The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) this week issued an “action alert” opposing a proposed bill making its way through congress that would slap warnings on videogame packaging. The warning would be similar to those on cigarette packages, reading: “WARNING: Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior.”
On their site, the EFF provides a form to fill out to send a letter to your local congressman.
The EFF calls the legislation dangerous and unnecessary, and sees it as a publicity-stunt initiative. They point out that the “scientific studies” asserted to support the link between violence in and out of videogames have been rejected “by every court to consider them,” and the form letter calls it pseudo-science.
Parker Higgins, an EFF activist, writing on the EFF Deeplinks Blog criticized U.S. Representative Joe Baca (who introduced the bill) saying:
“Rep. Baca tries to cloak his anti-speech bill by the inapt comparison for tobacco warning labels in the press release announcing the bill. But while there is a wealth of proof that cigarettes are dangerous, studies simply haven’t conclusively demonstrated a causal link between video games and aggressive behavior.”
The organization stresses that videogames are entitled to the same First Amendment protections as books, plays, and movies. Higgins goes on to say:
“Rep. Baca needs to know that these repeated attempts at misguided legislation based on pseudo-science are not excusable just because they target a new medium. Video games may be a newer art form than the novel, the fairy tale, or the epic poem, but they are no less deserving of constitutional protection.”
The EFF is a nonprofit organization that champions the public intrest in digital rights battles, often through litigation. The organization campaigns on issues ranging from free speech and privacy to digital rights and copyright law.
Do you think the EFF should be involved in these type of issue? Is the bill a sincere attempt to protect children or a cynical attempt to garner election-year attention? Leave your comments below.