[DE] FSM approves additional Disney+ youth protection functions

IRIS 2021-5:1/14

Mirjam Kaiser

Institute of European Media Law

In a press release on 15 March 2021, the Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle Multimedia-Diensteanbieter e.V. (voluntary self-monitoring body for multimedia service providers – FSM) announced that it had granted a seal of approval to Disney+ on account of its new extended youth protection functions.

The FSM is a non-profit organisation recognised by the Kommission für Jugendmedienschutz (Commission for the Protection of Minors in the Media – KJM) as a self-regulatory body in the telemedia sector. One of its tasks is to assess the suitability of youth protection systems designed to ensure the effective protection of minors on the Internet. According to Article 11 of the Jugendmedienschutz-Staatsvertrag (State Treaty on the Protection of Minors in the Media – JMStV), such systems are suitable if they permit age group-differentiated access to telemedia and provide for state-of-the-art identification.

In the case at hand, the FSM examined the extended youth protection functions of the Disney+ streaming portal. The Walt Disney Company (Benelux) B.V., which offers the Disney+ service in Germany, became an FSM member in January 2021, thereby agreeing to comply with relevant legislative provisions and the KJM’s criteria for youth protection systems.

Disney+, which is designed to be used by the whole family, developed extended youth protection functions alongside its existing child profile system. The streaming service decided to update its youth protection concept when it launched the ‘Star’ general entertainment service, which includes a channel within the Disney+ video-on-demand service and is primarily aimed at teenagers and adults. The new youth protection functions are meant to improve the protection of children from unsuitable material. Individual age ratings can be assigned to different user profiles so protection measures can be further tailored to the user’s individual requirements. A separate age rating can be set for each profile, selected from those recognised under youth protection legislation (0, 6, 12, 16 and 18). Profiles can also be protected with a PIN. In the opinion of the FSM’s independent advisory body, the new functions comply with Article 11(2) JMStV. The FSM seal of approval shows users that the Disney+ streaming platform is an entertainment service that meets youth protection requirements.

The FSM’s decision will now be submitted to the KJM, which will check that the FSM acted within its powers when adopting it.



This article has been published in IRIS Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory.