If you think that the political fallout from Hot Coffee is fading, think again.
The GTA San Andreas scandal not only continues to be a public relations thorn in the side of the video game industry – it’s also an inviting target for politicians.
Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) is no stranger to the Hot Coffee affair. In July, 2005, just as the publicity over the incident was peaking, Upton proposed a resolution in Congress ordering the Federal Trade Commission to look into Hot Coffee. The motion passed 355-21, leading to the FTC’s June, 2006 report on the scandal.
Upton, however, was not pleased with the FTC’s findings, saying:
"I guess I thought the FTC would have had some more teeth than they apparently have… I’m not at all happy… In essence there are no consequences. None… I would like to have thought that (Take-Two and Rockstar) would have been able to be fined for millions of dollars for the trash they put out across this country."
Upon finding out that the FTC has no such authority, Upton declared:
"I am going to be looking to write legislation giving the FTC the authority to impose civil penalties. I didn’t know that they didn’t have the authority."
Now, Upton has kept his promise, submitting H.R.6120, the Video Game Decency Act of 2006. The bill would make it illegal for a game company to fail to disclose content with the intent of gaining a less-restrictive ESRB rating.
Violations would be treated as "unfair or deceptive practices" under the rules that govern the FTC.
Fourteen colleagues have signed on as co-sponsors, including Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Joe Pitts (R-PA)