|31st December |
Brazier's BBFC accountability bill
Thanks to DarkAngel on the Melon Farmers Forum
Regarding Brazier's BBFC Accountability bill, I actually emailed the BBFC about this, asking if they were going to respond and take up issue with him over this.
Whilst they didn't go into detail, saying they would be responding "in due
course", I did get the impression that they didn't seem too worried. Letting slip that they didn't think the bill had much support (he has tried this once before after all).
The feelings I've been getting from other forums is that as the
BBFC is already accountable to the government under the VRA, and that if the government really wanted to they could simply designate a different censorship body for home video and computer games other than the BBFC, then it is not likely this bill will
get through as its unnecessary.
|22nd December |
BBFC get their Judicial Review of the Manhunt decision
From the BBC see
British censors have won the right to fight the UK release of video game Manhunt 2 in the High Court.
A judge accepted the BBFC's argument that the game had been approved for release on a misinterpretation of the law.
The game was banned in June but the Video Appeals Committee said the game could be classified and released.
The BBFC said that the VAC had been guilty of "a very serious misdirection of law" on the question of harm.
judge said: I have taken into account the high public interest in the possibility of harm to children.
Justice Wyn Williams ruled the Board had an arguable case that should go to a full hearing.
Both sides agreed that the game was
not suitable for children, but the BBFC argued that if given a certificate for release, it could still end up in the hands of minors.
The judge also suspended the VAC's decision that the game should be classified, halting any possibility of it
going on sale until after the High Court challenge, due to take place before 31 January next year.
The BBFC said it would pay any damages that developer Rockstar might suffer as a result of the stay, if the Board loses its legal challenge.
The Board had warned that if the VAC decision had stood, it would have fundamental implications for all of its decisions, including those about unacceptable levels of violence.
Rockstar Games said that Manhunt 2 was well within the bounds
established by other 18+ rated entertainment.
|22nd December |
Letter Re BBFC censorship of Manhunt 2
Thanks to Shaun who sent a letter to the censors at the BBFC
Re Judicial Review of Manhunt 2 appeal
So Mr. Justice Hooper's legal judgement back in 2000 means nothing to you people?
Mr Justice Hooper made a legal ruling after a case back in 2000 in which your outright
censorship of certain content in R18 videos was appealed, and the BBFC lost that appeal. It was an appeal I attended myself, because for many years I have been interested in the censorship aspect of the work of the BBFC and how it has restricted our
Please remember that Mr Justice Hooper said that a reasonable decision maker could come to the conclusion the Appeals Committee did, regarding the content of R18 videos.
Doesn't this legal precedent also apply in the
latest case, involving RockStar Games?
This game may not be your cup of tea, but that is not any reason to stop FREEBORN ADULTS from playing the games they want to play.
I hope Rockstar games TAKE YOU to court for unreasonable
restrictions of their right to freedom of expression causing them loss of revenue. Every day this game is not allowed to be released will cost them money, because of piracy etc. You surely aren't so naive as to believe that your BANNING it will actually
prevent people who want it getting hold of a copy do you? Probably by piracy, on download sites, which will cost RockStar money, perhaps money which they may seek to recover from you. After all, you are a business yourselves aren't you?
just signed a petition asking the Prime Minister to leave you people alone:
I think I made a grave mistake. The BBFC should be disbanded, as an insult to freedom of expression of adults. We don't have people reading our books before we can buy
them. Why do we need them to read our videos and play our games?
To keep censoring and banning people's video games is surely the easiest way to ensure the future demise of the BBFC as a censor.
The decision has been made by the VAC. You
lost the case. Now you should abide by that decision. The judge in a previous appeal case clearly told you that, when you took it to judicial review before. To abide by the committee's decision rather than anything else, is the law. Mr Justice Hooper
told you that, and clarified the position.
