The Video Recordings Act 2010 is an important piece of UK legislation important for businesses selling video works online.
Criminal penalties can be imposed for supplying video works which fail to meet classification and labeling requirements.
The Video Recordings Act 1984 makes provision for regulating the distribution of video recordings.
The Video Recordings Act 1984 was introduced in order to regulate the classification by certificate and the labeling of video works that are supplied in the course of or in furtherance of a business or video works that are supplied for reward, save those that are concerned with sport, religion or music or those that can properly be described as being designed to inform, educate or instruct.
The Video Recordings (labelling) Regulations 2010, which are made under section 8 of the Video Recordings Act 1984, provide for the type and content of classification certificates and for the positioning and clarity of the required labels and markings. The categories of classification are as follows:
- Uc - universal particulary suitable for young children.
- u - universal suitable for all.
- pg - parental guidance general viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children.
- 12 - suitable only for persons of 12 years and older. Not to be supplied to any person below that age.
- 15 - suitable only for persons of 15 years and older. Not to be supplied to any person below that age.
- 18 - suitable only for persons of 18 years and older. Not to be supplied to any person below that age.
- Restricted 18 - to be supplied only in licensed sex shops to persons of not less than 18 years.
The 1984 Act creates a number of criminal offences:
- (a) section 9, supplying or offering to supply an unclassified video work.
- (b) section 10, possession of an unclassified video work for the purposes of supply.
- (c) section 11, supplying or offering to supply recordings of classified works in breach of the classification.
- (d) section 12, supplying or offering to supply a work otherwise than in a licensed sex shop.
- (e) section 13, supplying or offering to supply a video recording not complying with The Video Recordings (Labelling) Regulations 1985.
- (f) section 14, supplying or offering to supply a video recording containing a false indication as to classification.
Section 88 the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 makes sections 9 and 10 "either-way" offences with maximum penalties as follows:
A) on indictment - imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 year or an unlimited fine or both.
B) summarily - imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding £20,000 or both.
Sections 11,12 and 14 remain summary with either a maximum penalty of imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding level 5 (£5,000) or both.
Supervision and enforcement
- Department for Culture Media & Sport (DCMS)
- Crown Prosecution Service