The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) issued an action alert asking the Internet community and ECA members to let Rep. Jim Metheson's colleagues in the House of Representatives know that his proposed bill, the "Video Games Ratings Enforcement Act" (H.R. 287), is a big mistake for a number of reasons.
The bill calls for labels on all video games, prohibit sales and rentals of "adult" video games to "minors," and impose civil penalties to companies that break the law. As is the case with these kinds of bills, the early language is pretty vague (and likely won't change even after revisions).
Here's more from the ECA:
Rep. Jim Metheson has decided to be the Congressman this year to introduce legislation concerning video games and labels. H.R. 287, “Video Games Ratings Enforcement Act,” would 1) require labels on ALL video games 2) prohibit sales or rentals of adult-rated video games to minors and 3) impose fines for those that do, putting video games in an entertainment category that’s reserved for pornography.
This legislation is broken in many ways and ignores the facts. The video game industry has been cited by the FTC as the best enforced when it comes to ratings - consistently showing improvement in their enforcement, unlike other entertainment media.
This legislation would unconstitutionally give power over ratings to a non-governmental agency, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). The ESRB runs the video game rating system. The government has not done this with any other content industry’s rating system. Incorporation of the ESRB ratings into US law would violate due process.
Forced imposition of ratings on all video games would also make it illegal to create home-brew or indie developed games without getting those games rated, which costs money. This will destroy creativity in the industry.
Finally, the Supreme Court has decided that video games are constitutionally protected free speech. This bill ignores this decision by the highest court of the land.
Please join with the ECA. Let your Representatives know that you want them to let the industry and parents continue to use a system that works, and have Congress stay focused on the real problems facing our nation.
You can get in on this action by visiting theeca.com right now.
[Full disclosure: GamePolitics is an ECA publication.]