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Violent Game Regulation Proposed in Senate

Senator Hillary Clinton of New York released a statement and proposed the “Family Entertainment Protection Act� that would prohibit the sale of Mature and Adult-rated games to people under the age of 17. Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut has joined Senator Clinton in the introduction of the bill and other prominent politicians, including conservative Republican Sam Brownback of Kansas, seem inclined to support the bill. Illinois, Michigan, and California have all passed state laws to prohibit the sale of violent video games to minors.

According to the statement, “Senator Clinton was motivated to take action on this issue when it was revealed in July that Rockstar Games had embedded illicit sexual content in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. This game had received a Mature rating from the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB), which was unaware of the embedded content. When the content was revealed, Senator Clinton called on the FTC to investigate the source of the content and announced that she would work to develop legislation to address this problem. Rockstar Games subsequently recalled the game.�

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“I have developed legislation that will 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,� said Senator Clinton. Senator Clinton acknowledges that video games are fun and entertaining and does not support any limitations on the production or sale of games to adults. “This is about protecting children,� she said.

“There is a growing body of evidence that points to a link between violent videos and aggressive behavior in children. We are not interested in censoring videos meant for adult entertainment but we do want to ensure that these videos are not purchased by minors. Our bill will help accomplish this by imposing fines on those retailers that sell M-rated games to minors,� Senator Lieberman said.

The bill would do the following:

1. Prohibit sale of Mature and Adults-Only games to minors.
2. Analyze ESRB annually to ensure it reflects game content.
3. Gives FTC authority to investigate misleading ratings.
4. Allows consumer complaints and FTC report to Congress.
5. Authorizes FTC to conduct an annual audit of retailers.