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VSDA Writes in Opposition to Bill

By Hive News | Posted: 18 Mar 2003

It's game on for the Video Software Dealers Association vs. H.R. 669.

The Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) wrote to the chairman and ranking minority member of the U.S. House of Representative's Judiciary Committee to outline its objections to H.R. 669, Rep. Joe Baca's video game bill. The bill is pending before the committee.

“While we do not believe that children should be able to obtain video games that their parents determine are not appropriate for them," the letter read, "we disagree with the solution proposed by H.R. 669.”

H.R. 669 would make it a federal crime to rent or sell to anyone under age 17 any video game that depicts nudity, sexual conduct, or “content harmful to minors.” “Content harmful to minors” is defined as material that contains “graphic violence,” “sexual violence” or “strong sexual content,” and that “predominantly appeals to minors' morbid interest in violence or minors' prurient interest in sex, is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable material for minors, and lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.”

In the letter, the VSDA argues that the bill:

  • “[W]ould usurp the rights of parents to determine whether a particular video game is appropriate for their children”;

  • “[I]s duplicative of existing federal and state laws” regarding materials that are legally obscene or obscene for minors;

  • Is unnecessary because of the voluntary video game ratings education and enforcement programs or video rental stores and major mass merchants;

  • “Would violate the First Amendment” because video games are protected speech and even depictions of violence are covered by the First Amendment; and

  • Is “unconstitutionally vague” because “the bill does not provide definiteness sufficient to allow video retailers to determine whether a particular video game falls within its definitions.”


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