The Video Recordings Act 1984 requires videos in physical formats such as DVDs and Blu-ray discs to be classified by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) before they can be sold in the UK. It is an offence to sell products rated BBFC ’12’ or higher to anyone not meeting the age requirement.
However, many products which are primarily about music, sports, religion or education are exempt from this requirement. Following a full public consultation, Government has been taking forward new Video Recordings Act 1984 (Exempted Video Works) Regulations 2014 so that music, sports, religion and education products will have to be classified by the BBFC in future if they contain material unsuitable for younger children.
The Regulations were approved by Parliament in July and come into force on 1 October 2014. Government will be working closely with industry and enforcement agencies over the coming months to help ensure that businesses fully understand the new classification requirements and are able to put any necessary arrangements in place.
These changes will ensure that children are better protected from inappropriate content and parents can make more informed purchasing and viewing decisions.
We are grateful to the organisations which commented on the detailed drafting of the Regulations earlier in the year. A summary of the comments will be published here shortly.
Online videos are outside the scope of the Video Recordings Act. However, the Government is committed to ensuring that there are effective measures in place to protect children from online material which could be potentially harmful. We welcome the decision of the music industry and the BBFC to launch on 1 October a pilot scheme for the age rating of online music videos. The pilot will bring the BBFC’s well-known and trusted film and video age ratings and content information to those music videos from the UK repertoire of Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music which contain material unsuitable for younger children. Vevo and YouTube will display the age ratings in the UK for each classified video in search results and alongside the video player.