Archive for the ‘VRA Video Recordings Act’ Category

Read more UK Government Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

ed vaizey Ed Vaizey, the Tory culture minister, has pledged to try and convince international partners to adopt the British idea of providing age ratings for music videos on the likes of YouTube.Currently videos from foreign, and in particular American companies, are unrated on Youtube.

Online music videos from the British arms of Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music are submitted for age BBFC ratings if they meet a long list of specifications under which they would qualify for a 12, 15 or 18 rating.

The current system means that while UK-made music videos which are only suitable for adults (of which there are hardly any) are captured by online parental filters, those produced in America are not.

Mr Vaizey revealed that the government will attempt to convince Britain’s global allies to adopt the ratings system when challenged in a parliamentary written question. Vaizey said:

We were pleased therefore to announce recently that the industry and the BBFC were putting their online music videos ratings scheme on a permanent footing and extending it to include videos produced in the UK by independent labels, as well as by major UK labels.

We welcome this voluntary action by industry and will now be looking at how the lessons learned in the UK could help international partners adopt a similar approach.

Government is committed to working with labels and platforms towards seeing age rating on all online music videos.

In fact there are hardly any music video that have been rated 18. More typically videos are rated 12 or 15 for strong language. And of course such language is notably difficult to encode into international standards.

Definitely a policy more about politicking than practicality.

Advertisements
Read more News: Latest Cuts at MelonFarmers.co.uk

Pop Party 13 Various Pop Party 13 is a music video by Hannah Lux and Davis.
Starring Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj. BBFC link UK: Passed PG for mild sex references after 12:59s of BBFC advised category cuts for:

  • 2014 Universal Music TV CD/DVD Combo at UK Amazon released on 27th October 2014

TheBBFC commented:

  • Distributor chose to remove stronger sexual content within music videos and to remove a use of strong language for PG. An uncut 12 was available.

UK Censorship

This video may have the distinction of being the first victim of a new law removing an exemption from BBFC censorship for music videos. It was cut for category on the day that the new regulation came in, 1st October 2014. Presumably before the new law the CD/DVD would have been uncut and noted as Exempt from classification.

Read more BBFC News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

bbfc cash logo Video Recordings Act extended to previously exempt works

The BBFC announced:

On 4 August 2014, the Video Recordings Act was amended to lower the threshold at which certain video content loses its exemption from classification. This amendment comes into effect on 1 October 2014.

From 1 October, documentaries, sports and music video works that can currently claim exemption will be required to seek a BBFC classification if they contain material which could be potentially harmful or otherwise unsuitable for children and, as with video games, works will have to be classified if they contain material which would be rated 12 and above.

See also BBFC Submission Guide covering fees and procedures [pdf]

The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Quotation and Parody) Regulations 2014

See new law from legislation.gov.uk

A new law came into force today allowing use of copyright material for the purposes of parody:

Caricature, parody or pastiche

Fair dealing with a work for the purposes of caricature, parody or pastiche does not infringe copyright in the work.

So at least we can now generate parody BBFC symbols.

Read more UK Government Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk
Miley Cyrus Reinvention DVD

   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.

Read more UK Government Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

maria millerTo: Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

Dear Ms. Miller,
Please forgive this open letter; it’s an ungainly form of communication but I approached your department for an interview and didn’t hear back. So…

You might not realise it but the Department of Culture, Media and Sport has undertaken a course of action that puts a number of small businesses at direct risk. Right now, Britain has some of the most exciting and inventive independent DVD labels in the world, companies doing everything from producing definitive editions of art-house classics to rescuing the forgotten treasures of British film.

The sheer quality of their work has made them indispensable to discerning viewers around the globe. Hell, if you want a recommendation, just ask the Prime Minister — those Borgen box-sets he’s so fond of are released by Arrow Films , one of our very best.

All that’s under threat because of new regulations from the DCMS.

Let me explain: as it stands, the Video Recordings Act 1984 exempts certain types of material — including documentary articles — from the scrutiny of the British Board of Film Classification (an organisation, it’s important to note, that charges heftily for its services).

Since most DVD extras — the featurettes, interviews and visual essays that so often supplement the main feature — are classed as ‘documentaries’, independent DVD labels can create high-quality special editions stuffed to the gunnels with extra material without incurring the prohibitive BBFC costs.

That’s all going to change. The VRA is being amended to remove certain of the existing exemptions. While some material will remain free from classification, the changes are profound enough to have independent DVD labels extremely worried.

You’re no doubt aware that all labels are facing huge problems from online piracy — if a film can be illegally grabbed for free, why buy it? Well, a lavish suite of DVD extras is a damn good incentive to slap down the cash. But additional BBFC costs will place a huge strain on already tight budgets: this means fewer extras will be produced. Inevitably, some labels will go to the wall — as a direct result of Government legislation.

It’s important to note that these problems are unintentional: these changes are a response to parental pressure to do something about saucy music videos. Targeting physical media, though, seems a curiously toothless response in the age of YouTube: these changes look set to harm independent DVD labels and do nothing about the issue you’re ostensibly trying to address.

According to the documents that lay out these changes, they were the result of a detailed consultation. However, none of the labels I have spoken to were even aware of the changes until very recently. I must ask: did the DCMS consult with ANY independent labels about the changes?

