The Department for Culture, Medi a and Sport has published a draft bill to remove the current blanket exemptions for music, sports, religious and educational videos.
Videos that would be U or PG rated will continue to be exempt but videos that would be rated 12 or higher now need to be censored by the BBFC before they can be legally sold in the UK.
The mechanism to predict whether videos require censorship is provided by a long list of content that would likely trigger at least a 12 rating. If none of the triggers apply then the video need not be submitted.
The changes will be applied via a Statutory Instrument meaning that it will not be debated in parliament.
The DCMS has invited public comments on the draft which are to be sent to VRARegs@culture.gsi.gov.uk by 31 January 2014.
The new regulation amends Section 2 subsections (2) and (3) of the Video Recordings Act 1984:
Subsection (2) of the current Video Recordings Act reads
(2) A video work is not an exempted work for those purposes if, to any significant extent, it depicts--
(a) human sexual activity of acts of force or restraint associated with such activity;
(b) mutilation or torture of, or other acts of gross violence towards, humans or animals;
(c) human genital organs or human urinary or excretory functions;
(d) techniques likely to be useful in the commission of offences;
This will be replaced by
The Video Recordings Act 1984 (Exempted Video Works) Regulations 2014
(2) A video work is not an exempted work for those purposes if it does one or more of the following-
(a) it depicts or promotes violence or threats of violence;
(b) it depicts the immediate aftermath of violence on human or animal characters;
(c) it depicts an imitable dangerous activity without also depicting that the activity may endanger the welfare or health of a human or animal character;
(d) it promotes an imitable dangerous activity;
(e) it depicts or promotes activities involving illegal drugs or the misuse of drugs;
(f) it promotes the use of alcohol or tobacco;
(g) it depicts or promotes suicide or attempted suicide, or depicts the immediate aftermath of such an event;
(h) it depicts or promotes any act of scarification or mutilation of a person, or of self-harm, or depicts the immediate aftermath of such an act;
(i) it depicts techniques likely to be useful in the commission of offences or, through its depiction of criminal activity, promotes the commission of offences;
(j) it includes words or images intended or likely to convey a sexual message (ignoring words or images depicting any mild sexual behaviour);
(k) it depicts human sexual activity (ignoring any depictions of mild sexual activity);
(l) it depicts or promotes acts of force or restraint associated with human sexual activity;
(m) it depicts human genital organs or human urinary or excretory functions (unless the depiction is for a medical, scientific or educational purpose);
(n) it includes swearing (ignoring any mild bad language); or
(o) it includes words or images that are intended or likely (to any extent) to cause offence, whether on the grounds of race, gender, disability, religion or belief or sexual orientation, or otherwise.
These Regulations do not apply in relation to any supply of a video work which was first placed on the market before [...] 2014
These new rules are vague enough to allow a whole bunch of the material that is causing the moralisers to have kittens to still pass as exempt . Let's look at the Miley Cyrus performances that have recently caused so much fuss, for instance. Would
the video for Wrecking Ball need to be certified? Certainly not, because the nudity is suggestive, not graphic. Would her notorious performance with Robin Thicke really be considered to be more than mild sexual activity ? Again, surely not by any
The BBFC is pleased to announce a new tariff for short films made by film students or by first time filmmakers affiliated to a recognised funding scheme. The student short film tariff aims to enable filmmakers creating short films of up to 40 minutes as
part of educational studies or funding schemes, to receive a theatrical age rating for their film, at a reduced tariff.
The tariff was designed in response to a number of requests from student and first time film-makers wishing to submit their short film for classification for theatrical screenings.
David Cooke, Director, BBFC said:
We have seen an increase in the number of requests for short films, created as part of film studies or funding schemes, to be submitted for classification. We're careful to advise students about seeking Local Authority permission to screen their short
films in local cinemas, but many would like to receive an official classification and black card for their film. We hope by introducing a reduced tariff for these short films we can meet this demand and enable those studying film, or receiving funding to
make films, to secure wider theatrical distribution for their work.
The student short film tariff is available at £50+VAT for films of up to 20 minutes and £100+VAT for films of 20 to 40 minutes. The film can be either fiction or non-fiction, but cannot be a trailer, advert, music promo or similar and the
film must have been created through a recognised funding scheme or training initiative, no more than two academic years prior to the date of submission to the BBFC. The full criteria for the BBFC student short film tariff, can be found on the BBFC
The new student short film tariff follows continuing work by the BBFC to reduce costs for all its customers. The BBFC is a non-profit organisation and fees have not risen for 6 years, while new concessions have also been introduced, including a 25%
discount for identical video versions of classified films and a free of charge digital age rating for use online for any video, DVD or Blu-ray work classified.