Censorship
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Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a west European country whose majority religion is Christianity. The unification of Germany took place in 1990 when East Germany merged with West Germany. This page deals with censorship in modern Germany (preceded by West Germany from 1949 to 1990).

General censorship[]

Germany stands out as unusually prudish compared to the rest of Europe, which is rather lax. Most of the examples relate to the censorship of Nazi symbols as prescribed by [section 86a] of the German Criminal Code. A further small number of bans were done probably due to conservative or religious lobby groups crying out for violence: to this day, the Germans have a lot of movies extremely stringently restricted to only adults.

Any material displaying unconstitutional symbols such as swastikas or symbols pertinent to the Nazi party (except for historical or educational reasons) is subject to censorship under § 86a StGB.

Any media counting as Holocaust denial is illegal in Germany.

The constitution and law provide for freedom of speech and press, and the government generally respects these rights in practice. An independent press, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic political system combine to ensure freedom of speech and of the press

Book censorship[]

  • When the copyright of Adolf Hitler's Nazi manifesto, Mein Kampf, was passed to the Bavarian state government, the copyright holder refused the republication of Hitler's work until the copyright expired on January 1, 2016. Over the years, ironically, the state of Bavaria started several lawsuits over the publication of the book in other countries, such as Turkey and Poland. Rather than selling the license or otherwise legalize the practice after the fact, thereby using their copyright like a club.
  • The Turner Diaries is not allowed to be sold in Germany, for being the Nationalist Front's mainfesto.
  • Truth for Germany—The Question of Guilt for the Second World War was listed by Germany's Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons in 1979 as material that could not be publicly advertised or given to young readers, due to the version it presented of the events that led to World War II. This restriction was lifted in 1994, after a long legal battle.

Internet censorship[]

  • Due to an ongoing dispute between Google and the Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte (GEMA), many YouTube music videos were blocked in Germany until an agreement was reached in 2016.
  • Germany is now one of those countries whose parliament passed a law for censoring websites. Said law, the Zugangserschwerungsgesetz, (Access Impediment Act) only survived for a couple of years before being repealed. It was mostly to deal with the bad material such as child pornography, and its only requirement was that ISPs block the URL.
  • Project Gutenberg, a website for public domain texts was blocked in Germany in February 2018 after a lawsuit from Fischer Verlag, due to the website hosting works from Heinrich Mann, Thomas Mann [who were brothers], and Alfred Döblin. Heinrich Mann's works entered the EU public domain in 2021, while Thomas Mann's and Döblin's works will respectively become public domain in 2026 and 2028.
  • There is no Google Street View for most parts of Germany as of 2021.
  • The fanfiction site Archive of Our Own was indexed in Germany due to "child pornography content", which temporarily removed it from search results for German IP addresses. The ban however was overturned in January 2023 as a result of administrative errors.

Movie censorship[]

Rating body[]

In Germany, films are rated by the Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle der Filmwirtschaft (FSK, Self-Regulatory Body of the Movie Industry), an organisation by the Spitzenorganisation der Filmwirtschaft (SPIO, Head Organisation of the Movie Industry).

Its main tasks are approving and rating movies and trailers, videos and DVDs, and commercials.

There is no legal obligation for approval by the FSK; however, members of the SPIO commit themselves to only releasing productions passed by the FSK. Movies not rated by the FSK may only be sold and rented to adults, regardless of their content.

The legal basis for the actions of the FSK is a youth protection law (JuSchG, Jugendschutzgesetz), the holiday regulations and basic principles of the FSK. These principles are issued by the Basic Principles Commission, consisting of 20 representatives from the film and video industry, public authorities and state-funded broadcasting stations governed by public law.

The FSK takes into account whether or not a film is shown on certain specially protected holidays mentioned in the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany. These are Good Friday, All Saints , Volkstrauertag (Memorial Day), Buß- und Bettag (Penance Day) and also Totensonntag (the German Remembrance Sunday).

The FSK is financially autonomous and funds its work through fees from every inspected media carrier. It is operated as an affiliate of the SPIO in the form of a private limited company, but the SPIO does not influence its decisions.

