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Good thing then that we are not a commercial outfit and don't have to worry about investors. :)

That may be. But said distribution venues do.

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I would appeal to as wide an audience as possible.

The game isn't very graphic at the moment and I have no problem with my 11 year old brother playing it. Bare breasts might change that, on the other hand the people are pretty tiny and the bikini bra isn't much better. I'd still err on the side of conservative and keep it.

The swastika is historically accurate and probably won't turn many/any players away. If it's legal, I'd say keep it.

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I would appeal to as wide an audience as possible.

The game isn't very graphic at the moment and I have no problem with my 11 year old brother playing it. Bare breasts might change that, on the other hand the people are pretty tiny and the bikini bra isn't much better. I'd still err on the side of conservative and keep it.

The swastika is historically accurate and probably won't turn many/any players away. If it's legal, I'd say keep it.

some theses countries can answer a lawyer friend.

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To chip in:

The game is free, and distribution is basically worldwide through the internet. The target demographic is probably people older than 16, but dare I say even probably people older than 20 (this game, being realistic and as of now fairly slow seems like a "grown-up" game to me). Being free, it also means that if people feel "offended" by whatever, well they just delete it and it cost them nothing. Thus I believe most decisions should be taken in regards to historical accuracy and other "usual" factors, like time/interest.

In the case of hindu swastikas, I believe legality should be the only factor. Unless Germany has especially stringent laws about the symbol (which to be honest I kind of doubt in the context of historically accurate literally-older-than-Jesus hindu symbols, though we should definitely stay away from a black swastika over a red background — but that's just asking for trouble ), in which case it would be worth it to remove them, there is no point in investing the time to do so.

There might (and I believe, will) be offended people. In all likelihood, they will be trolls, or people that would have found something to be offended by anyway. I do not believe it's worth wasting time "fixing" what ain't broke for that.

As for bare breasts, I don't really have a strong opinion on the matter. Historical accuracy would call for bare breasts, but covering them isn't what's going to make or break the game, it doesn't really feel important, and might help avoid unnecessary attention.

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http://www.gesetze-i.../stgb/__86.html

(3) Absatz 1 gilt nicht, wenn das Propagandamittel oder die Handlung der staatsbürgerlichen Aufklärung, der Abwehr verfassungswidriger Bestrebungen, der Kunst oder der Wissenschaft, der Forschung oder der Lehre, der Berichterstattung über Vorgänge des Zeitgeschehens oder der Geschichte oder ähnlichen Zwecken dient.

I'm not a lawyer but I think it clearly states that using symbols as the swastika is allowed if it's used for teaching, coverage of history or art which I think could all apply to our situation. I don't think it should be a legal problem.

On the other hand I think if we can accurately portray the maurians without using swastikas we should avoid it (I don't know if it was used everywhere or if It's just one symbol out of many). My opinion is that freedom of speech or the freedom of artists should have a high value from the legal point of view but there's no need to use this freedom if anyone could get hurt or offended and if there are comparable alternatives.

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Like Mythos_Ruler, I think we need someone who knows the legal aspect of that Swastika issue and we should stick to what it states in the case of the Hindu Svastika. Seriously, there might be no problem about this at all. And like Wraitii, I agree we must ensure the Hindu Swastika won't appear red on black somewhere in-game because that would be much too close to the Nazi version and then definitely offensive.

By the way, there's an interesting discussion about the Swastika on this Jewish News site : http://www.thejewishweek.com/blogs/yad/can-swastika-be-rehabilitated

I recommend reading the comments !

I know that it's not the opinion of everybody here, but for me, 0 A.D. has a kind of educational aspect, and representing History the best we can is an important part of it. So, for me, the Mauryan must feature the Hindua Swastika. If there is a real legal risk and if an in-game toggle on it is easy to implement, then I'm ok for the toggle idea. But let's first check if it's necessary.

For the bare-breasts : same thing. They should be included (that's History), and there should be a toggle to hide them so we are sure it allows any age/kind of players. I suggest those bare-breasts to be hidden by default.

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[...]

In the case of hindu swastikas, I believe legality should be the only factor.

[...]

There's something I don't understand. If you were making a commercial game (I mean with a commercial economic model, relying on selling copies on physical support in stores), I would understand self-censorship : you would need you game to be legal in most countries as possible to maximize your customer base.

But for a free game (both free-as-in-freedom and free-as-in-no-cost) ? Why is the legality of the game important ?

I can't speak for Germany but in France, depiction of swastika is authorised if it's in a historical context. But I don't know if "0 A.D." is legally history or fiction. :/

Edited by serveurix

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As a German, I personally don't mind about the swastikas. However, it is a very sensible topic here in Germany and it may be viewed as offensive by many Germans who are afraid of being in any way associated with Nazism and will thus be the first to point it out. As Michael said, though, only the use of the "inverted" swastika is explicitly outlawed. The Hindu/Buddhist versions are not, though they may be shunned upon.

