Thursday, May 20, 2004

House bill poses threat: Newsarama carries a release from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund about the Parents’ Empowerment Act, a bill in the House of Representatives that would allow the parents of any minor to sue anyone who disseminates any material with material that is "harmful to minors":

"The bill allows compensatory damages starting at no less than $10,000 for any instance in which a minor is exposed to 'harmful to minors' entertainment products. The bill also allows that punitive damages and reasonable fees may be awarded to the prevailing party at the discretion of the court. The bill also seeks to strengthen the current test courts utilize in determining what is obscene material by providing a separate definition of obscenity specifically for children. It is an affirmative defense to action under this bill if a parent or guardian of the minor owned the material.

"The bill is in its earliest stage, but if it passes, it will seriously threaten retailers, distributors, and publishers."