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S. 306 (is) To regulate commercial air tours overflying the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and for other purposes. [Introduced in Senate] ...


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106th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                S. 3069

To amend the Television Program Improvement Act of 1990 to restore the 
     applicability of that Act to agreements relating to voluntary 
guidelines governing telecast material and to revise the agreements on 
                    guidelines covered by that Act.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                           September 19, 2000

 Mr. Brownback introduced the following bill; which was read twice and 
   referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To amend the Television Program Improvement Act of 1990 to restore the 
     applicability of that Act to agreements relating to voluntary 
guidelines governing telecast material and to revise the agreements on 
                    guidelines covered by that Act.

    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 Act of 2000''.

 SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) Television is seen and heard in nearly every United 
        States home and is a uniquely pervasive presence in the daily 
        lives of Americans. The average American home has 2.5 
        televisions, and a television is turned on in the average 
        American home 7 hours every day.
            (2) Television plays a particularly significant role in the 
        lives of children. Figures provided by Nielsen Research show 
        that children between the ages of 2 years and 11 years spend an 
        average of 21 hours in front of a television each week.
            (3) Television has an enormous capability to influence 
        perceptions, especially those of children, of the values and 
        behaviors that are common and acceptable in society.
            (4) The influence of television is so great that its images 
        and messages often can be harmful to the development of 
        children. Social science research amply documents a strong 
        correlation between the exposure of children to televised 
        violence and a number of behavioral and psychological problems.
            (5) Hundreds of studies have proven conclusively that 
        children who are consistently exposed to violence on television 
        have a higher tendency to exhibit violent and aggressive 
        behavior, both as children and later in life.
            (6) Such studies also show that repeated exposure to 
        violent programming causes children to become desensitized to 
        and more accepting of real-life violence and to grow more 
        fearful and less trusting of their surroundings.
            (7) A growing body of social science research indicates 
        that sexual content on television can also have a significant 
        influence on the attitudes and behaviors of young viewers. This 
        research suggests that heavy exposure to programming with 
        strong sexual content contributes to the early commencement of 
        sexual activity among teenagers.
            (8) Members of the National Association of Broadcasters 
        (NAB) adhered for many years to a comprehensive code of conduct 
        that was based on an understanding of the influence exerted by 
        television and on a widely held sense of responsibility for 
        using that influence carefully.
            (9) This code of conduct, the Television Code of the 
        National Association of Broadcasters, articulated this sense of 
        responsibility as follows:
                    (A) ``In selecting program subjects and themes, 
                great care must be exercised to be sure that the 
                treatment and presentation are made in good faith and 
                not for the purpose of sensationalism or to shock or 
                exploit the audience or appeal to prurient interests or 
                morbid curiosity.''.
                    (B) ``Broadcasters have a special responsibility 
                toward children. Programs designed primarily for 
                children should take into account the range of 
                interests and needs of children, from instructional and 
                cultural material to a wide variety of entertainment 
                material. In their totality, programs should contribute 
                to the sound, balanced development of children to help 
                them achieve a sense of the world at large and informed 
                adjustments to their society.''.
                    (C) ``Violence, physical, or psychological, may 
                only be projected in responsibly handled contexts, not 
                used exploitatively. Programs involving violence 
                present the consequences of it to its victims and 
                perpetrators. Presentation of the details of violence 
                should avoid the excessive, the gratuitous and the 
                instructional.''.
                    (D) ``The presentation of marriage, family, and 
                similarly important human relationships, and material 
                with sexual connotations, shall not be treated 
exploitatively or irresponsibly, but with sensitivity.''.
                    (E) ``Above and beyond the requirements of the law, 
                broadcasters must consider the family atmosphere in 
                which many of their programs are viewed. There shall be 
                no graphic portrayal of sexual acts by sight or sound. 
                The portrayal of implied sexual acts must be essential 
                to the plot and presented in a responsible and tasteful 
                manner.''.
            (10) The National Association of Broadcasters abandoned the 
        code of conduct in 1983 after three provisions of the code 