EDIT:

I noticed the distinction that serveurix made in his post between use in fiction and historical context. All kinds of swastikas are portrayed and allowed to be shown in media that refer to a historical context (e.g. a documentary about the Third Reich, God knows we have too many ...). But video games are a different issue. There was an uproar some time ago when a WW2 shooter used the Nazi swastikas. (though there were other concerns about this game, like being able to control the SS etc.) I can't remember the outcome of that dispute, but the legislation on games is blurry.

EDIT2:

The article in the StGB (Penal Code Index) : http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/stgb/__86.html

§ 86 Verbreiten von Propagandamitteln verfassungswidriger Organisationen

(1) Wer Propagandamittel 1.

einer vom Bundesverfassungsgericht für verfassungswidrig erklärten Partei oder einer Partei oder Vereinigung, von der unanfechtbar festgestellt ist, daß sie Ersatzorganisation einer solchen Partei ist, 2.

einer Vereinigung, die unanfechtbar verboten ist, weil sie sich gegen die verfassungsmäßige Ordnung oder gegen den Gedanken der Völkerverständigung richtet, oder von der unanfechtbar festgestellt ist, daß sie Ersatzorganisation einer solchen verbotenen Vereinigung ist, 3.

einer Regierung, Vereinigung oder Einrichtung außerhalb des räumlichen Geltungsbereichs dieses Gesetzes, die für die Zwecke einer der in den Nummern 1 und 2 bezeichneten Parteien oder Vereinigungen tätig ist, oder 4.

Propagandamittel, die nach ihrem Inhalt dazu bestimmt sind, Bestrebungen einer ehemaligen nationalsozialistischen Organisation fortzusetzen, im Inland verbreitet oder zur Verbreitung im Inland oder Ausland herstellt, vorrätig hält, einführt oder ausführt oder in Datenspeichern öffentlich zugänglich macht, wird mit Freiheitsstrafe bis zu drei Jahren oder mit Geldstrafe bestraft.

(2) Propagandamittel im Sinne des Absatzes 1 sind nur solche Schriften (§ 11 Abs. 3), deren Inhalt gegen die freiheitliche demokratische Grundordnung oder den Gedanken der Völkerverständigung gerichtet ist.

(3) Absatz 1 gilt nicht, wenn das Propagandamittel oder die Handlung der staatsbürgerlichen Aufklärung, der Abwehr verfassungswidriger Bestrebungen, der Kunst oder der Wissenschaft, der Forschung oder der Lehre, der Berichterstattung über Vorgänge des Zeitgeschehens oder der Geschichte oder ähnlichen Zwecken dient.

(4) Ist die Schuld gering, so kann das Gericht von einer Bestrafung nach dieser Vorschrift absehen.

"Who spreads means of propaganda of a party which is outlawed by the Bundesverfassungsgericht ("Federal Constutional Court") or of a party or organisation of which there is clear evidence of it being a substitute organisation of such a party [...] in the inland or for the spreading in the inland or in foreign countries, who stores, imports or exports or makes it publically aviable in data stores, is to be fined or punished with prison up to three years."

"(3) Paragraph 1 doesn't apply in cases where the means of propaganda or the action is used for education of the citizens, the defense against anti-constutional aspirations, art or science, research and education, reporting about current or historical affairs or for similar purposes."

So ... some internet sources claim that any swastika symbol and not only the Nazi version, falls under the described category. If this is indeed the case, then it would be only permitted by German law if it falls under the exceptions noted in (3). (e.g. is a game considered to be art or something similar?)

Edited by SMST

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I'm not a lawyer but I think it clearly states that using symbols as the swastika is allowed if it's used for teaching, coverage of history or art which I think could all apply to our situation. I don't think it should be a legal problem.

And video games are classified as art in Germany, so I'd say it's almost certainly legal to use Swastikas in games, even Nazi Swastikas.

I say keep it. If anyone is silly enough to feel offended by an ancient symbol being used in a historically-correct way, this is an open source game and they should feel free to mod/fork/rewrite history.

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And video games are classified as art in Germany, so I'd say it's almost certainly legal to use Swastikas in games, even Nazi Swastikas.

Are they? There was confusion about that when I last checked. But then again, games also falls into the category of enternainment, and it is most certainly illigal to use those symbols in such a way.

I say keep it. If anyone is silly enough to feel offended by an ancient symbol being used in a historically-correct way, this is an open source game and they should feel free to mod/fork/rewrite history.