Over 190 inspectors work for the FSK on a voluntary, unpaid basis, which are appointed by the movie and video industry and the public authorities for three years, and must be experienced in dealing with minors or have similar factual knowledge of psychology or media studies. The inspectors may not be employed by the movie or video industry, in order to avoid biased decisions. Therefore, when appointing inspectors, importance is attached to the fact that these inspectors should come from different occupational fields and social classes.

The rating of movies is carried out by various committees. These are the Working Committee, which does most of the inspections, the Main Committee, acting as a court of appeal, and the Appeals Committee, for appeals to the youth inspection. In practice, the three committees work in parallel.

The working committees are the first ones in the FSK to inspect each film that is registered. Normally each consists of seven inspectors – three from the movie industry and four named by the public authorities – as well as a representative of the country's youth authorities.

Ratings[]

As of December 2008, the current ratings of FSK are:

Label Rating Description
FSK 0 FSK/o. Al Released without age restriction (Freigegeben ohne Altersbeschränkung)
FSK 6 FSK 6/ab 6 Released to age 6 or older (Freigegeben ab 6 Jahren)
FSK 12 FSK 12/ab 12 Released to age 12 or older to age 6 to 11 with parental guidance (Freigegeben ab 12 Jahren), broadcast on TV all day with some exceptions only after 20:00, unless re-edited.
FSK 16 FSK 16/ab 16 Released only to age 16 or older (Freigegeben ab 16 Jahren), broadcast on TV only after 22:00 unless approved by special permit or re-edited to secure a "12" rating.
FSK 18 FSK 18/ab 18 No release to minors (Keine Jugendfreigabe), released only to people 18 or older, broadcast on TV only after 23:00

The design of the labels for ratings according to § 12 Abs. 2 Satz 2 JuSchG. On the front cover, lower left side, the label must be with a size of minimum 1200 mm² (3.46 cm x 3.46 cm). On the media itself the label must be in a size of minimum 250 mm² (1.58 cm x 1.58 cm). The labels are transparent squares with rounded corners with a non-transparent lining around and a non-transparent circle inside, all three (square, lining, circle) in the same colour. The rating text is printed inside the circle in black letters.

Between 1 April 2003 to December 2008, the ratings were based on § 14 JuSchG (Jugendschutzgesetz, youth protection law). Changes from the ratings before April 2003 were the welcoming of a parental guidance rule for "Freigegeben ab 12 Jahren" and the replacement of "Nicht freigegeben unter 18 Jahren" with "Keine Jugendfreigabe". The labels were usually printed on the back covers of DVDs, VHS cassettes and other media in approximately 10 mm x 10 mm with rounded corners and black border lining and letters.

Before 1 April 2003 the ratings were based on § 6 and 7 JÖSchG (Gesetz zum Schutze der Jugend in der Öffentlichkeit, law for protecting youth in public). Differences were:

  • "Freigegeben ab 12 Jahren" was only released to age 12 or older. There was no parental guidance rule.
  • "Nicht freigegeben unter 18 Jahren" (alternative: "Freigegeben ab 18 Jahren"): not released to under age 18, abbreviation FSK 18, since 1 April 2003 replaced with "Keine Jugendfreigabe".

The design of the rating labels was approximately 10 mm x 10 mm with rounded corners and black border lining and letters.

From 1957 to 1985 "Freigegeben ab 18 Jahren": released to age 18 or older, replaced since April 2003 by "Nicht freigegeben unter 18 Jahren", had the same restrictions.

