The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has issued a letter to the video industry stating that the Video Recordings Act 1984 (Act) is not currently enforceable.
Under the Act, certain videos, DVDs and video games must be classified and age rated by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) before release in the UK. It is a criminal offence under the Act to supply these works without a classification certificate. The letter from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport states that, in 1984, the government failed to notify the European Commission of the existence of the then new Act as required by the Technical Standards and Regulations Directive (83/189/EEC). The Directive established a standstill period of 3 months during which Member States had to notify draft legislation subject to the Directive to the Commission before it could take effect. The failure to do this means that the classification and labelling requirements of the Act are not enforceable in the UK until the situation is rectified. This means that retailers may, for now, legally sell what should be age restricted videos, DVDs and video games to anyone, including children.