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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prh99It's not unusual for community guidelines to conflict with content served to said community. Of course the idea is to try and keep user from using those words as weapons against each other.04/21/2015 - 5:36pm
IronPatriotGTA to players: Do as we say, not as we do. Wait... don't do as we say, either.04/21/2015 - 4:32pm
Daniel LewisBy the big 3 i mean the three console developers,sony,microsoft and nintendo04/21/2015 - 4:30pm
InfophileThe filter also misses a lot of slang from non-American dialects of English. I'd go on to list a bunch here that I've learned since living in Scotland, but... well, let's just say "dogging" has a much different meaning over here.04/21/2015 - 4:11pm
ConsterI know about gash's meaning (I googled it prior to my comment, I just meant I can't really see myself ever using it like that). What do you mean with 'the big three', though?04/21/2015 - 3:52pm
Daniel LewisAnd Gash can be used as slang for the female genitalia04/21/2015 - 3:46pm
Daniel LewisActually all the big three are in that list,pretty common place for games to add a filter for words no matter what is used in the game04/21/2015 - 3:44pm
Consterand do people pretend to be software developers a lot or something?04/21/2015 - 3:29pm
Consterapparently 'gash' is also slang nowadays? I just know it as an injury type. Also, how come 'bisexual' is on the list but 'lesbian' (when properly spelled) isn't?04/21/2015 - 3:28pm
E. Zachary Knighthttp://kotaku.com/nintendo-and-other-banned-words-i-cant-use-in-grand-th-169924759704/21/2015 - 2:59pm
E. Zachary KnightGTA 5, a game that uses a vast array of swears, racist and sexist language in the dialog of the game, bans people from using those sames words along with a vast number of others, including 'Nintendo'. 04/21/2015 - 2:58pm
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.wired.com/2015/04/dmca-ownership-john-deere/04/21/2015 - 1:58pm
ZippyDSMleeMatthew Wilson: Classic shell ^_~04/21/2015 - 1:56pm
Matthew Wilson@zipp I dont like the star menu taking up the whole dam screen, so just getting the start menu back will be worth it.04/21/2015 - 11:19am
ZippyDSMleeI got a extra HDD I will take win 10 for a spin. see if tis worthwhile heck if I do not have to move colums over in Skyrims creation kit its a keeper!04/21/2015 - 10:53am
ZippyDSMleeMatthew Wilson: Been on win 8.1 a few months the only thing I do not like is compatibility issues with older programs. 10 won't fix that sadly...04/21/2015 - 10:51am
E. Zachary KnightThe US Supreme Court has ruled that the 4th Amendment does offer US citizens some protections. This is a change of pace from other 4th Amendment rulings. http://reason.com/blog/2015/04/21/supreme-court-says-police-violated-4th-a04/21/2015 - 10:35am
E. Zachary KnightNot sure on that specific. But It is slightly annoying, but it can help to clairfy on occasion.04/21/2015 - 10:13am
IvresseCan I just ask out of curiousity why people repeat the title in their shout when it clearly states it in the URL?04/21/2015 - 9:07am
E. Zachary KnightI would say that is true. It drives me nuts when games are patched. The closer the patch is to launch, the worse it is.04/21/2015 - 9:06am
 

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