Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman Present Video Game Restrictions Law to Congress

Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman Present Video Game Restrictions Law to Congress


Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Joseph Lieberman plan to introduce legislation to Congress to restrict the sale of video games to minors.

The proposed legislation is called the Family Entertainment Protection Act. It has five main points.

1. The bill is aimed at restricting video game sales to minors, not adults.

“The centerpiece of this bill is a prohibition against any business for selling or renting a Mature, Adults-Only, or Ratings Pending game to a person who is younger than seventeen.”

2. The bill calls for a mandated yearly review.

“Since the bill relies on the video game industry to continue rating the appropriateness of games for minors, this bill requires an annual, independent analysis of game ratings.”

3. The bill requires a Federal Trade Commission investigation.

“This bill requires the FTC to conduct an investigation to determine whether what happened with GTA: San Andreas is a pervasive problem.”

4. Consumers can file complaints with the FTC.

“This bill requires the Bureau of Consumer Protection (BCP) of the FTC to ensure that consumers can file complaints if the find content to be misleading or deceptive and requires the BCP to report on the number of such complaints to Congress.”

5. An annual retailer audit by the FTC is required.

“This bill authorizes the FTC to conduct and annual, random audit of retailers-sometimes referred to as a secret shopper survey-to determine how easy it is for young people to purchase Mature and Adults Only video games and report the findings to Congress.”

Doug Lowenstein, president of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), has commented on the proposed legislation:

“We share Senator Clinton’s commitment to effective enforcement of the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) ratings by retailers, and we appreciated the fact that she has sought to draft a more thoughtful proposal in this area than most others. However, we strongly oppose the bill. We believe the combination of trustworthy ESRB ratings, parental education, voluntary retail enforcement of ESRB ratings, and, most recently, the major announcement that all next generation video game consoles will include parental control systems, makes Senator Clinton’s bill unnecessary…”

Congress reconvenes in two weeks. We imagine that this bill will continue to receive scrutiny from those in the video game industry. We will keep you posted.

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