Games and Censorship

Oh god, the OFLC and the NSW Attourney-General’s office have opened a can of worms.

Given the latest sort of back and forth, EB Games is a serious violator of the NSW Classification laws for selling games that currently aren’t classified.

These games include titles such as:  World of Warcraft, Age of Conan, Guild Wars and Warhammer Online (all of which I’ve seen on the shelves of my local EB).  I even have evidence of having bought unclassified games from EB in the past – I have a copy of Master of Orion I, which was bundled with UFO Enemy Unknown – UFO was classified, but MOO wasn’t – in its original EB shrinkwrap with the old-style EB price sticker intact.

Anyway, most of us don’t view this as being a big deal.  It seems EBGames doesn’t realise it’s breaking/has broken the law.  The NSW Police seem to be quietly ignoring it along with every other crime they ignore.

Anyway, there is a point to this, other than screaming at how stupid this all is.

Henceforth, I will not be posting my opinions on import games unless I can find evidence of an OFLC classification.  Technically, it might be sufficient to classify as a public demonstration if I include screenshots or detailed information about the game, so let’s just not risk it.  Besides, the imports I bring in for myself are a tiny tiny fraction of the total games I play and I rarely mention them anyway.

And…  if anybody talks about mass complaining to the NSW police that EB and every other games retailer are selling unclassified games, I’d strongly recommend participating.  It would give all of the relevant parties something to seriously think about if, all of a sudden, every reseller of games and the publishers are all being hit with classification infringements…

5 thoughts on “Games and Censorship”

  1. I worry that if WoW etc are not classified, then there would be implications should the Great Firewall of Oz get off the ground. Surely if it’s illegal for Australians to play those games, then the access of unclassifiable materials should be blocked?

    Personally, I don’t have time for MMOs, but I think people should be allowed to choose whether or not they play them. And if it’s about the kids, the the parents need to teach themselves about the technology instead of demanding that the government legislate it out of existence.

    All in all, it’s just more evidence that our legislators (on either side of the political fence) don’t really understand this new age of entertainment we live in.

  2. Funnily enough, you can argue against that one.

    Assuming I’ve read the act correctly, the classification laws in NSW prohibit the sale and exhibition of unclassified materials, but not the personal consumption thereof.

    That is, if you buy something that isn’t classified by the OFLC, outside of Australia and bring it into the country, and only ever play/view it yourself, you’re not prosecutable under the classification laws.

    Ergo: it’s legal for me to buy myself a copy of a game that hasn’t been locally classified from outside of the country, as long as I don’t exhibit it to persons as described by the act, and don’t try to sell it.

  3. That’s good to understand. It also means you could technically review such material, so long as you didn’t show screencaps.

    Still, I think we should find a real way to have the current classification regime reviewed and updated.

  4. The problem is that reviews are a form of exhibition, so it’s a grey area I’d rather not touch. (Screenshots, etc, just make it more apparent, but you can probably still argue that describing the game is exhibiting it)

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