NEWS - Thursday, December 1, 2005

IEMA Responds To Proposed Gaming Regulation

Industry Responds to Federal Game Regulation Retail group IEMA asks the government to educate, not regulate. by David Adams November 30, 2005 - Yesterday, Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) announced the Family Entertainment Protection Act -- an ambitious legislative proposal which would not only ban violent videogame sales to minors at a federal level, but would establish federal oversight, and possible regulation, of the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB). Unsurprisingly, the scope of the proposed Act prompted quick response from Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association, which represents video game retailers nationally. "The impetus for this piece of legislation appears as fundamentally misguided as it is fatally flawed," IEMA president Hal Halpin said today in an official statement. "The IEMA retailers committed voluntarily to a self-regulatory enforcement system substantially similar to the motion picture business, which the very same legislators hold up as the ’Gold Standard.’ While our success rates may not be as consistently high as movie theatre owners, it is important to note that they are leveraging a system which, through decades of reinforcement, has become a part of the collective unconscious." Halpin reiterated that the IEMA is continuing its efforts to educate consumers and retailers, both through improved ratings explanations placed prominently in stores, and by helping retailers with policies and procedures to prevent inappropriate game sales to minors. Of course, the organization is concerned that proposed legislation such as the Family Entertainment Protection Act represents inappropriate government control of media, and a threat to freedom of speech. "The Government has not and should not involve itself in determining what movies to watch, what music to listen to, or what games to play," Halpin said. The IEMA says that government officials should assist in educating consumers to use the existing ratings system, and encourage parents to make informed purchases. "Our mutual concern should be focused on empowering parents -- first and foremost -- and politicians can put themselves in a position to help us in a meaningful and legally-responsible way by working with the businesses already committed to the same goal."


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