Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game Retailer

June 22, 2009 -

Earlier this month GamePolitics reported that German Interior Ministers were seeking a complete ban on the production and sale of violent video games within Germany. Given more recent events, it appears that officials may seek to reach beyond German borders as well.

Although the Bundestag has not yet acted on the ministers' ban request, an online video game retailer based in Austria claims that the German state of Bavaria has moved to blocked access by German customers. VideoGamesZone.de reports that the Bavarian Commission for the Protection of Children Against Media Abuse filed a lawsuit to shut down Austrian online retailer Gameware.at. Company spokesman Chris Veber told VGZ:

We've called our lawyer and are appealing, of course... this is violating the freedom of expression and wrong specifications from the [German ratings body], since we are not sending our products out to minors and do not have videos showing violence at [our site]. We are not breaking any Austrian laws...

The economic consequence would be the [silencing of] Gameware.at. No one would be able to find us on Google, the advertisements would be gone, no magazine would be allowed to mention our name...

Veber conceded that violent games are big sellers for his company and that 80% of his customers live in Germany.

Meanwhile, longtime GP reader Soldat Louis reports that last week the Bundestag passed a law to block access to some websites. This would appear to be the legal vehicle being employed against Gameware.at:

Officially, the goal is to struggle against child pornography. But in reality, many people fear that it could be a giant Internet censorship system...  Indeed, now that the law has been passed, Thomas Strobl, head of the CDU for Baden-Wurtemberg state, called to extend it to "killergames"-related websites...

Global Voices Advocacy has more, including information on German citizens who are protesting the government's new policy.

GP: We'll be monitoring the German situation closely.


Comments

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

It's beginning. I've read in a german gamer community, that they have problems getting 18 rated games from Amazon.UK

A german politican is examining to ban racing games like Need for Speed.

It's too much, they want do ban any videogame which could be dangerous but on the other hand they want to build a shooting range in a german school. (source)

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

The shooting range would be in a school - so what? Shooting ranges in schools are all over the place. It's not like the students get to fire a single shot. They don't even get to see the damn shooting range. It's locked, has a separate entrance and is only used outside school hours. It's simply in the building because the building has room for it. What do you expect the shooting range to do? Radiate violence and gun use through the walls?

Oh, and I also call bullshit on the rest of your comment. Noone is seriously working on a racing game ban and the only reason Amazon UK would stop selling to Germans would be the weak pound. If they did stop selling, and they don't.

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

@ magic picko

 

Better not let the German politicians near youtube, facebook or even better the Dragon Age: Orgins website that Bioware has for the game, DA: Origins.

And yet again, I ask, what is a violent game.... Yes, we all know about Manhunt 2, and GTA IV or such games, Buty what about games like Condemned, FEAR or Damnation? Are they violent?

is an rpg like Baldur's Gate violent? or is an rpg like Oblivion violent? In both games, you hack monsters and human like figures to pieces, people are blown up or chunked in Baldur's Gate...

Or is Beyond Good and Evil a violent game? You did use violence to defend yourself...

Anywho, Germany may not prevent Germans from ordering violent games or other types of games from say Denmark, Austria or Britain as this would a clear violation of directive (law or bill) that states that goods and services etc. must be allowed to cross borders within the European states that are members of the European Union. (like Germany, Denmark or Austria).

And if such a bill/directive were to be in use in all of Europe and maybe even in Germany? it would have to be passed in the European Parliament first, I think?

Anyway, all hope may not be lost just yet. Germany has, like France, a Supreme Court (or rather a constiution court) in which cases like this can be heard.

And yes, Germany did do its cleaning up after Hitler and the Nazis.

The first sentence in the first § in Article 1 of the German constitution states this:

"Die Mennsliche Würdichkeit ist unantastbar." 

English Translation: "The Human Dignity can or may not be tampered with" is the English translation I can think of right now. And many other articles in the German constitution deals directly with the protection of minorities, including disabled people. And how do I, as a Dane, know this. From German TV, of course. This year, 2009, marks the 60th birthday for the German Bundes Republic.

To get back on topic a bit:

Doesn't most banks still require you to of a certain age to get a Visa or Mastercard,
say 15, 16 or 18?

