The Federal Trade Commission has expanded its consumer complaint handling system to categorize and track complaints about media violence, including complaints about the advertising, marketing, and sale of violent movies, electronic games (including video games), and music. The expanded complaint system, implemented in response to Congressional directives, will enable the Commission to track consumer complaints about media violence and identify issues of particular concern to consumers. Consumers who wish to file complaints may use the Commission’s online complaint form, available at http://www.ftc.gov, or call toll-free at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). Consumers should direct complaints regarding the content of television programing to the Federal Communications Commission at www.fcc.gov/cgb/complaints.html.
The expanded complaint handling system includes a new subject area – media violence – and several new complaint categories designed to track complaints regarding media violence, including complaints about ads for violent entertainment products airing or appearing in media inappropriate for children; ads containing an incorrect rating for violent content, or no rating at all; cross-marketing of violent entertainment products to children; and the sale or rental of violent entertainment products to children.
The Commission has issued several reports evaluating the major entertainment industries – motion pictures, music, and electronic games – marketing and advertising of violent entertainment products. To date, the FTC has issued four reports on industry marketing activities, and also held a public workshop in October 2003 addressing the state of self-regulation and marketing in each of these industries. Links to each of the Commission’s previous reports, and further information about the workshop, may be found at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/workshops/violence/index.htm.
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1 877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
(FTC File No. P994511)