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Lieberman Rant

SonicNet has an article titled "Lieberman 'Marketing Accountability' Bill Picks Up Steam," which discusses the legislation as it applies to the recording industry.

Having been in the computer games biz a couple years ago, I was already sick of Lieberman's talk of legislation that borders on censorship. Now with how it has been horribly applied ot the recording industry simply makes me want to puke!

Lieberman introduced the "Media Marketing Accountability Act" in the Senate in April and has sent a letter to the president the same day a pair of U.S. representatives proposed an identical bill in the House.

"This is something all of us … Republicans and Democrats — entertainment industry CEOs and parents … should be able to agree on: it is wrong to market adult-rated products to children behind the backs of their parents," the letter read.

According to SonicNet:

The bill would prohibit companies from marketing adult-rated movies, stickered music and mature-rated video games to minors, authorizing the FTC to issue a cease-and-desist order or level $11,000-per-day fines for each violation.

I have two problems with this, both of which I feel VERY strongly about (and piss the fuck out of me):

PROBLEM 1 - Resistance to rating systems. I remember back in the day when no one wanted to put those "Parental Advisory" stickers on their albums for fear of censorship. Well, it wasn't exactly censorship in itself. But this kind of legistation Lieberman is trying to pass IS censorship and is exactly why record labels resisted the parental advisry stickers. To make matters worse, this step that the recording industry finally gave in to is NOT a full-blown rating system, which leads me to Problem 2.

PROBLEM 2: "Stickered music" does not correspond to "R" rated movies. PG-13 movies can contain bad language and adult topics. Hell, everyday prime time TV can contain those things! To me, it's just plain wrong to group these stickered CDs in the same category as "R" rated movies and "M" rated games.

That brings up the whole issue (and assumption) of what age is considered as "children" under this legislation. From the direction of related articles and the above points, this age will cover the under-17 audience, also known as "minors" but by no means "children."

Does this make ANY sense? Imagine that Slayer could not be marketed to teenagers for fear of being fined gross amounts of money. I'm sure there is a large portion of metal fans who are younger than 18 out there. Such legislation could severely hurt such already non-mainstream genres of music by making them even less promoted since you rule out a huge percentage of the population to whom they can be marketed.

Let's get back to the comparison with movies and games. Music doesn't fit. Music is a form of art, like movies and games, but in a minimalist perspective music is merely WORDS. Not graphic violence or nudity. There are lyrics that are no more offensive or "mature" than what most teenagers already discuss.

And these songs will also continue to be played on the radio. Have you ever heard of "R" rated radio? Well you might if this legislation gets passed. It has obvious immediate effects, but is also a huge stepping stone for walking all over the first ammendment.

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