Text: S.363 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

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Reported to Senate (09/25/1997)

 
[Congressional Bills 105th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[S. 363 Reported in Senate (RS)]





                                                       Calendar No. 182

105th CONGRESS

  1st Session

                                 S. 363

                          [Report No. 105-89]

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL

 To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require that violent video 
 programming is limited to broadcast after the hours when children are 
 reasonably likely to comprise a substantial portion of the audience, 
unless it is specifically rated on the basis of its violent content so 
 that it is blockable by electronic means specifically on the basis of 
                             that content.

_______________________________________________________________________

                           September 25, 1997

                        Reported with amendments





                                                       Calendar No. 182
105th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                 S. 363

                          [Report No. 105-89]

 To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require that violent video 
 programming is limited to broadcast after the hours when children are 
 reasonably likely to comprise a substantial portion of the audience, 
unless it is specifically rated on the basis of its violent content so 
 that it is blockable by electronic means specifically on the basis of 
                             that content.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                           February 26, 1997

 Mr. Hollings (for himself, Mr. Inouye, Mr. Dorgan, Mr. Ford, and Mr. 
Byrd) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred 
       to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

                           September 25, 1997

                Reported by Mr. McCain, with amendments
  [Omit the part struck through and insert the part printed in italic]

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
 To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require that violent video 
 programming is limited to broadcast after the hours when children are 
 reasonably likely to comprise a substantial portion of the audience, 
unless it is specifically rated on the basis of its violent content so 
 that it is blockable by electronic means specifically on the basis of 
                             that content.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Children's Protection from Violent 
Programming Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    The Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) Television influences children's perception of the 
        values and behavior that are common and acceptable in society.
            (2) Broadcast television, cable television, and video 
        programming are--
                    (A) uniquely pervasive presences in the lives of 
                all American children; and
                    (B) are readily accessible to all American 
                children.
            (3) Violent video programming influences children, as does 
        indecent programming.
            (4) There is empirical evidence that children exposed to 
        violent video programming at a young age have a higher tendency 
        to engage in violent and aggressive behavior later in life than 
        those children not so exposed.
            (5) Children exposed to violent video programming are prone 
        to assume that acts of violence are acceptable behavior and 
        therefore to imitate such behavior.
            (6) Children exposed to violent video programming have an 
        increased fear of becoming a victim of violence, resulting in 
        increased self-protective behaviors and increased mistrust of 
        others.
            (7) There is a compelling governmental interest in limiting 
        the negative influences of violent video programming on 
        children.
            (8) There is a compelling governmental interest in 
        channeling programming with violent content to periods of the 
        day when children are not likely to comprise a substantial 
        portion of the television audience.
            (9) Age-based ratings systems do not allow parents to block 
        programming based solely on violent content thereby rendering 
        ineffective any technology-based blocking mechanism designed to 
        limit violent video programming.
            (10) If programming is not rated specifically for violent 
        content and therefore cannot be blocked solely on the basis of 
        its violent content, then restricting the hours when violent 
        video programming is shown is the least restrictive and most 
        narrowly tailored means to achieve a compelling governmental 
        interest.
            (11) Studies show that warning labels based on age 
        restrictions tend to encourage children's desire to watch 
        restricted programming.
            (12) Technology-based solutions may be helpful in 
        protecting some children, but may not be effective in achieving 
        the compelling governmental interest in protecting all children 
        from violent programming when parents are only able to block 
        programming based on the age of the child and not on the 
        violent content of the programming.
            (13) Absent the ability to block programming based 
        specifically on the violent content of the programming, the 
        channeling of violent programming is the least restrictive 
        means to limit unsupervised children from the harmful 
        influences of violent programming.
            (14) Restricting the hours when violent programming can be 
        shown protects the interests of children whose parents are 
        unavailable, unable to supervise their children's viewing 
        behavior, do not have the benefit of technology-based 
        solutions, or unable to afford the costs of technology-based 
        solutions.

SEC. <DELETED>2. </DELETED>3. UNLAWFUL DISTRIBUTION OF VIOLENT VIDEO 
              PROGRAMMING.