 

 

 

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

Buty what about games like Condemned, FEAR or Damnation? Are they violent?

Well, Condemned is banned in Germany. Not on the Index but banned, as in "must not be sold, not even to adults". (Ordered by a Bavarian court of course - I hate my state.) So the answer is probably "yes" on that one.

Also:

The first sentence in the first § in Article 1 of the German constitution states this:
"Die Mennsliche Würdichkeit ist unantastbar."

You might want to work on your German. It says "Die Würde des Menschen ist unantastbar", and unfortunately, that one is vague enough to come back and haunt us now. Apparently, for some people playing paintball, laser tag or violent video games is a violation of human dignity while arbitrarily taking away these things for no reason isn't.

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

Our politicians are still planning the next step in censoring the internet. The CDU (Christian "Democratic" Union), one of the big parties, is examining the possibilities to ban any website with violent-game content.

 

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

Protection of Children Against Media Abuse

It's nice to know Germany really took a former leader's lessons to heart.

"The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation." -- Adolf Hitler

I thought Germany was trying to distance itself from this. Apparently some advice is just too good to ignore.

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

How come whenever Germany pulls something, Hitler comparisons are tossed in, but if other countries do the same, people tend to not do it? I mean how many times did we read at GP "for the children", and have nobody Godwin the thread?

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

Probably for the same reasons I'd make comparisons to Qin Shi Huang about somebody in China, but not Romania.

Hitler was German. Hitler touted encroachment on civil liberties in the name of the children. Germany is encroaching on civil liberties in the name of the children. It's not that difficult to follow the bouncing ball.

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

Okay, so am I allowed to call USA politicians that cry 'for the children' nazis yes or no?


Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

Hmm, you are incorrect.

Technically Adolf Hitler was Austrian.

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

Though you're right, there was no need to sow confusion about a post over an unrelated detail.

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

You are correct, of course.

Obviously, he was a German politician and leader, but he was born in Austria. I didn't see the point in being that thorough, so I chose brevity.

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

I've mentioned Hitler or Nazism before in regards to Germany's censorship, but not as a direct comparison to Nazi censorship. 

I see Germany's modern censorship of violence as a way of overcompensating for their very violent Nazi past- a kind of compensation that doesn't tire of saying "we aim to be a bright and cheerful country now, with not a cloud of gloom in the sky, and we will prevent anything from corrupting that image". People like to point out the irony of this censorship with Godwin's law but I'm not going in that direction.

GameSnooper

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

Except by their failing to understand that irony, they risk falling into a very dark place.

I think it's important to make the comparison, even if the general internet response is "lulz, Godwin".

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

That quote is from a fictional letter. Hitler never said that in reality. Just saying.

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

Allow me to re-post that with what I cut off.

"The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation." -- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Publ.  Houghton Miflin, 1943, Page 403

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

Did you ever bother to look, if it's actually there? Because I did. It's not.

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

You'll have to forgive me if I don't have a copy of Mein Kampf lying around the house.

It's been a long time since I read it, but I do recall something about declaring children the most valuable treasure the people have.

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

I only know this with certainty because someone posted that same quote on a German message board in a discussion about the upcoming internet filter and someone else corrected him.
As I said it was written as part of a fictional letter from Adolf Hitler. The "treasure" part is a reference to a part of Mein Kampf that begins with a similar sentence (that goes on to talk about eugenics).

"It [The state] must proclaim the truth that the child is the most valuable possession a people can have. It must see to it that only those who are healthy shall beget children; that there is only one infamy, namely, for parents that are ill or show hereditary defects to bring children into the world and that in such cases it is a high honour to refrain from doing so. But, on the other hand, it must be considered as reprehensible conduct to refrain from giving healthy children to the nation."

Equally reprehensible, different subject though.

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

Thank you for the correction, then.

Sometime I'll have to pick up a copy to see for myself - if only to find whether there's anything remotely similar on that page.  It's a rather specific reference to be completely false, though I do not discount the possibility, people being what they are.

I just have no real desire to own a copy of Mein Kampf, and I'm a little reluctant to walk into a library and ask for a copy.