If a movie is not compliant with FSK basic principles (e.g. glorification of violence), a rating can be denied. A movie not rated by FSK is checked for possible violation of applicable law by a jurist agency (Juristen-Kommission, JK) of the Spitzenorganisation der Filmwirtschaft (SPIO). The JK compiles certificates for the reviewed movies. Approved movies receive one of two classifications:

  • Keine schwere Jugendgefährung or no severe danger to youth. While these movies are considered by the Juristenkommission to represent a danger to youth, this danger is not perceived to be considerable. In German this is sometimes known as a leichte Jugendgefährdung or mild/slight danger to youth. Films with this certificate may still be only sold on the open market as with films rated FSK 18, but are subject to indexing.
  • Strafrechtlich unbedenklich or not in violation of applicable criminal law – Movies given this certificate are usually considered to be a severe danger to youth but do not violate criminal law. A failure to achieve such a certificate is usually attributable to an expected violation of 131b of the German Criminal Code, but may also be in violation of child pornography legislation or the display and promotion of symbols, songs or political ideologies in violation of the constitution (e.g. National Socialism). The awarding of this certificate does not constitute a legal decree. The movie in question may still be confiscated at a later date if decreed by a court of law, as demonstrated with Hostel 2. These films may not be sold openly, even if the film in question has not yet been indexed. Due to their not being certified by the FSK, these movies are also subject to indexing.

While not obligatory, it is common to display a rectangular, black and white logo with "SPIO/JK geprüft" (Approved by SPIO/JK) and the JK certificate granted. These movies may be additionally indexed (blacklisted) by the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons. JK/SPIO certified films are usually indexed within a month or two of publication with only a few exceptions, e.g. Virtuosity.


Instances of movie censorship[]

