Law Amendment Proposal Targeting Sexist Video Games Withdrawn in France
On January 8th, seven Socialist members of the French parliament proposed an amendment to the local laws in order to exclude the development of games portraying women in a degrading way from the tax credits normally awarded in France to video game developers.
Today, the amendment has been marked as “withdrawn,” meaning that the proposal has been retired by the proponents. At the moment, it’s unknown whether the idea has been completely scrapped, or will return in another form, as it often happens when an amendment is met with opposition.
Below you can read a translation of the original amendment (courtesy of our own Morgane Bouvais):
“This amendment is intended to exclude from obtaining a tax credit for expenses related to video games development (CIJV), games that portray women in a degrading manner, like it is already the case for games containing pornography or extreme violence.
The struggle against the sexist content of some video games, which is regularly criticized by female players who, contrary to popular belief, represent in France about 50% of players, must be a strong public policy goal, like it was demonstrated by the Law For Real Equality Between Men and Women of August 4th 2014, that strengthened the powers of the Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA) regarding the portraying of women and men in program services of audiovisual communication – particularly by fighting stereotypes, gender bias, degrading images, violences against women and violence among couples.”
“Currently, games including pornographic or extremely violent sequences which might severely impact the physical, mental or moral health of the user are not eligible for the benefits of the CIJV. Furthermore, video games specifically intended for an adult audience and marketed as such, excluding those containing sequences that are pornographic or extremely violent, are eligible by law to tax credits if their contribution to the development and diversity of French and European video game creation is significant, as determined by a points system. The previously mentioned decree dated June 23rd, 2015 defined a scale to assess the contextualization of violence.
In line with recommendation 17 of the informative report 3348 of the Delegation for Women’s Right and Equal Opportunities Between Men and Women on Women in Digital, this amendment seeks to amend the provisions of Article 220 terdecies of the tax code to alter the conditions of eligibility for video game tax credit (CIJV).
Therefore, in order to encourage a change in practices in this area, and contribute to the fight against sexism, stereotypes and gender violence in video games, it is hereby proposed to clarify that video games containing degrading representations against women are not entitled to the benefit of the gaming tax credit.”
Existing French legislation about tax credits for video games (CIJV) establishes that games with development costs higher than €100,000, created primarily by developers from France or the European Union, are eligible for a tax credit of up to 20% of the total development costs, as long as the game does not include pornography or extreme violence, and are deemed as a contribution to the diversity and quality of French and European game development.
The digital version of the French newspaper Le Monde reported yesterday that the presentation of the amendment caused mixed reactions among French developers, with some calling the initiative laudable, but not really applicable in practice, and others who argued that they’re already extremely vigilant about the representation of women in their games, and that if retained, this amended should be applied also to art, novels, comics, film and advertising, instead of singling out the gaming industry.