BBFC offers new regulations for music videos

February 2014

Broadcasting, cinema


The British Board of Film Classification is to pilot voluntary ratings for online music videos, as the exemption threshold for music DVDs is narrowed

The threshold at which physically released music videos – primarily DVDs and Blu-rays – must receive an age classification from the BBFC is to be lowered. The organisation is also planning to launch a voluntary pilot for online music videos, in partnership with record label trade body the BPI, a spokesperson confirmed to the CMU Daily.

This follows a review of the Video Recordings Act by the UK government, which was completed last year. Until now, only physically released music videos containing “extreme” content have required an age rating. Under the pending changes to the Act, expected to be implemented in the spring, anything that fits the criteria for a twelve certificate or above will have to be classified by BBFC examiners. Previously these would have been stamped ‘exempt’, or simply not put forward for review at all.

Government has also asked the BBFC and the BPI to launch a pilot scheme to rate online music videos. At the moment online content does not come under the BBFC’s remit, and so anything sent to it for classification is done so voluntarily (which some labels do in some cases).

Currently at the planning stages, the pilot scheme is expected to launch later this year, with a view to gauging the level of support from the industry for a permanent voluntary rating system for online music videos. Although voluntary and purely for guidance rather than a legal requirement, , initially at least, Google has already said that it will use the ratings on its services if it takes off, and possibly implement parental controls based on them.

Speaking to The Guardian, BBFC Assistant Director David Austin said: “The classification of a music video will take account of any elements which are of concern to parents, including glamorisation of behaviour which they consider inappropriate”. A spokesperson for the BBFC noted that in the film industry, iTunes and Netflix both use the organisation’s ratings in this way, while Netflix also submits its own original content for classification voluntarily.

A very amusing take by Victoria Coren Mitchell: Film ratings: a little advice for the BBFC

The censors have been rethinking their movie certificates. Well, I have some ideas of my own ….

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