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USK and the guidelines on swastikas in games

This post is also available in: Deutsch

The discussion around the question of whether and under what conditions swastikas are allowed in computer games is in full swing again. See only this article on the question of whether such excerpts from computer games can be shown on YouTube or Twitch.

At its last meeting, the USK Advisory Board unanimously decided to extend the guiding criteria for taking into account social adequacy in games. The guiding criteria of the USK are the basis for the assessment of computer and video games under the law on the protection of minors.

The background to the addition of the guiding criteria is the legal opinion of the competent Supreme State Youth Authority, which has been amended since August 2018, which is to take account of current legal assessments. According to this, the above-case computer and video games can receive a USK age rating in individual cases, provided that the criteria for socially appropriate use are met. Previously, such games were not approved for testing.

The advisory board of the USK includes representatives of churches and religious communities, media pedagogy, the Federal Ministry of Youth, the youth ministries of the Länder, the Federal Audit Office for media that endangers young people, the youth organizations as well as the computer games industry, and representatives of the USK members and the youth protection experts.

The update of the USK guidelines can be found here.

The USK audit bodies are investigating whether offences of youth endangerment (in particular:
Glorification or trivialization of the Nazi ideology, brutalization by
trivialisation of National Socialism) which could be
the OLJB excludes the issue of an age mark in accordance with Section 14 of the JuSchG.
When deciding on the award/refusal of an age mark, the
even in the case of games that contain prohibited registration plates in accordance with Section 86a of the German Criminal Code (
to weigh up the rights of the arts and the interests of the protection of minors.

In order to assess the potential for impairment of digital games in which
Characteristics of unconstitutional organisations in accordance with Section 86a of the German Civil Code (in particular
National Socialism), their use must be determined in individual cases.
examine. In particular, the framing of the context of the representation (e.g. B. a
differentiated-critical handling of historical events, purely fictional
substances with dystopian scenarios or the ideology of debunking satires).
to judge. The options for action of the players are based on their possible
mediation of socially and ethically disorienting messages.

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel is a lawyer and entrepreneur specializing in copyright law, competition law and IT/IP law, with a focus on games, esports, media and blockchain.


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