Weekly News



Rated Adults Only with Caution...

Indian MP introduces bill to reduce the censorship powers of the CBFC

Link Here 14th August 2018
In an effort to safeguard artistic freedom in India, Congress MP, Shashi Tharoor, introduce d the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2018 to reduce the pre-censorship powers of the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC).

Tharoor commented that the CBFC should be a certification body and not a moral policing body. He wrote on social media:

I introduced my Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2018, to remove the outdated provisions which hamper the free flow of free speech, especially artistic freedom. The protection of artistic freedom is essential for the development of our culture and our democracy.

It's [The CBFC's]  censorship powers (& the Govt's power to revise its decisions as to whether a film should be screened or not) reflect a regressive and paternalistic outlook which is out of date in the 21st century. The existing guidelines for certification are broad and vague, allowing the CBFC to pass absurd orders such as muting individual words of dialogue, like the term 'cow' in a documentary on Amartya Sen. My Bill introduces comprehensive guidelines for gradation in film certification. My Bill also removes the discretionary powers of the State to ban films. The State should only resort to the power of suspension of films as the last resort in order to maintain public order. We should not be held hostage by vigilante groups & self-appointed 'moral police'.

The bill seeks to completely remove the State's power to ban a film, which he says should be considered as a last resort. During the time of Padmaavat's release, states claimed that Section 6 of the Cinematograph Act empowers them to stop the release of any film that risks public order.

Amongst the key changes are additional film certificates:

  • U -- film suitable for all persons, regardless of age, and is often family friendly;

  • U/A 12+ -- film suitable for persons above twelve years of age or for a person under the age of twelve with parental guidance;

  • U/A 15+ -- film suitable for persons (adolescents) above fifteen years or for a person under the age of fifteen with parental guidance

  • A -- film suitable for public exhibition, but restricted to adults;

  • C (A with Caution) -- film restricted for adults with the specific purpose of cautioning them that it has more than a reasonable amount of content such as violence, sex, nudity, drugs and other related contents;

  • S -- film restricted to viewership by members of a profession or any class of persons, having regard to the nature, content and theme of the film

Detailed guidelines are included in the bill for each category, here are the rules foa an adults only A rating:

  1. Discrimination -- While there may be discriminatory themes and languages in the film, the film as a whole shall not endorse or glorify discriminatory language or behavour ;

  2. Psychotropic Substances, Liquor, Smoking, Tobacco -- Imbibing of these elements may be shows, but the work as a whole shall not promote or encourage misuse of the same. The misuse of easily accessible and highly dangerous substances (for example, aerosols or solvents) is not acceptable;

  3. Imitable behaviour -- Dangerous behaviour (for example, committing suicide or inflicting self-harm) shall not be shown in detail that could be copied by others . Context, realism and setting shall determine the acceptability of depiction of easily accessible weapons;

  4. Language -- Very strong language, including abuse and vulgar words is permitted;

  5. Nudity --There may be nudity, even in a sexual context, but without explicit detail ;

  6. Sex-- Sexual activity may be portrayed but without strong detail . References to sexual behaviour is permitted, but very strong reference can only be justified in context . Works whose primary purpose is sexual arousal or stimulation is not acceptable;

  7. Fear, Threat & Horror--There may be strong threat and horror. A sustained focus on sadistic or sexual threat is not acceptable;

  8. Violence--Strong violence is permitted, but explicit gory images are not acceptable . Strong sadistic violence is not acceptable, there may be detailed verbal references to sexual violence but the depiction of sexual violence must be discreet and justified by context.

The proposal is introduced with plenty of fancy words about the CBFC being classifiers not censors, but the bill includes plenty of reasons to continue censoring and banning films anyway:

Films under this [top A with Caution] category shall not qualify for certification in the event of the following--

( 1 ) Where the material is in breach of criminal law, or has been created though the commission of a criminal offence;

( 2 ) Where material or treatment appears to the Board to risk harm to individuals;

For example, the detailed portrayal of violent or dangerous acts, or of illegal use of psychotropic substances, which may cause of public harm or morals. Other examples may include portrayals of sadistic or sexual violence that make this violence looking appealing; reinforce the suggestion that victims enjoy sexual violence; or films that invite viewer complicity in sexual violence or other harmful violent activities;

( 3 ) Where the work is pornographic in nature and or compromises explicit sexual activity or dialogue that is non-contextual in nature. However, any sexually explicit material for educational purposes shall be allowed;

( 4 ) Where the work involves sadistic or sexual violence with children;

( 5 ) Where the work, including its dialogues, are likely to encourage an interest in sexually abusive activity which may include adults role- playing as non-adults.



