United States of America
United States of America

Too long has there existed a double standard in video games. Video game manufactures are permitted to represent gratuitous murder in their games as well as a large degree of sexually suggestive elements. In order for them to do this, they simply need to put a "T" (Teen) or "M" (Mature) label on the packaging of the game. However, the following law exists in the California legislature:

California Penal Code 308.5:

(a) No person or business shall sell, lease, rent, or provide, or offer to sell, lease, rent, or otherwise offer to the public or to public establishments in this state, any video game intended for either private use or for use in a public establishment and intended primarily for use by any person under the age of 18 years, which contains, in its design and in the on-screen presentation of the video game, any paid commercial advertisement of alcoholic beverage or tobacco product containers or other forms of consumer packaging, particular brand names, trademarks, or copyrighted slogans of alcoholic beverages or tobacco products.
(b) As used in this section, "video game" means any electronic amusement device that utilizes a computer, microprocessor, or similar electronic circuitry and its own cathode ray tube, or is designed to be used with a television set or a monitor, that interacts with the user of the device.
(c) A violation of this section is a misdemeanor.

As reasonable as this law may seem at a glance to some parties, it creates a very unreasonable restriction on games which are produced within the abilities of the NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) license. During every NASCAR broadcast, viewers bear witness to a variety of alcohol and tobacco related advertising in the form of Rusty Wallace's Miller Lite car, Dale Earnhardt Junior's Budweiser car, and most apparent, the name of the two main circuits of NASCAR, the Winston Cup (cigarette company) and the Busch Grand National (beer company). It would only seem logical that a video game that is licensed under NASCAR would be permitted to portray NASCAR in as realistic a manner as technology would allow. However, California Penal Code 308.5 forbids this.

This is actually a second double standard: A minor can view said controversial sponsorships (in addition to numerous others) in any given NASCAR race (one quarter of which are broadcast on a national non-cable network, NBC), however to represent the same in a video game in an effort to exude realism in what has been deemed a family-safe sport is forbidden. There should be no argument it is safe to conclude that if one plays a NASCAR video game, there is a very good chance that one has watched at least one NASCAR race on television. If the viewer/player was going to be influenced by alcohol or cigarette advertisements had they been in the game, is it not also safe to say that that person would have already been influenced by watching the race on television? In addition to this, the responsibility for keeping cigarettes and alcohol out of the hands of minors lies primarily on the vendors of these products. Secondary to the vendors, it is the responsibility of the parents or guardians of the minors to educate them on the dangers of alcohol and tobacco. If both of these "lines of defense" fail, all of the censorship in the world won't strip children of the ability to become consumers of these otherwise legal health threats.

As such, it is the opinion of all those who sign this petition that allowing video game manufacturers who produce NASCAR-related titles to place advertisements/sponsorships from alcohol and tobacco companies ONLY TO THE EXTENT TO WHICH MIRRORS SAID ADVERTISING IN THE ACTUAL EVENTS OF NASCAR:

1) does not contribute to the sale or use of any tobacco or alcohol-related products by any person under the age of 18 years and
2) increases the level of realism, hence enjoyment, of such video games.

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The Eliminate Censorship in NASCAR Video Games petition to United States of America was written by Kirk Karanza and is in the category Sports at GoPetition.