The regulation of video games: past, present and future

With the permission of the publisher, here is a copy of my article on the Digital Economy Act and computer games, published a month ago in the Entertainment Law Review. Download the PDF here. A follow-up (and longer) piece, looking at broader issues around regulation and differing concepts of game-playing, is on the way in the Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds next year.

The Digital Economy Act 2010, better known for its much-debated copyright provisions, also facilitates major changes to the statutory regulation of computer and video games in the United Kingdom. This article sets out the history of the regulation of game content by the BBFC and the video game industry, reviews the various reports and interventions that led to the 2010 provisions, and considers the implications of various new definitions. The possible separation of film and games is considered, as are developments in relation to tax relief and to the regulation of games in other jurisdictions.

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