The Court of Appeal has held that British Film Classification to protect children against information and materials injurious to their wellbeing is justified and does not infringe European Law. The case relates to unclassified DVDs imported from Poland and sold in a shop in Luton town centre.
The importer, Play Media Distribution Ltd, claimed that the requirement to submit DVDs for British Film Classification was an unlawful infringement of the principle of free movement of goods across the European Union. The DVDs were lawful to sell in Poland and the court accepted they were not ‘video nasties, pornographic or otherwise undesirable’.
The importer also claimed that British Film Classification was an unlawful infringement of their right to freedom of expression.
The outcome of the case means that retailers must make sure that they check that DVDs and videos on sale in their shops have a classification symbol from the British Board of Film Classification. It is a criminal offence to display any that do not, and it is also illegal to supply a classified video work to a person who has not attained the age of classification.
Tony Allen, Managing Director of Under Age Sales Ltd, comments: “The protection of children from exposure to harmful images lies at the heart of the British Film Classification system. As young people develop their moral compass, the 12, 15 and 18 age ratings provide important benchmarks for suitability of films in our society. This will differ from country to country and culture to culture – an important point recognised by the Court of Appeal.”
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) applies a classification to all films, DVD’s and materials distributed in the UK.
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