Video Recordings Act 1984
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The British Board of Film Classification, which had been instrumental in the certification of motion pictures since 1912 the British Board of Film Censors, was designated as the classifying authority in 1985. Works are classified under an age-rated system, (see motion picture rating systems) and as such, it is an offence to supply video works to individuals who are (or appear to be) under the age of the classification designated.
Sport, music, religious, and educational works are exempt from classification under the Act. Exemption may be forfeited if the work depicts excessive human sexual activity or acts of force or restraint associated with such activity, mutilation or torture of humans or animals, human genital organs or urinary or excretory functions, or techniques likely to be useful in the perpetration of criminal acts or illicit activity.
The Act was accompanied by the Video Recordings (Labelling) Act 1985, which set out regulations governing the display of certificates awarded by the BBFC on published recordings.
The act was amended in the Video Recordings Act 1993 but underwent no significant changes. It was amended again in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 to deal with the growing issue of "video violence". In addition, the amendment extended the definition of a video recording to any device capable of storing electronic data, which invariably includes works available on DVD as well as CD and CD-ROM, although the amendment exempts video games. The labelling regulations were amended in 1985.