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

Whuh-oh, look out. What's next? Physically checking every package of media being shipped into Germany from foreign stores?

GameSnooper

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

So they are blocking adults from getting games because of "the children!!"??? *Facepalms* 

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

Yeah kind of have to agree... Germany.. you are looking pretty silly at this point. Actually I think "petty" is a more accurate word to use.

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

Wow, Screw saving money for a euro-trip.

Shame on you germany, Shame!

Magic Taco

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

you already posted that

Watching JT on GP is just like watching an episode of Jerry springer only as funny as the fights

America has just became its own version of the Jerry Springer Show after a bizarre moment in Florida involving a carnival worker.

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

Wow, Screw saving money for a euro-trip.

Shame on you germany, Shame!

Magic Taco

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

As always, here's the facts, from a German citizen directly from German sources:

The commission (KJM) did not file a lawsuit. They petitioned the BPjM to put the websites of these retailers on the Index. As far as I know, no decision has been made yet.

Should the BPjM decide to do this, the affected retailers would no longer be allowed to advertise in Germany and theoretically would be obliged to implement an age verification system to ensure that minors can't access their website. Emphasis is on "theoretically", because there's no way to actually enforce this outside of Germany. Note that this ban on advertisement bans anyone from making any form of advertisement, including publicly refering people to their shop. "Advertisement" was interpreted very liberally by law enforcement in the past, so in practice mentioning the webpage/movie/game/whatever on the Index is avoided completely.
The part about "blocking access" is flat out wrong. No legislation exists to "block access" to webpages that are put on the Index, so that just can't happen. Worst case is no more ads in Germany, probably filtered from Google results, and that's it.

 

Also, while I'm totally on their side, this is just bullshit:
since we are not sending our products out to minors
How the fuck would they know? They don't do age verification. Not doing age verification is the only reason why they sell that much to Germany in the first place, it's a huge part of their business model. Putting "all customers have to be adults" into your conditions of use just doesn't cut it.

Links: http://www.bundespruefstelle.de/bmfsfj/generator/bpjm/information-in-eng... - description of the process

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

Neither is saying all consumers of X need to be adults without reasoanble enformcent...

 


I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay's outside our bedrooms..


http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

Out of being just curious how would you do an Age Verification that would actually work?

Would you put a button that says are you 18 because that works really well ( I was 15 and clicking those like crazy).  Would you put a scroll thing like screwattack does cause you know kids are to stupid to scroll the year down to a person that is 50.  Would you requrie a credit card because you know I didn't have one of those at 16 or even access to my parent's credit card before that.  So what exactly would you do that isn't just a dumber way then placing it into their conditions ... I'm thinking jack.

Let's face it without having a person physically come to you and show you two forms of id you probably are not going to be able to "verify" their age (and let's face it the id can be faked too).

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

Those buttons and "please enter your age" things all those American pages have are ridiculously useless. I always wonder, why they even bother. Needless to say, those don't satisfy German legal requirements.

German websites often use PostIdent, a service where companies can have you sign papers personally through the mail. The mailman checks your id and sends the signed form back to the shop. Others check with the SCHUFA (credit information agency), which knows your age, because you showed id, when you opened your bank account or mobile phone contract and then send you your access information by registered mail. Sometimes you just have to enter your personal id number, which includes your date of birth, but that isn't much of an age check (courts haven't considered it insufficient before) and also excludes anyone who isn't a German citizen.

Shops that don't sell Indexed material (where just browsing the available games has to be restricted to adults) can also check the buyer's id on delivery. (Amazon does this for example.) Packages have to be accepted in person and the name on the id has to match the name on the order completely. If (for lack of a better example) George W. Bush were to buy Team Fortress 2 off of amazon.de, he couldn't have his package delivered to George W. Bush or George Bush. His ID says George Walker Bush, so that's what has to go on the order form. (In a country, where lots of people have middle names but noone uses them, this can be real fun.) I don't know about other delivery services, but DHL and the regular mail do this.

So this is basically why Germans buy from Austrian or British shops - because you don't have to put up with the age verification.

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

That is some interesting stuff Germany has done.  I would say since Germany offer's and have these services avaliable then this companies only hope is that they violate international trade laws by restricting them (but like others have and yourself have said it has just been proposed and hasnt been done).  

