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Offsite Article: Cult film shocker Nekromantik to get 18 rated UK release...

Link Here 4th September 2014
The Guardian reports on the arrival of one of the most transgressive films ever, reigniting the debate about acceptable limits for horror and pornography

See article from



Ratings We Don't Trust...

BBFC 15 rating for the 12 rated 1977 version of the Island of Dr. Moureau

Link Here2nd September 2014
The Island of Dr. Moreau is a 1977 USA Sci-Fi horror romance by Don Taylor.
Starring Burt Lancaster, Michael York and Nigel Davenport. YouTube iconBBFC link IMDb
Dr. Moreau Braddock (Michael York) a decent young Englishman is miraculously saved by the mysterious Dr. Montgomery (Nigel Davenport) after being thrown overboard a ship sailing in a remote area of the Pacific. Dr. Montgomery is accompanying a cargo of animals destined for a tropical island. At first an 'honoured guest' on the island he finds his contact with the natives increasingly disturbing for they are unlike any men he has ever seen. After it transpires that these "men" are the result of experiments of the sinister scientist Dr. Moreau (Burt Lancaster) Braddock feels that he is in grave danger: from both these strange creatures and from Dr. Moreau himself. Unable to escape the confines of the island on his own Braddock knows not what to do or whom to turn to...

The Blu-ray has just been passed 15 uncut for:

  • 2014 101 Films RB Blu-ray at UK Amazon released on 6th October 2014

The BBFC seem a bit confused over the rating for this film. The current BBFC rating is actually 12 for moderate violence. But this submission as been rated 15 (without consumer advice).

Presumably this is rated 15 under a scheme whereby distributors can opt for an historic rating at a discount fee rather than submit the film for a more expensive full viewing that would have resulted in a 12 rating.

But what are customers meant to make of the seemingly yoyo BBFC ratings of 12 and 15?

Censorship History
Cut for a US PG rating

Further cut by the BBFC for an A rated 1977 cinema release.

Thanks to Vincenzo. The BBFC cuts were:
  • Reel 6 - The killing by Andrew of the mutant who attacks him in the boat was reduced, in particular sight of him grinding pole in off-screen mutant's eye and subsequent sight of bloody end of pole were removed.

The BBFC cuts were restored for 1987 15 rated VHS.

The BBFC rating was reduced to 12 for 2008 DVD.

The BBFC rating was increased to 15 for 2014 Blu-ray.



Offsite Article: British Board of European Film Censorship...

Link Here29th August 2014
Movie-Censorship takes a look at films that were distributed throughout Europe in versions cut by the BBFC

See article from



Offsite Article: Ten Extremely Disturbing Movie Moments...

Link Here25th August 2014
That Got Past The British Censors! By Pooch

See article from



Update: The Video Recordings Act 1984 (Exempted Video Works) Regulations 2014...

Details of the new law that will come into force on 1st October 2014 requiring BBFC censorship for more music, sport, religion and documentary videos

Link Here 22nd August 2014
Full story: VRA Exempt...Video Recordings (Exemption from Classification) Bill
The new law modifies section 2 of the Video Records Act to become something like:

Section 2: Exempted Works

(1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3) below, a video work is for the purposes of this Act an exempted work if, taken as a whole--

(a) it is designed to inform, educate or instruct;

(b) it is concerned with sport, religion or music; or

(c) it is a video game.

(2) A video work other than a video game 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 selfharm, 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.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2):

A video work promotes something if the work is likely (to any extent) to stimulate or encourage that thing.

Human or animal character means a character that is or whose appearance is similar to that of:

(a) a human being, or
(b) an animal that exists or has existed in real life, but does not include a simple stick character or any equally basic representation of a human being or animal;

Imitable dangerous activity means an activity which:

(a) if imitated by a person, may endanger the welfare or health of any person or animal, and
(b) may be easily imitated by a person; and violence does not include any violence that is:

(a) mild, or
(b) not directed towards human or animal characters, unless it is sexual violence. .

Note: the original definition of an exempted work is retained for video games.



Update: BBFC to kindly point out the sexiest music videos...

