BBFC launches VOD classification

Posted: May 21, 2008

The BBFC’s classification system is being extended to downloaded films. BBFC.online – as the new service is called – covers the full range of BBFC classifications from U through to R18 and it has been designed to give consumers assurance when choosing new media content. Online titles that have an R18 classification provide guarantees to consumers that the content is legal, consensual and non-violent.

Membership of the scheme will require e-tailers and VOD service providers to have age verification or gate-keeping systems in place to control underage viewing, and the effectiveness of these will be monitored by the BBFC.

David Cooke, Director of the BBFC said: “The Video Recordings Act does not cover the world of downloads so adult content that is not on video or DVD is subject to very little regulation. There are all sorts of potential problems associated with the downloading of sexually explicit material including the possible criminalisation of Internet users who download extreme violent pornography, which the BBFC refuses to classify. Online material rated R18 by the BBFC will comply with the same guidelines and laws as apply to R18 videos and DVDs sold in licensed sex shops. Companies like Strictly Broadband that sign up to the BBFC.online scheme are sending a clear message to their potential customers that they are acting responsibly to ensure that their product is properly labelled and subject to effective gate-keeping measures. ”

Jerry Barnett, MD of Strictly Broadband, the first VOD provider to sign up for the scheme, added: “As the UK market leader in Internet-streamed adult entertainment, we’re pleased to be founder members of the BBFC.online scheme. It has been difficult in the past for legitimate companies to sell adult video on the Internet, as the law is far from clear in this area. We welcome the clarification that the new scheme will bring to the business, which will allow the further development of a strong and legal British adult entertainment industry, and give British consumers the ability to decide whether they are buying legal material or not.”

Membership of the scheme, which is platform-neutral in that it covers all forms of digital content delivery including set top boxes and mobile phones, is voluntary and subject to an annual subscription of £900.

For further information visit www.bbfc.co.uk

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