Ofcom has published its draft 2013/14 Annual Plan for consultation, outlining its strategy and work programme for the next financial year.
In terms of TV, VOD and Internet censorship it seems very much work as usual. However in the longer term strategies section there is a note about developing a censorship 'framework' to be applied to all audio-visual content:
Strategic Priority under the heading Maintain audience confidence in broadcast content : Develop approaches to future AV content regulation
Interim Outcomes: Develop options for a new framework incorporating appropriate minimum levels of protection and assurance for audiences across linear broadcast television and VoD
Final Outcomes: Effective framework for AV regulation within the scope of current legislation and contribute to the Government/European debate as appropriate for future legislation on AV content.
The Polish parliament has adopted an amendment to the country's Law on Radio and Television Broadcasting related to VOD services. It has now been
passed to the Senate.
According to the Ministry of Administration and Digitisation (MAC), it implements the principle of minimal regulation conforming to the requirements of the EU Audiovisual Directive.
In practice, the amendment envisages VOD services being in part covered by the same rules previously applicable only to TV broadcasting. However, they will also be widened to include bans on tobacco and alcohol advertising, as well as product
There will also be protection of minors and a requirement for 20% of the content of VOD services to be of European origin.
An ad for the computer game Hitman: Absolution , viewed on the YouTube channel and Facebook pages for the Hitman game series:
a. The ad on YouTube was titled Hitman Absolution - Attack of the Saints Trailer [North America] . Text at the beginning of the ad stated MAY CONTAIN CONTENT INAPPROPRIATE FOR CHILDREN Visit www.esrb.org for rating information . The CGI
animated ad began in a motel room, where a man was seen removing his shirt, washing blood from his hands, cleaning a wound on his shoulder and getting dressed again. That was intercut with scenes of a group of nuns walking, a close-up of their
high-heeled boots, and footage of them producing weapons. They removed their robes to reveal they were wearing skin-tight PVC outfits. Some were wearing stockings and suspenders or ripped tights. The man was seen looking towards the spy-hole on the motel
room door. The women stopped in front of the motel and one of them fired a missile at the building. That was followed by several seconds of close-ups of firearms, intercut with the women pointing their weapons in different directions. The man appeared
behind two of the women in succession and attacked them, garrotting one and punching the other in the head whilst holding his other hand over her mouth. This was followed by close-ups of him grabbing a third woman over her mouth and nose, and pointing a
gun out towards the viewer. He then shot two women in the chest; blood was shown flying from their wounds. Another woman engaged him in a fistfight and knocked him to the ground. A shot, from the man's perspective, showed a woman standing over him
pointing a machine gun at him. He knocked her over and punched her in the head. A woman appeared behind him and attempted to garrotte him with her rosary beads. He headbutted her in the nose, breaking it, and they continued to fight. He then grabbed the
woman with the broken nose and used her as a shield as one of the other women, who was lying on the ground, shot at the man. He picked up a gun from the floor and fired twice. A close-up of the woman's face showed she was lying on the ground; she
appeared to be dead. The man knelt down and closed her eyes. He stood up, against the background of the motel on fire. Text appeared which stated HITMAN ABSOLUTION , followed by a shot of the man putting weapons in the boot of a car and driving
away. Further text stated THE ORIGINAL ASSASSIN PREORDER NOW AND PLAY THE SNIPER CHALLENGE TODAY ... .
b. The same ad was posted on the Hitman Facebook page, titled Attack Of The Saints Trailer The Saints have arrived! Watch the Hitman: Absolution trailer now!.
The ASA received two complaints claiming that theads glamourised and condoned violence, particularly towards women, through the themes of graphic violence and the sexually provocative clothing worn by the female characters.
Both complainants challenged whether ad (a) was offensive;
one complainant challenged whether ad (a) was distressing; and
one complainant challenged whether ad (b) was offensive,
One complainant also challenged whether ad (a) was socially irresponsible, because it glamourised and condoned violence, particularly towards women, when it was for a product which would appeal to teenage boys.
Square Enix (SE) said there was also a European version of the trailer, which was the same except that it gave the PEGI rating of the game at the start rather than the North American ESRB rating. The game was rated 18 in both jurisdictions, and both
trailers included those ratings prominently at the start. They said the trailers reflected the content of the game, which would have been banned or cut if it had any content which was considered offensive or harmful. They said the trailer was only
intended to be viewed by adults of 18 or over; it was not aimed or targeted at teenage boys. They said they had taken steps to ensure that it would not be viewed by those under 18.
