If you thought the FCC’s regime of speech controls for broadcast television and radio was arbitrary and excessive, then just wait till we give similar authority to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to regulate video game content! That’s apparently what House Telecommunications Subcommittee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich) plans to do.
According to Broadcasting & Cable magazine, he is preparing a bill to give the FTC greater authority to fine video game manufacturers if they contain objectionable content. Barton, you will recall, was the sponsor of the recently passed Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act, which raised the fines that FCC could impose on broadcasters 10-fold. Apparently, he wants to give the FTC greater powers because he is angry about the agency’s recent decision in the “Grand Theft Auto” investigation. He said that the FTC’s action “wasn’t even a slap on the wrist” and that millions of dollars of fines should have been levied.
It’s just more bad news for the video game industry and fans of the First Amendment. (Here’s my recent paper summarizing some of the other threats the industry faces).