMN BOX, what makes him think that parents will pay attention to a little label?

-------------------- Making sure I retain my INSANITY

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

DoAX2 has violently giggling breasts!  They attack each other with their butts!  Tug of war is an assertion of strength!  They almost kill each other with the volleyballs!  The jet-ski crashes are too realistic.

Man, that game's fun.

 

"That's not ironic. That's justice."

"That's not ironic. That's justice."

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

giggling breasts? creepy...

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

 I dunno, DoA girls are creepy in general, giggling breasts aside.

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

Whoops, I meant "jiggling."  And apparently, I can't fix that now.  The edit button disappeared.

 

"That's not ironic. That's justice."

"That's not ironic. That's justice."

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

Video games have been PROVEN to increase violent behavior? Have I been reading the same reports as this douchebag?

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

I'm just wondering where the video game industry has "failed" in warning parents about potentially aggressive/harmful/mature content. I mean, the ESRB, in my opinion, has done a pretty good job for being voluntary. I think that it's the parents' fault for their failure to do research on whatever little Johnny's begging them to spend their hard earned cash on. I mean, we already have warning labels right on the boxes of video games; they read E, T, M, AO, etc.

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

This bill will fail for one reason (among others):

Video games =/= drugs. THE END.

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

That APA study they always use is faulty and misleading like nobody's business.

Increased levels of agression were based on playing the video game, and then overseeing somebody take a test, where if they were wrong, you'd blast them with an airhorn.  People who played the violent games blasted the air horn for a little longer than those who did not.

And they chalked that up to increased aggression.  However...they completely forget the fact that they FORCED YOU TO DO SOMETHING AGRESSIVE IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!   Nobody just played video games, and radomly started committing aggressive acts, punching puppies and kicking kittens.  Within the context of the study, you were required to punish the incorrect response with the loud buzzer/airhorn.  

So they always forget to mention that while performing an aggressive act, if you've recently played violent video games, you might exhibit increased levels of aggression.

There are no studies that can prove a link between spontaneous aggession and playing violent games.  So violent video games don't cause you to act aggressively...but if you are already in an aggressive situation, you are slightly more prone to be more aggressive than somebody who hasn't played a violent game recently.

This is just due to "having your game face on" and has nothing to do with video games per se.  If the person was watching a violent film, or a series of bone-crunching NFL hits, had a recent argument with a friend/co-worker/spouse, or having an intense workout lately...then the results would most likely be the same.... 

 

"You know what I wish? I wish all the scum of the Earth had one throat and I had my hands about it."

"You know what I wish? I wish all the scum of the Earth had one throat and I had my hands about it."

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

People would probably blow the air horn longer after listening to one of this idiots congressional speeches too lol. I guess that means we should put a warning label in the middle of his forehead.

Seriously though, you could probably find people blowing the air horn longer for all kinds of content, violent and non-violent. I dont trust these "researchers" anyhow, they always have an anti-violent media agenda - theyre not objective.

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

Interesting. Too bad the people who make decisions never read into what they are backing. Only thing they consider if the political clout it will offer them.

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

The stupidity of man has no limits

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

*WARNING: Joe Baca has been linked to wasting taxpayer money on obviously unconstitutional legislation, blatent stupidity, and talking out of his own ***.

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

His choice of "health" in the bill is what's disturbing, he's seriously convinced that the link between game playing and behavior is so strong that a "health" warning is needed.

Even this press release can't back this up...to inform them of the potentially damaging content that is often found in their products.

The video game industry has no more responsiblity than does the film, music, sports, you name it industry.

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

I agree.  Though I think that its less about his conviction and more about making the bill more presentable.  I'm not sure which circumstance would be worse.

Time to start sending letters to your representatives.  =)  Get others to do the same.

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

Re: Baca's press release

You know you're full of donkey dung when you have to use lies to prove your point.

 

Andrew Eisen

P.S. - Baca's name is really funny if you speak Japanese (or watch a lot of anime).

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

I wonder if anyone has informed him that he is called 'idiot'/'fool' in Japanese....that might get an interesting reaction :P

Joe Baca-san...anata wa baka desu ka?

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

Oh God, the update:

"The video game industry has a responsibility to parents, families, and to consumers – to inform them of the potentially damaging content that is often found in their products. They have repeatedly failed to live up to this responsibility.  Meanwhile research continues to show a proven link between playing violent games and increased aggression in young people.  American families deserve to know the truth about these potentially dangerous products.

We must hold the video game industry accountable and do everything in our power to ensure parents are aware of the detrimental effects that violent games can have before making decisions on which games are appropriate for their children to play. I am proud to introduce the Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2009, and am hopeful my legislation can work to stop the growing influence of violent media on America’s children and youth."

 

And the spiral keeps turning...

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

 WARNING: This bacon has been shown to cause excessive weight gain, lending to social alienation, peers snickering behind ones back and random, spontaneous heart stopages.

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

lol

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

As long as we are putting warning labels on things, how about this idea?

[*WARNING] - Congress has been greatly responsible for warmongering, suppression of civil liberties, aggressive government spending, inflation, structuring a Nanny State for us all to live under and the frequent misrepresentation of the constitution.

So Mr. Joe Baca, what is your opinions on that for giving fair warning to the people for the safety of their family and themselves?

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

I'm thinking more along the lines of,

[*WARNING] - Congress has been greatly responsible for allowing warmongering, suppression of civil liberties, aggressive government spending, inflation, structuring a Nanny State for us all to live under and the frequent misrepresentation of the constitution by Bush/Cheney.  They are grossly incompetent and/or lazy. Do not vote for them in the next election, elect someone new, seriously guys these people are idiots. 

There have always been motherf*ckers, there will always be motherf*ckers, but what we can't do is let them control our motherf*cking lives. -John Oliver, December 1st, 2008

There have always been motherf*ckers, there will always be motherf*ckers, but what we can't do is let them control our motherf*cking lives. -John Oliver, December 1st, 2008

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

Just to be sure that the people are properly warned about the people putting all these warning labels of things.  =)

Include that in all your bullshit labels, all of your worthless bills and at the bottom of every page of your website and I might be more tolerant.

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

Meanwhile research continues to show a proven link between playing violent games and increased aggression in young people.

If it's so proven, why are they continuing research?

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

Wasn't Joe Baca listed by some publication as one of the worst politicians?

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

"WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior"

Except it hasn't.....?

I swear, what do they not understand about a little box in the corner of a game that has a symbol telling you what age group its for? Does a game rating have like, glitter and neon lights surrounding it to draw attention?

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

I wonder if the industry could sue for libel if this bill passes?

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

 Don't you need to prove malicious intent for libel?

Re: New Bill in Congress Would Add Cigarette-like Warning

Not 100% certain, but I think you can show that the person making the statement should know that their statements aren't true to get a slander or libel charge to stick.  That might carry a lesser penalty or count for malice.

 

"That's not ironic. That's justice."

"That's not ironic. That's justice."
 
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