SE said the trailer was released on their YouTube channel, which had an 18-rated age gate. Users could therefore only access the trailer by creating an account with YouTube and inputting their date of birth and other personal details.
With regard to the ad appearing on Facebook, SE said that, on the release date of the European trailer, it had only been accessible to Facebook users who followed links to YouTube, and therefore the YouTube age gate applied. They had subsequently
discovered, however, that the North American trailer had then been posted on their Facebook page without an age restriction on users in Europe. They explained that was a technical error which had now been rectified; the trailer on Facebook could now only
be accessed by adults who were 18 or over.
ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld
1., 2. & 3. Not upheld
The ASA acknowledged the ad included scenes of graphic violence in which a man fought a group of women wearing sexually provocative clothing. We acknowledged some viewers might find the women's clothing gratuitous and offensive, and the idea of a man
fighting women distressing and offensive. However, we noted the ad was age-restricted, and accessed via a Facebook page and YouTube channel which were specifically about the Hitman game. We considered it was likely that internet users who viewed the ads
would therefore have specifically sought out material relating to the game and would be familiar with its premise and the types of characters and imagery which featured in the ad. We also considered that, in addition to the age-restrictions, the 18
rating at the beginning of the ad clearly signposted to viewers that the content would be of a particular type. Furthermore, we considered that, because the 'Saints' were armed and initiated the violence, it was clear, even to viewers unfamiliar with the
game, that they were professional assassins who had been sent to kill Agent 47, and that the violence on his part was neither random nor sexually motivated. We also noted that the act of closing the eyes of one of the dead women would generally be viewed
as a respectful gesture. Whilst we acknowledged that some viewers might find the ad distressing and offensive, we concluded that, because it was age-restricted and unlikely to be viewed by those unfamiliar with the game, it was unlikely to cause serious
or widespread offence or distress to viewers of the Hitman Facebook page and YouTube channel. We also considered the ad did not glamorise violence generally, or violence towards women in particular, and we concluded it was not likely to condone or
encourage violence or anti-social behaviour.
On points (1) and (2), we investigated ad (a) under CAP Code rules 4.1, 4.2 and 4.4 (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach.
On point (3), we investigated ad (b) under CAP Code rules 4.1 and 4.4 (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach.
4. Not upheld
We agreed with the complainant that the product was likely to appeal to teenage boys under 18 years of age. However, we noted the ad was accessed via the advertiser's YouTube channel and Facebook page, and that both avenues of access were age-restricted
to website users who were 18 or over. We were concerned that a technical error had meant that European Facebook users had, for a time, been able to access the ad without an age-restriction, but we noted the advertiser had taken swift action to correct
the error when they became aware of it and they had not targeted the ad at those under 18 at any time. We concluded that, because we considered the ad did not glamorise or condone violence, and the advertiser had taken steps to prevent those who were
under 18 from viewing it, it was not socially irresponsible.
On point (4), we investigated ad (a) under CAP rule 1.3 (Social responsibility), but did not find it in breach.
An Israeli filmmaker based in California went into hiding Tuesday after his movie attacking Islam's religious character Muhammad sparked angry assaults by extremist Muslims on U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya, where one American was killed.
Speaking by phone from an undisclosed location, writer and director Sam Bacile remained defiant, saying Islam is a cancer and that he intended his film to be a provocative political statement condemning the religion.
Protesters angered over Bacile's film opened fire on and burned down the U.S. consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, killing an American diplomat. In Egypt, protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy in Cairo and replaced an American flag
with an Islamic banner.
The two-hour movie, Innocence of Muslims, cost $5 million to make and was financed with the help of more than 100 Jewish donors, said Bacile, who wrote and directed it.
The film claims Muhammad was a fraud. An English-language 13-minute trailer on YouTube shows an amateur cast performing a dialogue of insults in the form of revelations about Muhammad.
The full film has been shown once, to a mostly empty theater in Hollywood earlier this year, said Bacile.
YouTube, the video website owned by Google Inc, will not remove the film clip that has caused murderous anti-U.S. protests in Egypt and Libya, but it has blocked access to it in those countries.
U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other American diplomats were killed by gunmen in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday.
The U.S. ambassador and three staff members were killed when gunmen fired rockets at them, an official in Benghazi told Reuters.