Shopping: Death Wish...

2017 USA action crime thriller by Eli Roth just released uncut on UK Blu-ray and DVD

Link Here 14th August 2018
Death Wish is a 2017 USA action crime thriller by Eli Roth.
Starring Bruce Willis, Vincent D'Onofrio and Elisabeth Shue. BBFC link IMDb
BBFC category cuts were required for a 15 rated cinema release in 2018. Uncut and MPAA R rated in the US. The UK home video will be uncut and 18 rated. The same version has been rated 15 by Ireland's IFCO.

UK: Passed 18 uncut for strong violence, scene of torture for:

  • 2018 Universal Pictures UK R0 Blu-ray at UK Amazon released on 6th August 2018
  • 2018 Universal Pictures UK R2 DVD at UK Amazon released on 6th August 2018

Ireland: Passed 15 uncut

Thanks to Ben who spotted that the same DVD and Blu-ray release shared with the UK has been rated 15 uncut by IFCO. The running time tallies with the uncut version and IFCO comments passed 15 uncut for Strong violence, threat and gory injury. See rating from ifco.ie. Update: The UK release is 18 rated and the Irish 15 rating has been dropped from the cover, maybe it was considered confusing to have both an 18 and 15 rating.
UK Censorship History
BBFC category cuts were required for a 15 rated cinema release in 2018. Uncut and MPAA R rated in the US. The UK home video will be uncut and has been rated 15 by Ireland's IFCO.

Promotional Material

Bruce Willis stars in Director Eli Roth's reimagining of the 1974 revenge thriller Death Wish. Dr. Paul Kersey (Willis) is a surgeon who only sees the aftermath of his city's violence as it's rushed into his ER -- until his wife (Elisabeth Shue) and college-age daughter (Camila Morrone) are viciously attacked in their suburban home. With the police overloaded with crimes, Paul, burning for revenge, hunts for his family's assailants to deliver justice. As the anonymous slayings of criminals grab the media's attention, the city wonders if this deadly avenger is a guardian angel...or a grim reaper.

Fury and fate collide in the intense action-thriller Death Wish.



Shopping: Flesh and Blood...

1985 Spain/USA/Netherlands adventure drama by Paul Verhoeven, once cut by the BBFC, just released on UK Blu-ray/DVD Combo

Link Here 13th August 2018
Flesh+Blood is a 1985 Spain/USA/Netherlands adventure drama by Paul Verhoeven.
With Rutger Hauer, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tom Burlinson. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

UK: Previously passed 18 uncut for strong violence and sexual violence :

  • 2018 Eureka Entertainment Ltd RB Blu-ray/R2 DVD Combo at UK Amazon released on 6th August 2018


  • See review from cine-vue.com : " Paul Verhoeven's first English language film Flesh + Blood is bloody, cynical and unrefined, but indicative of his later satirical tendencies "
Censorship History
Cut by the BBFC for 1986 cinema and VHS releases. Cuts waived for the 2005 DVD. In the US there is a cut R rated version and an uncut Unrated version.

Promotional Material

A deliriously violent medieval epic from genre master Paul Verhoeven ( Robocop, Total Recall ), Flesh + Blood sees a savage and amoral band of mercenaries take revenge on the noblemen who betrayed them.

In Western Europe, 1501, a small army of mercenaries led by the charismatic and mercurial Martin ( Rutger Hauer ; Blade Runner, The Hitcher ) reclaim a heavily fortified castle for its owner Arnolfini, who then betrays the band and ejects them from the city by force. Swearing revenge, Martin leads a violent assault on the nobleman and ends up accidentally kidnapping the beautiful Agnes ( Jennifer Jason Leigh The Hateful Eight ), the fiancée of Arnolfini s son Steven, who in turn pledges to wipe out the mercenary group once and for all.

With its vision of a brutal and morally bereft Medieval Europe, the film shocked audiences who had become used to the highly romanticised depictions of the era commonly seen on the big screen. Originally censored in the UK due to its extreme amounts of sex and violence, Eureka Classics is proud to present Flesh + Blood fully uncut , and on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK in a special Dual Format edition.

