And describe a timetable for all but 18+ ratings to go self rated from next year
19th July 2019 |
See article from tagesschau.de
The German film censors of the FSK started up 70 years ago. After World War II, according to the Allies, a post was supposed to replace military censorship and thus block propaganda films with National Socialist content. Politicians wanted to seize the
opportunity and connect it with a state control authority for the protection of minors.
Although there is no legal obligation in Germany to have films examined by the FSK, according to the Youth Protection Act, cinema and video films must be provided
with an age-approval mark. That is, a film that has no FSK certificate, may only be seen or purchased by adults.
Saying that, the rules for selling 18 rated videos seem very onerous in Germany and it has led to large numbers of films being cut for
the easier to retail 16 rating.
The FSK charges film distributors 1000 euro for its age rating. A movie is rated by five examiners. The odd number is important because it is decided by a simple majority. The chairman is the Permanent
Representative of the Supreme State Youth Authorities, in addition to a youth protection expert, for example, from the youth welfare office, and a public representative, for example, of churches, the Central Council of Jews or the Federal Youth. Two
examiners are selected by the FSK although they must be independent of the film industry.
Going self rated in 2020
Age ratings can be self applied for online films so an FSK rating is not required. In addition, the
online streaming competition is rather diminishing the market for DVDs. And the declining DVD sales makes the censorship fees every more burdensome.
So to tray and reduce costs the FSK wants to start a new test procedure next year. The
distributors will fill in a questionnaire with information, such as hard violence, explicit sex scenes or similar. A computer program calculates an age rating. Releases of 18+ years or for controversial/contested cases will still be consider by an FSK
In addition to the cost savings, the FSK hopes with the new system to find a connection on the international market.
German games censor will no longer ban those Nazi images that are excluded from a wider German law for historical or artistic reasons
|11th August 2018
Thanks to Daniel
See article from slate.com
The next Wolfenstein game might not even need to remove Adolf Hitler's moustache. Germany's Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body (or USK), an independent, industry-funded board that oversees age and content ratings for videos games
available in the country, announced on Thursday that it will now permit the sale of games featuring Nazi imagery within the country, something that had previously been banned. The USK's decision reportedly came after a heated debate involving the
Nazi-killing Wolfenstein series , particularly a pair of anti--Third Reich games in 2014 and 2017 that were visibly, and somewhat humorously , self-censored in Germany in order to avoid violating a provision of the country's constitution.
video games with Nazi symbolism were heavily censored or outright banned based on the German criminal code's Section 86a , which forbids the use of symbols, flags, insignia, uniforms, slogans, propaganda, and greetings relating to unconstitutional
organizations in German products. Section 86a violations could be met with up to three years of imprisonment or a hefty fine.
USK will now assess games on a case-by-case basis to determine if they meet a reinterpreted standard of the country's
social adequacy clause that allows for Nazi imagery if it serves one of the following purposes: artistic, scientific, or if it depicts current or historical events. This metric is currently used for films screened in Germany because they are considered
works of art.
An update of the workings of Germany's film censor
|6th May 2018 |
Translated from article from dw.com
Before a movie is released in German theaters, the Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle Fernsehen ( FSK) decides on an age rating so as to protect children from 'harmful influences'.
The FSK is based on voluntary self censorship to buffer the
local film industry from controversy and state censorship. The organisation is based in the German Film House in Wiesbaden. Around 280 volunteers review thousands of films every year and decide which age groups to show - from age 6, age 12, age 16 or 18.
FSK's 280 volunteers have no connection to the film industry. They pursue different professions, but have experience in dealing with children and adolescents, and know their stages of development. FSK spokesman Stefan Linz told DW:
Five days a week, we carry out investigations in various committees.
The basis for the work of the FSK is the German Youth Protection Act, which provides for different age ratings for media. The color white means
that there are no restrictions for a movie. For the age group of six to twelve years is yellow. Green requires parenting for ages of six or twelve. From the age of 16, the category is blue, while red indicates that a movie is not considered suitable for
young people under the age of 18.
The law also defines the rules of assessment of media. For example, a film may not be shown to children of a certain age group if the examiners believe that it could affect their development as self-responsible
and socially competent people. Linz commented:
Of course this is totally abstract to the assessment of content that could potentially be problematic. But not only can we say that about us, but about all forms of
protection of minors around the world, especially the portrayal of violence, sexuality, the use of drugs, alcohol and nicotine, bad role models and antisocial behavior or threats to others.
The origin of the FSK dates back to the
postwar period. At that time, the Allies strove to denazify all social and social aspects in Germany, and to build the then West Germany as a democratic state with freedom of expression. Representatives of the German film industry, who had come back from
exile, together with American occupation authorities in 1948 built a voluntary self-control system for the film industry after the model of the American system of that time.
From these initiatives finally the FSK was born, which gave its first
film evaluation on 18 July 1949. The film Intimitäten by Paul Martin (1944) was not suitable for young people under 16 - and may not be shown on some religious holidays.
In the former GDR, all films were controlled by socialist authorities,
until after the reunification of the new states joined the FSK.
German age guidelines differ those of the USA. For example the German film Toni Erdmann , which was produced in 2016 and became a worldwide hit and received an Oscar
nomination, was rated R by the MPAA in the USA. This stipulates that young people under the age of 17 are only allowed to watch the movie when accompanied by an adult. The rationale was: The film contains heavily sexualized content, graphic nudity,
violent language and short scenes of drug abuse. In Germany, the FSK judged the same film as suitable for adolescents from the age of 12, this restriction being justified by a somewhat strange, emotionless sex scene without intercourse. The aspects cited
by MPAA , that is, language, drugs and nudity, played no role for the FSK - despite a rather extensive naked party scene.
