Addendum: Ratings programs
First Amendment Center
The Recording Industry Association of America's
Parental Advisory Program
Because the Parental Advisory Program is voluntary, the RIAA
offers its members no recommendation or guidelines in determining
which recordings require the parental advisory logo.
If a member company decides to place the logo on a recording, it's
required to use the standard black-and-white image reading PARENTAL
ADVISORY: EXPLICIT CONTENT. The logo, smaller than 1-inch square,
must be placed under the shrinkwrap and on the front of the packaging
of the CD, cassette, album or video cassette.
The Motion Picture Association of America's
Classification and Rating Board
A voluntary program started in 1968, the Classification and Rating
Administration Board consists of about a dozen anonymous parents
in California who view as many as 500 films each year.
After viewing a movie, the board determines its rating G,
PG, PG-13, R and NC-17
through majority vote.
Producers or distributors displeased with a rating may appeal the
decision to a 14- to 18-member appeals board consisting of film
industry personnel and executives. A two-thirds vote of the board
is required to overturn the rating board's decision.
Producers or distributors may choose to distribute movies without
ratings or with their own ratings as long as they don't use ones
similar to the MPAA's
According to MPAA President Jack Valenti, these are the general
guidelines the rating board follows:
- G: General Audiences. All
ages admitted. Contains nothing in theme, language, violence,
etc. that would be offensive to parents whose younger children
see the film. Some snippets of language may go beyond polite conversation,
but they are common expressions. No stronger words are present.
Violence is at a minimum. Nudity, sex scenes and drug use are
- PG: Parental Guidance Suggested.
Some material may not be suitable for children. May contain adult
themes, some profanity, violence or brief nudity. But these elements
are not deemed so intense as to require that parents be strongly
cautioned. Contains no drug-use scenes.
- PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned.
Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Contains
more intensity than a PG film in theme, violence, nudity, sex,
language or other elements, but not intense enough to require
an R. Any drug-use content usually requires at least a PG-13.
If nudity is sexual or violence is rough or persistent, the film
usually gets an R. With regard to profanity, the board pays particular
attention to one of the harsher sexually derived words. One use
as an expletive requires a PG-13; more than one expletive use
or any use in a sexual context requires an R, though these films
can be rated less severely by special vote.
- R: Restricted. Under 17 requires
accompanying parent or adult guardian. Contains adult material.
May include hard language, graphic violence, sensual nudity, drug
abuse or some combination of those.
- NC-17: No one 17 and under admitted.
No children can be admitted. Contains patently adult material,
such as violence, sex, drug abuse or aberrational behavior that
most parents would consider off-limits to children.
The Entertainment Software Rating Board
The Entertainment Software Rating Board, created by the Interactive
Digital Software Association, consists of three specially trained
raters who assign letter ratings and content descriptors for games
for personal computers, home video systems and the Internet.
The rating categories include:
EC Early Childhood
content suitable for ages 3 and older.
E Everyone content
suitable for ages 6 and older.
T Teen content
suitable for ages 13 and older.
M Mature content
suitable for ages 17 and older.
AO Adults Only
content suitable only for adults.
RP Rating Pending.
The content descriptors include: comic mischief, mild violence,
violence, graphic violence, nudity, suggestive themes, mature sexual
themes, strong sexual content, mild language, strong language, hate
speech, strong hate speech, informational and edutainment.
Coin-Operated Video Game Parental Advisory
Devised by the American Amusement Machine Association, these ratings
include "suitable for all ages" and mild or strong marks in categories
including animated violence, lifelike violence, sexual content and
All new coin-operated video games carry this Parental Advisory
Disclosure Message either in the artwork of the game or on a color-coded
sticker on the machine.