In a brief statement on Wednesday, Google officials rejected the notion of removing the video on grounds it did not violate YouTube's policies, but restricted viewers in Egypt and Libya from loading it due to the special circumstances in the country.
This video - which is widely available on the Web - is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube,. However, given the very difficult situation in Libya and Egypt, we have temporarily restricted access in both countries.
Our hearts are with the families of the people murdered in yesterday's attack in Libya.
The Afghan government on Wednesday banned YouTube from the country to prevent people from watching the anti-Islam film, The Innocence of Muslims.
Following instructions by the ministry of information and culture, the ministry of communication has ordered all service providers to block YouTube access, communications ministry official Aimal Marjan told AFP. He said the block had been ordered
until YouTube removes this abusive film .
The Afghan presidency earlier condemned the film as inhuman and insulting, calling for it not to be broadcast.
Emergency plans are in place to evacuate UK diplomats and their families following a second day of violence in the Middle East.
Protests over an anti-Islam film saw the US embassy in Yemen stormed by a mob numbering in the thousands.
The unrest has spread to Yemen, Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Algeria, Sudan, Morocco and Tunisia.
In Tehran, groups chanting anti-US and anti-Israel slogans staged a protest outside the Swiss embassy which represents US interests in Iran.
And in Iraq, demonstrations spread from Baghdad to the second city of Basra with the leader of one Islamist militia warning the film will put all American interests in danger .
In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood has called for nationwide protests today to denounce the film. Up to 70 were injured in a third day of protests yesterday at the US embassy in Cairo with some demonstrators demanding the ambassador's expulsion.
US Administration officials have asked YouTube to review a controversial video that many blame for spurring a wave of anti-American violence in the Middle East.
The administration flagged the 14-minute Innocence of Muslims video and asked that YouTube evaluate it to determine whether it violates the site's terms of service, officials said Thursday. The video, which has been viewed by nearly 1.7 million
users, depicts Muhammad as a child molester, womanizer and murderer -- and has been decried as blasphemous and Islamophobic.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sharpened her criticism of the film that led to the protests. She called the film disgusting and reprehensible -- but said that the U.S. would never stop Americans from expressing their views, and that the
movie is no excuse for violence, according to reports from the Associated Press.
YouTube declined comment on the administration request.
As a wave of anti-American riots erupts across the Islamic world, Muslims' U.S. flag burning protests spread to Britain.
Elsewhere British diplomats were in fear for their lives, with staff at the embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, locking themselves in as 5,000 angry demonstrators raged and lit fires in an attack on the German embassy next door.
In London, 150 protesters marched on the US embassy chanting burn burn USA as the American flag went up in flames, soon joined by the Israeli flag.
In violence elsewhere, the number of dead and wounded grew. In the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli police began shooting, killing one man, after a mob set fire to a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise and an American restaurant. Another 25 were wounded in
In Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, 2,000 protesters set off for the US embassy, only to be stopped short by national security forces firing live rounds, killing one man and leaving 15 injured.
In the Tunisian capital Tunis, several thousand demonstrators threw stones at the US embassy and set fire to cars, before being fought off with tear gas and gunfire. Three were reportedly killed.
In Damascus, Syria, a 200-strong crowd demonstrated outside the US embassy -- although it was abandoned in February because of the country's bloody civil war.
Several Christian leaders are being held in protective custody in Niger after demonstrators angry at an anti-Islam film ransacked a major Catholic church, a local journalist said.
Hundreds of protesters stormed the cathedral in Niger's second city of Zinder after Friday prayers, and set fire to US and British flags, a local priest and the journalist told AFP:
After Friday prayers, hundreds of protesters broke down the door of the church and totally trashed it, before setting fire to all the documents and breaking a statue of the Virgin Mary.
The Islamic Council of Niger, the highest religious body in the mainly Muslim country, condemned the US-made film that has triggered protests across the Arab and Muslim world, but also appealed for churches to be spared.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has reportedly ordered the state-owned Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to block YouTube after the video-sharing website failed to remove a controversial anti-Islam film, The Innocence of Muslims.
Blasphemous content will not be accepted at any cost, Prime Minister Ashraf is reported to have said. Earlier today officials said over 700 links to the film on YouTube were blocked following orders issued by the Supreme Court.
Hammer Films has launched its first dedicated YouTube Channel at Hammer Films channel
. For the very first time, exclusive new content from current Hammer productions as well as carefully restored classic Hammer feature films will be available to stream online.
