Oral Submissions to Parliament on the FPB Amendment Bill

edited in Association News
Hi Guys,

On Tuesday 30th August 2016, I'll be going to parliament to make oral arguments against the Films and Publications Board Amendment Bill and the related Online Regulation Policy.

I've attached a summary of the key points of why the bill is bad and how it would affect us as an industry and community. I've also attached thew written submission that I made earlier for reference.

A link to my presentation: http://www.slideshare.net/NicholasHall35/presentation-to-the-communcations-sub-committee-2016

Spread the word, and wish me luck



I created to storify's, one of the oral submission and the other of the parliamentary deliberations.

The response the FPB lodged to all the submissions can be found here


  • Besides wishing you luck (good luck, BTW!), is there something specific that we can be doing to help?

    Also, out of interest, does this effect short-film creators in SA posting content to YouTube etc?
  • Hey Nick,

    Thank you for this. I would be interested in writing an op-ed after you address parliament - Daily Maverick or similar news sites might be willing to publish it. Please let me know if that makes sense.
  • @roguecode not much to do now really. But yes it totally effects YouTubers as they are producing "film" and would also need to register with the FPB and then have each short classified. Twitch streamers are also affected.

    @mmillions_ sounds cool, let me know what you need from me
  • Don't forget your cape :D
    Holding thumbs!
    Thanked by 1Fengol
  • edited OP to include my presentation
  • Definitely holding thumbs too! Might be worth it to get a couple of comments for the op-ed from some prominent members of the community? Anyway, just an idea.

    Again, good luck. Will be watching issue closely :(
  • This is interesting. Does this mean that any video or game you wish to upload needs to be registered and classified by the FPB?
  • This is interesting. Does this mean that any video or game you wish to upload needs to be registered and classified by the FPB?
    Yes, at a cost of R1831 per game per platform.

    @LexAquillia, theoretically if this somehow got passed, could someone make a "Matt's Prototype Collection" game, and get that rated once, and then just continually update it with new prototypes? Basically, at what point does a general update cross the line into being a new product/DLC and need to get rated by itself?
  • Plus the initial registration fee of R1500

    @roguecode interesting though experiment. The Act doesn't deal with such subtleties so the honest answer is I do not know. My guess would be a soon as new content is added that could affect the rating of the game, the game would need to be reclassified?
    Thanked by 1roguecode
  • @LexAquillia

    How did the presentation go?

  • @critic submission went well. I don't expect them to abolish the rating system for games, but at the very least digital will be a lot less regulated than it was. The deputy shadow minister for communications has asked that I prepare a brief for her on my submission, she was specifically interested how the legislation would affect our fledgling industry, so at least some members of parliament are prepared to take the games industry seriously.

    I think it was a significant moment though. For the first time ever the local games industry had a voice in crafting a law that directly affects us. And more significantly, the committee to us seriously. That, I think, is a major step forward for us as a whole.
  • This, by the way, is thanks to IESA members providing money for this kind of thing. If you want to help the industry (and yourself), being a paying member of IESA is the best thing you can probably do.
  • When will the new/final FPB law come into act?
  • So what I need to ask is - what regular easy up-to-date things can we use to read this?
    Will we need it for selling in other countries (i.e. no SA)?
    What does it have to mean for students (and other part-time and full-time game developers) for if they want to make something they want to release?

    Im asking these things because another important thing I want to know about is does this do horrible to me making games that are for forum competitions or ideas in my head? Sorry if it is weird from me.
    Nancy said:
    When will the new/final FPB law come into act?
    This aswell.
  • edited
    @Nancy we don't know yet. The Online Policy will come into effect on the date to be determined by the Minister of Communications and there has been no announcement around this yet.

    In terms of the actual Bill, it still has a quite a way to go in the law making process, so I wouldn't expect anything to happen this year.

    @edg3 I don't understand the question, read what?
    2. No this law only applies if you are distributing games IN South Africa, if they games isn't sold here, then you don't need to get it classified with the FPB
    3. If the student/hobbyist made the game available to the public (like posting a proto-type on here) then they would need to register with the FPB and have the game classified prior to uploading it
    4. It would affect games made for the forums yes.
    Thanked by 1edg3
  • 3. If the student/hobbyist made the game available to the public (like posting a proto-type on here) then they would need to register with the FPB and have the game classified prior to uploading it
    4. It would affect games made for the forums yes.
    @LexAquillia will something on itch.io be seen as releasing something locally?
  • @FanieG yup. And in that case Itch.io would be seen as a distributor as well so they would need to register with the FPB as well. If they don't, the FPB has the power to block access to the site from within SA
  • Admins, can we get a sad emoji alongside the heart for @LexAquillia's posts?
  • Have other media related fields (Carte Blanche springs to mind) been involved in fighting this from being passed into law? Seems we could use all the help we could get. Can't believe our government could be so stupid as to want to censor it's people like this. I can only think about negative outcomes for this. Are there any positives to this act that i'm not seeing?
  • edited
    There are some benefits (which is why I'm hoping it doesn't get scrapped entirely) first it allows for a system of self classification. If it goes ahead I'm going to apply to allow Make Games and IESA to be accredited to self classify, this would allow our members to self classify their games which would be a big win from an administrative perspective (it essentially allows us to self regulate). The bill also allows for the recognition of foreign classification systems like PEGI and the ESRB which is something I've been lobbying for for years. Lastly it criminalizes revenge porn which is desperately needed, but it really shouldnt be in this particular act. The SABC, ETv Multicultural Choice, ISPA, all the cellular networks were there too, and they all agreed .it was a bad law
  • Just a quick thank you for standing up for our rights @LexAuqillia!
  • Update on this. I'll be back in Parliament tomorrow to hear what affect, if any, our submission had. The bill and all the public submissions are being deliberated tomorrow
  • Good Luck! Please let us know how it went.
    Thanked by 1critic
  • Hearings went well. I'm busy writing up a full report for IESA will share it here once it is done
  • Glad to hear it went well :)
  • edited
    It's terrifying his clueless they are. Host? Search engine? ISP? Naw, they're all the same thing.

    I feel like prior classification made sense when the world of media contained a handful of newspapers and TV channels. But in the modern day where literally anybody can be a whistle blower or reporter, anybody can be an artist, an entertainer, a game developer, prior classification doesn't actually make sense - not when it involves lengthy processes and fees. I get that viewers and consumers should be warned about the nature of the content they will be consuming, but what they're asking for sounds like they don't get how much they can stuff up giant chunks of the digital industry, and further cripple its massive potential to lift SA out of its economic reliance on natural resources (which will deplete) before we're even out the door. :/
    Thanked by 2francoisvn mattbenic
  • Thanks for the update @LexAquillia
  • edited
    The feedback is not looking very good, what happens next @LexAquillia, is this now the final draft that was being discussed, will some of the bigger players be willing to challenge this in constitutional court, when does the bill become law, how does this affect us as a community?
  • Ouch looks pretty bad. Let's see how it turns out. Hopefully the new bill will somehow allow us to continue doing what we love and and not completely crush the SA game industry. Its still in its infancy and has the potential to grow into something big. Its still unfair though and bit by bit we are losing our human rights and freedom here in SA.
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