Legal framework

Dr. Christian-Henner Hentsch
+49 30 240 8779 0
Consumer protection
Copyright law
Data protection
Law enforcement
The same consumer protection regulations in place for all goods and services also apply to the sale of computer and video games. The BIU advocates for consistent, comprehensible standards that provide effective protection for informed consumers.

The computer and video games industry has developed a range of new business models that also lead the way for other industries. Most games can be played with other players, and many players contribute their own user-generated content to create new game worlds. General warranty rules, revocation rights and cancellation policies have to take the special aspects of these new forms of interaction into account and should not unnecessarily obstruct new business models.
Copyright law governs the production and sale of digital goods like computer and video games. The BIU, the German Games Industry Association, advocates fair pay for creative services and supports preventing complex copyright law from becoming a disadvantage for publishers and developers in Germany.

The production of computer and video games requires countless creative professionals to do highly specialised work – storytellers, game producers, game and level designers, graphic designers, programmers, composers and sound designers are all integral to the process. This complex value chain must be reflected in our copyright law. Ongoing reforms in areas such as copyright contract law need to take the special characteristics of this industry into account and help make Germany an environment conducive to the development of computer and video games.
All digital games involve personal data. Certain uses of data are necessary to ensure that computer and video games work properly and that they can be improved and refined over time; these uses are consequently permitted. The BIU champions a modern form of data law that takes informational self-determination seriously, while still allowing for economic and technological progress.

The introduction and implementation of the European General Data Protection Regulation by spring 2018 is an important step on the road towards a digital single market offering a level playing field for companies, as well as universally applicable data protection standards. In order to prevent this harmonised legislation from being undermined by escape clauses put in place at a national level, the BIU will continue to push for full harmonisation.

Agreements regarding the transfer of data to other countries, such as the planned EU-US Privacy Shield, are vital for the international computer and video games industry, especially as regards server-based games. In addition, data protection authorities must find solutions that allow data to be used lawfully.
Software and product piracy, which is extremely widespread, poses serious problems for the games industry and threatens the livelihood of many developers and publishers of computer and video games. Providers of entertainment software use various tools, such as technical copy protection mechanisms or server-based gameplay, to protect creatives’ intellectual property. The damage caused by piracy is still substantial, however, and as broadband internet becomes more pervasive, the problem will only continue to grow in future – unless there is a major shift in the mindset regarding our industry, or new regulations are implemented.

The BIU advocates curtailing piracy by actively participating in the legislative process and providing preventative education to help reduce the financial harm done to the games industry in the medium term. In terms of criminal penalties, the BIU cooperates with the Gesellschaft zur Verfolgung von Urheberrechtsverletzungen e. V. (Society for the Prosecution of Copyright Infringement, GVU), which has supported the authorities investigating and prosecuting copyright infringement in the film and entertainment software industry since 1984. Moreover, the BIU supports measures to combat advertising on websites with illegal content.