  • Jew Suss - this notorious 1940 costume drama, personally commissioned by Goebbels as a way to condone the Holocaust among German citizens by inflaming their hatred towards the Jews, was immediately banned by decree of the Allied Military Occupation in 1945, with its creators were put on trial. Its director, Veit Harlan, was ordered by court order to destroy what he believed then to be the only remaining negative of the film, which he did in April 1954. A few years later, however, copies of the film began to turn up, much to the embarrassment of the West German government. After a through investigation, it turned out that another negative existed in East Germany, which was used to make prints dubbed in Arabic and distributed in Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt and Lebanon. Although said negative has never been located, it has been widely suspected that this version was produced and distributed by the Stasi or the KGB in order to arose anti-Semitism among Egyptian and Palestinians against the US-backed Israel (and henceforth, support for the Soviet-backed Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser). To this day, it is illegal to screen the film commercially in Germany and many other countries. Like all other Nazi propaganda films, it's classified as a Vorbehaltsfilm ("film under reservation"), and its copyright is held by the F. W. Murnau Foundation. The only copies of the film that are allowed to be distributed have a running educational commentary dubbed in.
  • Ich Klage An (I Accuse) - this 1941 courtroom drama meant to encourage German citizens' support of the Nazi euthanasia policy towards the disabled was promptly banned after the war, with some of the people behind the production ending up on trial.
    • Many other propaganda films made by the Nazis are still classified as Vorbehaltsfilm and tightly controlled in modern Germany. Those include the ugliest Nazi propaganda such as The Eternal Jew, as well as less actively offensive works such as Kolberg. Oddly, the most famous Nazi propaganda film—Triumph of the Will—is not banned in Germany, nor is the 1943 Nazi Titanic (although the latter is only distributed in a censored version that was put together by the Allies in 1949, which is missing two scenes and the film's epilogue).
  • The Volkswagen Group and its sister brand, Porsche, were sensitive enough about the fact that the former was founded in part by Hitler (and by Ferdinand Porsche) that they still object to Volkswagens and Porsches being depicted as weapons of war, which was the reason of why the live-action film incarnations of Autobot Bumblebee in Michael Bay's Transformers was depicted as a Chevrolet Camaro until 2018, where he was depitcted as a Volkswagen Beetle, such as his Generation One counterpart in the Bumblebee film. eneral Motors wrote a big check to complete the change to a Camaro. The problem also arose when Hasbro wanted to make a new version of Bumblebee for the Alternators toy line, which consisted of robots that transformed into accurate (and licensed) 1:24 scale replicas of current cars (The same issue also arose when Hasbro wanted to do as well a new version of Autobot Jazz, whose original vehicle mode was a Porsche racing car). However, in 2014, this was all finally changed with the release of Masterpiece Bumblebee, with an officially licensed Beetle mode. Porsche, also joined in the franchise with Rise of the Beasts having Mirage turn into the Porsche 911.
  • The Eternal Jew - this infamous propaganda film presented as a documentary was banned due to its anti-semitic Nazi propaganda content. It is only allowed for use in college classrooms and other academic purposes; however, exhibitors must be formally educated in "media science and the history of the Holocaust." As of 2013, public use is prohibited.
  • Goodbye, Franziska (1941) - this romance film was banned after World War II by the Allies due to its ending, which reminded the viewers to support the war effort. The ban was eventually overturned after director Helmut Käutner managed to convince officials that the propaganda sequence did not reflect his political ideology and was added at request of Nazi censors. Since the rest of the film was fairly apolitical it was brought back in circulation, with only part removed being propaganda end sequence. In 1983, the ban for the uncut version was lifted and it is now rated FSK 6.
  • Titanic (1943) - this propaganda film (which was already banned during the Nazi regime, despite being commissioned by Joseph Goebbels) was banned by Allied Control Council due to being Nazi propaganda. After the end of the Allied occupation, the German Motion picture rating system classified it "to age 12 or older" and "to age 6 or older with parental guidance". The film was sometimes shown in the German television after the war and a low-quality VHS copy was released in 1992.
  • The White Rose - this West German biopic centering on the White Rose, a resistance group consisting of university students which defied the Nazis from 1942 until their arrest and execution in 1943 had its export legally forbidden for a time due to a red tape; the film embarrassed so much the German government that they would go on to abolish the People's Court which had condemned the group in the first place, allowing export within a year.
  • Inglourious Basterds - the posters of this film were edited to remove swastikas as per their rule against swastikas (or anything pertaining to the Nazi party), even this is despite the film being about a team of Jewish heroes who fight Nazis where the Nazis are very clearly the villains.
  • The Evil Dead (1981) - the only version of this film to not be banned Germany had nearly 15 minutes cut. The ban of the uncensored version was lifted in 2016 following a complaint from Sony, and it was rereleased in January 2017 with a FSK 16 rating.[1]
  • Bedknobs and Broomsticks - twenty minutes were cut from all German-dubbed releases of this film in order to remove scenes with the Nazis, extending to home video and streaming releases.
  • About 130 movies are banned in their uncut form in Germany: Many of Lucio Fulci's films, but also Halloween II (1981). There are essentially two tiers of banning films in Germany: banning them from being sold altogether, and allowing their sale but banning them from being advertised, displayed in shops, reviewed, or otherwise given publicity. Films in the latter category can't be sold to minors, which means that with all the other constraints, they're only sold online.
  • Der Untertan (The Kaiser's Lackey) - this East German film was banned in West Germany because of "anticonstitutional" content. However, its uncut version was released in the country in 1971.
  • Du und mancher Kamerad and Thomas Muentzer - this East German film was banned in West German due to "anticonstitutional" content.
  • Higher Principles - this Czech drama film was banned in 1960 because of "anti-German" content, which made the film known as the "Anti-German film". The ban was lifted in 1965.
  • Paths of Glory - this film was banned between 1957 and 1959 to avoid straining relations with France.
  • And Quiet Flows the Don - this film was banned in West Germany in 1958 due to "anticonstitutional" content. Part 1 was released in West Germany in 1959, Parts 2 and 3 were first broadcast on West German television in 1968.
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre - this horror film was banned in West Germany in 1978 due to extreme level violence. The Ban was lifted in 2011 following a complaint of the Film's German Distributor.
  • Braindead - this film was banned due to gory violence. Although the uncut version is still banned, there are numerous DVDs of the film in circulation in Germany that feature one of two cut down versions: The first is rated FSK 18 and is four minutes shorter, the second one is rated FSK 16 is 16 minutes shorter.
  • Saw 3D - This film was banned because the Amtsgericht Tiergarten has noted that several scenes in the movie violate the violence act §131 StGB. Private copies are still legal to own and personal use is not punishable; however any public show of the movie is a highly prohibited and punishable act. There is a censored "Keine Jugendfreigabe/ No youth admitted" version, but it has all the violent scenes cut out. Retailing this copy is still legal, since "KJ" rated movies cannot be indexed/banned.
  • Valley of the Wolves: Palestine - this Turkish film had problems to get a rating in Germany, due to FSK's concerns over the film's perceived anti-Israeli and anti-American overtones. Initially, the film was supposed to receive a FSK 16 rating, but this was changed to a FSK 18 rating.
  • Africa Addio - While not technically banned, this film was pulled from West Germany by its distributor following violent protests by the Socialist German Students' Union. It was ultimately rereleased in 2018 and is rated FSK 18.
  • Night of the Living Dead (1968) cannot be offered on its German Netflix catalog, although the movie itself is no longer banned and rated FSK 16.
  • Cannibal Holocaust - All versions of the film are currently banned.
  • A Serbian Film - While the uncensored version is banned, there's a censored version available which is rated FSK 18 and had 19 minutes worth of content removed.
  • Human Centipede - The First Movie had 8 minutes removed and is rated FSK 18, The Second Movie had 17 minutes removed and is rated Strafrechtlich Unbedenklich.
  • Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom - This film was banned in 1976. The ban was lifted in 2022.
  • Ichi the Killer - this film had its distribution prohibited in Germany due to its extreme violence. In 2005 a censored version omitting 13 minutes worth of content was released; this version is rated FSK 18.
  • Dawn of the Dead (1978) - This film was banned shortly after its release for allegedly glorifiyng violence. The ban was lifted in January 2019, and the uncensored version was released in June of the same year with a FSK 18 rating.
  • Inseminoid - this Alien-like horror film was banned due to it featuring a scene of a woman getting gorily impregnated by an alien.
  • Phantasm - This film was banned in 1983. The ban was lifted in June 2017, and it was rereleased in August of the same year with a FSK 16 rating.
  • Faces of Death - The first film in the series was banned intialliy, but the ban was lifted in 2022 and the film now as a FSK 18 rating.
  • Maladolescenza - This film was banned in 1984 for violating child pornography laws. In 2004, a request for the ban to be lifted was denied


