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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prh99Honestly I've never liked Gawker, and considering their own behavior the self righteous indignation in the wake of GG rings a bit hollow. If my email causes them to lose money I will not feel even a twinge of guilt.10/23/2014 - 1:00pm
Papa MidnightNeo_DrKefka: Till outlets such as IGN and GameSpot so much as even acknowledge the mere existence of "GamerGate", I highly doubt it will affect their modus operandi anytime in the future - near or otherwise.10/23/2014 - 12:26pm
Neo_DrKefkaWhat GamerGate is essentially doing whether people like it or not its going to change the gamingmedia but inturn its also going to replace some outlets & practice the same wrongs they claim they fought against. Its happening already look at TheRalphRetort10/23/2014 - 12:18pm
Neo_DrKefkaIf a company claims it supports the Klan or another offensive organization than the advertiser needs to make sure they're brand is not tainted so they pull they're ads. One side does not determine the right to determine what is universally offensive.10/23/2014 - 12:14pm
Neo_DrKefkaActions have consequences however. If you do a Bioware and insult EA's customers would you be suprised if they lost advertisers and customers? Advertisers are not giving money to charity to they putting ads to make money.10/23/2014 - 12:13pm
Matthew Wilsonwhile I disagree with people pushing pressure on advertisers, consumers do not have many other options to show there disagreements with a article or writer. if people are going to do it, it should be for somthing much worse then that guy did.10/23/2014 - 12:10pm
Neo_DrKefkaNow they are about KingofPol & InternetAristocrat making streams that are bait and switch Streams that claims they are about GG but are about them getting drunk and them making fun of Autistic people10/23/2014 - 12:09pm
Neo_DrKefkahttp://tinyurl.com/nhlbgq8 These people some of them are using GamerGate to prop there careers up. GamerGate streams used to be about ideas of change and solutions to problems.10/23/2014 - 12:09pm
Neo_DrKefkaI believe the message of #GamerGate but I do not believe in the Cult of Personality that has formed. Where sites like TechRaptor gained exposure and they are a great site. Sites like TheRalphReport are using this movement for there own personal gain.10/23/2014 - 12:05pm
ZippyDSMleeSo has the whole GG thing become toxic to the point its time to move on yet?10/23/2014 - 11:54am
prh99As for GG, I am surprised they haven't pulled out every 4chan spawned mob and script kiddie's favorite tool, LOIC to DDoS their foes. Or maybe they did and I missed it.10/23/2014 - 11:38am
BillIn his article Max says "I've been told that we've lost thousands of dollars already, and could potentially lose thousands more, if not millions."10/23/2014 - 11:25am
BillJames, do you think new advertisers won't bring this up when negotiating Ad rates? From a business standpoint, if I were to advertise on Gawker I would point to this and be pretty firm on lower rates.10/23/2014 - 11:21am
prh99Had my say, what they do after that is their business. Though calling your current advertisers "craven idiots" and "pusillanimous morons" probably isn't all that smart if you are going to complain about lost revenue from pulled ads.10/23/2014 - 11:18am
james_fudgeand when they do they will innoculate themselves from this stuff before the deal is even signed10/23/2014 - 11:02am
james_fudgewhen you do that much traffic you can always replace advertisers, guys10/23/2014 - 11:02am
prh99I helped him out and emailed Gawkers advertisers with the message "This is how Gawker covers you when they disagree with you". Not necessarily as support for GG but he is just down right insulting. 10/23/2014 - 10:48am
BillI think he got rolled twice. They made him mad enough to insult a possible advertiser. Other advertisers are going to notice this. It may be cathartic for him, but it's not good business.10/23/2014 - 9:17am
Billhttp://gawker.com/how-we-got-rolled-by-the-dishonest-fascists-of-gamergat-164949657910/23/2014 - 9:14am
Andrew EisenMarvel also shows it understands that once it leaks, it's out there and went ahead and officially released the trailer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmeOjFno6Do10/22/2014 - 9:36pm
 

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