Wednesday, June 13, 2007

EU to Consider Video Game Regulations

It is being reported that the EU is considering stricter restrictions on the sale of "killer" video games. The restrictions would create a common set of penalties for retailers, but leave the classification of games up to the member states.

I hardly need to mention that similar laws in the United States have been repeatedly struck down. However, it's also readily apparent to most people with even the slightest legal background that the US and the EU are very different legal animals.

The EU (as a collective body) does not guarantee free speech, as such. (For those unfamiliar with the workings of the EU, each of the member states still retains their own laws. It would be quite time consuming for me to look for a free speech mandate in each, so I am only going to speak to the EU overall.) The closest they come is Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the European Union, which reads:

Article 11

Freedom of expression and information

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.

2. The freedom and pluralism of the media shall be respected.

This does sound much like freedom of speech, but even a small amount of research into the state of affairs in the EU shows that it is not as broadly applied as the First Amendment in the US.

It will be interesting to see if these new regulations are put into force in the EU, and if the industry challenges them if they do.

[Update: It appears this issue has been abandoned for the time being. We can only hope it stays that way.]

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