  • Limited Edition O-Card slipcase (first print run only)
  • 1080p presentation of the film on Blu-ray, with a progressive encode on the DVD.
  • Uncompressed LPCM audio (on the Blu-ray)
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
  • Audio commentary by director Paul Verhoeven
  • Paul Verhoeven in the Flesh (21 mins)
  • An extensive interview with director Paul Verhoeven from 2016, covering the entirety of his career up until that point (45 mins)
  • Audio interview with actor Rutger Hauer (24 mins)
  • Interview with screenwriter Gerard Soeteman (17 mins)
  • Interview with composer Basil Poledoris
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • A collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film (first pressing only)



Shopping: Andrei Rublev...

1966 Soviet Union biography by Andrei Tarkovsky set for US Blu-ray and DVD release on 25th September 2018 with 2 versions. A UK release has been cancelled due to BBFC cuts being required for a horse fall

Link Here 12th August 2018
Andrei Rublev is a 1966 Soviet Union historical biography by Andrei Tarkovsky (as Andrey Tarkovskiy).
Starring Anatoliy Solonitsyn, Ivan Lapikov and Nikolay Grinko. BBFC link IMDb
Cut by the BBFC for AA rated 1973 short UK cinema version. Otherwise there are two versions: a short director approved version and a longer Premiere Version.

The Director Approved Version does not contain the scene with the horse fall and so is uncut in the UK The BBFC seem to be in a bit of quandary about the level of violence giving it both 12 and 15 ratings as well as describing the level of violence as both "moderate" and "strong".

The same package was scheduled to be released in the UK too but the distributors withdrew the release when it was made known that the Premiere Version would require BBFC cuts for a horse fall.

US: Uncut and MPAA Unrated for:
  • 2018 Sony/Criterion [Premiere Version + Director Approved Cut] R0 Blu-ray at US Amazon released on 25th September 2018
  • 2018 Sony/Criterion [Premiere Version + Director Approved Cut] R0 DVD at US Amazon released on 25th September 2018

Promotional Material

Tracing the life of a renowned icon painter, the second feature by Andrei Tarkovsky vividly conjures the murky world of medieval Russia. This dreamlike and remarkably tactile film follows Andrei Rublev as he passes through a series of poetically linked scenes--snow falls inside an unfinished church, naked pagans stream through a thicket during a torchlit ritual, a boy oversees the clearing away of muddy earth for the forging of a gigantic bell--gradually emerging as a man struggling mightily to preserve his creative and religious integrity. Appearing here in the director's preferred 185-minute cut as well as the version that was originally suppressed by Soviet authorities, the masterwork Andrei Rublev is one of Tarkovsky's most revered films, an arresting meditation on art, faith, and endurance.


  • New 2K digital restoration of the director's preferred 185-minute cut, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • New 2K digital transfer of the original 205-minute version of the film,
  • The Passion According to Andrei
  • Steamroller and Violin, Tarkovsky's 1961 student thesis film
  • The Three Andreis, a 1966 documentary about the writing of the film's script
  • On the Set of "Andrei Rublev," a 1966 documentary about the making of the film
  • New interviews with actor Nikolai Burlyaev and cinematographer Vadim Yusov by filmmakers SeŠn Martin and Louise Milne
  • New interview with film scholar Robert Bird
  • Selected-scene commentary from 1998 featuring film scholar Vlada Petric
  • New video essay by filmmaker Daniel Raim
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by critic J. Hoberman


BBFC uncut
MPAA Unrated ~205:00s US: Uncut and MPAA Unrated
BBFC uncut
Director Approved Version
MPAA Unrated ~185:00s US: Uncut and MPAA Unrated



Shopping: Love, Simon...

2018 USA gay drama by Greg Berlanti, withdrawn in India, just released on UK DVD

Link Here 12th August 2018
Love, Simon is a 2018 USA gay drama by Greg Berlanti.
Starring Katherine Langford, Nick Robinson and Jennifer Garner. BBFC link IMDb

UK: Passed 12 uncut for moderate sex references, infrequent strong language for:

  • 2018 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment R2 DVD at UK Amazon released on 6th August 2018
  • 2018 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment VoD [UK only] at UK Amazon


  • Love, Simon [Audio Description] Passed 12 for moderate sex references, infrequent strong language

India Censorship

The film was set for screening in India but was pulled at the last minute for reasons unknown. The film had been passed by Indian censors at the CBFC with an adults only 'A' rating after 2 cuts.
Summary Notes

Everyone deserves a great love story. But for Simon it's complicated: no-one knows he's gay and he doesn't know who the anonymous classmate is that he's fallen for online. Resolving both issues proves hilarious, scary and life-changing.

