Council Resolution of 1 March 2002 on the protection of consumers, in particular young people, through the labelling of certain video games and computer games according to age group
Official Journal C 065 , 14/03/2002 P. 0002 - 0002
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of 1 March 2002
on the protection of consumers, in particular young people, through the labelling of certain video games and computer games according to age group
THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,
1. NOTES the wide and increasing availability of video games and computer games; that interactive leisure software contained in video games and in computer games on sale or for rent in shops or distributed through the internet constitutes an important and growing market.
2. NOTES that these products, due to their heterogeneity as well as to the diversity of their contents, are aimed at consumers of different ages.
3. IS CONCERNED in particular that the contents of some of these products can make them inappropriate for use by minors because of the harm which may be caused to them.
4. RECALLS the actions being undertaken in the Community in matters pertaining to the protection of minors against harmful contents, such as in the framework of the Decision adopting a multiannual Community action plan on promoting safer use of the Internet by combating illegal and harmful content on global networks(1) and as follow-up to Council Recommendation on the development of the competitiveness of the European audiovisual and information services industry by promoting national frameworks aimed at achieving a comparable and effective level of protection of minors and human dignity(2) and reaffirms their imortance.
5. STRESSES THE IMPORTANCE for consumers to have access to clear information, as regards the assessment of contents and the subsequent rating according to age groups, on the products being marketed, in order to allow an informed choice and particularly to protect young people from potentially harmful contents; reaffirms in this connection that labelling is one important means of achieving better information and transparency for the consumer, as well as of ensuring that the internal market functions harmoniously.
6. NOTES that many European Union Member States have rating systems according to age, on the basis of diverse criteria, reflecting cultural diversity and different national and local sensibilities.
7. RECOGNISES that it would be useful to encourage in all Member States the development of clear and simple rating systems to assess the contents of these products.
8. CONSIDERS that the current cooperation both at national and Community level among companies of the interactive leisure software industry as regards the rating and labelling of contents contributes to an effective protection of minors and to the realisation of the full potential of the industry and underlines in this connection the importance of continuing to involve the other interested parties, in particular consumer associations and representatives of parents and young people.
9. ACKNOWLEDGES that self-regulation is one of the adequate means, through the participation of all interested parties, in particular that of consumers, to support age-rating systems for interactive leisure software contained in video games and computer games, on its own or as a complement to the measures implemented by Member States in this field.
10. INVITES Member States and the Commission, each according to their own competencies, to intensify cooperation with all interested parties, such as industry, the creators of contents, consumers and young people, on the exchange of information and experience, in order to identify best practices regarding the rating and labelling of video games and computer games according to age group, taking account of cultural diversity and different national and local sensibilities.
11. WELCOMES the undertaking by the Commission of a study on the rating practices used in the Community and notes that this study also covers other products such as film, DVDs and videocassettes which may also pose problems are regards the protection of minors and the functioning of the internal market.
12. INVITES the Commission, drawing on the results of the abovementioned cooperation, as well as the results of the abovementioned study, to keep under review developments in the construction and use of various methods for the assessment of the contents of video games and computer games as well as for their rating and labelling, reporting back to the Council, as necessary.
(1) Decision No 276/1999/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 January 1999 (OJ L 33, 6.2.1999, p. 1).
(2) Council Recommendation of 28 September 1998 (OJ L 270, 7.10.1998, p. 48).