ROCK OUT CENSORSHIP - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

8. Is there a law mandating that the record companies place the labels on their products and that stores must ID when minors attempt to purchase labeled material?


There is no law mandating that the music industry must label or rate it's products and no law mandating that record stores ID minors when they try to purchase albums that have the parental advisory label on them. The entire labeling and IDing system was born as a result of the 1985 Senate hearings against rock music. The claim that this system is "voluntary" is laughable as the government basically held a gun to the head of the music industry mandating that they either agree to this "voluntary" system, or they face the spectre of government legislation to put an end to the supposed problem of offensive lyrics by censorship. The music industry complied as the system was supposed to only be used as an information tool for parents when their kids bring home albums. It was never supposed to be a restrictory system. Having seen that our political adversaries will not be content with the labeling system as merely the consumer information compromise it was originally intended to be, we feel that this entire restrictory system should be scrapped to prevent further legislative attacks on the music industry using the label system as the criteria for what will or will not face restriction.

When ROC delivered over 30,000 signatures to the Recording Industry Association of America, we were told that the labels are a good thing because they keep further legislation from happening. Our response to the RIAA is THAT THE FIRST AMENDMENT OF THE US CONSTITUTION keeps further legislation from happening, and that they need to develop some kind of a spine to fight for their rights by calling the bluff of any elected official that wants to threaten such legislation. We say make them pass their laws to "clean up the industry", take them to court for violations of civil rights, win the court case and have the Judicial Branch of government declare their legislation unconstitutional, and then be done with the problem once and for all. Capitulation with those that do not respect the right to free speech will not work and is a doomed strategy that will continue to only encourage more attacks on the music many of us hold so dear.

We realize that this approach might be a risky proposition given that a judge may rule in favor of the government with regard to such legislation, ignoring the First Amendment in the process, however, we as music fans feel that this approach is preferable in that a favorable court ruling will end this problem in no uncertain terms that will force the censors to go back to their think-tanks to come up with new ways to attempt to control what we as citizens can choose to listen to.



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