Text: H.R.4239 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (04/28/2004)

 
[Congressional Bills 108th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 4239 Introduced in House (IH)]






108th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 4239

    To provide a civil action for a minor injured by exposure to an 
 entertainment product containing material that is harmful to minors, 
                        and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             April 28, 2004

  Mr. Hunter introduced the following bill; which was referred to the 
                       Committee on the Judiciary

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
    To provide a civil action for a minor injured by exposure to an 
 entertainment product containing material that is harmful to minors, 
                        and for other purposes.

    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 ``Parents' Empowerment Act''.

SEC. 2. CIVIL ACTION FOR A MINOR INJURED BY EXPOSURE TO AN 
              ENTERTAINMENT PRODUCT CONTAINING MATERIAL THAT IS HARMFUL 
              TO MINORS.

    (a) Civil Action.--A minor, through a person acting on behalf of 
the minor in accordance with Rule 17(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil 
Procedure to the extent applicable, may, in a civil action in an 
appropriate district court of the United States, obtain relief under 
subsection (b) against any person who knowingly sells or distributes in 
interstate or foreign commerce an entertainment product containing 
material that is harmful to minors, if--
            (1) a reasonable person would expect a substantial number 
        of minors to be exposed to the material; and
            (2) the minor as a result of exposure to that material is 
        likely to suffer personal or emotional injury or injury to 
        mental or moral welfare.
    (b) Relief.--In an action under subsection (a), if the minor is the 
prevailing party--
            (1) the minor shall recover compensatory damages of not 
        less than $10,000 for each instance of any such material in any 
        such product to which such minor was so exposed;
            (2) the minor may recover punitive damages;
            (3) the court, in its discretion, may allow the minor a 
        reasonable attorney's fee (including expert fees) as part of 
        the costs; and
            (4) the court may order any other appropriate relief.
    (c) Affirmative Defense.--It is an affirmative defense to an action 
under this section that a parent or guardian of the minor owned or 
possessed the entertainment product containing the material to which 
the minor was exposed, and an act of that parent or guardian was the 
proximate cause of the minor's exposure to that material.
    (d) Definitions.--For purposes of this section:
            (1) The term ``entertainment product'' means a picture, 
        photograph, image, graphic image file, drawing, video game, 
        motion picture film, or similar visual representation or image, 
        book, pamphlet, magazine, printed matter, or sound recording.
            (2) The term ``material that is harmful to minors'' means 
        any pornographic communication, picture, image, graphic image 
        file, article, recording, writing, or other pornographic matter 
        of any kind that is obscene or that--
                    (A) the average person, applying the contemporary 
                standards of the adult community in which the minor 
                resides with respect to what is suitable for minors, 
                would find, taking the material as a whole and with 
                respect to minors of the ages that the person 
                reasonably would expect to be exposed to the material--
                            (i) is designed to appeal to, or is 
                        designed to pander to, the prurient interest in 
                        nudity, sex, or excretion, with respect to 
                        minors; and
                            (ii) depicts, describes, or represents, in 
                        a manner patently offensive with respect to 
                        minors, an actual or simulated sexual act or 
                        sexual contact, an actual or simulated normal 
                        or perverted sexual act, or a lewd exhibition 
                        of the genitals or post-pubescent female 
                        breast; and
                    (B) a reasonable person would find, taken as a 
                whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, and 
                scientific value for minors sufficient to overcome the 
                pernicious effect of that material.
            (3) The term ``minor'' means an individual under the age of 
        18.
    (e) Severability.--If any provision of this section or any 
application of such provision to any person or circumstance is held to 
be unconstitutional, the remainder of this section and the application 
of the provision to any other person or circumstance shall not be 
affected.
                                 <all>