        restricting the sale of advertising were challenged by the 
        Department of Justice on antitrust grounds and a Federal 
        district court issued a summary judgment against the National 
        Association of Broadcasters regarding one of the provisions on 
        those grounds. However, none of the programming standards of 
        the code were challenged.
            (11) While the code of conduct was in effect, its 
        programming standards were never found to have violated any 
        antitrust law.
            (12) Since the National Association of Broadcasters 
        abandoned the code of conduct, programming standards on 
        broadcast and cable television have deteriorated dramatically.
            (13) In the absence of effective programming standards, 
        public concern about the impact of television on children, and 
        on society as a whole, has risen substantially. Polls routinely 
        show that more than 80 percent of Americans are worried by the 
        increasingly graphic nature of sex, violence, and vulgarity on 
        television and by the amount of programming that openly 
        sanctions or glorifies criminal, antisocial, and degrading 
        behavior.
            (14) At the urging of Congress, the television industry has 
        taken some steps to respond to public concerns about 
        programming standards and content. The broadcast television 
        industry agreed in 1992 to adopt a set of voluntary guidelines 
        designed to ``proscribe gratuitous or excessive portrayals of 
        violence''. Shortly thereafter, both the broadcast and cable 
        television industries agreed to conduct independent studies of 
        the violent content in their programming and make those reports 
        public.
            (15) In 1996, the television industry as a whole made a 
        commitment to develop a comprehensive rating system to label 
        programming that may be harmful or inappropriate for children. 
        That system was implemented at the beginning of 1999.
            (16) Despite these efforts to respond to public concern 
        about the impact of television on children, millions of 
        Americans, especially parents with young children, remain angry 
        and frustrated at the sinking standards of television 
        programming, the reluctance of the industry to police itself, 
        and the harmful influence of television on the well-being of 
        the children and the values of the United States.
            (17) The Department of Justice issued a ruling in 1993 
        indicating that additional efforts by the television industry 
        to develop and implement voluntary programming guidelines would 
        not violate the antitrust laws. The ruling states that ``such 
        activities may be likened to traditional standard setting 
        efforts that do not necessarily restrain competition and may 
        have significant procompetitive benefits...Such guidelines 
        could serve to disseminate valuable information on program 
        content to both advertisers and television viewers. Accurate 
        information can enhance the demand for, and increase the output 
        of, an industry's products or services.''.
            (18) The Children's Television Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-
        437) states that television broadcasters in the United States 
        have a clear obligation to meet the educational and 
        informational needs of children.
            (19) Several independent analyses have demonstrated that 
        the television broadcasters in the United States have not 
        fulfilled their obligations under the Children's Television Act 
        of 1990 and have not noticeably expanded the amount of 
        educational and informational programming directed at young 
        viewers since the enactment of that Act.
            (20) The popularity of video and personal computer (PC) 
        games is growing steadily among children. Although most popular 
        video and personal computer games are educational or harmless 
        in nature, many of the most popular are extremely violent. One 
        recent study by Strategic Record Research found that 64 percent 
        of teenagers played video or personal computer games on a 
        regular basis. Other surveys of children as young as elementary 
        school age found that almost half of them list violent computer 
        games among their favorites.
            (21) Violent video games often present violence in a 
        glamorized light. Game players are often cast in the role of 
        shooter, with points scored for each ``kill''. Similarly, 
        advertising for such games often touts violent content as a 
        selling point--the more graphic and extreme, the better.
            (22) As the popularity and graphic nature of such video 
        games grows, so do their potential to negatively influence 
        impressionable children.
            (23) Music is another extremely pervasive and popular form 
        of entertainment. American children and teenagers listen to 
        music more than any other demographic group. The Journal of 
        American Medicine reported that between the 7th and 12th grades 
        the average teenager listens to 10,500 hours of rock or rap 
        music, just slightly less than the entire number of hours spent 
        in the classroom from kindergarten through high school.
            (24) Teens are among the heaviest purchasers of music, and 
        are most likely to favor music genres that depict, and often 
        appear to glamorize violence.
            (25) Music has a powerful ability to influence perceptions, 
        attitudes, and emotional state. The use of music as therapy 
        indicates its potential to increase emotional, psychological. 
        and physical health. That influence can be used for ill as 
        well.