Additional Material:
  • Love, Simon [Additional Material, Audio Commentary With Greg Berlanti, Isaac Klausner and Isaac Aptaker]
  • Love, Simon - the Adaptation [Additional Material]
  • Love, Simon - the Squad [Additional Material]
  • Love, Simon - Deleted Scenes: Gay Bar [Additional Material]
  • Love, Simon - Deleted Scenes: Lying To Abby [Additional Material]
  • Love, Simon - Dear Atlanta [Additional Material]
  • Love, Simon - Dear Georgia [Additional Material]
  • Love, Simon - Moving Menus [Additional Material, Menu]



A Northern Soul...

Hull documentary maker rails at the BBFC for its 15 for strong language after the film was rated 12A by Hull Council

Link Here 12th August 2018
The man behind a new film about Hull's year as the UK City of Culture has hit out at censors after they gave it it 15 rating.

A Northern Soul is Hull-born award-winning documentary filmmaker Sean McAllister's take on 2017. It follows struggling factory worker Steve Arnott's dream of bringing hip-hop and rap to the city's estates in a youth project involving a converted bus.

The film was given a 12A rating by licensing councillors in Hull ahead of a recent series of initial screenings at the University of Hull and Vue cinema.

But now the BBFC has decided it should have a 15 rating for strong language.

While the documentary does feature regular use of the F-word, McAllister said swearing was what ordinary people in Hull did and claimed the decision was an attack on working-class people. On Twitter, he said:

It's a film about a working-class bloke helping kids with rap music find a better life.

McAllister commented: It's funny the swearing in The King's Speech is a lot worse, including the C-word, but that gets a 12A. He also compared the decision to the swearing on many of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey's TV shows.

More screenings will be held on three evenings next week at Vue as well as later in the month. In response to the BBFC decision, Mr McAllister said all next week's screenings would be free to children under 15 and over 12ish.

[The censorship of strong language in films is one of the silliest aspects of film censorship. Surely young teams will be well versed in strong language, and they will have heard it all before. Surely it will make no difference if they hear the same at the cinema.

But to be fair to the film censors, strong language is one of the things that parents, maybe especially middle class parents, ask for the censors to cut or restrict.

Should the film BBFC consider the actual effect of young teens hearing strong language on screen, or should they follow the wishes of the parents?].



Shopping: Ready Player One...

2018 USA action Sci-Fi adventure by Steven Spielberg, cut in the US for trivial nudity, just released on UK Blu-ray

Link Here 11th August 2018
Ready Player One is a 2018 USA action Sci-Fi adventure by Steven Spielberg.
Starring Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke and Hannah John-Kamen. BBFC link IMDb

UK: Cut 2D and 3D versions passed 12 uncut for moderate violence, horror, infrequent strong language for:

  • 2018 Warner Bros R0 4k Blu-ray at UK Amazon released on 6th August 2018
  • 2018 Warner Bros Steelbook 3D + 2D (R0) Blu-ray at UK Amazon released on 6th August 2018
  • 2018 Warner Bros 3D + 2D (R0) Blu-ray at UK Amazon released on 6th August 2018
  • 2018 Warner Bros (R0) Blu-ray at UK Amazon released on 6th August 2018
  • 2018 Warner Bros R2 DVD at UK Amazon released on 6th August 2018

US Censorship History

Cut in the US prior to release to remove innocuous nudity.

On first submission the film was MPAA PG-13 rated for sequences of sci-fi action violence, bloody images, some suggestive material, nudity and language. The producers made cuts to reduce the 'nudity' to 'partial nudity'.

Summary Notes

Film centers on a young outcast named Wade Watts. In the near future, Watts escapes from his daily drudgery by logging onto an MMO game called 'The Oasis'. When the game's billionaire founder dies, he offers players his fortune as the prize in an easter egg hunt within The Oasis. Watts gets in on the action then after five years finds himself facing off against corporate foes who will go to any lengths to get the money -- in both the real world and in The Oasis.

Additional Material:
  • Ready Player One - Level Up: Sound For the Future [Additional Material]
  • Ready Player One - Ernie & Tye's Excellent Adventure [Additional Material]



Symbolic changes at the USK...

