The Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comment on its plans to study parental use of DVD movie ratings, as well as parents' attitudes toward the marketing of unrated DVD versions of movies.

As background for its proposal to conduct consumer research, the FTC cited past efforts to obtain ratings on movie DVDs, to have such ratings placed more prominently on the front of DVDs, and the recent trend to market unrated "Director's Cut" versions of movies. The latter versions often contain content that would have resulted in more restrictive ratings by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) had they been so released in the movie theaters, the FTC noted.

"The agency cited examples of DVD movie packaging where studios exploited the lack of an MPAA rating to promote the movie. The Commission questioned whether the marketing of these unrated DVDs undermines the self-regulatory system," the agency noted.

In light of these developments, the agency is proposing to collect information from parents who have one or more children between the ages of 7 and 16, who have bought or rented a movie on DVD within the past year. Interested parties have until Aug. 4 to comment on the FTC's proposal.

View the Federal Register notice of the FTC's proposal at www.ftc.gov.