The PEGI rating system
The pegi rating system is the way that video games in the UK and the rest of Europe are given an age rating. PEGI stands for Pan European Game Information and there are 5 age groups that the games can be placed into. These are:
PEGI 3 – The lowest age group and means that the game is suitable for all ages. A game with this rating may have violence in a comedic way, as seen in cartoons such as Tom and Jerry. A restriction on the game is that children shouldn’t be able to relate any characters seen on screen with real people and should be completely fantasy, as well as not having sound or imagery that could scare younger audiences such as jumpscares, gore and graphic nudity and sexual situations. PEGI 3 games must also not include any bad language, this ranges from curse words to words of discrimination or graphic violence.
PEGI 7 – PEGI 7 follows the same rules as PEGI 3 except it can show more scary imagery or sounds that could scare children but not too extreme.
PEGI 12 – A game given the PEGI 12 rating can have violence of a more graphic nature compared to PEGI 3 AND 7. The graphic violence can be directed at fantasy based characters and/or non graphic violence towards human-looking characters or recognisable animals, since it would be upestting for children to see more life like humans or animals hurt. Videogames that show slightly more graphic nudity would fall in this age category but it can’t become too extreme and must be kept tasteful and a minimum. PEGI 12 games can also have bad language must be mild and must still not be discriminatory or sexual in nature.
PEGI 16 – A video game would recive this certificate when the violent or sexual nature became similar in apperance to what would be expected in real life. More extreme bad language including sexual language can now be used. As well as this PEGI 16 games can include the use of tobacco and drugs and the graphic depiction of criminal activities.
PEGI 18 – PEGI 18 is the higest classification and means that the game is an adult only game. This certificate is given when the violence reaches a stage where it becomes a graphic depiction of gross violence and/or includes elements of specific types of violence. Gross violence is hard to define but the PEGI rating usually bases it on if the violence is so graphic that the viewer feels a strong sense of revulsion at the sight. PEGI 18’s can show much more graphic nudity and sexual situations as well as discrimination. PEGI 18’S can also be specific with drug and alchol use in game as well as use strong language.
The PEGI rating system can also have descriptors on the game packaging to indicate what is specfically in the game that causes its age rating. There are eight descriptors:
– Bad language
– Online gameplay with other people.
The PEGI rating system also has a new type of rating for online based games which don’t have a physical copy, this is called the PEGI OK label.
A PEGI OK label indicates that game has been assed according to the PEGI rating system criteria and it has been found that there is nothing in the game that would lead to a higher rating than the standard 3+ category.
Copyright in America and UK
UK copyright law follows the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, the legislation that covered what intellectual property rights are and how it is protected in the United Kingdom and the work it applies to.
Copyright in video games works mostly the same as other forms of copyright. A Video game can not be too similar to other video games in terms of mechanics and brands., however, there is still a bit of confusion over intellectual property protection in video game, at least in America. For example, in May 2013, Electronic Arts Studios put out a statement saying it would no longer agree to licensing agreements with gun manufacturers but that it keeps the right to continue using branded guns in their games, they defended this action using the First Amendment, which many argue protects all cases of copyright infringement.
The reason many argue that the First Amendment protects Americans from copyright rules is because the First Amendment stops government officials from stopping freedom of speech and censoring people this means that copyright laws, which exist to protect peoples intellectual property, many say that these rules stop other people who want to use another persons intellectual property, which, in the case of video games is branded objects or logos, some may refer to this as “censoring” people by stopping them from using others copyrighted material.
In the case of EA saying it would no longer agree to licensing agreements for guns, the American Supreme Court held that video games have the same free speech protections as other “expressive works” such as films, books and music.
However, that doesn’t mean video games are completely free to take as much copyrighted imagery and use it as they wish, when one company takes another to court over copyright in their video game, the court can apply a test called the rogers test.
The Rogers test is based on a court case called Rogers v. Grimaldi. The reason this court case happened was because an actress named Ginger Rogers wanted to sue the producers of a film called ‘Ginger and Fred’ for copyright and brand issues, these issues were that the title of the film would confuse movie watchers into believing the film was affiliated with the film. The film was actually about two Italian performers who were nicknamed ‘Ginger’ and ‘Fred’.
While the court was evaluating the defence of the film the court used a balancing test, concluding that copyright laws should be built to include artistic works only to avoid confusion for the consumer which should outweigh the publics demand for free expression. The court concluded that the requirement was that the trademark used would have no artistic relevance to the underlying work or would explicitly mislead as to the source of the work and that the film didn’t contain any indication that Rogers endorsed the film or had a role in producing it, leading to the court dismissing Rogers case.
The rogers test is still used today and is one of the ways a court will judge whether or not a game company will be protected over their use of copyrighted material or not.
Unlike in America, the UK seems to have a defined answer as to where video games are placed in tems of copyright and intelectual property, this could be because we don’t have the first amemdmant in place.
Sponsorship in Racing
Companies use F1 championships to build their brand as well as advertise their product to a large amount of viewers. Companies will pay a lot of money to make their brand recognisable on Formula One cars.
Formula One teams get around 80% of their total income from sponsorship with the remaining 15% coming from TV revenue and the winning money, the fact that a team gets so much money from sponsorship is a testament to why sponsorships are seen as so important to Formula One.
Some companies that will use racing tournaments as a way to advertise themselves are PlayStation (Sony), Red Bull, Saudia Airlines and British American Tobacco (Lucky Strike).
Formula1.sporting99.com. (2017). F1 Sponsors – Formula 1 Sponsors. [online] Available at: http://formula1.sporting99.com/about-formula-one/sponsors.html [Accessed 5 Feb. 2017].
Jacqueline K. S. Lee and Meredith M. Wilkes, Inta.org. (2017). Litigating the First Amendment Defence in the Video Game Context. [online] Available at: http://www.inta.org/INTABulletin/Pages/LitigatingtheFirstAmendmentDefenseintheVideoGameContext.aspx [Accessed 5 Feb. 2017].
Sean Kane, Law360.com. (2017). Case Law On Trademark Use In Video Games Is Evolving – Law360. [online] Available at: https://www.law360.com/articles/469694/case-law-on-trademark-use-in-video-games-is-evolving [Accessed 5 Feb. 2017].