Doug Lowenstein of the ESA has issued a response to the Family Entertainment Protection Act, announced today by Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT). Lowenstein's statement reads, in part:
"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... "
"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...."
"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. "