[Michlib-l] Movie and Game Loaning policies

Robert P. Holley aa3805 at wayne.edu
Tue Aug 27 21:33:28 EDT 2019

As a strong supporter of intellectual freedom, let me remind publicly funded libraries that it is illegal to use the MPAA ratings to enforce circulation policies since they are created by a private agency and have no legal standing.  See the first sentence is the second paragraph.

6. What if a library board is asked to use movie, video game, music, or other ratings to restrict access?

A variety of private organizations — including the Classification and Rating Administration (CARA) of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association (MPA Canada), PSV ratings Standards Board (PSV), Parents Television Council (PTC), Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board, and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) — have developed rating systems as a means of advising parents concerning their opinions of the contents and suitability or appropriate age for use of certain books, films, recordings, television programs, websites, or other materials.

None of these organizations are government agencies and as such their rating systems cannot be mandated or enforced by any government or agency, including a publicly funded library. This applies with equal force to library policies and procedures that effectively deny minors equal and equitable access to library resources and services available to other users. A library can, however, make information concerning these rating systems available to library patrons.

For more information on this topic, see Deborah Caldwell-Stone’s "Movie Ratings are Private, Not Public Policy<https://oif.ala.org/oif/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/ILAReportervol22no2Ratings.pdf>" from the Illinois Library Association Reporter (2004).

Source:  http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/labelingratingqa


Dr. Robert P. Holley

Professor Emeritus, Wayne State University

13303 Borgman Avenue

Huntington Woods, MI  48070-1005

email: aa3805 at wayne.edu

phone: 248-547-0306

From: michlib-l-bounces at mcls.org <michlib-l-bounces at mcls.org> on behalf of Lynn Schofield-Dahl via Michlib-l <michlib-l at mcls.org>
Sent: Tuesday, August 27, 2019 8:09 PM
To: michlib-l at mcls.org <michlib-l at mcls.org>
Subject: [Michlib-l] Movie and Game Loaning policies


My Board has asked me to collect examples of Movie and Video Game
loaning policies.  They are interested in seeing policies which do not
restrict on the basis of age, those which do restrict on the basis of
patron age, and those which restrict on the basis of MPAA ratings or
Game ratings.


Lynn Schofield-Dahl
Three Rivers Public Library
920 W. Michigan Avenue
Three Rivers, MI  49093
Read. Learn. Grow.

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