More details on Australia's censorial new game and app banning scheme
||2nd July 2015 |
list of banned titles from
In the past four months, the Australian Classifications Board has labelled 220 video games, making it illegal to sell, advertise or exhibit them in the country.
Australian newspapers have been downplaying the censorship saying that it doesn't
sound so bad when one realises that the amount of bans is related to the large quantities of back catologue apps being processed via a new rapid decision program, perhaps up to 150,000 of them.
In fact that the 220 games are properly banned under
censorial rules for what's allowed in adults only R18+ games. There was a lot of political opposition to allowing an adults rating at all and the final compromises rules ban games for content that would be perfectly legal in most western countries. For
instance more or less anything to do with the depiction of drugs is banned from Australian games.
Examples of banned games on the list include:
- AK47 Simulator
- Torture the Murderer 2
- Measure Bra Size Prank
- Islam Today
- Douchebag Beach Club
- Pass the Grass
- Time for Cocaine
- Wrecking Miley
- Police Bus for Criminals
- 2015 Athletic Fruits Girls
- Fun Swimming Pool Love Kiss
There are also several instances of the same game developer submitting multiple, obviously identical games (for example Weed Time submitted as Smoke a Bong FREE, Smoke a Bong, Smoke a Joint, Smoke a Joint FREE and Nose Dose ).
So it seems there
are still serious discussions to be had around Australia's game censorship system, including the fact that Australia is much stricter than other countries when it comes to representations of sexual content and drugs, something that has resulted in the
blocking of a handful of high quality, well-respected games that adult players in other countries enjoy.
Australia bans 242 apps in the first few months of a new censorship scheme
||23rd June 2015 |
See article from
Over the weekend of June 20th to 21st, the results of the first three months of the International Age Rating Coalition trial were dumped into the Classification Board's database. They reveal censorship on a scale never before seen in Australia.
first mobile game/app is listed as being banned (Refused Classification) on March 18th. At the time of writing, a total of 242 have been banned.
Interestingly, the Classification Board has chosen not to give a reason why they have been banned.
Several of the banned apps have innocuous titles so perhaps there is a technical explanation such as not filling in the forms correctly.
|12th October |
Australia draws up legislation to exempt apps from the formal censorship process
See article from
Thousands of mobile phone apps released every week in Australia will be exempt from classification for the next two years under a federal government plan to give mobile phone application creators and businesses clarity pending the ongoing review of
Australia's classification system.
Currently, mobile apps are treated the same as video and computer games and are technically required to be classified by the classification board. But because of the huge volume of apps created every week, very
few actually go through the system.
Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor, who will introduce the legislation to allow the exemption, said:
The current classification system never envisaged the technology
powering smart phones, let alone the rapid development of online games or mobile phone apps.
These changes will allow most mobile phone and online games to be supplied without classification for the next two years, while retaining
safeguards to protect children from computer games that are of concern.
The exemption will not apply to computer games likely to be refused classification and the classification board will retain the power to call in a game if it is
likely to be classified M or above. The public will still be able to lodge a complaint.
|10th March |
Australia proposes to allow apps to be sold without state censorship rating unless flagged for review by the public
See also Net classification
costly: Telstra, RIM from zdnet.com.au
Australian Home Affairs minister Brendan O'Conner has revealed proposed new laws to Parliament to allow the censorship of apps and games sold online.
Technically the Classification Board should review every app, but because of the sheer size of
the app store -- it contains hundreds of thousands of apps -- it is simply impossible to do so because of a lack of resources.
O'Conner says instead of having the Classification Board review every single app, the Government will use the online
content system which in based on ratings provided by the store. The store allows users to complain about offensive material. Only apps that receive complaints will be subject to review by the Australian Censorship Board.
If Apple, or any other
marketplace provider such as Google, continued to sell content that is refused classification then they would be breaking the law, O'Conner said: We would prosecute people who actually broke the law . People cannot [be allowed to] break the
law. People cannot at the moment sell, distribute or watch... games that have been refused classification.
App makers say it would be too cumbersome. MoGeneration chief executive Keith Ahern says the current system within the App Store is
working well: The current system is probably more effective than anything the Government can introduce. So maybe the bigger question is, how does the App Store set this? I would say that system has been partly responsible for the success of the app
|1st May |
Selling online games without classification: Will enforcement agencies continue to turn a blind eye?
See article from
|7th February |
Australian politicians claim censorship control over online games
article from smh.com.au
Australian video game publishers and retailers are risking hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines by selling online role playing games such as World of Warcraft without age classifications.
The games industry believes there is a
legal loophole exempting online games that don't have a single player component from classification requirements but this view is contradicted by the federal and state attorneys-general.
World of Warcraft , with more than 11.5 million
subscribers, is the most popular of the online-only games but there are other examples including Age of Conan , Warhammer Online and Pirates of the Burning Sea.
All are sold as boxed sets in retail stores across the country
without classification by the Classification Board or the appropriate labelling, for instance M or MA15+.
A spokesman for NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos said the NSW Classification Enforcement Act prohibited publishers and retailers from
selling unclassified computer games: The NSW legislation covers computer games bought online as well as those bought in stores, and treats single, multi-player and online games the same way .
The spokesman added that enforcement of the act
was the responsibility of police but penalties for breaking these laws ranged from $1100 to $11,000 for individuals and/or 12 months' imprisonment. For corporations the fines were approximately double.
A spokeswoman for Federal Attorney-General
Robert McClelland said that, although it was up to each state and territory to enforce game classification requirements, Commonwealth legislation also had no loopholes for online games: The National Classification Scheme does not distinguish between
games based on whether or not they contain a single player component. Online games are computer games within the meaning of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 and are covered under the existing legislation.
But Ron Curry, chief executive of games industry body the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia said he believed that online games without a single player component did not require classification by the Classification Board.
Update: Loopy Australian Classification
7th February 2009. See
article from incgamers.com
Despite reports earlier in the
week that World of Warcraft and other multi player online games were being withdrawn from sale due to legal reasons, the games are still for sale in all stores.
A loophole in the Australian law that allowed online games with no
single-player content to go on sale without a classification was exposed earlier this week, and the federal and state attorneys-general declared that all titles without this classification were to be withdrawn from sale. However, this only applied in
NSW, the other states were unaffected. Also, it was up to the police to act on complaints about sales of the games, something which they are unlikely to receive.