German games censor will no longer ban those Nazi images that are excluded from a wider German law for historical or artistic reasons

Link Here 11th August 2018
Full story: Games Censorship in Germany...German politicians target video games
The next Wolfenstein game might not even need to remove Adolf Hitler's moustache. Germany's Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body (or USK), an independent, industry-funded board that oversees age and content ratings for videos games available in the country, announced on Thursday that it will now permit the sale of games featuring Nazi imagery within the country, something that had previously been banned. The USK's decision reportedly came after a heated debate involving the Nazi-killing Wolfenstein series , particularly a pair of anti--Third Reich games in 2014 and 2017 that were visibly, and somewhat humorously , self-censored in Germany in order to avoid violating a provision of the country's constitution.

Previously, video games with Nazi symbolism were heavily censored or outright banned based on the German criminal code's Section 86a , which forbids the use of symbols, flags, insignia, uniforms, slogans, propaganda, and greetings relating to unconstitutional organizations in German products. Section 86a violations could be met with up to three years of imprisonment or a hefty fine.

USK will now assess games on a case-by-case basis to determine if they meet a reinterpreted standard of the country's social adequacy clause that allows for Nazi imagery if it serves one of the following purposes: artistic, scientific, or if it depicts current or historical events. This metric is currently used for films screened in Germany because they are considered works of art.



Commented: Conspiracy theory comes true...

US technology giants prove that they are biased against the right, and censor Alex Jones' Infowars

Link Here 11th August 2018

Even the streaming adult video site YouPorn has joined in with the internet co-conspirators banning Alex Jones' Infowars from their platforms. This follows widespread censorship from tech companies including Apple, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Spotify--but notably, not Twitter.

In a statement, YouPorn vice president Charlie Hughes said Following news that YouTube, Spotify and Facebook have banned Alex Jones from their platforms, team YouPorn is joining in solidarity and announces we are banning his content as well. As one of the largest user-generated content platforms in the world, we have already removed his videos that have violated our terms of service.

Alex Jones is noted for a major role in propagating some of the most well known conspiracy theories in recent years, including Pizzagate and the debunked claim that vaccines cause autism. His support of theories that the Sandy Hook and Parkland shootings were faked.

Yesterday, YouTube removed Alex Jones' channel , which had 2.4 million subscribers, for violating its community guidelines, after issuing it a strike last month . On the same day, Apple removed Alex Jones' podcasts from iTunes , following similar actions from Spotify and Stitcher, and Facebook removed four Infowars pages for violating its policies against graphic violence and hate speech. Pinterest also took down Infowars' profile following an inquiry from Mashable.

Of course the stupidity of the censorship is that surely not many people take Alex Jones very seriously, its just entertainment. In censoring something that they do not like, they have surely done more harm than good by revealing that big tech marches to the tune of the PC left and is now part of the problem of an unfair and unjust establishment. The technology companies have  simply added to the fractious nature of the modern world.


Offsite Comment: Alex Jones and the rise of corporate censorship

11th August 2018. See  article from spiked-online.com

The banning of Infowars is an alarming act of capitalist intolerance.



Shopping: The Equalizer...

The BBFC has just confirmed that the recent UK 4k Blu-ray release is uncut

Link Here 9th August 2018
The Equalizer is a 2014 USA action crime thriller by Antoine Fuqua.
Starring Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas and ChloŽ Grace Moretz. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

UK: Passed 18 uncut for strong bloody violence for:

  • 2018 Sony Pictures R0 4k Blu-ray at UK Amazon released on 30th July 2018

The BBFC refer to this as an Extended Version. It is in fact only extended in that the UK cuts are restored and hence extended compared with the cut version.

It is possible that the standard Blu-ray version in the combo will be the cut UK version.

UK Censorship History

BBFC advised category cuts were required for a 15 rated 2014 cinema and DVD + Blu-ray releases. The 2018 UK 4k Blu-ray is uncut and 18 rated. Uncut and MPAA R rated in the US.

See the BBFC cuts details in Cutting Edge Episode 24: Gavin Salkeld investigates cuts for a BBFC 15 rating

Promotional Material

Synopsis McCall (Denzel Washington) has put his mysterious past behind him and is dedicated to living a new, quiet life. But when he meets Teri (Chloe Grace Moretz), a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can't stand idly by. Armed with hidden skills that allow him to serve vengeance against anyone who would brutalize the helpless, McCall comes out of his self-imposed retirement and finds his desire for justice reawakened. If someone has a problem; if the odds are stacked against them; if they have nowhere else to turn: McCall will help. He is The Equalizer.

