British made online music videos are to being given age ratings. The BBFC, which is running the initiative, has estimated that one in five videos released will be deemed unfit for those under 12. Video sharing sites YouTube and Vevo have
signed up to the scheme and pledged to include the warnings on clips uploaded to their sites. Vevo puts the rating in the top corner of the video, while YouTube includes it in the information beneath.
However some of the world's raunchiest performers, such as Miley Cyrus and Rihanna, are not covered by the scheme and there are no measures in place to enforce the guidelines. A spokesman for Vevo said:
There is no signing in as such or filters -- although this is a next step that may be added in time. At the moment this is about giving parents and users the information they need to make a more informed viewing choice and decision. To be
effective it requires that parents also take an active interest in what their children are watching.
Rapper Dizzee Rascal has scored a first, his video Couple of Stacks is the first and so far the only 18 rating under the initiative for strong bloody violence, gore, very strong language . The three and a half minute clip contains
extreme violence with the rapper ripping the heart out of a stripping woman, brandishing a knife while covered in blood and decapitating a woman whose body then stumbles around the room. He also holds a family hostage and serves a cake with
severed fingers instead of candles. He is shown pulling out a person's eyeball, slitting one woman's throat and cutting another's head in half.
Vivienne Pattison, a moralist campaigner from Media Watch-UK, said:
When parents are surveyed, the two areas that came up as being particularly problematic were soap operas and music videos, those are the two areas that come up again and again as the issue. One in five, that's a huge number of videos.
What happens is one video pushes the boundaries and the next artists is under pressure to do the same in order to get people talking about it. It becomes a great merry-go-round and I think that is a fantastic illustration of exactly where this
is gone, it's quite extraordinary.
It's not a magic bullet but it's a fantastic step and I think it will really make a difference. I don't know where we will end up down the line but I would like this to act as a kite mark for music videos. This is not a move about censorship,
the videos will all still be there, but I think artists and record companies need to take seriously that if they are targeting young fans they have got to do it responsibly.
On the lack of enforcement of the ratings, she said: You can't go into a shop and buy a 15 rated film without ID and we need to see about extending those protections online.
The BPI and BBFC, in partnership with Vevo and You Tube, and UK record companies Sony Music UK, Universal Music UK and Warner Music UK, can announce that age ratings are now being displayed on the music videos they upload to digital service
providers Vevo and YouTube.
The age ratings are part of a government-backed pilot by the UK recorded music industry, the BBFC and digital service providers designed to test how age ratings can be applied to music videos released online in the UK, so that family audiences
can make more informed viewing decisions.
The pilot has been running since 3 October 2014. The first phase, which has been successful, saw the three major UK record companies (Sony Music UK, Universal Music UK and Warner Music UK) submit to the BBFC for age rating, any music videos for
release online in the UK for which they would expect to be given at least a 12-rating (videos deemed not to contain content that would attract at least a 12 rating are not submitted*).
If appropriate, the BBFC then issues either a 12, 15 or 18 rating -- in line with the BBFC Classification Guidelines. As part of the ratings process the BBFC also includes bespoke content advice, called BBFC insight, which explains in more detail
why an age rating has been given: for example, that scenes include sexual imagery or other content deemed inappropriate for younger viewers. Once given an age rating, the labels pass on the rating and guidance when releasing their videos to the
two digital service providers -- Vevo and YouTube, who, in turn, will display it when the videos are broadcast online.
The pilot will be evaluated later this year based on consumer research, when consideration will also be given to how the scheme can be applied more widely.
Geoff Taylor, BPI Chief Executive, comments:
We want to empower consumers by giving them useful, advance guidance as to the suitability of the music videos they watch, whilst leaving artists the freedom to fully express themselves. The introduction of age ratings on top of the existing
parental advisory warnings is a key next step by the UK's record labels, working with BBFC, Vevo and YouTube, that will enable families to make more informed viewing decisions.
David Austin, Assistant Director, BBFC comments:
We are very pleased to see YouTube and Vevo displaying BBFC age ratings and BBFC insight for online music videos submitted to the BBFC for classification as part of this pilot. Parents taking part in our most recent review of the BBFC
Classification Guidelines in 2013, expressed their concerns about the content of music videos online, in particular their role in the sexualisation of girls and portrayals of self-harm, drug use and violence in some music video content. We hope
this pilot will provide consumers with information to help guide them and their families when accessing music videos online.
Nic Jones, EVP International, Vevo, comments:
Music videos give bands and artists their best opportunity to express personality and individuality to their fans. At Vevo we fully support their right to freedom of expression in the videos they create. We also recognise our role in being able
to assist music fans, and their families in particular, to be comfortable with their choice of viewing material and its suitability. In turn age ratings will help Vevo become even more valuable to brands, helping them to connect to their desired
Candice Morrissey, Music Partnerships, YouTube EMEA, comments:
Over the last few months, we have been working with the UK's music industry to help them display the BBFC's age ratings on their music videos on YouTube. These are in addition to the controls we already provide on YouTube including the ability
for uploaders to add age warnings to videos and a safety mode to help parents screen out content they do not feel is suitable for their children.
* It is estimated that around 20% of music videos released within the pilot are likely to be subject to a rating -- the large majority are unlikely to contain content that would be rated 12 or greater. This estimate is based on a previous video
catalogue audit of one of the companies taking part in the pilot.
The Director of Canterbury Museum in New Zealand has made the news for displaying the iconic Cradle of Fifth t-shirt bearing the slogan: Jesus is a cunt. The front of the t-shirt is titled Vestal Masturbation , which aptly
describes the pictured nun.
The t-shirt is displayed in an adults only area of the T-shirts Unfolding exhibition at the museum.
Director Anthony Wright says they're trying to tell the story of T-shirts within street art culture, without unduly censoring the content.
We've got to balance that up against anyone that might be offended, and we've bent over backwards to make sure that anyone who might be offended won't come into contact with anything offensive. It's a tiny part of the overall exhibition.
Auckland University's senior lecturer Dr Geoff Kemp says though he doesn't like the t-shirt, the way it's presented is acceptable.
Because it's now appearing in an exhibition context, it's trying to tell a story in a more reflective, educational way. It seems a different context to the idea of it just being worn out on the street.
The Anglican Church has inevitably condemned the exhibition. Bishop Victoria Matthews says this should be about common decency. She makes a few leaps of credibility and spouts:
What's the line between art and pornography, and what is the line between communication and inciting violence.
The christian moralist group, Family First said through National director Bob McCoskrie that whether its on display in a museum or worn by a member of the public, it's offensive and shouldn't be allowed.
The public has access to it, and they shouldn't be confronted by this kind of offensive and unnecessary material.