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Online music video ratings to be tested in October

By | Published on Tuesday 19 August 2014

David Cameron

That PM bloke you all love so much, David Cameron, yesterday confirmed that the BPI and the British Board Of Film Classification will begin their pilot scheme applying age ratings to online music videos on 1 Oct.

As previously reported, it was announced that the record industry trade group and film classifications board had been asked to design a system for rating online videos in January this year. It was also confirmed at the same time that the threshold at which physically released music videos are classified was to be lowered. New rules requiring DVD and Blu-ray releases to be submitted for classification, where previously most music releases would be exempt, will also come into force on 1 Oct.

In a speech yesterday detailing how the government is going to save families from certain doom, the Prime Minister said: “Helping families with children and parenting shouldn’t stop at childbirth. To take just one example – bringing up children in an internet age, you are endlessly worried about what they are going to find online. So we’ve taken a big stand on protecting our children online. We’re making family friendly filters the default setting for all new online customers, and we’re forcing existing customers to make an active choice about whether to install them”.

Moving onto the music video menace, he continued: “Today we’re going even further. From October, we’re going to help parents protect their children from some of the graphic content in online music videos by working with the British Board of Film Classification, Vevo and YouTube to pilot the age rating of these videos”.

Responding to the announcement, the BPI said in a statement: “The BPI agrees with government that, with so many more music videos now being released online through such sites as YouTube and Vevo, it is important this content is made available to the public in a responsible way, that is sensitive to the needs and concerns of younger viewers and their parents”.

The organisation’s statement continued: “The BPI and its members are therefore working with the British Board of Film Classification, digital service providers and with the support of government on a pilot scheme that will trial age ratings for music videos released online through the UK. Technical details are still being developed, but the scheme will see UK record labels voluntarily submit content likely to be rated 12 or above to the BBFC for classification into 12, 15 or 18 age categories. Labels will then include this data with a ‘parental advisory’ style alert in its feed to the digital service providers so that users, including parents, can make a more informed viewing decision”.

It added that the pilot is “expected to run for at least three months, followed by a period of evaluation to assess the voluntary scheme”. If successful, the next stage is to convince ISPs to implement more filters to allow customers to block videos with specific age ratings.

So that’s all very reassuring, given how successful the government-supported adult content filters have been at blocking anything but what they’re supposed to.