You people, along with the politicians who clearly RULE YOU, seem to be more frightened of the likes of John Beyer of Media Watch, and politicians such as Julian Brazier and Keith Vaz who firmly believe
in a Spirit in the Sky who no one has ever seen, who rules over us, whilst letting little children starve to death or get horrendous illnesses. They might as well believe in Santa Clause, The Tooth Fairy, or the Easter Bunny, but it is clear they are
trying to use their religious beliefs to set the censorship agenda Perhaps they should show real proof of widespread manifest and proportionate harm, which no one has EVER done in these cases.
You people, and the politicians who control you,
should be more afraid of the younger generation, who I am sure, given the sentiments expressed in various discussions on this issue, will not tolerate such censorship of their videos and games in times to come.
It isn't 1984 any more. The video
material which caused all this censorship in the first place has for the vast majority of cases, now been classified for adult viewing. This shows that the censorship we've had to put up with, , and the role of the BBFC in that, was never needed in the
first place. All such censorship really does these days, is to make it difficult or uneconomic for small video producers to enter the market because of the "classification" fees.
Believe it or not, there ARE RARE censorship decisions
you have made that I have personally agreed with. BumFights was one of them. Even then I would trade the loss of our freedom of expression in other areas, for such material being allowed, even if I personally don't agree with it. Otherwise where will it
end, and who sets the limits? Politicians such as Brazier and Vaz with their clear religious agendas? John Beyer of MediaWatch with his expressed desire to throw people in prison for years on end, just for simple POSSESSION of an R18 video?
What amazes me, is the amount of credence and credibility you appear to give to such people as this, and how you appear to be fearful of them.
A parent, aged 50 with two children aged 13 and 16
|20th December |
Consumer advice added to R18s
The BBFC has recently started providing consumer advice for R18s. All that I have looked at so far seem to have the same advice (if advice is provided):
Contains strong images of real sex, or fetish material, intended for sexual stimulation
It doesn't seem to make any difference whether the film contains fetish material or not (or conversely real sex).
|19th December |
Take Two response to BBFC call for Judicial Review
I thought the BBFC would have to dig into their own pockets for this legal action but surely interesting if 'public resources' are being used to defend the
ban on Manhunt 2.
From Spong see full article
Take Two chairman, the fabulously named Strauss Zelnick has made an official statement to the world regarding the British Board of Film Censors' decision to take the Manhunt 2 banning saga to the High Court.
disappointed that the BBFC has decided to appeal its own Video Appeals Committee's judgement in favour of an 18-plus certificate for Manhunt 2. We believe the VAC decision was correct and do not understand the BBFC's decision to expend further public
resources to censor a game that contains content well within the bounds established by the BBFC's 18-plus ratings certification , says Strauss in an antiseptic statement.
|18th December |
Game censor asks court to review VAC decision on Manhunt 2
Press release from the BBFC see
Manhunt 2: BBFC seeks review of VAC decision
The BBFC is applying for a judicial review of the decision by the Video Appeals Committee to overturn the Board's rejection of the video game Manhunt 2. The Board's challenge also seeks suspension of the Committee's decision that the game
should be classified.
The BBFC is contesting the VAC judgement because in the Board's view, it is based on an approach to harm which is an incorrect interpretation of the Video Recordings Act. The VAC judgement, if allowed to stand, would have
fundamental implications with regard to all the Board's decisions, including those turning upon questions of unacceptable levels of violence. If the VAC's decision is suspended, then the game will not be classified before the outcome of the Judicial
Background: What is a Judicial Review?
Thanks to Harvey on the Melon Farmers Forum
The answer to that is that
it's a High Court Judge, sitting in the Administstrative Court. And if a Judicial Review is allowed, any "interpretation" will be of the LAW as it relates to the PROCESS by which the VAC came to it's judgement in respect of the Manhunt 2
A lawer explains : A Judicial Review is a type of court proceeding in which a judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision
or action made by a public body.