 SEC. 3. PURPOSES; CONSTRUCTION.

    (a) Purposes.--The purposes of this Act are to permit the 
entertainment industry--
            (1) to work collaboratively to respond to growing public 
        concern about television programming, movies, video games, 
        Internet content, and music lyrics, and the harmful influence 
        of such programming, movies, games, content, and lyrics on 
        children;
            (2) to develop a set of voluntary programming guidelines 
        similar to those contained in the Television Code of the 
        National Association of Broadcasters; and
            (3) to implement the guidelines in a manner that alleviates 
        the negative impact of television programming, movies, video 
        games, Internet content, and music lyrics on the development of 
        children in the United States and stimulates the development 
        and broadcast of educational and informational programming for 
        such children.
    (b) Construction.--This Act may not be construed as--
            (1) providing the Federal Government with any authority to 
        restrict television programming, movies, video games, Internet 
        content, or music lyrics that is in addition to the authority 
        to restrict such programming, movies, games, content, or lyrics 
        under law as of the date of the enactment of this Act; or
            (2) approving any action of the Federal Government to 
        restrict such programming, movies, games, content, or lyrics 
        that is in addition to any actions undertaken for that purpose 
        by the Federal Government under law as of such date.

 SEC. 4. EXEMPTION OF VOLUNTARY AGREEMENTS ON GUIDELINES FOR CERTAIN 
              ENTERTAINMENT MATERIAL FROM APPLICABILITY OF ANTITRUST 
              LAWS.

    (a) Exemption.--Subject to subsection (b), the antitrust laws shall 
not apply to any joint discussion, consideration, review, action, or 
agreement by or among persons in the entertainment industry for the 
purpose of developing and disseminating voluntary guidelines designed--
            (1) to alleviate the negative impact of telecast material, 
        movies, video games, Internet content, and music lyrics 
        containing violence, sexual content, criminal behavior, or 
        other subjects that are not appropriate for children; or
            (2) to promote telecast material that is educational, 
        informational, or otherwise beneficial to the development of 
        children.
    (b) Limitation.--The exemption provided in subsection (a) shall not 
apply to any joint discussion, consideration, review, action, or 
agreement which--
            (1) results in a boycott of any person; or
            (2) concerns the purchase or sale of advertising, including 
        (without limitation) restrictions on the number of products 
        that may be advertised in a commercial, the number of times a 
        program may be interrupted for commercials, and the number of 
        consecutive commercials permitted within each interruption.
    (c) Definitions.--In this section:
            (1) Antitrust laws.--The term ``antitrust laws'' has the 
        meaning given such term in the first section of the Clayton Act 
        (15 U.S.C. 12) and includes section 5 of the Federal Trade 
        Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 45).
            (2) Internet.--The term ``Internet'' means the combination 
        of computer facilities and electromagnetic transmission media, 
        and related equipment and software, comprising the 
        interconnected worldwide network of computer networks that 
        employ the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol or 
        any successor protocol to transmit information.
            (3) Movies.--The term ``movies'' means theatrical motion 
        pictures.
            (4) Person in the entertainment industry.--The term 
        ``person in the entertainment industry'' means a television 
        network, any entity which produces or distributes television 
        programming (including theatrical motion pictures), the 
        National Cable Television Association, the Association of 
        Independent Television Stations, Incorporated, the National 
        Association of Broadcasters, the Motion Picture Association of 
        America, each of the affiliate organizations of the television 
        networks, the Interactive Digital Software Association, any 
        entity which produces or distributes video games, the Recording 
        Industry Association of America, and any entity which produces 
        or distributes music, and includes any individual acting on 
        behalf of such person.
            (5) Telecast.--The term ``telecast'' means any program 
        broadcast by a television broadcast station or transmitted by a 
        cable television system.

SEC. 5. COMPLIANCE WITH RULEMAKING PROCEDURES REQUIRED.

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