The Hammer Films Channel will carry a range of exclusive new content, previews, commentary and behind the scenes material from upcoming new productions such as The Quiet Ones starring Jared Harris and Sam Claflin , and The Woman In Black: Angels Of Death
, the follow up to the worldwide box office hit starring Daniel Radcliffe.
In addition, the Hammer Films Channel will stream a collection of Hammer's well-known classic feature film titles including The Quatermass Xperiment , The Man In Black and Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter , some of which have
been newly restored and digitally re-mastered. As additional titles are added to the new platform, this will be the first time fans can view other digitally re-mastered classic Hammer films online under a restoration initiative launched earlier
this year by Hammer's owner Exclusive Media.
From the historic library, the Hammer Films Channel will also carry classic Hammer TV series such as Hammer House Of Mystery And Suspense , as well as new on-air commentary and film introductions from official Hammer historian, Marcus
Hearn and Hammer archivist, Robert J.E. Simpson.
ATVOD has claimed that BBC should pay its extortionate censorship fees for clips of Top Gear and Nigella Lawson uploaded
Video on Demand censors ATVOD carried out the investigation and ruled that the BBC should pay its annual charge for each YouTube channel.
The clips under examination are segments of Top Gear lasting up to nine minutes, along with similar footage of Nigella Lawson and other cooks on the Food Programme . ATVOD claimed that the BBC clips on You Tube resemble linear
television programmes .
The BBC consider that the the clips were not TV-like because they are watched in short chunks often by people on the move . The BBC said:
BBC Worldwide considers the duration of programmes to be a key characteristic of the form and content of programmes normally included in television programme services
The YouTube channel in question provides only short clips.
An analysis of the five main UK channels over four days demonstrates that only 3.2% of programmes were less than 10 minutes in duration.
Therefore it is a key characteristic of the form and content of programmes normally included in television programme services that they last longer than a short period of time.
Television programmes are consumed at home, in comfort on the sofa and the longer duration is indicative of this.
Short form content is not 'television-like' as it is often viewed on the move or during quick breaks in the working day.
The BBC has launched an appeal against the ATVOD ruling to an Ofcom panel.
A couple of year's ago Ofcom delegated the role of Video on Demand censor to ATVOD.
Ofcom recently announced the required progress review of ATVOD's work and have now announced the result that ATVOD will continue to be the delegated VOD censor. In fact Ofcom changed the rules a bit to allow ATVOD to make some decisions without
referring back to Ofcom for confirmation.
On the subject of R18s on VOD the review comments on ATVOD's decision against Bootybox.t:
Bootybox.TV was a website providing adult on-demand programmes. A complaint was received on 26 June 2011 that the service had ....no parental control on.... , and that the content was ....far too strong to be
allowed even under UK law... . ATVOD conducted a full investigation of the service and established that the principal purpose of the service was to provide content that was R18 or stronger. In its view, the content met the statutory test of
material which might seriously impair a minor and that accordingly an effective Content Access Control System was essential.
How can the depiction of sex, something that is so central to human life, and experienced by nearly everyone, many from the age of 16, be somehow 'seriously' impairing. The kids know all about it, as sex education is mandatory in schools. Not to
mention that it is one of the major topics of conversation for teenagers. It is understandable that parents would prefer their kids not see it, but that is not the same as claims of 'serious' impairment.
ATVOD also got in a whinge about foreign tube sites:
ATVOD explored the concern over the ease with which children can access harmful material especially through a small number of so- called 'Tube' sites operating from the USA, and therefore outside ATVOD's jurisdiction . ATVOD has said
that it will take a precautionary approach to implementing the Rule about material harmful to under eighteens when it is within its jurisdiction. Hence, it has made clear that ....material which might seriously impair the physical, mental or
moral development of minors when provided as part of an on-demand programme service may include content that has been classified R18 by the British Board of Film Classification, or material equivalent to content classified in that
Ofcom allude to further Government thoughts on the matter in the next round of TV legislation:
Ofcom notes the views expressed by ATVOD and other stakeholders about the growing concerns around the availability of content that might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of under-eighteens, and expects to explore these
issues further. Ofcom addressed this issue in its report on report on Sexually Explicit Material and Video-On-Demand Services39 . In its response40 to the report, the Government stated that it intended to address this issue comprehensively in
its review of the current regulatory framework for the communications sector. Ofcom will take account of any conclusions reached.
NBC and the International Olympic Committee have tried to make this one of the most connected, social and widely available Olympics ever. Or so it seems.