In other words, judicial reviews are a challenge to the way in which a decision has been made, rather than the rights and wrongs of the conclusion reached.
It is not really concerned with the conclusions
of that process and whether those were 'right', as long as the right procedures have been followed. The court will not substitute what it thinks is the 'correct' decision.
This may mean that the public body will be able to make the same decision
again, so long as it does so in a lawful way."
This is exactly the process which the BBFC followed when they tried (and failed) to get a
VAC judgement ruled unlawful in the case of R18 in 2000.
Comment: Proof of Harm
Thanks to IanG on the Melon Farmers Forum
The BBFC were found to be WRONG in their 'interpretation' of the law with regard to R18 content. PROOF of HARM was the bottom line according to the High Court ruling.
Similarly, PROOF of HARM will be the bottom line (the letter of the law) with
regard to violent games. And I predict the BBFC will loose this battle too because there is NO EVIDENCE to suggest people who play violent games go on to commit violent acts. Indeed, it is those who are not at home playing violent games or watching
violent videos, who tend to roam the streets aimlessly looking for 'reespekt' by terrorising little old ladies, or selling hard drugs to kids (or mugging/stabbing/shooting them).
|15th December |
Game censors considering High Court review
From Digital Spy see
The BBFC has warned it will take legal action to stop the release of the Manhunt 2 .
Despite Rockstar winning its right to appeal, the BBFC has said it will go to court to ensure the game never goes on sale.
spokesperson Sue Clark said: We need to see the judgement papers from the VAC case before we even consider giving Manhunt 2 a rating.
If we spot anything problematic, we may decide to take our case to the High Court as a judicial
review, which would lead to Manhunt 2' s release being frozen in the UK.
Our main concern is to ensure a lawful outcome. It needs to be the right decision within the UK's legal framework – which will be the right decision in the public
|14th December |
No More Heroes not toned down, just not the strong US version
From GamesIndustry.biz see
The MD of Rising Star Games, Martin Defries, has responded to criticism levelled at the company following the announcement that forthcoming title No More Heroes would be toned down from the US edition.
Defries has told
GamesIndustry.biz that those claims are wide of the mark, because the European edition will be identical to the one just released in Japan, localisation notwithstanding.
There are two versions of No More Heroes that are going to be
published in the West, he said.
Ours [Europe], which will be drawn down from our parent company, Marvelous Interactive, which is directly from the Japanese iteration of the game, and there will be a version in the US that is a full-on
gore, beheadings, dismemberment…and it seems some confusion has come to the fore in the past few days as to which version Rising Star Games will publish.
Why the decision [to add in additional gory detail to the US release] has been made
is a difficult one for me to comment on - that's a Ubisoft decision for the North American market.
|14th December |
Jackass 2.5 to premier on download
Disappointingly the initial download release is restricted to the US, but maybe the wider release promised will be available in the UK.
Perhaps it will have
an impact at the BBFC, particularly as they have sometimes cut stunt movies on worries of the stupidity being tried at home. Download movies can legally bypass the BBFC, but there is voluntary ratings scheme if companies feel that it is beneficial to get
From the Times see full article
Jackass 2.5 , the third in the series of stunt movies featuring Johnny Knoxville and copious amounts of nudity, is to become the first studio-backed feature film to receive its premiere on the web.
Paramount Pictures is hoping that it
can open up a new stream of web-based revenue when it makes the one-hour plus film available free of charge on December 19.
Customers will have to watch several 15 or 30-second advertisements before being able to watch the movie, which will be
streamed rather than downloaded. Viacom, Paramount's parent company, is also aiming to attract traffic to the jackassworld.com site, which offers archival episodes of the MTV 'Jackass' series from five years ago.
The new film will feature new
material, as well as previously unseen outtakes from the second Jackass film.