Television censorship[]

ARD censorship

This screen is used by ARD when footage cannot be used for copyright reasons.

  • Star Trek: The Original Series - The episode "Patterns of Force" dealt with an alien culture imitating the real Third Reich under the influence of a misguided human infiltrator. The episode was shown first on German pay TV in 1996 and finally, on public access TV in 2011. Interestingly, it was already included in the home video sets. Despite popular belief, said episode was never actually banned by the German authorities, it were just the networks which aired Star Trek who were reluctant to air it.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn - in this anime movie, The Dictator was removed from the German, dub due to strict laws in Germany about references to the Nazi regime and to avoid insulting Holocaust survivors after World War II. All swastikas are also replaced with red X's and, all "third reich" references are removed.
  • Derrick - this popular German detective series which was a hit in most of Europe, was removed from broadcast in 2012, it turned out that its lead actor Horst Tappert (who deceased in 2008) had been a member of the SS during his youth, which was never been reported before. As a result, all episodes were pulled from syndication, but are still available on DVD.
  • The Simpsons - the episode "Cape Feare" was not aired in Germany a few years, possibly due to the "Up Late with McBain" sequence, where the show announcer (Obergruppenführer[Notes 1] Wolfcastle) dressed in SS gear, complete with a swastika armband. The episode finally aired in 1999 in an edited form.
  • Girls und Panzer - In Episode 8, the song Katjusha was removed due to Copyright reasons, and replaced with a instrumental version of the song Korobeiniki.

For copyright reasons, from time to time public broadcasters ARD and ZDF have to block content related to professional association football and other sports when their content is published on the internet. Only video footage is affected; audio remains intact.

Since Movies rated FSK 16 are not allowed to be aired before 22:00 or after 6:00, some TV Stations will make censored versions of them to air outside of that time slot. This was done with Movies such as Saving Priavte Ryan and the first two Indiana Jones Movies.

