Aussie Politicians Angered Over Downloads of "Getting Up"

March 15, 2007 -
Will digital distribution ultimately trump game censorship efforts?

Possibly. And some government officials in Australia are angry about the possibility.

GamePolitics readers may recall the island nation's 2006 ban of Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure. This morning's edition of the Sydney Morning Herald reports government concerns over a downloadable version of the game being offered by Quicky.com.au, an Australian site owned by Mindscape.

The ban placed on Getting Up relates only to import and retail sales, placing online distribution in a legal gray area. Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke, who fought to block Getting Up from the Aussie market, told the newspaper:
I'm absolutely appalled, astonished and disappointed. To be able to get it from an Australian dotcom site is upsetting. I would have thought the Government had some measure [of control] over that. It makes heroes out of criminals, in my opinion. They pretend to be talented and to be the forerunners of a new age of street art or something, which is just arrogant piffle.

GP: We've heard games called a lot of things by politicians and activists, but "arrogant piffle" is a first.

Tonia Belasco, a Mindscape executive, told the Morning Herald she was unaware that Getting Up was being offered on the Quicky site. Belasco said she would consult with Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification on the issue. Because the downloadable version of the game is hosted on a server in the United States, Belasco was unsure about the legal authority of the Australian ban:
[I am] currently waiting for the OFLC to get back to me on the regulations regarding non-classified games on USA portals. You can't stop people on a US or Europe website from downloading games that haven't been classified in Australia, because how do you enforce that?

Australian Attorney General Philip Ruddock, among those who pressed for the original ban, was reported to be looking into the issue. The Morning Herald notes:
Ironically, Getting Up - which is set in a city of the future - features a world where freedom of expression is suppressed by a tyrannical city government.

GP: This story may not have a happy ending for Getting Up. As of this morning we are unable to find the game on a search of the Quicky site.

Thanks to GP reader Tim Kowalenko for the tip!

Comments

@LordLundar

Actually didn't sell THAT well but IMO it should have done much worse. If it was widely publicized to people that you shouldn't buy the game because the creator thinks you're a pathetic nerd and he's playing you for a fool, it would have done as well as ET.

"And we all know how well that game sold…"

You mean it did sell? I suppose there's some people with an obsession who "must have it.".

@ Mike

I can't comment for all australian states, but in WA (which is by and large the worst for this kind of thing) it's certainly illegal to own RC computer games according to the version on the act on austlii. I direct you to s89(1) of the Censorship Act 1996: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/wa/consol_act/ca1996137/s89.html

It's been a long time since i did any law study, so of course my research skills are down, but i think this is correct

In the words of Daffy Duck, "pronoun trouble." The "they" in the statement "They pretend to be talented and to be the forerunners of a new age of street art or something, which is just arrogant piffle" goes back not to games or gamers but to the taggers.

man, we get owned in Aus...

TV shows are aired later, games are banned... Then they wonder why we have the highest TV-show downloading per capita and illegally download games...

Not that I would waste any of my precious download limit on this game...

It's not illegal to posses RC material. Stop making crap up.

(Somewhat off topic)

"Mark Echo is a pompous ass who blamed his consumers for low sales, but that’s no reason to ban his game."

Marc Ecko is also the pompous ass that said in Develop magazine before Getting Up was released that "The gameplay doesn't matter". He basically said that the image portrayed by the game is all that matters.

And we all know how well that game sold...

"So if they really care about this issue, they should have a “Adults Only” label on the game and regulated its distribution."

But no, that would make sense, and sense has no place in politics.

"Ironically, Getting Up - which is set in a city of the future - features a world where freedom of expression is suppressed by a tyrannical city government."


Hahahaha. ...And you just now came up with that sad realization?

Hmm... Looks like I can get Reservoir Dogs online, too. Me > Law.

Stuffy Aussie pol: "It makes heroes out of criminals, in my opinion."