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

My German news sources say, that a foreign shop can't be put on the index solely for selling stuff that happens to be restricted under German law. They were accused of offering videos of the gameplay of such games. By the online shops' accounts that isn't true, having skimmed through their web presence I concur. They do have screenshots and descriptions of the games, but I doubt that will be enough.
My prediction: This complaint won't go anywhere because it lacks any basis in reality.

If the British pound stays where it's now, they'll be in trouble anyway. If I'm already ordering from abroad, I might as well take the 30% favorable exchange rate discount.

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

How much money are they wasteing on this, don't they relaize the taxes that are being paid?

 


I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay's outside our bedrooms..


http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

It's probably not that much money. And it's prime pandering material too.

Oh, of course this probably isn't what happened. GPs track record on German politics is like 0%. Probably not a good idea to trust them on this one.

--------------------------------------------------------

Believe in something! Even if it's wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

-------------------------------------------------------- Believe in something! Even if it's wrong, believe in it! GET OFF MY PHONE! -Glenn Beck

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

I think we got an Iran style protest happening in germany soon(I don't predict the future, but I think the protest are happening soon)

Watching JT on GP is just like watching an episode of Jerry springer only as funny as the fights

America has just became its own version of the Jerry Springer Show after a bizarre moment in Florida involving a carnival worker.

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

I wish this could be true. German gamers and industry should stand against this crap.

The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): http://thelostlevel.blogspot.com/ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com/

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

mikedo2007

Looks like it, I hope it doesn't end up with gamers getting kill in the protest, I do not want to see another "Neda" video or a chopper dumping a liquid that burn skins.  Germany would stoop so low to Iran's level when it comes to gamer.

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

Still havign trouble with youer sig? post the code/text/html here or PM me in the forums, I bet I can fix it....

 


I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay's outside our bedrooms..


http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

 

No it's not that.  I use GP at my worksite (NIH).  When I use computer at NIH, it won't let me paste my PSN Card signature on the bottom.  Everytime I tried to paste to the bottom, it give me the security warning, and won't let me paste in the bottom.  Goddamn, NIH computer and it's security.

PS-I'm now typing from my home computer.

 

 

 

mikedo2007

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

Anonymus(yes, they were the good guys after all) is already taking up the fight for us in Germany(along with Stigma-videospeele)

Heres thier site http://forums.whyweprotest.net/292-freedom-expression/internet-censorshi...

http://forums.whyweprotest.net/292-freedom-expression/june-20-hamburg-in...

 and If Germany stoops too low (concerning video games) I can hear the international commumity(and news people) right now telling Germany to stop killing their people

Watching JT on GP is just like watching an episode of Jerry springer only as funny as the fights

America has just became its own version of the Jerry Springer Show after a bizarre moment in Florida involving a carnival worker.

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

 I wonder if there's an exception to Godwin's Law is you're talking about Germany...

I wonder if Hitler was protecting the children?

------- Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

Actually, 'think of the children' was one of his retorical devices.  Much of his argument had to do with the 'future of the race' and 'what kind of world will your children have'.

And of course there were the baby factories.

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

Whenever anyone says "think of the children", you know they are about to do something so rediculously evil that it requires people to think of sweet, innocent children in order to keep their consciences from destroying them. If anyone ever says "think of the kittens", you know that we are all fucked.

--------------------------------------------------------

Believe in something! Even if it's wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

-------------------------------------------------------- Believe in something! Even if it's wrong, believe in it! GET OFF MY PHONE! -Glenn Beck

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

I think we've already heard "Think of the house flies".

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

Think of the sea-kittens :D

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

Think of the sea kittens?

 

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

There´s not enough bullsh*t in the world to describe this pathetic abuse.

The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): http://thelostlevel.blogspot.com/ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com/

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

ha...hahah...HAHAHAHAHAHAH

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

Hrm.  I wonder if this might run into problems with international trade agreements.  Preventing your citizens from obtaining foreign goods always skims legality.

Re: Germany In Court to Block Access to Austrian Game ...

I think cases like this have been taken to the European court in the past and been viewed as illegal.

/b

 
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