Thursday, September 15, 2011

MPAA Movie Ratings (Media Law & Policy)

Today I'm going to talk about the MPAA - what exactly is it, how it self-governs, and whether or not the self-governing system it utilizes is ideal for this system. The MPAA is often argued to be a monopoly, and many people think it would be better if the government intervened and provided a unified standard for movie ratings. While the system is voluntary, it is dominant, and if a filmmaker wishes for their work to be seen by a large audience, it is a necessary process to go through. But is the method in which these films are rated fair? In reference to the question, "who monitors the media?" the answer in this case is the CARA, or the Classification and Rating Administration - a board of 10-13 members of carefully selected individuals who judge films based on their own opinions. The goal is to produce a unanimous rating decision about a particular film in order to inform parents on what is safe for their children. But again, is it fair? The identities of these board members are never known, yet they have such a huge influence on the film industry and the way it regulates. I myself did not realize how this process worked until I did more research, and I hope my presentation can shed some light for the class on the MPAA system and how it works.

1 comment:

LeahPortnoy said...

This week's question was concerned with who really controls the media. Through the presentations we saw in class, it is clear that there is no single answer to this question. The media is influenced by a multitude of sources - us as the viewers and users of media, advertisers, creators of companies and agencies who utilize media to send messages, and a lot more. My topic was the MPAA and how it self-governs, and I posed a couple of discussion questions to the class. The first was, do you agree with the way the MPAA assigns its ratings? Why or why not? Having reviewed the responses I got from classmates, it seems as though most people believe this system should be altered. Some thought the group of parents (10-13) on the ratings board was too small and therefore not representative of American parents. Some thought it was "shady" how secretive the process was, and the public should have more input. Based on this feedback, I came to the conclusion that the class believes the way the MPAA self-regulates should be changed. I myself agree; I think that the process should contain more government involvement to create a unified guideline for movie ratings.