I hope to god he's going to follow that up by offering to ban films and TV that do this too: such as standing up to your evil government movies (Schildler's List, Hunt For Red October, and countess other cold war era ones), every mafia movie or TV show (Godfather, Sopranos, etc), every bank heist or perfect crime movie (Italian Job, Usual Suspects, etc), wacky small time criminal fare (Raising Arizona, My Name is Earl), action movies with anti-heros (Pulp Fiction, Taxi Driver, etc), and reformed prostitute with a heart of gold sappy stuff (Pretty Woman, etc). Cause you know, otherwise, it might seem a bit silly if he is singling out the terrible crime of graffiti as being so horrible it should not be portrayed in anything, while giving a free pass to mobsters, murderers, bank robbers, etc. One might even reach the consclusion that he just has his head up his ass and speaks against stuff that he doesnt understand merely because its unfamiliar to him.

That said its probably the case (even without having played it) that Mark Ecco and his game are a waste of time and space on this earth (but then again so are politicians).

Yuki
to bad politics can be as easily "fixed"

Mark Echo is a pompous ass who blamed his consumers for low sales, but that's no reason to ban his game.

Who are the politicians to say what we can and can't watch or play? Just because you don't like something doesn't mean that you can ban it. I'm utterly sick of them treating the adult population like children, because they believe they've got the moral high-ground. If I want to play a game that has 'immoral' content (Postal 2, GTA, Leisure Suit Larry comes to mind), then I'm going to play it whether they like it or not.

You know what banning something does? It just makes it go underground, and someone will make money off it, illegally if the need be. You're just creating criminals, and a black market.

Free country indeed. In reality it's free***, with terms and conditions in the fine print.

Government officals in Australia have fallen and can't "get up"
Maybe they're just angry because they can't "get it up"

There. Somebody had to say those crappy puns.

"They pretend to be talented and to be the forerunners of a new age of street art or something, which is just arrogant piffle."

As opposed to politicians who think they can actually pull off thought control in this day and age...
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

I'm not sure about other countires, but the phrase 'arrogant piffle' is *exactly* the sort of phrase austrlaian politicians say all the time. Truth is that it's not only illegal to import banned games, but it's also illegal to possess them. And i've never heard of anyone being targeted for it oddly enough. It may even be that it's illegal to own a copy of san andreas pre-hot coffee crackdown, given it is now banned, but my legal knowledge is a little old.

People have been downloading banned games since the internet was invented here. I mean, how many people have 'Knights of Xentar'?

"which is just arrogant piffle"

That's what I hear every time an Australian politician opens their mouth,

The Internet>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Aussie censorcrats.

Unenforceable bans are worse than not banning altogether.
And regulated "bans" are better than not banning something considered "not nice."

So if they really care about this issue, they should have a "Adults Only" label on the game and regulated its distribution.

It boggles the mind that this kind of stuff can happen in a so-called "Democracy" or "Free" country.

I know this is childish but i don't care:
Take that Aussie politicans who refuse to allow an R18+ rating for games. Hope this happens more often for games in countries they're banned in.

The only "arrogant piffle" is coming from these Aussie politicians. Yes, that last sentence was just an excuse to say arrogant piffle.

Gotta agree, I hate getting up, but by banning it, the Australian governement may as well have just handed Marc Ecko a cheque for several hundred grand, that's effectively what they have done.

The way I see it, is even if they do block it online, which is something I doubt they can even enforce, I could see people down under just looking through rom sites instead. Yeah, it's illegal, but then so would be this issue now if it were passed to make it illegal.

"GP: We’ve heard games called a lot of things by politicians and activists, but 'arrogant piffle' is a first."

Yes, but the term is suprisingly accurate in describing Marc Ecko's game, especially after his, "I tagged Air Force 1," stunt. I think "Arrogan Piffle," sums up Ecko's career quite well.

Now banning the game because of that? Yeah, good luck, as Brer detailed for us.