Why, for example, didn't NBC simply run the ceremonies live in the afternoon and then run it again in the evening instead of trying to pretend that the opening ceremony hadn't happened yet? NBC and the IOC's attempt to control the flow of
content and information failed almost immediately as participants and audience members started tweeting and Instagramming.
As one memorable moment after another flickered before our eyes, we began to search for and share memorable moments. The Bond video, we found. It was cute watching the Queen play along as an equally dour-faced Daniel Craig gave his best stoic
Bond performance as he led the aging monarch to a live appearance at the stadium in London. NBC made sure to squeeze dozens of advertisements into the rerun. Again, we were fine with this. At least the spectacle was good and performances like
Atkinson's silly synth player, were viral gold.
Because it had been hours since the live performance, multiple versions of the Atkinson segment appeared on YouTube. None of them, though were official. This seemed odd, but Mashable, like other outlets selected the best one to share. Within
minutes the video was gone and replaced by this message:
This video contains content from International Olympic Committee, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.
Other videos appeared, but soon succumbed to the same fate. It was a digital game of whack-a-mole.
A new internet television service which allows viewers to catch up on shows from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 will change all that.
Chaired by Lord Sugar, YouView allows broadcasters and their commercial partners to know exactly which programmes you are watching, and when.
An internet connection from the box to the outside world tracks individual choices and reports the data back to the company. YouView will use the material to build up a profile of each user. And to help some of the company's employees previously
worked for Phorm, a US technology firm accused of developing advertising spyware.
Prospective viewers, however, may not be aware that the technology will record each channel being viewed. Each time you change channels or start/stop recording a programme, YouView reports back to headquarters via the internet connection,
telling the company what it is you are watching and what you are doing with the box.
YouView, which publishes its data-usage policy in a click-through link at the bottom of its website, has been reluctant to answer detailed questions about privacy. The company unconvincingly told The Independent that the data from each box would
be anonymised and only relates to the device and is mainly technical in nature. Information will apparently be passed to third-party companies, allowing the introduction of advertising targeted at certain postcodes.
Other likely applications are features such as What's hot in your area showing what neighbours are watching, eg 40% are watching Downton Abbey, 31% Strictly Come Dancing and 3% shows on gambling or pornography.
Samsung, LG and Sony do not wish to work with the adult business, according to one provider of such entertainment.
Marc Dorcel launched the first adult smart TV app last summer with Panasonic. The company will now be working with Phillips and Toshiba from this August.
Meanwhile Philips has recently announced the arrival of adult apps from Hustler and Private.
There is also the issue of national laws. For instance, the two apps on the Philips smart TV sets will not become available in Germany and Turkey. But apparently, they will be accessible in the UK, opening the door for hardcore content on UK
Currently in the UK, the two major TV platforms, Virgin and Sky, only offer very softcore adult content.
By signing deals with CE manufacturers, hard porn channels could legally become available in the UK, both in linear and on-demand form.
SARFT, China's media censor has announced that online video will be required to be submitted for censorship prior to being published online.
A SARFT spokesman explainedthat original drama series and films on video websites like Youku and Tudou are mostly great, but that some need to be cut, citing violations such as repeated curse words, violence and sexuality. In the future,
original productions destined for the internet will need to be approved by SARFT before they can be broadcast just like everything else.
SARFT claimed the move as a response to an outcry from internet users and industry needs.
Presumably this SARFT announcement means we can look forward to online programming quickly becoming as dull and lifeless as most television programming, which SARFT has been doing its damnedest to suck the fun out of for quite some time now.
It is not yet clear how the measure will be implemented nor its scope, in particular whether this will apply to user generated content.
China is launching yet another new war on porn distribution. China Daily reported that the country's National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications said that the national campaign will last from mid-July to the end of November and
will target vendors selling videos, books and magazines, as well as various forms of pornographic or vulgar online content. Also in the country's cross hairs are books that promote gang-related culture and songs that feature obscene
Video websites are being told they must pre-screen all content that is deemed inappropriate. The State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT) revealed new censorship rules this week in a published series of answers to reporters'
questions. Site administrators will apparently be given guidance on what is okay and what isn't. It remains to be seen how SARFT will enforce the new regulations, especially when it comes to user-generated content.
Many site owners will find it difficult to follow the new instructions since they suddenly have to find the resources to pre-screen everything that is uploaded. When it comes to doing business on the Internet in China, however, this is nothing
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is now automatically issuing all films classified for DVD or Blu-ray release with online classifications for use on licensed digital video platforms. The move aims to help the home entertainment industry
streamline their physical and digital products and to provide consumers with the classification symbols they know and trust for their on-demand downloads.