Video game censorship[]

Germany_relaxes_rules_on_Nazi_symbols_in_games

Germany relaxes rules on Nazi symbols in games

In Germany, all games (including video games) are classified as children's toys. Hundreds of violent video games, usually before the 2010s, were censored or even banned due to apparent violations of § 131 StGB. Any video game displaying unconstitutional symbols such as swastikas was also subject to censorship under § 86a StGB. However, since 2018, as a court ruling changed the interpretation of video games to "art" (same as movies and any form of TV, which is why they could get away with a lot more than Video Games) which allows depiction of Nazi symbols in a historical, comedic or otherwise artistic context.

A video game can be banned in Germany if it is confiscated by court order because it violates a section of the Strafgesetzbuch (criminal code). Private possession (and thus playing it) and acquisition (such as downloading a demo from the internet) are still legal, but any dissemination is not. The seller would break the law if a sale took place, not the buyer. However, on 10 December 2002, one German court (Oberlandesgericht Hamm) decided that a single sale of a single copy does not qualify as dissemination. Unlike indexing by the BPjM, which restricts the sale of all content-equal versions, the versions that are confiscated are enumerated in the court order. Being put on the index by the BPJM or, since April 1, 2003, being refused a rating by the USK, does not equal a ban. Rather, it imposes strict trade restrictions on the title. While only very few games have been confiscated, the list of indexed games is very long.

In December 2006, just one month after the Emsdetten school shooting, Bavaria and Lower Saxony proposed legislation, to be presented to the national parliament, that would make even playing any game that featured “cruel violence on humans or human-looking characters” punishable by fines and up to a year in prison.

StGB § 86a outlaws the use of symbols of unconstitutional organisations, StGB § 130 Volksverhetzung (agitation of the people), and StGB § 131 instructions for committing crimes. In the official lists, these three sections are always bundled, so any game that contains swastika flags and/or any depiction of Adolf Hitler is listed alongside racist propaganda pieces.

StGB § 131 outlaws representation of excessive violence in media "which describe cruel or otherwise inhuman acts of violence against human or humanoid beings in a manner which expresses a glorification or rendering harmless of such acts of violence or which represents the cruel or inhuman aspects of the event in a manner which injures human dignity".

StGB § 130 and § 131 make it a criminal offence to do the following with corresponding scriptures:

  1. distribute/sell them
  2. issue in public, demonstrate or otherwise make them available
  3. leave them to a person under the age of 18
  4. produce, buy, deliver, store, offer, announce, praise, import or export them within the meaning of points 1 to 3.

This means that import or purchase and possession for personal use of such games is still legal for persons over 18 years of age.

In the case of video games that contain pornography with children or minors, where a real or realistic event is depicted, the possession of the video game or working towards possessing it would be illegal under StGB § 184b or §184c. Otherwise, if the work depicts a fictitious event, the distribution of such material is illegal.

In August 2008, Sega confirmed that The House of the Dead: Overkill and MadWorld would not be released in Germany, due to the likelihood that they would be refused to get a rating by the USK. Sega also announced in November 2009 that they would not distribute Aliens vs. Predator for similar reasons.

A "Beschlagnahmung" (ban) is enforced for a minimum of ten years, after which a request for review may be submitted.

Instances of video game censorship[]

  • Hearts of Iron 2 had Nazi Germany changed its swastika flag to the Imperial Tricolour, which the Nazis actually banned.
  • Bionic Commando: Rearmed while it is not banned in Germany due to lack of Nazi imagery, the main villain is obviously supposed to be Adolf Hitler, even though he's never referred to as such by name. In the English version, he's known simply as "The Leader". The German translation refers to him as "Der Führer", which makes it even more obvious.
  • Wolfenstein 3-D and its Expansion Spear of Destiny were banned due to being filled with Hitler posters and Nazi symbols. The ban was lifted in September 2022, the Main Game received a USK 16 rating, the Expansion a USK 18 rating. The pnòy Wolfenstein game to be released was the SNES release of Wolfenstein 3-D, although heavily modified (said changes weren't exclusive to Germany, as all versions of ''Wolfenstein 3D'' on the SNES have these changes, and the Japanese version has even ''more''.
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Wolfenstein: The New Order had some changes done by iD Software in order to release it in Germany, including removal of swastikas. In December of 2019, the uncensored versions of The New Order as well as its prequel and sequel, The Old Blood and The New Colossus, were released in Germany.
  • Doom II had two Secret Level homages to Wolfenstein 3-D removed entirely; attempting to access the levels with the level select cheat code, will result in the game crashing. The ban was eventually rescinded in 2019 following a landmark court ruling.
  • Hidden & Dangerous was censored of all blood and Nazi symbols — however, original textures are still in the installation directory.
  • I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream had the entire Nimdok section removed in the German release due to its setting being a concentration camp making the game unwinnable, as the final part of the game requires all five characters.