Even so, there is no way to stop it citizens from downloading a banned game from outside the country.
Take for example; www.Jumboplay.com a games on demand service based in Malaysia, one of the geographically closes country to Au, Marc Ecko's Getting Up is available for download by it user.

To me this just seems identical to the situation we'd have if Tack Jhompson actually had a position of power somewhere :-P

Well said xengk

No matter how much effort they put into trying to stop us from downloading, there will ALWAYS be some way around it, such as downloading music. It's not supposed to be allowed, but people still do it.

A perfect example of the basic problem with the internet and control of information. You can always go someplace else where the video game/porn/music/political commentary/news/novel/film that's illegal in your country is readily available. There are three basic options here:

1) The country with material it wants to ban completely blocks citizen access to the internet (North Korea) or tries Nation-wide firewalls and invasive Net-Cop presence to arrest dissenters (China). Unfortunately the former only works if, like North Korea, you've had an absolute lock on ALL traffic of information and even physical material into and out of your country since before the internet existed, and the latter is never 100% effective as all the efforts dedicated to finding workarounds for the Great Firewall of China have demonstrated.

2) The country wanting to impose censorship gets together with other countries that want to impose censorship and attempt to get the internet regulated internationally to what you might call the "least free denominator". For an example of this, watch the posturing of countries like China, Saudi Arabia, and Iran the next time there's an international summit on "Internet governance": ideally, they want western countries to enforce -their- free speech bans wherever their citizens could get to the speech in question. Even some european nations and groups are in on this act on issues like hate speech (which isn't criminalized here in the US or is criminalized only -selectively- in other countries such as in the Middle East). For obvious reasons, this sort of solution is absolutely unacceptable to most nations with fairly strong free speech protections.

3) The country wanting to impose censorship is forced to recognize that it can't control the internet, and that it will simply have to live with that hole in its enforcement capability or *GASP* modify its stance on censorship.

All the arguments over the various ways in which the Internet can be peacably regulated, governed, and generally destroyed will eventually settle on a variant of one of the three scenarios outlined above. And yes, I'm one of those who argues that a well-regulated internet would mean the complete and absolute loss of everything that made the Internet valuable or useful.

Booo hooooo you can not ban media from your populace unless you are a fascist regime who demands all citizens to "step in line".....

Am I the only one who has never heard of 'Getting Up'? It seems that Australia only ever wants to ban games that are failures from the get go. But you must admire them targeting specific games and not games in general.

But oh well, they can cry because other people don't want to play with them.

The irony of this is that in the end, it will be the internet that brings those kinds of countries to it's knees. Already, we've seen it in china, whose network is weekly crippled in retaliation for it's censorship. Fact is, hackers hate nothing as much as they hate government interferance. If it ever comes to it, the day someone tries to regulate the Internet fully and censor it, within a few weeks, that country will suffer a digital assualt like nothing it's every imagined, and will have to surrender to get it to stop.

I know it sounds kinda hokky but in reality ,it's not an uncommon thing, it's just not often reported. But if, and it's a big if, that day ever comes, you can bet that it will be the people of the world, via the internet, that change things around.

Don't belive me? Ask ted sterns about it. Or better yet, ask him about Net Netrality and his "Series of tubes" comment.

Is there a way we can censor comments about censorship?

How about banning censorship? That sounds even better!

[...] Sources: Syndey Morning Herald | GamePolitics.com | theage.com.au [...]

ok i think that getting up is a shit game. by the way i live in Australia and it wasn't hard for me to obtain a copy of it. The gameplay is completly unrealistic and not greatly thought out. Being an experienced writer this game is portraying us graffers rather stupidly so I have no problem with them banning this certain game but do not support how they're basically trying to wipe out a culture and the whole aerosol artform deeming all graffiti criminal and talentless.

OMfg i am soo sick of this lame country australia and all its rules n laws n shit. Seriously why does it have to be my country(and probably only my country) that has to get baned from this game. Fuken tight ass government

Just get my friend to lend it to me
 
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