Read the government’s laughable ‘big brother’ response to the Campaign to Reform the VRA’s letter!

 

Below ‘Big Brother’ ends up saying: “The BBFC classification is a guarantee that DVDs will not contain anything illegal.  It would be impossible to ensure that that were the case were films not classified; we believe that the public has a right to that guarantee”.    In that case shouldn’t the government have the right to classify all books, magazines, CDs, and so on in order to guarantee that they “will not contain anything illegal”. And I presume they mean by that anything covered by the current laws of libel, obscenity, incitement and so on? The BBFC is not staffed by judges. They are not qualified to judge whether anything is illegal or not! Their function is simply to protect minors from unsuitable material. They even freely admit that they do not make cuts in 18 films – if it’s porn they’ll rate it “R18” – as this would contravene Europen Human Rights legislation on freedom of speech. Hence there would be no difference between an ’18’ and an ‘unrated-18’. In both cases any question of the legality of the content is nothing to do with the BBFC, only the judiciary. Reading a reply like what follows really does make my flesh creep!   
Oh yes, you might be interested to know that the VRA is actually policed by Trading Standards who, outside of whether it’s a pirate DVD or not, are in no position to judge the legality of the content. In fact my own researches have shown that by the way in which many Trading Standards officers interpret the Video Recordings Act the BBFC routinely oversteps the mark by suggesting that they have to classify all content on a DVD. I myself queried the BBFC on what they would do about classifying any text files, such as a copy of the script, included in a collection of DVD extras. Their reply was that they were sure that they could come up with a way of doing that – and presumably charging for it as well!                                                             
 

 17 November 2009
 
 
Our Ref: 127522
 
Dear Mr Williams
 
Thank you and your co-signatories for your email of 3 November to Sion Simon, about the Video Recordings Act 1984. I have been asked to reply to you.
 
As you are aware it has recently come to light that certain provisions of the Video Recordings Act 1984 (VRA) and the labelling Regulations made under it should have been notified to the European Commission in accordance with the Technical Standards Directive (83/189/EEC). We have now notified the necessary provisions and the Regulations made under it and therefore we will be in a position to rectify this problem as soon as possible.  
 
The Government has no plans to include an amendment to allow the sale of ‘unrated’ films to 18+ adults, or to make any amendments. Our focus is on re-enacting the Bill, and the swiftest way to do that is not to make any amendments. Possible amendments must be properly considered and consulted on and the timetable on this Bill does not allow for this. In any event, the Government would not support an amendment that meant that some films were unrated. The BBFC classification is a guarantee that DVDs will not contain anything illegal.  It would be impossible to ensure that that were the case were films not classified; we believe that the public has a right to that guarantee.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
 
Gemma Hersh
Public Engagement and Recognition Unit

 

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One Response to “Read the government’s laughable ‘big brother’ response to the Campaign to Reform the VRA’s letter!”

  1. VRA Cloned…Government sees DVD censorship as public service to ensure legality « Melon Farmers Blog Says:

    […] to Jonathan Based on article from […]

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