Content classified for DVD or Blu-Ray was previously given an online classification in return for a small additional payment; this has now been abolished. Digital certificates for films classified on Blu-ray and DVD will be included in the charge for DVD
and Blu-ray classification from 1 June, providing the same trusted symbols online as consumers recognise from DVD and Blu-ray packaging (U, PG, 12, 15, 18). The BBFC is also removing the membership fee previously required for online only classifications,
making them more widely accessible and cost effective for content only available online.
David Cooke, Director of the BBFC, says The number of video-on-demand platforms continues to grow and we've been working with the industry for over four years to ensure the public's desire for clear content labelling is met. A key role for the BBFC is
child protection and we want as much online content as possible to receive classifications so consumers can make informed decisions about what they and their families watch. 82% of parents say they prefer to download content with BBFC classification
symbols and altering the way we provide online classifications will help content providers give consumers the information they need and trust when deciding what to watch.
Lavinia Carey, Director General of the British Video Association says, The development of the BBFC's voluntary online classification service took a great leap forward with the introduction of the speedy and cost effective "Watch & Rate"
service for video content not released on disc, as it allows distributors to continue providing viewers the same level of trustworthy age ratings and consumer advice for digital video services as they get on physical discs. Now any content can be rated
without having to pay for membership of the scheme, which should encourage more and more video distributors to use Watch & Rate even if they're not planning a DVD release.
The BBFC's service for streamed and downloaded content was launched in collaboration with the home entertainment industry in 2008. The service provides trusted classifications, category symbols and Consumer Advice to set-top box, video-on-demand and
other online content providers. Key affiliates using the BBFC service include Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Europe, Warner Bros., Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Universal, BT Vision, Tesco/Blinkbox, TalkTalk, Picturebox and Netflix.
Troma Entertainment is proud to announce a selection of full movies are now available for free on YouTube. Troma is sharing many highly
rated and critically acclaimed movies with their fans for free, to show gratitude for their support over the last 40 years.
More films are added every day, but the features currently available are:
Xbox LIVE will use the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC)'s well-known ratings for content sold via the Xbox LIVE Zune
video marketplace, allowing users to make informed choices about the content that they purchase for themselves and their families.
David Cooke, Director of the BBFC, says We're delighted to add Microsoft's Xbox LIVE to the roster of customers using BBFC services. In the digital age the variety of content platforms available means that, more than ever, the BBFC has a role
to play as a trusted guide to content. The public, especially parents, have told us it's important for them to see classification ratings they can trust before choosing entertainment for themselves or their children and by joining the BBFC's
voluntary service Xbox LIVE is helping its users make informed and confident choices about what they watch.
Microsoft's goal has always been to provide parents and caregivers with the tools and resources necessary in managing age-appropriate entertainment experiences on Xbox 360 for children, says Stephen McGill, Microsoft Ltd's Director of Xbox
and Entertainment. Alongside use of the forthcoming PEGI ratings system for video games, deploying BBFC classifications for film and video content on Xbox LIVE will allow parents to make more informed choices regarding what they and their
families watch on our service.
The BBFC's service for streamed and downloaded content was launched in 2008 to provide its trusted and recognised classifications, category symbols and Consumer Advice to set-top box, video-on-demand and other online content providers. The BBFC
worked closely with the home entertainment industry to develop a voluntary regulatory service that would bring the benefits of the DVD classification system to content delivered online. When the public was surveyed about the new service, 82% of
parents said that they preferred to download films that were classified with the trusted BBFC symbols and content advice. Government ministers and other Parliamentarians are on the record as supporters of the BBFC's work in this area.
Microsoft Ltd joins other key affiliates to the BBFC service including Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Europe, Warner Bros., Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Universal, BT Vision, Tesco/Blinkbox, TalkTalk, Picturebox and Netflix, bringing the
total number of members to 38.
The modern implementation of commercial censorship is that internet throughput is way too massive for any meaningful or well meaning attempt as decision making. Instead the first level of censorship is implemented as cheaply as possible presumably
with absolutely minimal time available to look into each report.
Most of the duff decisions are presumably uncontested as they generally inconvenience people without the necessary clout or motivation to do anything about it. However, just occasionally, crap decisions get noticed. The internet company involved
get real people involved and then apologise profusely about the crap decisions whilst trying to spin that these don't happen very often.