German censors are also very sensitive to violence, leading to many games being edited to feature often ridiculous bloodless carnage. A side effect of this tendency is that many German gamers get their games from Austrian online instead. Some examples:

  • Team Fortress Classic was made virtually unplayable. Every class model was replaced with the generic death match "Robot" model making that no one could tell enemy classes apart.
  • Team Fortress 2 the German version uses the weird organs from Party Mode permanently.
  • Half-Life the blood was removed, the HECU soldiers were replaced with the same robots as with Team Fortress, and scientists, rather than die, just sat down shaking their heads. However, In 2017, 18 years after its original release, Valve put out an update for German players that allowed them to play the uncensored version.
  • Turok had the human opponents were replaced by robots and the blood was recolored green.
  • Resident Evil 4 was chopped up to remove the gore content, with the ending of a scene replaced with a fadeout.
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn infantry units referred as "Cyborgs" and their death sound was changed to power down sound and blood was removed.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert - the infantry units referred as "Cyborgs" and their death sound was changed to power down sound and blood was removed. Some shots from the cut scenes were also cut, leaving bits with gruesome deaths (for example, the scene of Stavros killing Stalin) disjointed.
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars had two versions released by EA for the European market, a censored one, and the uncut one, rated 16+.
  • Command & Conquer: Generals was originally released uncensored, but due to an afterthought from the censors, all references to actual countries (USA and China, for instance) in the game, the infantry became "Cyborgs" (with every picture manipulated to boot as support for this), a robotic filter was added to the audio, a mission from the GLA campaign was removed, the videos from the campaigns were removed and the GLA Terrorist unit was replaced by a toy car with a bomb strapped to it.
  • Command & Conquer: Zero Hour had only a censored version in Germany, which is practically the same censorship as Generals, but the videos were intact.
  • Wing Commander IV the scene where Seether slits Captain Paulson's throat has two versions, with and without gushing blood. The latter is the one present on the German release of the game.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 was censored in order to remove the gore; however, the German version also features four extra weapons ported from Counter-Strike: Source, which don't normally spawn in other versions of the game.
  • MadWorld was banned in Germany due to extreme violent content.
  • Carmageddon replaced the humans and zombies as targets with robots. However, the original content can be restored by swapping the names of two files in the install folder.
  • Unreal Tournament The first game of the series is the only Unreal game to be forbidden, so that the local releases of the anthology re-releases do not even feature it.
  • Harvester was banned due to its gory and grotesque nature, but it crossed its line with three children eating their own mother, which is the main reason for the ban.
  • Moonstone: A Hard Days Knight was banned in Germany due to its (at the time) unusually gory content.
  • The Capcom arcade games Commando and Gunsmoke were censored for the German market (Commando was renamed Space Invasion). The German version of Capcom Generations omitted the fourth disc which contained Commando, Gunsmoke and Mercs.
  • On 31 May 2016, 27 games were pulled from the German version of Steam, several of which had been banned over a decade ago.
  • Shadow Dancer is banned in Germany, leading to the game being dropped from Sega Mega Drive Collection in the PAL region and Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection in arell regions and one trophy in Sonic& Sega All-Stars Racing being named "Shadow Dancing" instead.
  • On November 2012, when the Wii U was launched, viewing pages for PEGI 18-rated content was restricted by the European Nintendo eShop to between 11:00pm and 3:00 am, which also meant that a 18-rated game could only be purchased during this window. Nintendo's European division is based in Germany and imposed these restrictions based on German laws, even though these restrictions were enforced throughout Europe. Nintendo later lifted these restrictions due to protests from other European gamers.
  • House of the Dead is banned in Germany, which led to it being renamed Curien Mansion in Sega Superstars games, even in the US.
  • For the German market, Contra was renamed Probotector and had the human characters and enemies replaced by robots. This version was exported throughout Europe.
  • Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors was banned in Germany due to the character Mizuki, who according to the board, looked underage (under 18) and was placed in sexual situations, which is quite a contrast from the first game, which Germany rated 16, the lowest age rating for it of anywhere in the world.
  • Little Britain: The Video Game - this game based on the comedy show of the same name was indexed by the BPjM and banned due to accusations of homophobia.
  • Noreya The Gold Project - this was delisted from all storefronts in Germany due to trademark issues with the game's title leading to the developers having to compromise with the trademark holder about the usage of the name Noreya. The trademark owner stated that the name was allowed for use, as long as the game wouldn't be available in Germany, to which the developers agreed.

