Swastikas and censorship? A legal take on the Wolfenstein 2 debate in Germ...

The release of Wolfenstein 2 has sparked a heated debate in Germany on the country’s factual ban of swastikas in video games, perceived as being counterproductive in a game depicting the fight against Nazis. Any references to National Socialism have been purged in the localized version: The opponent is called the “regime”, swastikas are banned […]

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Website blocking: Efficient means of combating online piracy in the EU?

Stopping commercial copyright infringements on the internet is often difficult. Only rarely can the operators of such offers be identified, even taking hold of the hosting providers regularly fails. Thus, as a last resort, access providers can be compelled to block users from accessing websites offering illegal content. Such a procedure is not an automatic process; […]

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Briefly noted: Germany introduces transparency register to fight money lau...

The German legislator has recently amended the Anti-Money Laundering Act, implementing European rules to more effectively prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. One important new feature of the Act is the introduction of a national central transparency register, showing which natural person(s) stand behind certain legal entities as their beneficial owner, to the extent this information […]

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Video Game Age Ratings in Europe (Part 2 of 3: Virtual Reality)
April 12, 2016
The rapid development of virtual reality technology lets players immerse themselves into digital worlds. Virtual reality headsets are already used in numerous video games to deliver astonishingly real gaming experiences. It is yet unclear, however, how exactly the technology affects age ratings for video games. We explore some ideas. Read more
Video Game Age Ratings in Europe (Part 1 of 3: The Basics)
March 24, 2016
Content rating systems are used to classify games for suitable age groups in most countries with relevance for the games industry. Age ratings can create restrictions on marketing and distribution of games, but also help consumers make better choices and provide legal certainty for publishers.

While PEGI has established itself as the main rating system in Europe, some jurisdictions use modified versions, and Germany has a different approach altogether. The German USK ratings are non-compatible to PEGI and merit a closer look for anyone distributing content in Germany, whether online or offline. Read more

European Court of Justice backs German private sports betting market
February 16, 2016
On 4 February 2016, the European Court of Justice decided that the German monopoly on sports bets infringes European Law and that thus prosecution authorities may not prosecute brokers of sports bets as long as they are relying on EU-licensed providers (European Court of Justice, case C‑336/14). Read more
Letter from Russia: Russian Data Localization Law
February 10, 2016
We are very grateful for our readers all over Europe for sharing their views and comments on the topics we discuss in this blog. Sometimes, readers’ comments could be blog posts in their own right. We have decided to feature such comments (with the author’s consent of course) as a regular feature, the “Letter from …”. This instalment of the series comes from Vladislav Arkhipov, fellow games law blogger, of counsel at Dentons and associate professor at the Saint Petersburg State University. Vladislav summarizes the Russian Data Localization law that obliges online games operators and other service providers to host personal data of their Russian customers within Russia. Read more
Evolving standards: Fewer content-based restrictions for video games in Germany
February 4, 2016
Germany is notorious for its strict and somewhat complicated youth protection legislation. If the age ratings boards refuse a rating for a movie or game, a federal review authority (the BPjM) can step in and impose severe marketing restrictions – referred to as “indexing” – that effectively halt both physical and digital distribution. This year, however, has seen a series of decisions by those federal watchdogs that may indicate a liberalized approach to a number of issues. Read more
Spain: Crowdfunding Video Games is becoming an Investment Market
January 26, 2016
The credit austerity over the last years has limited access to “classic” credit in particular for start-up and indie video game studios in Spain. This situation has boosted the development of alternative fundraising strategies. Crowdfunding has become one of the new financing systems from the standpoint of the patronage or sponsorship, and is heavily used by the video games industry in Spain. Read more
New UK consumer protection rights for digital content
January 14, 2016
On 1 October 2015 the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (“CRA”) came into force in the UK. It has been described as the biggest overhaul of consumer rights in a generation and consolidates, updates and improves UK consumer law. However, of particular interest is that for the first time in UK consumer law, the CRA expressly provides consumers with rights and remedies in relation to digital content. Read more
Safe Harbor: Practical steps to take now
January 5, 2016
Following the recent decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union invalidating the adequacy of the EU-US Safe Harbor framework, the EU’s Article 29 working party has issued a formal statement in response.

The working party is composed of representatives from the national data protection authorities (DPAs) of the EU Member States, the European Data Protection Supervisor and the European Commission, so its views have been awaited with interest given that the CJEU’s decision highlighted the importance of a DPA’s assessment of the adequacy of cross-border data transfers. The European Commission has also provided remarks on the CJEU’s judgment and issued an explanatory communication on the consequences of the ruling which is consistent with the working party’s statement.

The Article 29 working party statement, along with some further communications from national DPAs, offers some practical guidance on how companies can deal with data transfers out of the EU in the future. However, the window of opportunity to implement these measures ay be closing – so steps should be taken quickly. Read more

Italian Data Protection Authority Publishes Cookie Guidelines
August 25, 2015
The Italian Data Protection Authority’s (DPA) guidelines on the use of cookie have entered into force. All operators of Italian websites must now provide certain cookie information to all users as soon as they access the site, or face substantial fines. Read more