[rumori] RIAA to stamp 'Parental Advisory' stickers on... pretty much everything

From: H. (hATweirdness.com)
Date: Wed Sep 20 2000 - 15:45:13 PDT


In a new move likely to cause heated debate among anti-censorship activists,
US music industry body the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA)
will next month introduce new guidelines calling for the present system of
'Parental Advisory' stickering to be extended to advertisements and online
music retailers.

The RIAA's new guidelines come into effect on October 1 and call on record
companies and music-selling websites to add advisory messages to
advertisements promoting records with explicit content, and to add the logo
to web pages from which site users can buy these records. In a detailed
statement on their website (http://www.riaa.com), the RIAA says these new
guidelines are designed to make sure that the use of the stickers is
consistent. From this year, the guidelines will be reviewed annually.

Hilary Rosen, the RIAA's President and Chief Operating Officer, said, in a
statement, that "the [Parental Advisory Labelling] program was conceived as
a delicate balance - respecting the freedom of expression our recording
artists deserve and the overwhelming First Amendment protection enjoyed by
music, while also respecting the legitimate needs of parents and guardians
for a cautionary notice about explicit content."

The guidelines define "suggested labelling criteria", including allowing for
the context in which the artist "may be performing the material" and
"varying interpretations of the material", as well as the existing criteria
for stickering of sexually explicit content, violence and drug use. "Lyrics
when accompanied by loud and raucous music can be perceived differently than
the same lyrics when accompanied by soft and soothing music," the guidelines
additionally point out, a phrase that will inevitably be seen as an attack
on rap and rock musics.

The new guidelines mark the first time the record industry has asked any
entity other than record companies to place warning notices on records.
Websites are advised to place the 'Parental Advisory' logo on every page
viewed during a transaction in which a stickered CD or cassette is being
purchased. As yet, there is no clear indication from the major online music
retailers about how they will react to being asked to effectively discourage
certain users from purchasing certain records; at present, most online
retailers note that a record has explicit lyrics only when a 'clean' version
is also available. It is also unclear as yet how websites hosted outside the
USA will respond to the guidelines, which are voluntary.

The 'Parental Advisory' stickers were adopted by the music industry in 1985
following pressure from the Parents' Music Resource Center, an organisation
headed by Tipper Gore, wife of US Presidential candidate Al Gore, in a bid
to give guidance to parents as to which records might be unsuitable for
their children. The stickers came to global prominence with the rise of
gangsta rap in the late '80s, at some points actually having the opposite
effect to that which had been intended, and encouraging record-buyers
looking for explicit material to buy stickered albums. Widely perceived at
the time by music fans and civil libertarians as a form of backdoor
censorship of anti-establishment rap and rock music, the stickers became
part of music fan iconography, spawning parodies and becoming featured on

The RIAA are part of an umbrella organisation of media associations that
have compiled a website to detail all 'Parental Advisory' initiatives across
platforms such as TV, films, the Internet and computer games. The site,
which includes details of all guidelines, can be found at

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