Details of the scheme for publishers to obtain BBFC age ratings for online music videos

Link Here19th August 2014
Full story: BBFC Online Music Censors...Scheme for UK music publishers to get BBFC rating for videos
The Guardian seems to have been the only source that I have spotted that actually tries to explain what will be going on:

Music videos will go through the same classification system as films and other video content. The voluntary pilot will involve the big three music labels in the UK, Sony, Universal and Warner Music, as well as the BBFC, YouTube and music video platform Vevo. The pilot will run for three months, kicking off in October.

It is presumably related that  music videos sold or distributed on disc or other physical form and deemed to include 12-rated-plus material will have to go through the age-classification process also starting in October under amendments to the Video Recording Act. The music labels will submit music videos that they consider could contain content that should be classified as for age 12 or over, using BBFC guidelines. The BBFC will then rate the videos as it does with other content, for which the labels will pay a fee to cover the cost of rating in the same way that the film industry currently does. The rating process should take around 24 hours, according to the BBFC. A rating of 12, 15 or 18 will be assigned to the music video and passed on to the label. Videos deemed not to include unsuitable content for children under 12 will not be classified.

The pilot scheme announced by Cameron will only cover music videos and will not be expanded to cover other video content on sites such as YouTube.

The music labels will tag the video with the age rating from the BBFC when uploading the video to hosting services. YouTube and Vevo are part of the pilot study, and will be supporting the ratings, placing a visible age rating on the video title on the respective sites.

The visible rating will probably take the form of the BBFC's age certification logos, although that is not yet set in stone, and is intended to give parents more information about the videos their children are watching.

YouTube has a similar system for displaying BBFC ratings on films, and requires users to be at least 13 years old to have an account, although most videos are viewable without an account.

The three-month pilot is intended to finalise a system that works for rating the videos and having the data tagged to them when uploaded to say they are classified. For the initial trial it will simply be a notification on the video of an age classification.

After the three-month trial it is expected that YouTube and Vevo, as well as other video hosting services, will look at developing parental control filters that screen out videos marked as inappropriate for children of specific age ranges.

Only new videos submitted by the music labels will be rated during the pilot, although there will be a decision at the end of the pilot as to whether videos that are already available should be retroactively classified.

The big three labels will conduct the pilot, but the BPI, which represents Sony, Universal and Warner Music and more than 300 independent music companies, expects that all music labels will adopt the system once finalised.

During the pilot the ratings will be there for information purposes only, to help parents make an informed decision. Parental controls on YouTube and others could be used to screen out videos via ratings, but their effectiveness will be determined by how difficult it is to get around age verification.

YouTube, like most other online services, does not verify a user's age beyond the date of birth given by the user at the point of signing up for an account. Age verification issues are beyond the scope of this initial pilot scheme.

Comment: Will other countries follow suit?

19th August 2014. See article from

Newsbeat spoke to Gennaro Castaldo from the BPI and asked if the pilot will have any impact if music videos by American artists, known for being racier, aren't certified?

Yes it's true that a lot of music video content comes from outside the UK, but also a huge amount of music that sells well around the world does come from Britain and from British artists.

So I think, what we do in this country is followed by other territories. So I'm sure they'll be following our pilot with interest and in due course I think they'll then decide how they want to act on that.

I think this is a really good place to start, we have to start somewhere and if we can begin here in the UK, for other territories to follow, then I think that would be a really good example too.



Political Twerking...

David Cameron announces that online music videos will carry age classifications from October

Link Here18th August 2014
Full story: BBFC Online Music Censors...Scheme for UK music publishers to get BBFC rating for videos
Online music videos will carry an age classification from October as part of a pilot scheme by YouTube, music video service Vevo and the BBFC in the name of protecting children from graphic content , David Cameron has announced.

In a speech to the Relationships Alliance on Monday, the prime minister said the rules for online videos should be brought into line with content bought offline. Cameron said:

From October, we're going to help parents protect their children from some of the graphic content in online music videos by working with the British Board of Film Classification, Vevo and YouTube to pilot the age rating of these videos.

We shouldn't cede the internet as some sort of lawless space where the normal rules of life shouldn't apply. So, in as far as it is possible, we should try to make sure that the rules that exist offline exist online. So if you want to go and buy a music video offline there are age restrictions on it. We should try and recreate that system on the internet.



