Australian Law Reform Commission Recommends Voluntary Ratings System

September 30, 2011 -

The Australian Law Reform Commission's (ALRC) review into the country's classification system has determined that that only games likely to be rated MA15+ or hired should be classified by the government. The review was commissioned late last year by Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland. The point of the review was to find ways to reform Australia's classification laws in light of changing business models, globalization of retail, and new distribution methods. The ALRC released an Issues Paper in May of this year offering an overview of the current classification system and inviting the public and the industry to respond.

The official discussion paper puts 43 proposals for reform to Australia's current classification system on the table. The most notable recommendation is that the government should only rate games that are MA15+ or higher, and games rated less then that would be voluntarily rated.

"The classification of most other media content--for example, books, magazines, websites, music, and computer games now likely to be G, PG and M--should become or remain voluntary. However, the ALRC proposes that industry bodies should develop codes of practice that encourage the voluntary classification of some of this other content, such as lower-level computer games, using the categories, criteria, and markings of the National Classification Scheme."

The ALRC also says that publishers can choose to classify lower-level games voluntarily using "authorized industry classifiers."

"There are arguably too many games developed and released each year, and developed by too diverse a range of persons, to formally classify before they are sold or distributed in Australia. Hundreds of thousands of small games, often played online or on mobile devices and developed by small developers or individuals, are now available for sale."

The ARLC says that this new system allows for an industry classification that reduces costs of regulatory burdens, takes independent developers into consideration, and givers publishers of niche products a break.

The discussion paper also notes that the R18+ debate is a prime example of why the required unanimous agreement among the Commonwealth, states, and territories to makes changes to the current ratings system is a "poorly designed" and "time consuming" process.

"The ALRC has heard loud and clear that the current system is broken and no longer fits with how people are consuming media content," ALRC President Professor Rosalind Croucher said in a press statement. "It is poorly equipped to deal with the challenges of media convergence, and the case for reform is strong. The ALRC is proposing reform that can be phased in to allow time for industry and the community to adapt to the new scheme. Responses to the paper will help inform the development of final recommendations for reform."

"The government is committed to modernizing Australia's classification system to address the challenges created by rapidly changing media technology," Federal Attorney-General, Robert McClelland and Federal Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O'Connor, said in a joint press statement today. "The ALRC last reviewed classification standards 20 years ago. Australians need to be confident that our classification system will help them make informed choices about what they choose to read, see, hear and play. This is especially important for parents who rely on the National Classification Scheme to make sensible choices for their children."

The final ALRC report on Australia's classification scheme is due early next year.

Source: GameSpot

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E. Zachary KnightGot that same recommendation on Twitter. So I guess that is a good sign.09/15/2014 - 8:39pm
prh99Portlandia, though I don't watch a lot of sitcoms. Heard it was good though.09/15/2014 - 8:02pm
E. Zachary KnightSitcom recommendations for someone who like Parks and Rec but hates The Office: Go.09/15/2014 - 6:08pm
NeenekoEven if they do change their policy, they can only do it moving forward and I could see the mod/pack community simply branching.09/15/2014 - 12:50pm
Michael ChandraAs for take the money and run, the guy must have a networth of 8~9 digits already.09/15/2014 - 10:33am
Michael ChandraMe, I'm more betting on some form of mod API where servers must run donations/payments through them and they take a cut.09/15/2014 - 10:32am
Michael ChandraEspecially since they want it for promoting their phones. Killing user interest is the dumbest move to make.09/15/2014 - 10:32am
Michael ChandraGiven how the EULA actively allows for LPs, I'm not sure Microsoft is ready for the backlash of disallowing that.09/15/2014 - 10:31am
Matthew Wilsonthey wont do that, the backlash would be too big.09/15/2014 - 10:25am
ConsterSleaker: how is that a flipside? Sounds to me like that's basically what Notch himself said, except rudely.09/15/2014 - 10:18am
MaskedPixelanteOn the plus side, no more lazy Minecraft LPs, since iirc Microsoft has a strict "no monetization period" policy when it comes to their stuff.09/15/2014 - 10:13am
james_fudgeBut it continues to sell on every platform it is on, so there's that09/15/2014 - 10:09am
james_fudgeOh, well that's another matter :)09/15/2014 - 10:08am
E. Zachary KnightNothing against Notch here. I think it is great that he made something so cool. I just can't understand how it is worth $2.5 bil09/15/2014 - 9:59am
InfophileWhat a world we live in: Becoming a billionaire was the easy way out for Notch.09/15/2014 - 9:42am
james_fudgelots of hate for Notch here. I don't get it. Sorry he made a game everyone loved. What a monster he is!09/15/2014 - 9:37am
SleakerOn the flipside, Notch has been a horrible CEO for Mojang, and the company has grown on sheer inertia, DESPITE being mishandled over and over.09/15/2014 - 9:33am
SleakerI can understand Notch's statements he made to Kotaku about growing bigger than he intended, and getting hate for EULA changes he didn't enact.09/15/2014 - 9:32am
MaskedPixelantehttp://pastebin.com/n1qTeikM Notch's statement about the MS acquisition. He wanted out for a long time and this was the easiest way.09/15/2014 - 9:08am
ConsterEh, I can't blame him.09/15/2014 - 9:01am
 

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