Doug Lowenstein's response to the proposed Family Entertainment Protection Act
We share Senator Clinton?s commitment to effective enforcement of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) ratings by retailers, and we appreciate 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. There is now a continuum of tools from the store to the home enabling parents to take charge of the video games their kids play. It is now up to them to do their jobs as they see fit, not up to government to do it for them.
While we are gratified that the Senator holds the ESRB in such high regard that her bill would give these ratings the force of law, the courts have made clear that giving a private party governmental powers is unconstitutional. Beyond that, the bill clearly infringes the constitutionally protected creative rights of the video game industry. Thus, if enacted, the bill will be struck down as have similar bills passed in several states. So while this bill is positioned as a pro-family measure, in truth it will leave parents no better off.
It's important to remember that just as there are books, movies, and magazines for consumers of all ages, so there is also a variety of video games for a diverse game-playing community, which is why parental involvement in the purchase or rental of games is so important. Thankfully, this is already happening. According to the Federal Trade Commission?s own statistics, parents are involved in the purchase and rental of games over 80 percent of the time. Knowing this, the answer is not more government regulation but concrete, meaningful actions that would really help parents make the right choices for their families.
It is worth noting that on the same day David Walsh from the National Institute on Media and the Family called for overhauling the ESRB?s video game rating system, two Senators called for a bill that would enshrine that same rating system into federal law, showing that they think the ESRB rating system is credible, trustworthy, and helpful.
We will continue our dialogue with Senator Clinton in the hope that we can join together to work on initiatives to raise parental awareness and use of the ESRB ratings Senator Clinton so respects. In so doing, we believe we can really help parents keep inappropriate video games from children in a way that?s legal, sensible, and most importantly, effective.
*Please note, bolded lines have been bolded by Lunabean.com for emphasis.