Last week I briefly talked about the legal obstacles indie developers are faced with when releasing titles in Germany. I have been able to talk briefly with Ivan Ertlov, an indie developer currently working on Into the Dark. Hit the jump for some thoughts from Ivan on this issue.
In Austria, Violence is not a problem at all as long it`s not very excessive or violence against minorities, children et.c.
We have of course our laws regarding pornographic material, but you would have to show really explicit pcitures to get caught there. Partial nudity (Boobies) is sometimes even approved for ages 10 and up
When it comes to 3rd reich stuff, it gets quite difficult. First, we have a law prohibiting to show signs of a forbidden organisation. This is called “Abzeichengesetz“, the fines are quite low (700 Euro or 1 month jail):
Of course you would have to remvove a product completely from the Austrian market.
It gets harder if you find yourself in a court case regarding the “Verbotsgesetz 1947”. For being punished under that one, you would have to do something that could be considered as Propaganda favorable to the 3rd reich or its organizations.
Noone with his senses clear would do that – 5 to 10 years of jail are waiting. Since 1992, you can go to jail for denying the holocaust or for publishing lower numbers of holocaust victims than the “official” ones. Still, noone would do that in a computergame. Up to 20 years of jail waiting!
As for Germany:
Here violence per se is a problem. The private yet official USK institution has to judge on games and give them an age rating which is binding. If you get one, everything is fine. If you don`t get one, you can still sell your games, but everyone can start a cause called “Indizierungsverfahren” which will end you game either to be forbidden to be advertised or totally forbidden (Index list A or B).
Laws regarding 3rd reich stuff are similar to the ones in Austria.
It sounds a very interesting topic, and it must be tricky for non-German/Austrian developers who might not fully understand the laws in those countries. If any developers who have experience with releasing their titles in Germany and Austria want to share their stories, please get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org