The latest example is a one-minute clip of model and cover girl, Kate Upton, gyrating and bouncing in an itty bitty bikini, demonstrating how to do the Cat Daddy dance while on a magazine shoot.
The video was yanked by YouTube for violating its nudity policy, despite the fact she was not naked.
The ban got publicised and YouTube had an inevitable rethink. The video was reinstated, but this time with an age restriction.
A Google rep explained to FOX411's Pop Tarts column:
With the massive volume of videos on our site, sometimes we make the wrong call. When it's brought to our attention that a video has been removed mistakenly, we act quickly to reinstate it.
Apparently the age restriction was a mistake as well, because that too soon got lifted.
When a south London teenager uploaded a series of amateur rap videos to YouTube, he had no reason to believe they would make legal history.
But the videos, a vivid account of life on the road in Peckham for a young black male, quickly gained millions of views. In one, 18-year-old Matt raps about stabbing, saying: You're always chatting on, you should feel a piece of the knife,
stabbing in your head, stabbing in your chest.
In another video, teenagers make gestures and call out gang names. It was not long before the authorities took notice: last year Matt became the first person in England and Wales to be banned by law from producing music or videos that encourage violence.
Southwark council, which took out the injunction against Matt, believes YouTube has become the new playground for gang members. By all means we want people to use social media, but we do not want you to use it in ways that will incite violence,
said Jonathan Toy, Southwark council's head of community safety. This remains a big issue for us and without some form of censorship purely focusing on [violent videos], I'm not sure how we can address it.
US nutters from the Culture and Media institute are whingeing at Jennifer Lopez's new video for Dance Again.
In a recent interview with Radar, Dan Gainor for the institute spouted:
Jennifer Lopez's skanky new video shows how desperate she is to retain her fame despite her fading relevance.
Gainor said the big issue with the video is the fact that it premiered during a show watched by children:
Even the supposedly family-friendly TV shows like American Idol are never safe in the hands of Hollywood. Such sexualized videos aren't appropriate for any children to watch, including Lopez's own twins.
The video, which debuted on American Idol last week has racked up nearly 10 million views on YouTube. It has Lopez dancing around and running her hands over herself and other dancers. Lopez's choreographer and boyfriend Casper Smart figures
prominently in the video. Pitbull is also featured on Dance Again. It's Lopez's second recent collaboration with the Cuban rapper.
Sky's new internet pay as you go TV service, offering access to the broadcaster's content on a wide range of broadband-connected
devices, will be called Now TV .
Launching later this year, Now TV will provide instant access to some of Sky's most popular content, including hundreds of films from Sky Movies.
CEO Jeremy Darroch explained the significance of introducing an entirely new brand:
We'll offer two distinctive ways to watch: the market-leading full Sky service [with] the peace of mind of a monthly bill; or the flexible, more spontaneous, pay-as-you-go service of Now TV.
[Now TV] will be available on a wide range of devices and offer instant access to a range of high quality Sky content, with no install and no contract. Starting with movies, it will soon expand to offer sport and entertainment as well. And customers will
be able to pay monthly or rent a movie on a simple, pay as you go basis.
Darroch hopes Now TV will appeal to those people who do not subscribe to any Sky service.
Madonna's new video for Girl Gone Wild has been restricted to adults by YouTube. It is supposedly too raunchy for general viewing, with scenes including partial nudity and a close-up of a man's PVC-clad crotch.
YouTube censors have told Madonna's management that if they want it to be available for viewing by all, they must edit out shots of bare bottoms, a man rubbing his crotch and an implied masturbation scene where a man gyrates before a mirror.
A rep for YouTube told the New York Post
YouTube has decided the video is too raunchy and should only be viewed by those 18 or over, and actually, the video is hard to find on the site. YouTube has sent Madonna's team a list of shots that should be cut to make it appropriate for everyone.
While we don't comment on individual videos, we review all videos flagged by our users against our community guidelines. In some cases we age-restrict flagged material that, while not in violation of those guidelines, contains images that may be
unsuitable for younger users.
Madonna's team are working on an edited version of the video for YouTube.
BBC television programmes will be available in a new paid download store shortly after first transmission, director general Mark
Thompson has confirmed.
The iTunes-style store, codenamed Project Barcelona, will operate in addition to the existing BBC iPlayer and give users the option to pay for owned downloads of new and old TV shows.
