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MIRACLE - Machine-readable and Interoperable Age Classification Labels in Europe

MIRACLE - Machine-readable and Interoperable Age Classification Labels in Europe

Age ratings and age classifications of media content are traditional instruments of youth media protection. However, they vary depending on their originating country. Therefore, the relevant information concerning youth protection either does not reach the end-user, or it cannot be processed automatically by computers. The pilot project, which is co-funded by the EU, aims at changing this. MIRACLE has developed a common technical data model that can be used for all existing classification systems. Thus, it improves the information base for the classification agencies of the individual countries, as well as for parents and children. The data model has been implemented in five different systems. On the basis of the interoperable data of MIRACLE, the project has supported the development of applications and innovative services in order to demonstrate the gains from technically interoperable age-classifications and to enable their use throughout Europe. Classification agencies, self-regulating bodies, safer-internet centres and filter software providers from five EU Member States are involved in MIRACLE.

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Project Description

The fragmentation of the legal systems regarding the protection of minors among the individual countries has caused the age-classification of media content to proceed primarily on a national level. Labels used in these contexts are, as a rule, visual only. Harmonising the approaches concerning the protection of minors, for example, on a Europe-wide basis, is not possible in the foreseeable future for juridical reasons and might also not desirable in light of distinctly different cultural values in different regions. The high number of national classification systems, however, results in a great amount of classification data and rating information which remains tied to the respective countries only – despite the increasing digitalisation and trans-border media content use.

MIRACLE (Machine-readable and Interoperable Age Classification Labels in Europe) is a project co-financed by the EU Commission and intended to sound out the technical possibilities and synergistic effects of interoperable electronic age indicators. The main aim is to develop a technologically neutral and open data model, on the basis of which different systems and applications can exchange age ratings and process existing and future information on age classifications. It is not a question of introducing a new system of assessment or of harmonising the content of existing classification systems, but rather of creating a technical framework to enable the transfer of existing categories into machine-readable forms, aimed at making them exchangeable and processible, using the same technical vocabularies across the borders between countries and systems. The result would be a wider base of accessible metadata focussing on age ratings and, with that, a higher efficiency of applications processing these data from producers, service providers, classification agencies, as well as better information for parents and children.

As a pilot project, MIRACLE has developed a technical specification, that has been implemented in five different systems: BBFC (UK), NICAM (NL), PEGI (supranational), FSM (DE) und NCBI (CZ). On basis of this interoperable data, the project has supported the development of applications and innovative services, in order to demonstrate the added value of technically interoperable age-classifications.

The consortium for the pilot project extends over five different member countries and consists of classification agencies, self-regulating bodies, safer-internet centres and filter software providers.

The project runs from 2014 to summer of 2016.

Project website: http://www.miracle-label.eu

Project Information

Contact person

Dr. Stephan Dreyer
Senior Researcher Media Law & Media Governance

Dr. Stephan Dreyer

Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung │ Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI)
Rothenbaumchaussee 36
20148 Hamburg

Tel. +49 (0)40 45 02 17 - 33
Fax +49 (0)40 45 02 17 - 77

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