Family and Consumer Choice Act of 2007
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The Family and Consumer Choice Act of 2007 (H.R.2638) was a proposed bipartisan bill introduced by Reps. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) that would give consumers the ability to choose and pay only for channels they want as well as further limit "indecent" programming from being broadcast at certain times of the day.
The bill was introduced on June 15, 2007 by Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), and was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on the same day.
The Family and Consumer Choice Act of 2007 would allow families to choose and pay for only the cable television channels that they want to watch so that it would be easier to protect their children from indecent content on cable. In addition, the bill would apply the same decency standards already in place on broadcast television onto cable channels, as between the hours of 6:00 A.M. and 10:00 P.M. in the Eastern and Pacific time zones (5:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M. in the Central Time Zone and Mountain Time Zone), any indecent type of program, including but not limited to programs rated "TV-14" or "TV-MA" under the TV Parental Guidelines, may be broadcast. Lipinski has stated that it will provide parents, who are "the first line of defense in protecting their kids...more help".  Currently, all cable television subscribers in the U.S. are provided their channels in one package, thus leaving parents who seek to subscribe to educational, news, family, or sports channels no choice but to subject their children to be exposed to inappropriate content.
In 2004, following the controversial Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show where performer Justin Timberlake caused the exposure of co-performer Janet Jackson's breast for two seconds, the conservative media watchdog group Parents Television Council launched campaigns against indecency on television - both broadcast and cable. The Council released in November 2004 a study documenting the significant increase in sex, profanity, and violence on basic cable television channels, using this study as well as numerous future press releases and reports in their push for cable choice. PTC President Tim Winter also wrote an article explaining that cable choice would not only benefit families, but also the general public because cable television subscribers who do not have children would also have the choice not to pay for channels for younger audiences.
On June 14, 2007, United States Representatives Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) introduced into legislation the Family and Consumer Choice Act of 2007. The PTC praised their decisions, citing several extremely indecent cable programming soon to be on the air such as the fourth season Rescue Me beginning on FX, The Sopranos airing on A&E, and Comedy Central's "Dirty Dozen" block of its hit animated comedy series South Park, where the network would air the most profane, vulgar episodes of the series, including "The Death Camp of Tolerance" and "It Hits the Fan".
However, the part of the bill intending to apply the FCC's broadcast indecency standards to cable television simultaneously during the day - under the bill, no television station, regardless of broadcast or cable, may air indecent content - has been questioned, given that parental controls including the V-Chip are readily available to most parents.
Articles and Resources
Related SourceWatch resources
- See the other articles at the Telecom, Media and Intellectual Property Policy (U.S.) portal.
- ↑ "Lipinski Introduces Bill to Give Parents Family-Friendly TV Options," Office of United States Congressman Daniel Lipinski. June 14, 2007.
- ↑ "Basic Cable Awash in Raunch - A Content Analysis of expanded basic cable's Original Prime-Time Series," Parents Television Council. November 2004.
- ↑ Parents Television Council Cable Campaign
- ↑ Tim Winter. "Cable Choice is the Right Choice," Parents Television Council.
- ↑ Families Applaud Cable Choice Proposal. Parents Television Council. June 14, 2007.
- ↑ Eric Bangeman. "New bill would create family tier, extend indecency standards to cable," Ars Technica. June 15, 2007.