    Title VII of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 701 et seq.) 
is amended by adding at the end the following:

``SEC. 718. UNLAWFUL DISTRIBUTION OF VIOLENT VIDEO PROGRAMMING NOT 
              SPECIFICALLY BLOCKABLE BY ELECTRONIC MEANS.

    ``(a) Unlawful Distribution.--It shall be unlawful for any person 
to distribute to the public any violent video programming not blockable 
by electronic means specifically on the basis of its violent content 
during hours when children are reasonably likely to comprise a 
substantial portion of the audience.
    ``(b) Rulemaking Proceeding.--The Commission shall conduct a 
rulemaking proceeding to implement the provisions of this section and 
shall promulgate final regulations pursuant to that proceeding not 
later than 9 months after the date of enactment of the Children's 
Protection from Violent Programming Act. As part of that proceeding, 
the Commission--
            ``(1) may exempt from the prohibition under subsection (a) 
        programming (including news programs and sporting events) whose 
        distribution does not conflict with the objective of protecting 
        children from the negative influences of violent video 
        programming, as that objective is reflected in the findings in 
        section 551(a) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996;
            ``(2) shall exempt premium and pay-per-view cable 
        programming; and
            ``(3) shall define the term `hours when children are 
        reasonably likely to comprise a substantial portion of the 
        audience' and the term `violent video programming'.
    ``(c) Repeat Violations.--If a person repeatedly violates this 
section or any regulation promulgated under this section, the 
Commission shall, after notice and opportunity for hearing, immediately 
revoke any license issued to that person under this Act.
    ``(d) Consideration of Violations in License Renewals.--The 
Commission shall consider, among the elements in its review of an 
application for renewal of a license under this Act, whether the 
licensee has complied with this section and the regulations promulgated 
under this section.
    ``(e) Definitions.--For purposes of this section--
            ``(1) Blockable by electronic means.--The term `blockable 
        by electronic means' means blockable by the feature described 
        in section 303(x).
            ``(2) Distribute.--The term `distribute' means to send, 
        transmit, retransmit, telecast, broadcast, or cablecast, 
        including by wire, microwave, or satellite.''.

SEC. <DELETED>3. </DELETED>4. ASSESSMENT OF EFFECTIVENESS.

    (a) Report.--The Federal Communications Commission shall--
            (1) assess the effectiveness of measures undertaken under 
        section 718 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 718) 
        and under subsections (w) and (x) of section 303 of that Act 
        (47 U.S.C. 303(w) and (x)) in accomplishing the purposes for 
        which they were enacted; and
            (2) report its findings to the Committee on Commerce, 
        Science, and Transportation of the United States Senate and the 
        Committee on Commerce of the United States House of 
        Representatives,
within 18 months after the date on which the regulations promulgated 
under section 718 of the Communications Act of 1934 (as added by 
section 2 of this Act) take effect, and thereafter as part of the 
biennial review of regulations required by section 11 of that Act (47 
U.S.C. 161).
    (b) Action.--If the Commission finds at any time, as a result of 
its assessment under subsection (a), that the measures referred to in 
subsection (a)(1) are insufficiently effective, then the Commission 
shall initiate a rulemaking proceeding to prohibit the distribution of 
violent video programming during the hours when children are reasonably 
likely to comprise a substantial portion of the audience.
    (c) Definitions.--Any term used in this section that is defined in 
section 718 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 718), or in 
regulations under that section, has the same meaning as when used in 
that section or in those regulations.

SEC. <DELETED>4. </DELETED>5. SEPARABILITY.

    If any provision of this Act, or any provision of an amendment made 
by this Act, or the application thereof to particular persons or 
circumstances, is found to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this 
Act or that amendment, or the application thereof to other persons or 
circumstances shall not be affected.

SEC. <DELETED>5. </DELETED>6. EFFECTIVE DATE.

    The prohibition contained in section 718 of the Communications Act 
of 1934 (as added by section 2 of this Act) and the regulations 
promulgated thereunder shall take effect 1 year after the regulations 
are adopted by the Commission. D23/