Following the banning
of Atari's console game Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure by the Australian Office of Film & Literature Classification, a controversial decision related to the title's "detailed instruction or promotion of matters of crime", the IEAA (Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia) game industry association has released a statement indicating it will not appeal the decision in the courts.
The IEAA's statement starts by noting the relatively little-known fact that: "The game was originally classified MA15+ but following a request for review by the Local Government Association of Queensland, the Classification Review Board determined that the game should be refused classification."
IEAA CEO Chris Hanlon went on to comment: "Our advice indicated that we have strong legal grounds to contest the decision of the Classification Review Board. For example the Review Board mistakenly found that the “Black Book” and the use of the graffiti “Legends” in the game operated interactively and were of a high impact. In fact the biographies of the graffiti artists are not interactive and hence they can not instruct in matters of crime”."
He also noted: "We also believe that the Review Board did not consider the artistic merit of the game and adopted an extreme definition of detailed instruction or promotion in matters of crime”, before concluding: “Our decision to not appeal this matter in the Federal Court was made on the basis of the costs involved in establishing these facts in a court of law. The IEAA also believes it is more constructive to work with the Attorney General’s Department to improve the classification process”.
Marc Ecko's Getting Up
was refused classification three days before its worldwide release, and despite already being given an MA15+ classification. Co-creator Marc Ecko's response, as given to
the Sydney Morning Herald at the time, was: "I am extremely disappointed in the Australian Government Classification Review Board’s move to ban my video game, based solely on a perceived notion that it somehow will promote the crime of graffiti. To the contrary, I would argue that a graffiti tag in the virtual world doesn't make one pop up in the real world."
The IEAA noted that it cost the distributor Atari Australia hundreds of thousands of Australian dollars to withdraw stock and refund advance purchases, and suggested that there needs to be a more timely process of review, where those objecting to a classification decision are required to have detailed knowledge of the contents of the game or film.