Seconded.

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Ok, once more on the swastika: AFAIK (and I'm involved in the anti-fascist scene in Germany, I'm in contact with antifa activists etc, I've been studying history at the university - so I'm rather good informed, I think) there is no distinction between the swastica and the nazi symbol. Games are referred to as Art, but when it says "Art", the emphasis is on anti-fascist art and such, not pro-fascist or neutral art. A game that uses any of these symbols wouldn't be legalized by this, no matter whether historically accurate or not, when there is no classification of the symbol used provided along with use.

Some time ago there had even been an argument over whether anti-fascists should be allowed to use anti-fascist symbols that feature nazi symbols - though they had ultimately won at court, I think it gives you an impression on how sensitive Germans are about this matter.

Also, there has been an argument in this thread on WW2-RTS using Nazi symbols and that's another cup of tea: If the game was historically accurate and provides infos on the Third Reich and it's gigantic crimes as well as the propaganda it used, it wouldn't be a problem, because there was an "educational purpose" and classification, it would probably even be easier to justify the swastica, other than some historical game that could easily do well without it, just using something else, but insists on using the swastica - lawyers would argue there is some political reason to insist using the swastica instead of other symbols.

And since there are no players, who play the game in <1930, all use of the indian swastica has a connotation of nazi swastica, so it's pretty stupid to argue like that. Everybody playing the games plays it post-1945.

So, as I already mentioned: Using the swastica, toggable or not, would make the game illegal in Germany and other states. Even making it available in Germany on US servers wouldn't actually save you from prosecution, it's your local government that would, when German lawyers might demand extradition - which is most likely not going to happen, cuz there is little chance to that in most cases; yet you probably shouldn't go to Germany for vacation.

So there would have to be some regional block for these users to use the original swastica game and detour them to the culturally sensitive version.

It might be an option, to add an info panel in main menu featuring some longer information on symbols used, how they are used, how they have been used in the past and that you don't agree with these uses or want to express any kind of relation to these uses.

This ain't a matter of "cultural sensitivity" or "people might be offended", it's strict law in a number of countries - probably you'd also be "culturally sensitive" about up to 3 years of arrest?^^

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The game is historically based, but still the main purpose of the game isn't art neither education, but entertainment. I can already imagine people complaining about being able to command a whole army with swastika symbols on their shields. I prefer to have fellow germans playing than stick with a symbol, so i agree to not have it within the game, as silly as it is.

Edited by Pedro Falcão

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Ok, once more on the swastika: AFAIK (and I'm involved in the anti-fascist scene in Germany, I'm in contact with antifa activists etc, I've been studying history at the university - so I'm rather good informed, I think) there is no distinction between the swastica and the nazi symbol. Games are referred to as Art, but when it says "Art", the emphasis is on anti-fascist art and such, not pro-fascist or neutral art. A game that uses any of these symbols wouldn't be legalized by this, no matter whether historically accurate or not, when there is no classification of the symbol used provided along with use.

Like others, I would like to see some sources on this (I personally do not count anti-fascists as a reliable source, to be honest), but I think your post at least demonstrates there is a division. We can certainly choose to respond to the division with posturing and grandstanding, and I doubt there would be legal ramifications from that, but the issue is there and someone has to make a judgement on how to deal with it.

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Like others, I would like to see some sources on this

I've already quotet the §86a of German StGB, which is the only reliable source thats really important.

There have been a few lawsuits about the swastica, some artist that was found "not guilty" because he had built up a visible info-table that he dissociated himself from the Nazi ideology, the Falun Gong sect obviously also won a lawsuit, but they don't provide any info on the reasons, might have to do with religious freedom.

The site "www.recht-gegen-rechts", an antifascist homepage driven by the city of Nuremberg, lawyers, policemen and antifascist activists, says tha swastica is "illegal in any form", but this obviously does not refer to the legal uses in art, education and such.

Here's an english translation I found.

Section 86a

Using symbols of unconstitutional organisations

(1) Whosoever

1. domestically distributes or publicly uses, in a meeting or in written materials (section 11(3)) disseminated by him, symbols of one of the parties or organisations indicated in section 86(1) Nos 1, 2 and 4; or

2. produces, stocks, imports or exports objects which depict or contain such symbols for distribution or use in Germany or abroad in a manner indicated in No 1,

shall be liable to imprisonment not exceeding three years or a fine.

(2) Symbols within the meaning of subsection (1) above shall be in particular flags,insignia, uniforms and their parts, slogans and forms of greeting. Symbols which are so similar as to be mistaken for those named in the 1st sentence shall be equivalent to them.

(3) Section 86(3) and (4) shall apply mutatis mutandis.

