Switzerland Will Not Sign ACTA

May 9, 2012 -

According to web site Geneva Lunch, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) quietly suffered another setback today in Switzerland where the Swiss Federal Council said it would not sign the agreement. 

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Swiss Government Report Says File-Sharing is not a Significant Problem or Concern

December 5, 2011 -

A new report by the Swiss government comes to the conclusion that file-sharing is not a significant problem and that existing Swiss law is sufficient enough. Swiss law allows for downloading copyrighted content for personal use. The report studied and rejected three proposed changes to Swiss law when it come to file-sharing: a three-strike law similar to France's, Internet filtering to block sites that traffic in copyrighted files, and collective licensing regime that would impose a fee on all Swiss internet users that would in turn allow for unlimited file-sharing.

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Swiss Police Association Calls for Ban of The Darkness II

August 12, 2011 -

Some police in Switzerland hate fun. A Swiss police association has called for a ban on The Darkness II because the game depicts scenes where police are shot at and killed. And in other news, police have also called for the ban of every television crime drama ever made in the entire world.

"Politicians, game producers and sellers have been advised that such games be immediately removed from circulation," read a statement from the Swiss Christian Police Association."

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Swiss Game Ban May Feature Only a Little Censorship

April 5, 2010 -

According to the politician behind the law, a recently-ratified, but not yet enacted, Swiss violent game ban would not blindly outlaw all violent games.

Swiss Social Democrat Evi Allemann (pictured) was recently interviewed by the Swiss publication 20 Minutes Online (translated) and indicated that the ban would apply only to “individual games.” She estimated that, “like in Germany,” only 12 or so games would wind up being banned, including titles such as Mortal Kombat and Manhunt (which are banned in Germany), but not the likes of Counter-Strike.

Swiss Target Violent Games

March 25, 2010 -

A bit late to the party on this one, but it appears the Swiss are taking aim at violent games and have passed a couple of resolutions that could seriously impact franchises such as Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty.

The Swiss National Council's resolutions, passed a few days ago, are not law yet as the government must determine what constitutes inappropriate amounts of violence. According to Kotaku, the Socialist Party's resolution seeks to "stop the manufacture, advertisement, importation and sale of any game that promotes as a means of advancement or 'success' acts of violence against humans or 'human-like' creatures." The resolution passed 19-12.

The second, by the Christian Democratic Party, wants to restrict the sale of violent shooters to children, and passed 27-1. 

But the article also points out a ray of sunshine:

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Swiss Pass Violent Game Bans, Actual Laws to Follow

March 19, 2010 -

So much for remaining neutral—a pair of Swiss resolutions dealing with violent videogames have been passed by the country’s National Council.

As detailed last month, the first resolution, proposed by Christian Democratic Party member and National Councillor Norbert Hochreutener, would make it illegal to sell PEGI 16 or 18-rated games to minors, while a second resolution, backed by Social Democrat Evi Allemann, called for a complete ban of violent and adult-themed videogames.

Swiss Violent Videogame Resolutions Move Forward

February 18, 2010 -

The topic of violent and adult-rated games has once again bubbled up in Switzerland.

MCVUK and TechEye both report on a resolution that passed unanimously in the Commission for Legal Affairs and would make it illegal to sell games rated PEGI 16 or 18 to under-age minors. Swiss parliament will now have a chance to vote on the measure, which was originally introduced by Christian Democratic Party member and National Councillor Norbert Hochreutener in 2007.

TechEye writes that Hochreutener believes the law is needed to “enforce ratings and make sure kids cannot play what are called 'killer games' in the German-speaking part of Europe.”

A second, and more troubling motion, would call for a complete ban of violent and adult-themed videogames within the country. This motion passed too, though with a closer vote of nine to three, and will also head off to parliament for vote. One of the backers of this proposal is Social Democrat Evi Allemann (pictured).

Allemann’s website offers some of her thoughts (translated) on the banning of such “killer” games:

Such games do not make each one a killer, but they increase the willingness of those who are already vulnerable. A blanket ban on such games therefore seems appropriate and proportionate, especially since they do not have any worth protecting cultural and social content and there are thousands of other exciting games that work without such extreme violence.