The film is not rated and the online version will only sold with 'age verification technology' that attempts to ensure viewers are 17 or older.
experts said that the film reflected a new desire on the studios' part to embrace the idea of releasing free, ad-supported content - partly as a consequence of their failure to prevent films being circulated on illegal file-sharing sites.
December 26, the 'download to own' version of film will go on sale on iTunes and Amazon for between $10-15 and a DVD featuring 45 minutes of extras will also be available for $30.
In January other ad-supported streaming sites, such as Joost, will
start showing the film, followed by a broader release through the video-on-demand services of cable and satellite networks in February.
|10th December |
Rockstar win Manhunt 2 Appeal
Thanks to Marc
Press release from the BBFC
BBFC Considers Position On Manhunt 2
Following the decision by the Video Appeals Committee to allow the appeal by Rockstar against the BBFC's rejection of the game by a majority of four to three, David Cooke, Director of the
BBFC said: The BBFC will carefully study the judgement by the Video Appeals Committee when it becomes available.
The BBFC exercises great vigilance and care in ensuring that all violent games which are submitted to us are
correctly classified. Our decisions are based on published guidelines, which are the result of very wide public consultation. The Board also provides very full content information to the public, including parents, about the videogames which it
classifies. We recently launched a new website for parents, PBBFC, in addition to the main website and our websites for children and students.
The BBFC twice rejected Manhunt 2 for its focus on varied and cumulative killings. We recognize
that rejection is a very serious step, in which the desire of publishers to market their games, and that of gamers to buy them, must be balanced against the public interest, including the full range of possible harm risks to vulnerable individuals and to
any children who may be wrongly exposed to such games. Such balancing judgements are inevitably complex and multi-faceted, and are made only after very careful consideration of the contents of a work. We played Manhunt 2 for well over 30 hours
prior to our decision.
The Board recognizes that the available research findings on the effects of video games (including positive as well as harmful effects) are varied and contested. But we continue to believe that a broad approach to the
possible risks is needed, which goes beyond purely behavioural harm, and which also takes account of other possible effects on the sensibilities and attitudes of individuals.
|8th December |
BBFC win next censorship round in bloodless coup
From the GayGamer.net see
Available in US for release on 4th Feb 2008
I t has been confirmed that the latest and greatest Wii game from Suda 51, No More Heroes , will not have blood in it in the European version.
Rising Star Games, the
European publisher of the title, was asked if this was due to the response of the BBFC to Manhunt 2 , the company gave only this one word response, "Maybe."
|7th December |
Brazier presents his BBFC accountability bill to parliament
Thanks to DarkAngel on the Melon Farmers Forum
Parliamentary Publications: presented bills
Braziers bill was presented Wednesday:
British Board of Film Classification (Accountability to Parliament and Appeals)
Mr. Julian Brazier, supported by Mr. John Gummer, Keith Vaz, Miss Ann Widdecombe, Mr. Jim Hood,
Stephen Pound, Mr. John Hayes, Mr. Lindsay Hoyle, Mrs. Nadine Dorries, Jim Dobbin, Mr. David Burrowes and Mr. Greg Hands, presented a Bill to make provision for parliamentary scrutiny of senior appointments to the British Board of Film Classification and
of guidelines produced by it; to establish a body with powers to hear appeals against the release of videos and DVDs and the classification of works in prescribed circumstances; to make provision about penalties for the distribution of illegal works; and
for connected purposes: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 29 February, and to be printed.
Now might be the time to start speaking out against this.
|6th December |
ELSPA requests meeting with Brazier
From GamesIndustry.biz see
The computer games trade group, Entertainment and Leisure Software Publisher's Association (ELSPA) has responded to a private member's bill presented by Julian Brazier MP.
This Bill highlights the importance of the classification of the visual
entertainment industry, ELSPA said in a statement: The correct classification of computer games made for adult consumption - covered by the BBFC - is of the utmost importance to the computer games industry.
