Government plugs adult ratings loophole

The UK Government has closed a loophole in the 1984 Video Records Act, which meant retailers could not be prosecuted for selling adult movies and video games to children.

The blunder was caused because a draft of the bill’s provisions had not been sent to the European Commission. This meant the act was ‘unenforceable’ in court.

However, The Video Recordings Bill has now been passed, which once again give courts the power to prosecute those who sell material inappropriately.

This is a short Bill designed to repeal and revise the provisions of the Video Recordings Act 1984, including the offences under the Act,” said under-secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport Sin Simon

The offences were made unenforceable because of a failure to notify the offences and other provisions of the 1984 Act in draft to the European Commission in accordance with the technical standards directive.

Until the Video Recordings Act is repealed and revived, no new prosecutions can be made under the Act. This means that publishers of video games and DVDs can distribute their goods free of classification requirements, and retailers can sell or supply adult material, including explicit pornography.”

The Bill does not introduce any new provisions or offences into the 1984 Act; it simply restores a system of classification that has been in operation for the last 25 years, which has worked to stop the circulation of the worst kind of video material.

It is a system that is well understood and liked by a clear majority of the public and the industry. The Bill is essential to ensure proper protection of the public from the inappropriate supply of violent and sexual video material by making the offences under the 1984 Act enforceable again.

"The boxed market is still huge and will be so for a considerable period of time, and that is why it is so important that we use this procedure to close the loophole so that we protect the public in general, but particularly children, from the irresponsible retailing of unsuitable and inappropriate material."

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