Offsite Article: The BBFC and 12 years of 12A: does the system work?...

Link Here4th August 2014
The BBFC has released a video explaining how the 12A system works. But does it make sense, and how effective is it?

See article from



Update: More expensive red tape...

Previously exempt music, sport and documentary DVDs will require a BBFC certificate from 1st October 2014

Link Here31st July 2014
Full story: VRA Exempt...Video Recordings (Exemption from Classification) Bill

   currently exempt

Music videos released on DVD and Blu-ray that might contain content unsuitable for children will soon be required to be submitted to the BBFC for certification.

The new measures will be introduced from October 1 to cover Blu-ray, DVD and CD formats - but will not apply to online digital works.

If it is judged that content in a video would typically attract an age rating of 12, 15, 18 or R18, the BBFC will issue a certification. The turnaround for certification currently stands at up to seven days. Of course the DVD producer has to foot the expensive bills. There are also labelling requirements around the display of the rating on packaging and products.



Parental Guidance...

BBFC launch cinema advert about the meaning of the 12A rating

Link Here29th July 2014

. The BBFC has released a new advert to help increase awareness of what the 12A cinema rating means. In 2013 the BBFC found that 75% of the British public understand that a film rated 12A is generally suitable for children aged 12 and over, but a younger child may see the film if accompanied by an adult. The advert reminds parents to check the BBFCinsight for every 12A film before they take a child to see it. BBFCinsight explains the key classification issues in a film and is particularly useful for parents.

The BBFC saw a rise in the number of 12A films released during 2013, with 87 more films classified 12A in 2013 compared to 2012. The BBFC also carried out their latest large scale public consultation in 2013, which showed 92% of recent film viewers agreed with BBFC age ratings for films and videos they had seen recently.

BBFC Director David Cooke said:

The 12A certificate is twelve years old this year and is still our newest age rating. We want to remind parents that the certificate was designed to help them decide if a film at the 12 level is suitable for their child. Children develop at different rates and while one child may understand the issues in a particular 12A film, another child may find the film distressing. Parents can use the detailed BBFCinsight we provide for every film we classify to see if a 12A film is suitable for their child.

Education for parents and children is an area where the BBFC is expanding on its existing outreach programme. In September 2013 the CBBFC website for children and their parents, was relaunched, featuring straight forward information about age ratings and BBFCinsight; interactive content for children and articles for parents, including tips for safer online viewing; and a page dedicated to understanding 12A.

Lucy Brett, BBFC Head of Education, said:

So far this year we've visited over 4700 students, primary school children, cinemagoers and adult learners through our outreach programme. In general we find that children and teenagers are more confident about the meaning of 12A than our adult audiences. We hope our new 12A advert will allow many more to be confident in making informed choices about the 12A films they and their families watch. No two 12A films are the same and no two children are the same, which is why BBFCinsight is designed to help parents find a good film fit for their child.

The BBFC 12A advert will be in cinemas over the summer and is available on the BBFC website. The BBFC would like to thank Pearl & Dean and DCM for their support in screening the advert in cinemas. Further 12A education materials for schools and families will be released later this year. Parents can find a guide to 12A on the CBBFC website.



Few Complaints...

A few snippets from BBFC Annual Report for 2013

Link Here21st July 2014

The BBC made a few comments on the BBFC Annual Report.

The BBFC rated 974 cinema films in 2013 - up from 850 last year, and its highest figure since the 1960s. However the latest figure includes the new idea of cinema relays of theatre and opera stage events.

Interestingly the most common cinema certificate is now a 12A where previously it was 15. 321 films were 12A in 2013 compared with 234 in 2012.

The BBFC must be doing something right as the number of complaints received is trivially small. These may indicate a few of the films closest to the borderline with a higher category. The BBFC wrote:

The 12A theatrical classification of Jack Reacher generated the most feedback in 2013, with a total of 26 complaints. Despite a number of reductions made to scenes of violence to achieve a 12A certificate, those who contacted us considered the film too violent, dark and sadistic for twelve-year-olds, and inappropriately presented the hero as a vigilante figure.