ELSPA is requesting a
meeting with Brazier to ensure that the bill takes their concerns into account.
|5th December |
For the People, our Politicians don't care
From the Melon Farmers Forum
Thanks to DarkAngel
Julian Brazier had something like the BBFC Parliamentary Accountability and Appeals Bill planned for a while now...
From 11th July 2006...
article from julianbrazier.com
Brazier, in a letter to Conservative Policy Coordinator Oliver Letwin, has urged that an incoming Conservative Government shall take action on the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). He is concerned that the BBFC is unreliable in preventing
scenes of violence from reaching our screens at a suitable rating.
The letter read: In light of David Cameron's recent comment: “Protection of childhood innocence against premature sexualisation is something worth
fighting for I would like to make a submission to policy review. I recently had a look at the annual report of the British Board of Film Classification - I believe that it is time to shake them up. The failure to rate films suitably can lead to the
portrayal of topics and themes in a way that may encourage their wider use.
The BBFC is good at controlling scenes of drug use. They allow only scenes of drug use that put a negative spin on recreational drug taking.
Their stance on the portrayal of violence is pretty weak, however. Examples are films such as Green Street and The Football Factory , both rated ‘18' and containing strong violence in the context of a popular past time. The BBFC says of The Football Factory
: passed ‘18' for the strong violence … that featured in its tale of violent men attempting to profit from criminal activities Is this a theme that we want anyone, let alone 18 year olds to be watching? With the hooligan culture already
wrecking some British football matches, do we need such films?
I believe in a free country but incitement to violence is unacceptable. House of Wax , a ‘stalk and slash' film, rated ‘15', contains occasional
moments of strong gore and violence but was limited to a ‘15' rating due to the formulaic and predictable story, its fantastical setting, and its generally restrained treatment of the violence. Should the fact that it is in a fantastical
setting be a reason for keeping any film as a ‘15'? Just because a film is not set in the current world does not mean that 15 and 16 year olds will not attempt to copy dangerous action sequences.
In some cases,
previously cut material is being reinstated. For example: American Gothic which was originally cut in 1987; Not of this Earth , 1988; and the 1994 film Dracula's Widow , all had scenes of sexualised violence reinstated. The reason
given was, a lack of sufficient eroticised detail to raise concerns under either the current BBFC Guidelines or contemporary understanding of the relevant research and policy.
The BBFC should be reformed and its
guidelines strengthened. In too many cases its censors appear to have been lacking the mettle to deal robustly with the film industry's nastier output. Only one recent chairman has stood up to the film industry – Andreas Whittam Smith – and he lost some
bad cases under the appeal arrangements. Surely there is scope for reform here.
Also.. it seems he's tried this once before, remember the controversy surrounding the film Crash in the late 90's? He tried to do the same thing then,
but was dealt a suitable rebuttal by then chief censor James Ferman .
Thanks to IanG:
We are failing
All hope is
For our liberal democracy
Do we have Nazis
And religious halfwits
Filling all our Parliamentary seats?
Six hundred 'visions'
But no sound decisions
Just pass a new law every week
Try 'hate' prevention
Ban demonstrations and end Free Speech!
Five million spy cams
All up and down the land
But they can't stop kids shooting kids
Now they blame games
and films for all our 'sins'
The banks are empty
Lost all our pennies
In Brown's 'wonder' economy
Looks like its over
In mortgage foreclosure
For all that Sub Prime economic greed
So look ahead guys
And watch the
For their next big knee-jerk thing
It could be Pros. on crack
Or school truants on smack
Whatever, its all just Spin!
Yeah we are sailing
With no bearing
On an ocean made of spin
You know the statute
in total disrepute
When Judges can't tell if you broke the thing!
Now where's our Rights gone
From that Constitution?
They were there before the 'Hand of Blair'
Don't we NEED them?
No Rights or Freedoms?
For the People,
our Politicians don't care...!
For the People, our Politicians don't care...!
For the People, our Politicians don't care...!