§86 (3) Subsection (1) states:

"above shall not apply if the propaganda materials or the act is meant to serve civil education, to avert unconstitutional movements, to promote art or science, research or teaching, the reporting about current or historical events or similar purposes."

http://www.gesetze-i...stgb.html#p0823

Edited by desmotes

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(I'm not a lawyer so don't take any of as legal advice)

§ 86a (2) includes symbols that resemble those named in § 86a (1) and § 86a (2). The exemption in § 86 (3) (via § 86a (3) only applies to those cases noted in Yves post above.

But some rulings of the Bundesverfassungsgericht (see links and quotes below) indicate that the use of those symbols is only legal (if § 86 (3) doesn't apply, which may or may not be the case (related to our current inclusion)) if the use doesn't run contrary to the Schutzzweck.

Infolge des weiten Kennzeichenbegriffs erfasst der Tatbestand des § 86a StGB - vor allem bei mehrdeutigen Kennzeichen - auch sozialadäquate Verwendungsformen. Daher ist die Rechtsprechung bestrebt, die Weite des Tatbestands einzugrenzen. Dies geschieht anhand des Schutzzwecks der Norm. Dieser Schutzzweck bestimmt auch den möglichen Wortsinn des Kennzeichenbegriffs und die Auslegung der Frage, wann das konkret gebrauchte Symbol dem Originalkennzeichen zum Verwechseln ähnlich sieht. Ausgeschlossen werden hiernach Handlungen, welche dem Schutzzweck ersichtlich nicht zuwiderlaufen (vgl. BGH, Beschluss vom 1. Oktober 2008 - 3 StR 164/08 -, NStZ 2009, S. 88 <89>).

(source: http://www.bverfg.de/entscheidungen/rk20090518_2bvr220208.html)

The exemption from this is in case of a neutral use, which probably applies here, (instead of the legal use as quoted by desmotes) not applicable if there is "massenhafte Verbreitung" (~mass distribution).

Auch im Fall einer neutralen Verwendung hat der Senat eine ähnliche

Einschränkung vorgenommen. Bei einem Spielzeughersteller, der originalge-

treue Modelle von Kriegsflugzeugen mit Hakenkreuz auf den Markt gebracht

hatte, hat er entscheidend auf die "massenhafte Verbreitung" abgestellt und

diese für unzulässig erklärt (BGHSt 28, 394, 397).

(source: http://juris.bundesgerichtshof.de/cgi-bin/rechtsprechung/document.py?Gericht=bgh&Art=en&sid=35c128165c4d9b6d237d8a68878c3644&Sort=3&nr=39349&pos=1&anz=2)

Regarding the strict law in some countries: I have not yet seen any other law that restricts the use as much as the German law does, which even prohibits the neutral (as in not propagandistic) use.

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Here's an english translation I found.

Thanks.

I've already quotet the §86a of German StGB, which is the only reliable source thats really important.

Not really - court rulings are shaped to a large degree by precedent, not just the original letter of the law. The fact that not many cases have been prosecuted is also worth taking into consideration.

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Not really - court rulings are shaped to a large degree by precedent, not just the original letter of the law. The fact that not many cases have been prosecuted is also worth taking into consideration.

There hasn't been too much significant court ruling cuz the law is pretty strict and there is little chance to win at court. There is lots of prosecution. According to official statistics there has to be about 10.000 cases a year of prosecuted use of swastica with an indisputable rightist background, and according to criticism of these statistics, there are lots of cases where the use of swasticas and alike are prosecuted without claiming a clear rightist background.

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We'd need some source that doesn't come either from anti-right extreme groups about the laws.

As for the other countries, indeed, Germany is afaik the only country with such stringent laws..

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I can send out a status asking for pro bono legal advice from a German attorney.

I will wait a day or two, though. We want the new website to be in the limelight.

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We'd need some source that doesn't come either from anti-right extreme groups about the laws.

So the City of Nuremberg, the BundesVerfassungsGericht (Federal Constitutional Court of Germany) and BundesGerichtshof (Federal Court of Justice of Germany) as quoted by leper, the StGB (German Criminal Code) and Federal Ministry of Domestic Affairs (for statistics about prosecution on use of Nazi symbols) are anti-right extreme institutions and not reliable?

And why insist on a negligible detail at all, when it's such a sensible matter?

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So the City of Nuremberg, the BundesVerfassungsGericht (Federal Constitutional Court of Germany) and BundesGerichtshof (Federal Court of Justice of Germany) as quoted by leper, the StGB (German Criminal Code) and Federal Ministry of Domestic Affairs (for statistics about prosecution on use of Nazi symbols) are anti-right extreme institutions

Clearly, they aren't. Are those statistics online, by any chance?

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