News Flash: Georgia May Make Selling Stickered Albums A Crime

If some legislators in the Georgia State House of Representatives have their way, it will soon be against the law for a record store to sell an album with a parental guidance warning label to minors.

On Tuesday, the House referred a bill to

its Special Judiciary Committee that would make it a misdemeanor to sell to minors

albums bearing a parental warning sticker. The bill must now be

discussed by the committee, which will decide whether or not to refer it to

the full House. Although no hearing date has been set, the earliest that

the bill could come before the committee is Jan. 27.

The text of HB 1170 makes it unlawful for any record store to "sell to any

person under the age of 18 years any sound recording bearing the parental

advisory logo imposed by the Recording Industry Association of America

identifying the sound recording as containing strong language or

expressions of violence, sex or substance abuse."

Record companies decide whether or not to affix albums with warning labels

on a voluntary basis. Likely to be hardest hit by the bill if it passes

are hip-hop albums, which are often stickered even when other albums

containing similar levels of violence (for example, Bruce Springsteen's

Ghost of Tom Joad) are not.

In addition, some albums, such as Prodigy's The Fat Of The Land, are available without warnings in some stores, but are stickered in others.

Bill-sponsors were not available for comment at press time. -- Chris Nelson [Wed., Jan. 14, 1998, 9 a.m. PST]