Baker McKenzie represented Valve Corporation in the successful rehabilitation of the classic game "Left 4 Dead 2." Released in 2009 on PC, Xbox and PlayStation, the cooperative multiplayer game is still played by up to 40,000 players simultaneously every day. More than 11 million games in the "Left 4 Dead" series had already been sold in 2011.
In 2009, the game was initially only released in a version adapted for the German market, as the Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body ("USK") had denied the game an age rating. The original foreign version of the game was later indexed by the Federal Review Board for Media Harmful to Minors ("BPjM") and was thus subject to severe distribution restrictions. In 2010 and 2013, the AG Tiergarten and the AG Hechingen also confiscated the English and American PC versions of the game.
Baker McKenzie first obtained a reversal of the old seizure orders before the AG Tiergarten and the LG Hechingen (in the second instance). Subsequently, Baker McKenzie filed a de-listing request with the BPjM to lift the indexing and the distribution restrictions associated with it. After an oral proceeding in December 2020, the BPjM's Panel of Twelve decided that the original version of the game could no longer be classified as harmful to minors by today's standards and that the indexing had to be lifted accordingly. Baker McKenzie subsequently submitted a new application to the USK for age rating of the game. The USK subsequently labeled the game with a standard "USK 18" age rating.
The original version of the game can thus once again be distributed in Germany without restrictions. German users of the game on the game platform Steam can now freely decide whether they want to keep the 2009 adapted German version or download the original international version as free DLC for it.
Leading the advice to Valve Corporation on the rehabilitation of "Left 4 Dead 2" was Sebastian Schwiddessen, attorney in the IT and media law department at Baker McKenzie. He advises a variety of media and video game companies on all aspects of media law, including copyright, IT and data protection law as well as media regulatory issues such as the protection of minors, advertising law, broadcasting law, gambling law, NetzDG and content regulation.
Baker McKenzie regularly advises and represents national and international companies from the film and computer games industry in and out of court on media regulatory issues, such as Sony in the rehabilitation of the classic film "Dance of the Devils."
Legal advisor to Valve Corporation:
Lead: IT and media law: Sebastian Schwiddessen (senior associate, Berlin)
IT and media law/Compliance: Sina Buhl (associate, Munich)
IT and media law: Anika Vornwald (associate, Frankfurt)