According to Stefan Linz, the differences between age ratings by the FSK and MPAA are explained by cultural attitudes. In
particular, Germans and Americans have a completely different attitude to nudity. While there has long been a large naturist scene in Germany, public nudity in the US is still considered scandalous.
The FSK does not classify nudity in itself as
problematic, says Linz, referring to documentation on nudist communities that have been released for all ages. However, FSK is less generous when nudity in a movie has a sexual meaning or occurs in a sexualized context.
Linz is also of the opinion
that attitudes to linguistic usage also differ in the German and English-speaking world. However, this aspect also points to differences in the approach of FSK and MPAA. In the eyes of the American institution, the repeated use of sexual terms as a swear
word justifies an age restriction.
By contrast, in the FSC, numerical ratios are irrelevant when assessing language. Instead, more emphasis is placed on the specific context. Who speaks like the swear word? When a couple of bad words fly back and
forth between friends, for example in hip-hop circles, that has a very different meaning than if the same nasty word is used in a discriminatory or even directly offensive manner, says Linz.
In 2002, the movie Harry Potter and the Chamber of
Secrets caused a change in the rules. From then on, children between the ages of six and twelve were allowed to watch films for children from the age of 12 if accompanied by a parent.
|28th August |
The German games censorship game
Based on article from
Germany's efforts to regulate the classification and sale of violent video games has brought a number of the country's authorities together to work on a set of legislation.
Legislation recently passed in Germany in July, for example, makes it easier to put such games on the banned list following the introduction of a rating index.
Games on Germany's banned list cannot be sold publicly. That includes any
advertising and sales through mail order.
The decision to flag a game is made by the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons (BPjM). Since the July 1 revision of the Protection of Minors Act, the agency has been granted even more
authority. That includes the authorization to list games that propagate vigilante justice as the only solution to a problem. The criteria have also been expanded for the automatic inclusion of specific games in the list.
A network of
organizations decide on age classifications. Tthe age labeling system will be significantly broader in future. Some games are currently open to a general audience. The next levels are "6," "12," and "16." Any game assigned
an "18" is banned for youths. There are also games that cannot be rated at all. Such titles require action by the BPjM frequently land on the index.
The labeling system is organized by the so-called Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle
(USK) in Berlin, with support until now from the Association for the Promotion of Youths and Social Work. Two industrial associations assumed sponsorship from June 1: the German Association of Computer Game Developers (G.A.M.E.) and the German
Association of Interactive Entertainment Software (BIU).
The USK functions as a service provider, commissioning a circle of independent experts. These observers first play the game, present their results to a five-person committee consisting of
at least four of roughly 60 expert appraisers from the USK, including teachers and employees of the youth agencies. The committee is then completed by a permanent representative of the Supreme Youth Agencies of the states. The majority decides, but the
permanent representative always has a veto right.
|7th August |
Video game censorship in Germany
article from ibls.com
Despite their popularity, violent video games are widely criticized in Germany and the country has some of the strictest video-game censorship laws in the Western world. For example, German laws prohibit the sale of Counter-Strike and titles with bloody graphics.
The Protection of Young Persons Act (PYPA)
The Act was enacted in 2002 and was Amended in 2003, 2004, and 2008.
The Act defines children as individuals under 14 years old and adolescents as those
between 14 and 18 years old.
The Act requires business operations to publish legal notices with movie codes and ratings; they are also required to request identification from those with parental power accompanying minors. Children and adolescents
are not permitted in public movie performances unless those performances are cleared for them by the Supreme state authority.
PYPA, section 12 establishes that video games or any other games cannot be publicly accessible to children or adolescents
unless they are cleared and labeled for their appropriate age group by the supreme state authority.
PYPA 2008- Amendments Relevant to the Video Game Industry?
In 2008, an amendment to PYPA entered into
force. Under the amended Section 15 of the Protection of Young Persons Act, a video game that contains exceptionally realistic, cruel, and lurid images of violence as an end in itself is automatically indexed and subject to severe restrictions on
distribution and advertising. Further, these games may not be sold to underage persons. This kind of violent media is automatically indexed -- that is, it does not have to be assessed and rated by the supreme state authority that is generally responsible
for indexing, known in German as the Bundesprfstelle.
PYPA Section 18 –List of Media Harmful to Young People- states: Data media and telemedia which might have a severely damaging impact on the development and education of
Children and Adolescents to responsible personalities in society shall be registered by the Review Board and included in a List of Publications Harmful to Young Persons. Included are media and other publications with immoral and brutalizing content or
those instigating violence, crime and racism. The 2008 Amendment added some requirements to this section regarding violent video games. German authorities are to index media that contain acts of violence like murder and mass killings as ends in
themselves as well as media in which self-administered justice is presented as a successful and proven means for serving justice. This kind of media, according to the amendments, has to be assessed, rated, and placed on a list of media that is generally
considered to be dangerous for young people.
The County Court in Munich decided to confiscate all versions of Manhunt in July 2004 because it violated a penal provision prohibiting
the depiction and glorification of violence. Other games, including the violent video game Dead Rising , were placed in the Index and confiscated by a Hamburg County Court decision of June 2007.