U.S. Bill H.R.287 Aims to Make ESRB Ratings Legally Binding

posted on 2013-01-17 23:36 EST by Lynzee Loveridge

Democratic congressperson Jim Matheson introduced Bill H.R.287 on the House floor on Tuesday. The bill aims to make the voluntary restrictions on the sales of mature video games legally binding.

Currently, industrywide retail policies discourage the sale of mature games to minors. H.R.287 would make that policy into law:

It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or rent, or attempt to sell or rent-- (1) any video game containing a content rating of ‘’Adults Only'' (as determined by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board) to any person under the age of 18; or (2) any video game containing a content rating of ‘’Mature'' (as determined by such Board) to any person under the age of 17.

The bill would also make it unlawful to commercially distribute, sell, or rent a video game that does not have a rating by the ESRB. It would fall onto retailers to ensure that the products they are selling have clearly labeled ratings. The law would be regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Those found in violation of either section of the law, if the bill passes, would be subject to a fine up to US$5,000 per violation.

Diane Franklin, a Republican representative from Missouri, is proposing the separate HB0157I bill that would put a 1% sales tax on the sale of video games rated Teen, Mature, or Adult-only by the ESRB.

[Via Game Politics, Kotaku]

Update: Diane Franklin is a member of the Missouri legislature, not the U.S. Congress. Thanks, DavidShallcross

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