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German Videogame Ban Derailed by Internet Petition

| 28 Jul 2009 14:44
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The German government's effort to impose sweeping bans on videogames has been tripped up by a lowly internet petition.

Germany began moving toward a widespread ban on violent games in the wake of the Winnenden school shooting that resulted in the deaths of 15 people as well as the shooter. Despite the fact that games didn't figure prominently in the killer's life, German state and federal authorities seized on the incident as a tragic example of gaming's impact and began taking steps to ban all videogames involving "the [realistic] killing of people or other cruel or un-human acts of violence against humans or manlike characters."

German gamers responded as gamers are wont to do: With an internet petition. But while we on this side of the wet fantastic tend to view internet petitions with a certain degree of disdain and derision, things are apparently a bit different in Germany where, according to Gamezine, the government is required by law to hold public hearings on any online petition that breaks 50,000 signatures. How interesting that in Germany, where an outright ban on mainstream games is looming as a very real possibility, the internet petition, that oft-maligned symbol of impotent nerd rage, isn't such a toothless beast after all.

Not that it necessarily means much; German authorities could hold their hearing as required and then move ahead with their plans unchanged. The large number of signatures may give the government pause, however, especially since the petition will continue to collect signatures until August 19. Could an internet petition be the salvation of gamers of Germany? It would be sweet.

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