December 17, 2005

Will It Survive?

Alright folks, Hilary Clinton has introduced a bill in Congress that would make it illegal to sell adult games to kids. The bill says that store managers will be in violation of the law if they sell games rated M, AO (Adults Only), or RP (Rating Pending) as rated by the ESRB to minors.

Store managers would be fined up to $1,000 or 100 hours of community service for a first offense, and $5,000 or 500 hours of community service for each subsequent offense. Retailers can escape such fines if they were shown identification they believed to be valid or if their stores "have a system in place to display and enforce" the ratings system.

The bill also calls for various studies to be done by the government into advertising for games, periodic reviews of the ratings system, and secret shopper programs to test stores.

The bill also avoids a problem some previous attempts at legislation have faced in that it does not use the vague term "violent video game" and exclusively uses the ESRB ratings system. So, what do you think? Will it survive review by the courts? Should it?

3 comments:

Noumena said...

Aren't movie theaters currently restricted in a similar way, suffering fines if they sell tickets for R-rated films to people under 17? If that idiotic legislation is constitutional, it seems like this would be, too.

Drew said...

No, I don't think the movie ratings carry the force of law. When I worked at a video store, we had a policy of not renting R-rated films to kids, but there was no law compelling us to do that. As for the movies in the, um, "back room", well... that was a different story.

This legislation seems totally reasonable to me. I doubt that it will survive constitutional challenge, but I think that's a shame.

sarah said...

without commenting on the merits of the leg, i think it would pass constiutional muster. as drew knows, i don't think video games constitute speech, and therefore can be regulated in a very broad manner.

personally, i think the leg is stupid & a waste of time. have we solved poverty, education, health care, internat relations, such that time should be spent on regulating super mario bros?