IPcentral Weblog
  The DACA Blog

Monday, May 21, 2007

Making a Stink about Smoking in Movies
(previous | next)

(I had a major computer meltdown last week, so I’m a little late getting to this issue but..) The MPAA recently announced that it will take into account depictions of smoking in a movie when considering its rating. Apparently, it will now be more likely that a movie’s rating is more stringent if we see characters lighting up on screen.

Private ratings systems occasionally evolve to take into account changing societal norms, but this recent change to the MPAA system seems to be influenced more by politics. Excuse the pun, but there’s obviously a lot of groups out there today that make a stink about smoking. They are certainly welcome to pressure movie producers and other media providers to eliminate smoking from their art, but when they threaten government regulation as an alternative it’s an entirely different matter.

One wonders where the line will be drawn now that smoking has been deemed worthy of an “R” rating. Would a serious drama depicting drug or alcohol abuse that contained no other offending material also automatically qualify for a higher rating? If not, why not?

The best way to address this issue is with more education, not censorship. There has been no shortage of education campaigns and PSAs about the dangers of smoking over the past decades. Those efforts have made a difference. Smoking is less glamorous than ever before and the risks of smoking are widely understood. Critics should stick to those efforts instead of threatening artists with regulation if they don’t purge any depictions of smoking from their craft.

posted by Adam Thierer @ 2:34 PM | Free Speech

Share |

Link to this Entry | Printer-Friendly


Taking this to its illogical extreme, will we next require re-rating of older movies? What would happen to all those old John Wayne westerns if "The Duke" was "R-rated" when he lit up?

Posted by: Henry Brus at May 31, 2007 12:08 AM

Post a Comment:

Blog Main
RSS Feed  
Recent Posts
  EFF-PFF Amicus Brief in Schwarzenegger v. EMA Supreme Court Videogame Violence Case
New OECD Study Finds That Improved IPR Protections Benefit Developing Countries
Hubris, Cowardice, File-sharing, and TechDirt
iPhones, DRM, and Doom-Mongers
"Rogue Archivist" Carl Malamud On How to Fix Gov2.0
Coping with Information Overload: Thoughts on Hamlet's BlackBerry by William Powers
How Many Times Has Michael "Dr. Doom" Copps Forecast an Internet Apocalypse?
Google / Verizon Proposal May Be Important Compromise, But Regulatory Trajectory Concerns Many
Two Schools of Internet Pessimism
GAO: Wireless Prices Plummeting; Public Knowledge: We Must Regulate!
Archives by Month
  September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
  - (see all)
Archives by Topic
  - A La Carte
- Add category
- Advertising & Marketing
- Antitrust & Competition Policy
- Appleplectics
- Books & Book Reviews
- Broadband
- Cable
- Campaign Finance Law
- Capitalism
- Capitol Hill
- China
- Commons
- Communications
- Copyright
- Cutting the Video Cord
- Cyber-Security
- Digital Americas
- Digital Europe
- Digital Europe 2006
- Digital TV
- E-commerce
- e-Government & Transparency
- Economics
- Education
- Electricity
- Energy
- Events
- Exaflood
- Free Speech
- Gambling
- General
- Generic Rant
- Global Innovation
- Googlephobia
- Googlephobia
- Human Capital
- Innovation
- Intermediary Deputization & Section 230
- Internet
- Internet Governance
- Internet TV
- Interoperability
- IP
- Local Franchising
- Mass Media
- Media Regulation
- Monetary Policy
- Municipal Ownership
- Net Neutrality
- Neutrality
- Non-PFF Podcasts
- Ongoing Series
- Online Safety & Parental Controls
- Open Source
- PFF Podcasts
- Philosophy / Cyber-Libertarianism
- Privacy
- Privacy Solutions
- Regulation
- Search
- Security
- Software
- Space
- Spectrum
- Sports
- State Policy
- Supreme Court
- Taxes
- The FCC
- The FTC
- The News Frontier
- Think Tanks
- Trade
- Trademark
- Universal Service
- Video Games & Virtual Worlds
- VoIP
- What We're Reading
- Wireless
- Wireline
Archives by Author
PFF Blogosphere Archives
We welcome comments by email - look for a link to the author's email address in the byline of each post. Please let us know if we may publish your remarks.

The Progress & Freedom Foundation