British Board of Film Classification

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DVD/Blu-ray packaging

Under section 13 of the Video Recordings Act 1984 it is an offence to supply or offer to supply a video recording not complying with the Video Recordings (labelling) regulations 2012.

When do I need to submit my packaging?

The Video Packaging Review Committee (VPRC) is a voluntary scheme of self-regulation by the industry which regulates the sleeve of DVDs/Blu-rays. The VPRC’s objective is to set and maintain standards of taste and decency while preserving the right of the company to advertise the product and the right of the viewer to be made aware of its content

A distributor submitting for the first time is automatically entered into the scheme but they may choose to withdraw from it at any time. Video works submitted by members of the scheme are not classified until packaging for that work has been approved by the VPRC, or we have received notification in writing of your wish to opt out of the scheme. Approved packaging carries the VPRC logo.

Customers wishing to opt out of the VPRC scheme should email helpline@bbfc.co.uk.

How do I submit?

In order to submit packaging please make an entry on our extranet service.  

If you do not have an account you may request one here.

What can/can't I submit?

Packaging submissions can be uploaded directly to us during your online submission. The artwork should be actual size when set to 100% and should be submitted in PDF format. Please note as of October 2012 we can no longer accept hard copy proofs or sleeves.

How much does it cost?

Details of fees are available here.

Is there anything else I need to consider?

It is essential that the packaging has been designed in accordance with the Video Recordings (Labelling) Regulations 2012. We offer some further information here but recommend you obtain your own legal advice regarding these Regulations.

It is not necessary to submit packaging for VPRC approval where the key art, key text and display of classification symbols and statements required by the labelling regulations remains unchanged from a previously approved version, provided the following course of action is followed:

The rights holder of a work will need to ascertain from their records that packaging has previously been approved and email helpline@bbfc.co.uk to this effect. If we do not receive such notification via email, we will assume that the work is still pending packaging approval and no final certificate will be issued.

If the final category of the DVD/Blu-ray is not yet known then the most likely category should be represented and then changed once the work is classified.

To obtain appropriate symbols and templates from the BBFC, please also contact us.

All enquiries should be sent to helpline@bbfc.co.uk.

VPRC general guidelines

Legality

Packaging must conform to the requirements of the law, including the Video Recordings (Labelling) Regulations 2012, and should not encourage illegal activity.

Decency

Questions of taste and decency are those of propriety, or respect for what might be generally held to be appropriate in a given situation. In the case of video packaging, the Committee will have regard to the fact that it will be seen in shops, public places to which children have access. Packaging likely to cause serious or widespread offence is unlikely to be approved. Some allowance will be given according to genre, classification category and appeal.

Honesty

Packaging must not exploit the credulity, lack of knowledge or inexperience of consumers e.g. by leading the consumer to expect a product which is very different to the one being offered.

Truthfulness

Packaging must not mislead through inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or otherwise. For example, a film may not be advertised as ‘uncut’ if in fact it is not. Certain licence is extended to copy where it is clear that the facts are being comically distorted and no misunderstanding could therefore exist.

Safety

Packaging must not condone or encourage unsafe practices.

Anti-social Behaviour

Packaging must not condone or provoke violence or anti-social behaviour.

With these broad definitions in mind there follows a list of specific areas which should either be avoided (especially in works aimed at children) or treated with caution:-

Areas to avoid or to treat with care

Sexual violence and threats of sexual violence

  • Juxtaposition of nudity and violence
  • Strong and realistic threats to defenceless victims
  • Torture
  • Excessive gore
  • Details of strong violence
  • Excessive blood – especially on real, contemporary weapons
  • Glamorisationof real, contemporary weapons
  • Overt sexual activity – including clear suggestion of genital/anal sex
  • Vulgar nudity
  • Strong sexual references
  • Text that promises brutality, torture, sexual violence, or humiliation
  • This is not an exhaustive list.

The VPRC will take into account the fact that each item of packaging is a separate entity and therefore has a separate context. Some allowance will be given according to the genre, classification category and appeal of the work.

The overall impression of a video sleeve is also important and the following factors should be borne in mind -

  • Size of image
  • Number of times an image is repeated
  • Combination of images
  • Combination of images and text

Appeals procedure

The VPRC is willing to consider appeals against its decisions. Requests for appeal should be addressed to helpline@bbfc.co.uk.

 

 

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