The film is occasionally gritty and realistic, but the overall tone and treatment of the violence is similar to recent 12A action films such as the Bourne series and does not exceed the Guidelines at 12A. The film is relatively restrained in showing injury or blood, with no undue focus on the suffering of the victims and the Jack Reacher character is quickly established as an 'anti-hero'.

Other films noted were:

  • The Paperboy (15). 12 complaints for strong sex scenes
  • The Wolverine (12A). 12 complaints for strong language.
  • The Life of Pi (12A), 10 complaints for scenes showing animals attacking each other being too distressing for children.
  • The Impossible (12A), 10 complaints for graphic injury detail
  • About Time (12A), 6 complaints about language and sex references



Courtesy of the RDI and BBFC...

More details on the level of website blocking to implemented for public WiFi

Link Here19th July 2014
The Registered Digital Institute is a trade group which promotes digital installation and digital service providers directly to the consumer. The institutes explains its role in setting up a standard for internet website blocking for public WiFi:

During his 2013 NSPCC speech on online safety, David Cameron announced that an agreement was in place with the UK's main Wi-Fi providers to commit to applying a level of filtering across all of their standard public Wi-Fi services, which are easily accessed by children and young people. Mr Cameron also highlighted the need to develop an industry-recognised and trusted symbol, which businesses could display to show customers that their public Wi-Fi is properly filtered. Discussions around the development of such a scheme and symbol began 12 months ago, when the RDI were asked to work in collaboration with The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS), the Government and the UK's main Wi-Fi Providers, to design, develop and launch the UK-wide Friendly WiFi scheme that we see today.

RDI have also outlined the level of blocking that has been implemented and how the BBFC have been involved in the censorship process:

During meetings with DCMS and the UK's main Wi-Fi providers who we worked collaboratively with to design the online safety initiative, it was suggested that we contact the BBFC. We were introduced to the BBFC's Assistant Director, David Austin who kindly offered to assist us in the build of our specification for online content filtering. David hosted an initial meeting at the BBFC's London offices and provided what can only be described as an eye-opening view of how the BBFC operates and independently scrutinises films and video to ensure the highest possible level of protection and empowerment.

We learned how the BBFC had been appointed by the Mobile Broadband Group to provide an independent framework to underpin the Mobile Operators' code of practice that was set up in 2004 for the self-regulation of content on mobiles. The Classification Framework defines content that is unsuitable for customers under the age of 18 and is based on the BBFC's Classification Guidelines for film and video. The Classification Framework is also used to calibrate the filters used by the Operators to restrict access to internet content via mobile networks by those under 18. This was a major step forward to restrict content accessed via mobile networks and protect children from viewing inappropriate material whilst operating their mobile devices.

Although the specified level of content filtering within the Friendly WiFi scheme is below that which underpins the Mobile Operators code of practice, it is important that we were guided by the same technical expertise of the BBFC to support our development and advise us on future updates. The BBFC has contributed specific definitions and guided us in the use of correct and appropriate terms relating to the filtering of pornography. This is to make sure we are able to communicate the terms correctly and have the confidence that our specification is in line with what our Customers, Industry and Public expects.

The level of content filtering agreed by the main WiFi providers for their standard public WiFi offerings is the same level which has been included within the Friendly WiFi scheme. The level of filtering as follows:

  1. The standard public Wi-Fi offering will automatically filter the IWF list and participate in the IWF Self Certification process.

  2. The standard public Wi-Fi offering will also include filters to block pornography and will use generally recognised list providers to filter pornography.

No doubt the use of 'generally recognised list providers' means that the block on actual pornography will include a block on news and information websites that happen to include a few porny words in their text.

Any UK business wishing to join the Friendly WiFi scheme must meet the level of filtering standards described above. Once approved they will be authorised to display the scheme Friendly WiFi logo at their venues. At RDI, we will be working on a number of initiatives to support our Friendly WiFi customers and the Industry. As part of our service to Licensees of our scheme, we will manage consumer enquiries and deal with issues in relation to content viewed over public WiFi services. These may include reports of over blocking and under blocking. We are delighted that the BBFC have agreed to work with us by offering their support to handle enquiries of this nature. Their independent and technical expertise is essential and we look forward to a strong relationship and us working together to evolve the scheme.



