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Digital Economy Act 2010

Topic 9: Video recordings

Schedule 1: Classification of video games etc – supplementary provision

194.Schedule 1 makes further amendments of the 1984 Act.

195.Section 4 of the 1984 Act makes provision about the arrangements to be made by the designated authority. Sections 4(1)(b)(i) and (ii) and 7 are to be amended to clarify that the arrangements may include provision for the revocation of classification certificates.

196.A new subsection (1C) is inserted into section 4 so that arrangements made under this section may require a person seeking a classification certificate for a video work to agree to comply with a code of practice, such as the PEGI(12) code of practice. That code includes provision relating to the labelling of video recordings.

197.A new subsection (3A) is inserted into section 4 to ensure that, prior to making any designation under section 4, the Secretary of State must satisfy himself that adequate arrangements will be made for taking account of public opinion in the United Kingdom. This means that the designated authority must have an effective system to gauge public opinion and take account of it.

198.Section 4(5) currently requires the Secretary of State to approve tariffs for fees to be charged by the designated authority in connection with the classification of video works. The Act amends this so that the designated authority simply has to consult the Secretary of State about the fees that it proposes to charge.

199.A new subsection (6A) is inserted into section 4 to ensure that the designated authority complies with any guidance issued by the Secretary of State relating to arrangements made under that section. For example, the Secretary of State may provide guidance on administrative matters such as how records of classification certificates are to be kept and how appeal arrangements may be set up. New subsection (6B) makes it clear that the Secretary of State’s guidance is not to extend to the criteria to be taken into account in making individual classification decisions. Section 4A of the 1984 Act sets out the criteria to which special regard is to be given by the designated authority when making such decisions.

200.New section 7A of the 1984 Act provides that classification certificates may be issued so as to have effect only for the purposes of a particular video recording. This enables video works to be classified by reference to the recording in which they are to be published. For example, a video game may be classified for the purposes only of its supply for use on a particular platform, such as Nintendo or Xbox. Section 7A(2) provides that, in such a case, the classification certificate can only be relied on for the supply of the video work for use on that platform and not for its supply more generally.

201.The offences set out in the 1984 Act at sections 11 (supplying a video recording of classified work in breach of classification), 13 (supplying a video recording not complying with requirements as to labels, etc) and 14 (supplying a video recording containing false information as to classification) are amended to provide that an offence is not committed where the video work concerned is an exempted work or the defendant believed on reasonable grounds that the video work was an exempted work. For example, the defendant might believe, on reasonable grounds, that a video game has not been classified because it is suitable for viewing by persons aged under 12, having regard to the criteria set out in new section 2A(2)(a) to (h).

202.The offences under the 1984 Act relate to the supply, or possession for the purpose of supply, of a video recording that contains a video work. Section 22(2) of the 1984 Act provides that a video recording contains a video work if it contains information by means of which all or part of the video work can be produced. There is an exception to this: if a video work contains an extract of another video work (for example, a film that includes an extract from another film), the extract is not part of the work of which it is an extract but a part of the video work which contains the extract; and hence the video recording contains that video work including the extract. An increasing variety of video recordings are available, some of which contain a mixture of films and video games. New subsection (2A) of section 22 provides a power for the Secretary of State to make provision about the circumstances in which a video recording does or does not contain a video work for the purposes of the 1984 Act. This allows provision to be made to take account of new formats, such as where a video game contains a whole film within it or a film contains a game within it.

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