One way to implement the motion lies in the operationalization of Article 135 of the Criminal Code. This prohibits the display, manufacture, importation, storage, promotion, etc. of sound and visual recordings of cruel violence.

Another country to keep an eye on in the future.

Edit: Fixed the link for the translated section of Alleman's website.

Fighting Fair: International Humanitarian Law As Applied to Games

November 20, 2009 -

Proving that there really is a study for everything, an interesting new analysis applies International Humanitarian Law (IHL) to a variety of war-themed videogames to see how they stack up.

Playing by the Rules was undertaken by a pair of Swiss organizations, Pro Juventute, a children’s rights group, and Track Impunity Always (TRIAL), an association with a focus on international criminal justice.

The aim of the study was to “raise public awareness among developers and publishers of the games, as well as among authorities, educators and the media about virtually committed crimes in computer and videogames.”

Titles were played by gamers under that watchful eye of representatives from both organizations, along with three lawyers that specialized in IHL. Games tested included Army of Two, Battlefield Bad Company, Call of Duty 4 & 5, Far Cry 2, Metal Gear Solid 4 (referred to as Metal Gear Soldier in the report) and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6 Vegas.

For each title the study offers general information as a lead-in, then offers up context of the conflict in question and lists violations encountered along with legal analysis.

From FarCry 2’s Violations Encountered and Legal Analysis section:

The scenes portray extensive shooting in civilian areas and the shooting of civilian objects, including shooting at a church. All these acts go unpunished in the game. Even if we assume the attacks are not directed against these objects, the excessive destruction of civilian objects amounts to a violation of the principle of proportionality.

 

IHL allows for some collateral damage to civilians and civilian objects in carrying out hostilities, however, any expected damage must be proportional to the direct and concrete military advantage anticipated.

Overall the study stated, “The result is as deflating as reality. The organisation calls upon game producers to consequently and creatively incorporate rules of international humanitarian law and human rights into their games.”

Among the recommendations offered were:

It would be very useful if developers would incorporate more specific rules on how to conduct an operation in their games, in terms of the weapons allowed, the behaviour allowed, the military targets sought, the degree of collateral damage permitted, etc. The message of the scenes should never be that everything is allowed, or that it is up to the player to decide what is right and what is wrong. In real life, this is not the way it works.


The full study can be viewed here (PDF).


Thanks Bart! (Soldat_Louis)

44 comments

Swiss Docs Find New Skin Condition: PlayStation Palm

February 24, 2009 -

There are those who variously claim that video games can make you fat, violent or addicted.

Add sweaty-palmed to the list.

As reported by UK newspaper the Telegraph, doctors in Switzerland report that they discovered skin lesions on a gamer's palm which they attribute to gripping a controller. Not to single out Sony's system, but the Swiss docs have termed the condition PlayStation palmar hidradenitis.

Okay, maybe they singling out Sony's system.

In any case, dermatologists noticed lesions on the hands of a 12-year-old gamer-girl. When she stopped playing for 10 days, the condition went away. Doctors suspect that intense sweating caused by tightly gripping the controller is to blame.

Nina Goad of the British Association of Dermatologists told the Telegraph:

This is an interesting discovery and one that the researchers are keen to share with other dermatologists, should they be confronted with similar, unexplained symptoms in a patient.

If you're worried about soreness on your hands when playing a games console, it might be sensible to give your hands a break from time to time, and don't play excessively if your hands are prone to sweating.

UPDATE: CVG reports on Sony's response:

...PlayStation was launched in 1995 and has sold hundreds of millions of consoles over the last 13 years. We would not wish to belittle this research and we will study the findings with interest, but this is the first time we have ever heard of a complaint of this nature.

42 comments

Swiss Court Refuses to Ban Stranglehold

June 10, 2008 -

The game seems more like a fantasy and not real events...

Saying those words, a Swiss judge declined a politician's request to ban John Woo's Stranglehold.

As reported by SwissInfo.ch, it was the first time that a court in Switzerland had ruled on the sale of violent video games.

As GamePolitics reported in April, Roland Näf, a politician affiliated with the Social Democratic Party, targeted retailer MediaMarkt for selling the game. From SwissInfo's coverage:

Näf claimed that violent games such as Stranglehold violated Article 135 of Switzerland's criminal code. The court rejected that argument... MediaMarkt had limited the sale of the game to customers over the age of 18, although access to the game was widespread among 14 year olds, according to a report in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper.