Digitally Excited...

BBFC publishes Annual Report covering 2013

Link Here17th July 2014

British Board of Film Classification see digital growth, measure public trust and launch new education resources in 2013

The BBFC's voluntary regulation services grew significantly in 2013. In September the BBFC became the regulator of internet content delivered via mobile networks. Meanwhile, content classified for video-on-demand under the BBFC's Watch & Rate service increased by 200% in 2013, with 34 new companies submitting content for classification. BBFC ratings can be found on iTunes, BT Vision, Talk Talk, BlinkBox, FilmFlex, Sainsbury's, PlayStation and XBox. They are available for customers building Ultraviolet collections and can be seen on the seatback entertainment systems on Virgin and British Airways flights.

Education for younger children was an area where the BBFC expanded on its existing outreach programme by launching a new website for children and their parents, , in September. The website features child friendly interactive content, including classification information for the latest film releases rated U to12A; timelines explaining the history of film classification; the popular rate a trailer activity; and a page dedicated to understanding 12A. The website launched with a competition for children, which challenged them to draw pictures representing the correct audiences for each age rating. The winning illustrations, selected from over 130 entries, feature on a poster resource and leaflet which is available as a free resource for schools.

The BBFC's research effort in 2013 was dominated by the large scale public consultation into the BBFC's Classification Guidelines. Involving more than 10,000 adults and teenagers, the results of the consultation fed directly into the BBFC's latest Classification Guidelines, published in January 2014. The research showed strong public trust in the classification system. 89% of film viewers rated classification as important and 92% of recent film viewers agreed with BBFC age ratings for films and videos they had seen recently.

BBFC Director David Cooke said:

2013 was a year of key firsts for the BBFC. We began working to provide a classification framework for mobile operators, trailblazing new ways in which the BBFC's research and expertise in content classification can be applied. We also spoke to teenagers for the first time as part of our Guidelines Consultation exercise, finding that 76% consider classification to be important. Meanwhile our new website for younger children aims to ensure they too learn how to navigate age ratings and, alongside their parents, make informed choices about what they watch at the cinema, on DVD and on VoD platforms.

Mobile Operators in the UK began to use the Mobile Classification Framework designed by the BBFC to filter video and website content available via mobile networks on 2 September 2013. The framework is used to filter internet content available via mobile networks and is a key component of the Mobile Operators' code of practice, established in 2004, and was previously devised by the Independent Mobile Classification Board (IMCB).

Another area of growth for the BBFC involved international partnerships. Working with the Dutch media regulator, NICAM, the BBFC designed a user generated content rating tool that can be used to provide ratings for content uploaded to video sharing websites. The tool allows viewers to rate content themselves with the ratings adapted to suit the requirements and expectations of the country in which they are viewing the video. The tool is currently being trailed by the Italian media company Mediaset on their video sharing platform 16mm.



Update: Rated as all self praise but no substance...

BBFC wins award for its You Rate It classification scheme for user generated content, but neglects to provide any details beyond hyping it as simple, fast, flexible etc.

Link Here1st July 2014

The BBFC and the Dutch regulator NICAM have received a Comenius EduMedia Seal of Approval for You Rate It , an international tool for the classification of User Generated Content (UGC). The tool has been developed by the BBFC and NICAM at the request of the Brussels-based CEO Coalition for making the internet a safer place for children.

The tool is a simple questionnaire, designed to be completed by those uploading videos onto a site, or by the crowd, or both. It generates an immediate age rating which varies from country to country according to different national standards and societal concerns. It may also be customised to meet the requirements of individual platforms.

The Italian media regulator Mediaset has signed up to take part in the trial of the tool through its 16mm User Generated Content service, and the pilot is now in its first testing phase.

The Comenius EduMedia Awards are given by the Society for Pedagogy and Information (GPI), a non-profit organisation which is a scientific society for multimedia, educational technology and media didactics. The awards recognise outstanding products among ICT-supported educational media across Europe. The contest is supported by the European Commission's Programme for Life Long Learning.

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