Music censorship[]

When Music (This can concern both Albums as well as individual songs) is banned, this means that Record Store owners are not allowed to put copies of it on their shelves. Streaming Services such as Spotify are not allowed to offer it or at the very least have to implement a regional lock so Users registered with a German E-Mail Address cannot play it on their devices. This mostly affects Music preaching National Socialist or White Supremacist Ideologies, but there were a few Instances of Other Music getting banned as well:

Instances[]

  • Berlin based Punkrock Band Die Ärzte had their Self Titled Album banned In January of 1987 due to the song Geschwisterliebe for allegedly glorifying incestuous relationships. Their Debut Album Debil was also subsequently banned due to the songs Claudia hat 'nen Schäferhund and Schlaflied. The ban for the latter two songs was lifted in 2004 and the Album was rereleased as Devil. While Geschwisterliebe is still banned, the Album it was part of did get a Rerelease in 2020, which replaced it with a different song.
  • Industrial Metal Band Rammstein had their Album Liebe ist für alle da banned shortly after its release in late 2009 due to the song Ich tu dir weh. The Band filed a lawsuit against the BPJM's decision and the ban was subsequently lifted in Spring of 2010.
  • After Punkrock Band Die Toten Hosen released their second Album Unter Falscher Flagge in 1984, The EMI Group sued the Band for Copyright Infringement. This was because the Album's Cover Artwork showed (among others) a black flag with a dog shaped skeleton sitting in front of a Gramophone. EMI claimed this was a ripoff of their His Master's Voice. The Court ruled in EMI's favor, and the Artwork had to be changed to remove the dog. But this does not apply to Album Reissues from 2007 and onwards, as they use the original Artwork with the dog intact.

Pornography censorship[]

Pornography is generally legal with only a very few extreme exceptions: child pornography, pornography depicting bestiality (Tierpornographie) and pornography that fetishises rape, sexual assault or murder (Gewaltpornographie).

Child pornography[]

For child pornography, the German Consititution distinguishes between Kinderpornographie and Jugendpornographie (roughly Teen Pornography). Kinderpornographie refers to Pornographic Content depicting children who are younger than 14, Jugendpornographie refers to such Content depicting Adolescents who are older than 14 but younger than 18. For Kinderpornographie, the Ownership and/or Distribution is punishable by a prison sentence of one to 15 years, if it depicts children in real or realistic sexual scenarios, if it's in a "unrealistic" scenario (such as in comic Book or cartoon form) the maximal possible prison sentence is five years and Ownership alone isn't punishable. For Jugendpornographie, Distribution is punishable by either a fine or a prison sentence of up to five years, Ownership is legal as long as it is only for private viewing and the Adolescents involved gave their permission, as the age of 14 is the age of Consent in Germany. If neither of these two criteria are met, Ownership is punishable by a fine or a prison sentence of up to two years.

Other[]

For Tierpornographie (pornography with animals) and Gewaltpornographie (violent pornography), Distribution and Production are punishable by either a fine or a prison sentence of up to three years. Ownership on the other hand is legal.

References[]

Notes[]

  1. which is the equivalent to a "lieutenant general"

External links[]

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