Speaking at the Royal Television Society, Thompson said:
BBC iPlayer is the most successful and most intensively used catch-up service in the world but it's true that, after that seven day public service window, a large proportion of what the BBC makes and broadcast is never seen or heard of again.
On television, despite all of our existing forms of public service archival and commercial windowing, the overwhelming majority of what the BBC commissions and broadcasts becomes unavailable when that iPlayer window expires.
We want to change that and have started to talk to our partners, including the independent sector and PACT, about a proposal which we will formally submit to the BBC Trust later this year which - for reasons which escape me - we call Project Barcelona.
The idea behind Barcelona is simple. It is that, for as much of our content as possible, in addition to the existing BBC iPlayer window, another download-to-own window would open soon after transmission - so that if you wanted to purchase a digital copy
of a programme to own and keep, you could pay what would generally be a relatively modest charge for doing so.
The store's launch is contingent upon the BBC obtaining agreement from programme production companies and the BBC Trust.
Residents of every property in Shepherdess Walk in Hackney, East London, were told by their
local council to remove their satellite dishes or face eviction.
Most of the dishes have been fixed to the front of houses for more than ten years. But Hackney Borough Council says planning permission was never granted.
Only people living in listed buildings need planning permission for a satellite dish (up to about a meter diameter), but the properties under duress are in fact listed.
The council has now told housing trust Circle 33 to make their tenants take down the dishes and fit them to the rear of houses - or switch to cable.
It is believed that the residents are the victims of a bid to clean up Hackney before the start of the Olympic Games in London in June.
resident Tony Emberson said:
I got the letter with only three days to sort something out. Residents believe the council's order is part of a bid to smarten the area up ahead of the Olympics, many events of which will be staged from the Olympic Park in the neighbouring borough of
The deadline was extended to three weeks once the press got hold of the story.
Ofcom commissioned Ipsos MORI to survey audiences to understand attitudes towards content regulation; and how far, and in what ways, the public expects it should be protected in a world where content can be accessed in such a broad range of ways.
The report Protecting audiences in a converged world is based on findings from seven pairs of workshops conducted across the UK, each of which had around 20 participants. Fieldwork took place in June and July 2011.
Key findings include:
Protecting minors, and protection from harm, were considered to be the most important areas for future regulation.
Offence is very important to some, but not at all important to others.
Impartiality, privacy and fairness were usually considered to be relatively less important. But a wide range of views were expressed, depending on whether participants considered the areas to be an important principle to uphold or personally
Knowledge of current content regulation is high for broadcast services, but lower for other services like catch up and VoD (video on-demand).
Viewers have high expectations of content regulation on broadcast television, and associated VoD and catch-up services.
Other online audio-visual content is seen to be different from broadcasting content and people have generally lower expectations about regulation in this area.
Converged TVs and devices, which incorporate broadcast, VoD and open internet services, are considered to be closer to a TV-like experience -- and have a higher expectation of regulation -- than the open internet. It is particularly important to
protect vulnerable people in this environment.
Technology use and social attitudes were found to be the most influential factors in influencing people's views on the future of content regulation.
The BBFC has added BT Vision to the roster of platforms that use the BBFC.online classification service.
From January 2012, BT Vision subscribers will see the same classification symbols and content information next to films as those the BBFC provides for cinema releases and DVDs. A BT Vision and BBFC co-branded electronic black card, similar to
those UK cinemagoers see before theatrical releases, will also be run before each film begins.
David Cooke, Director of the BBFC, said We're delighted to welcome BT Vision to our BBFC.online service. Parents have told us it's important for them to see the classification symbols they recognise before they download or stream a film for
family consumption. We asked parents for their views and 82% said they would prefer to download films that are classified with the trusted BBFC symbols and Consumer Advice.
Jacob Ahlin, Head of Film said BT Vision are delighted to become a member of the BBFC, enabling us to clearly label the hundreds of blockbuster and classic films, which are available on BT Vision and giving our customers peace of mind when
choosing what to watch with their family.
BBFC.online was launched in 2008 to provide the BBFC's trusted and recognised classifications, category symbols and Consumer Advice to set-top box, video-on-demand and online content providers. The BBFC worked closely with the home entertainment
industry to develop the voluntary regulatory service to bring the benefits of the DVD classification system to digital content that is delivered online.
BT Vision join other key industry members working with the BBFC including Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Europe, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Paramount and platforms including BlinkBox, Picturebox and Talk Talk, bringing the total
number of members to 34.