Given the impact these changes will have on businesses, I hope you’ll reconsider the changes to the VRA, to prevent unintended damage. It also seems worth asking if you are prepared to meet representatives of the independent DVD labels and hear their concerns directly. Ask them nicely and they might even give you some of their discs. Then you can see for yourself just how good they are and why it would be such a loss if any went under. If you want any recommendations, I’m happy to oblige.

Yours etc.
James Oliver

Read more UK Government Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

See article from moviemail.com

UK Government armsThese are good times for British film fans. The UK is lucky to have some of the best DVD labels in the world ( Arrow , the BFI , Masters of Cinema , Odeon , Second Run , Second Sight , Nucleus…) producing essential releases of that cater for every taste.But this golden age could be coming to an end, courtesy of some well-meaning government legislation. From May, the way home video material is classified is changing: material that is currently exempt from classification will have to be vetted by the BBFC.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) decided that the best way to stem the tide of tabloid claims of pop video filth is to tighten up BBFC ratings. And they came up with some new and expensive regulations.

The main change is that any documentary material that contains clips of things that might be considered unsuitable for children will no longer be exempt from classification. So any DVD extra (an interview, for example) that contains a clip from the main feature will have to be scrutinised again. A single use of the word ‘fuck’ is enough to put the work in 12 rated territory and hence need expensive vetting by the BBFC.

A 90 minute film on DVD/Blu-ray will set you back £ 615 plus VAT, according to the fee calculator on their website. No big deal to the major labels but potentially calamitous for the knife-edge economics of the independent sector. It was Marc Morris, of Nucleus Films who first sounded the alarm about these changes and he offers a case study of the impact they’ll have on industry.

The documentary Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide proved a big hit, but parts of the material, particularly the framing documentary were exempt from classification. Morris estimates it would cost between £ 6,000- £ 7000 more had the documentary been made after the new law comes in.

Alan Byron, MD of Odeon Entertainment notes:

The economics behind collector’s releases will now dictate that extra features are reduced and more vanilla editions will appear.

It goes without saying that all this was pushed through without consulting any of the labels it affects — and there’s been virtually no communication from either the DCMS or BBFC to explain that the changes were even happening

Francesco Simeoni of Arrow Films concurs:

The new legislation has serious implications for niche labels, says . Our audience is very much on an international level and so we must compete with territories that do not have to contend with such costs. Whether we choose to include content for our releases has a whole new set of financial considerations which means we are at a significant disadvantage to our competitors.

…Read the full article

Read more UK Government Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

See consultation details from gov.uk
See draft bill [doc] from gov.uk

DCMS logoThe Department for Culture, Media and Sport has published a draft bill to remove the current blanket exemptions for music, sports, religious and educational videos.Videos that would be U or PG rated will continue to be exempt but videos that would be rated 12 or higher now need to be censored by the BBFC before they can be legally sold in the UK.

The mechanism to predict whether videos require censorship is provided by a long list of content that would likely trigger at least a 12 rating. If none of the triggers apply then the video need not be submitted.

The changes will be applied via a Statutory Instrument meaning that it will not be debated in parliament.

The DCMS has invited public comments on the draft which are to be sent to VRARegs@culture.gsi.gov.uk by 31 January 2014.

The  new regulation amends Section 2 subsections (2) and (3) of the Video Recordings Act 1984:

Subsection (2) of the current Video recordings Act reads

(2) A video work is not an exempted work for those purposes if, to any significant extent, it depicts–

  • (a) human sexual activity of acts of force or restraint associated with such activity;|
  • (b) mutilation or torture of, or other acts of gross violence towards, humans or animals;
  • (c) human genital organs or human urinary or excretory functions;
  • (d) techniques likely to be useful in the commission of offences;

This will be replaced by

The Video Recordings Act 1984 (Exempted Video Works) Regulations 2014

(2) A video work is not an exempted work for those purposes if it does one or more of the following-

  • (a) it depicts or promotes violence or threats of violence;
  • (b) it depicts the immediate aftermath of violence on human or animal characters;
  • (c) it depicts an imitable dangerous activity without also depicting that the activity may endanger the welfare or health of a human or animal character;
  • (d) it promotes an imitable dangerous activity;
  • (e) it depicts or promotes activities involving illegal drugs or the misuse of drugs;
  • (f) it promotes the use of alcohol or tobacco;
  • (g) it depicts or promotes suicide or attempted suicide, or depicts the immediate aftermath of such an event;
  • (h) it depicts or promotes any act of scarification or mutilation of a person, or of self-harm, or depicts the immediate aftermath of such an act;
  • (i) it depicts techniques likely to be useful in the commission of offences or, through its depiction of criminal activity, promotes the commission of offences;
  • (j) it includes words or images intended or likely to convey a sexual message (ignoring words or images depicting any mild sexual behaviour);
  • (k) it depicts human sexual activity (ignoring any depictions of mild sexual activity);
  • (l) it depicts or promotes acts of force or restraint associated with human sexual activity;
  • (m) it depicts human genital organs or human urinary or excretory functions (unless the depiction is for a medical, scientific or educational purpose);
  • (n) it includes swearing (ignoring any mild bad language); or
  • (o) it includes words or images that are intended or likely (to any extent) to cause offence, whether on the grounds of race, gender, disability, religion or belief or sexual orientation, or otherwise.

These Regulations do not apply in relation to any supply of a video work which was first placed on the market before […] 2014