 

However, a statement from the Social Democrats indicates that they may be planning to pursue tougher legislation:

Now we know that the federal government must act [to address violent games].

Allan Guggenbühl, a child psychologist at Zurich University, told SwissInfo that the political concerns were exaggerated:

The vast majority of children can actually distinguish between virtual reality and their own lives. For them, it doesn't really have any negative influences. We don't allow children to be fascinated by violence. But the fascination with violence is something which is paramount in our society... [Adults] participate in a ritual where they on a daily basis expose themselves to horrid scenes...

 

 
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SeanBI wrote up a post detailing my thoughts on this Mojang/Bukkit stuff, feel free to chime in if you wish. http://goo.gl/OFJJIE08/23/2014 - 12:24am
Matthew Wilsonfirst, that crap is wrong. second, isnt this the 3rd time he has quit?08/22/2014 - 12:11pm
Zenhttp://levelsave.com/phil-fish-polytron-doxxed-phil-fish-quits-gaming-sells-fez-polytron/ , https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bvnhvz5IIAAAVc5.png:large08/22/2014 - 12:03pm
ZenHere are some links to the story and images. http://playeressence.com/polytron-and-phil-fish-hacked-tons-of-personal-info-leaked/ , https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bvnx8sQCIAAwumB.jpg:large , https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bvnj_zmCUAAlYWm.jpg:large08/22/2014 - 12:02pm
ZenSo...Phil Fish was apparently hacked on both his Twitter and the Polytron site along with all of his personal information has been given out in a zip file. He has since closed his Twitter and stated that Polytron and the Fez IP are for sale. He wants out.08/22/2014 - 12:01pm
Papa MidnightThe Verge says the sequel to Flappy Bird is nearly impossible. http://www.theverge.com/2014/8/21/6053297/swing-copters-flappy-bird-sequel08/21/2014 - 12:22pm
SleakerPC-Gamer wrote an article on what's going on with the Minecraft stuff: http://www.pcgamer.com/2014/08/21/minecraft-bukkit-team-lead-tries-to-end-development-but-mojang-steps-in/08/21/2014 - 11:55am
SleakerEVE had a high-profile ban today: http://massively.joystiq.com/2014/08/20/eve-online-lottery-site-somer-blink-shutting-down/#continued08/21/2014 - 10:26am
SleakerBut where have all the Ethics gone?08/21/2014 - 9:08am
Sleaker@EZK - one of the bigger things is that since Mojang has owned Bukkit for 2 years now, people contributing to the project have basically been doing work for them pro-bono. On top of never formalizing support. They hid the fact probably to prevent support08/21/2014 - 9:07am
SleakerIf you've played on a server with mods/plugins, you've almost for sure played on a Bukkit-based server.08/21/2014 - 8:56am
SleakerHere's Bukkit's explanation attempt at shutting down due to EULA changes: http://forums.bukkit.org/threads/bukkit-its-time-to-say.305106/08/21/2014 - 8:55am
SleakerEZK - it's the largest server mod for MC, in actuality without it minecraft for sure would not have been as popular (#1 game now).08/21/2014 - 8:54am
SleakerTo the point that it seems they have completely lost what it means to be for-community, and having transparency. Along with dumping restrictive EULA's onto people.08/21/2014 - 8:53am
E. Zachary KnightWhat is Bukkit and why should I care?08/21/2014 - 8:53am
SleakerMinecraft community exploded again today. Apparently Mojang owns all of Bukkit, and never put out a statement saying as such 2 years ago when they acquired them. I have to say, their transition from indie has been rough.08/21/2014 - 8:52am
james_fudgeThere aren't many left in America08/21/2014 - 1:50am
MechaTama31I sure have. Dorky's barcade in Tacoma, WA.08/20/2014 - 5:56pm
Matthew WilsonI have not been to a arcade in years. I know arcades are still big in japan.08/20/2014 - 5:38pm
Sleaker@AE - Ah no it's called GroundKontrol - I was just referring to it as a Bar-Arcade.08/20/2014 - 4:39pm
 

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