Special Features

Special features are presented in SD or HD resolution.

4K ULTRA HD DISC SPECIAL FEATURES* *Some of the information listed here may not apply to Special Features on the Blu-ray Disc ALL NEW - 5 Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scenes featuring McCall's Epilogue teasing THE EQUALIZER 2 A Villain's Psychosis featurette Boston: On Location featurette A Modern Hero featurette Joining Forces Again: Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua featurette Playing the Part: The Cast of The Equalizer featurette The Home Mart Advantage: The Action of The Equalizer featurette

BLU-RAY DISC SPECIAL FEATURES Vengeance Mode with Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua 6 Featurettes Photo Gallery


BBFC uncut
18 ~132:00s UK: Passed 18 uncut for strong bloody violence for:
  • 2018 Sony Pictures R0 4k Blu-ray at UK Amazon released on 30th July 2018

The BBFC refer to this as an Extended Version. It is in fact only extended in that the UK cuts are restored and hence extended compared with the cut version.

It is possible that the standard Blu-ray version in the combo will be the cut UK version.



Shopping: Predator Trilogy...

US action film set just released on UK Blu-ray/DVD Combo with a history of censor cuts

Link Here 8th August 2018
Predator is a 1987 US action film by John McTiernan.
With Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers and Kevin Peter Hall. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb
Originally passed 18 uncut by the BBFC but a heavily cut German version was distributed 2001-2003 with an 18 rating. Downgraded to an uncut 15 in 2013. Uncut and MPAA R rated in the US.
Predator 2 is a 1990 USA action Sci-Fi horror by Stephen Hopkins.
Starring Danny Glover, Gary Busey and Kevin Peter Hall. BBFC link IMDb
The film was originally cut in the US for an MPAA R rating. The cuts have persisted to all releases since and is the best available. The film suffered category cuts in Australia for an M rating, but was passed uncut at R18+ and later MA15+.

See Gavin Salkeld's Cutting Edge Episode 38: Predator 2

Predators is a 2010 USA action Sci-Fi adventure by Nimrůd Antal.
Starring Adrien Brody, Laurence Fishburne and Topher Grace. IMDb
There are no censorship issues with this film.
UK: Aggregate 15 rated for:
  • 2018 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment RB 4k Blu-ray/RB Blu-ray Combo at UK Amazon released on 6th August 2018


BBFC uncut

mpaa cut

BBFC uncut




  UK: Passed 18 uncut



Howe gets animated by anime...

Elspeth Howe reveals more of the internal government debate that is delaying the BBFC internet porn censorship guidelines

Link Here 8th August 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor
Elspeth Howe, a member of the House of Lords, has written an article in the Telegraph outlining her case that the remit for the BBFC to censor internet porn sites should be widened to include a wider range of material that she does not like.

This seems to tally with other recent news that the CPS is reconsidering its views on what pornographic content should be banned from publication in Britain.

Surely these debates are related to the detailed guidelines to be used by the BBFC when either banning porn sites, or else requiring them to implement strict age verification for users. It probably explains why the Telegraph recently reported that the publication of the final guidelines has been delayed until at least the autumn.

Categories of Porn

For clarity the categories of porn being discussed are as follows:

  Current   Proposed
offline online   offline online
Softcore 18 BBFC uncut BBFC uncut BBFC uncut BBFC uncut
Hardcore R18  BBFC uncut BBFC uncut BBFC uncut BBFC uncut
Beyond R18
(proposal by CPS)
banned BBFC uncut BBFC uncut BBFC uncut
Cartoon Porn
(proposal by Howe))
banned BBFC uncut banned banned
Extreme porn banned banned banned banned
Child porn banned banned banned banned
  • Softcore porn rated 18 under BBFC guidelines

    - Will be allowed subject to strict age verification
  • Vanilla hardcore porn rated R18 under current BBFC guidelines

    - Will be allowed subject to strict age verification
  • Beyond R18 hardcore porn that includes material historically banned by the CPS claiming obscenity, ie fisting, golden showers, BDSM, female ejaculation, and famously from a recent anti censorship campaign, face sitting/breath play. Such material is currently cut from R18s.

    - Such content will be allowed under the current Digital Economy Act for online porn sites
    - This category is currently banned for offline sales in the UK, but the CPS has just opened a public consultation on its proposal to legalise such content, as long as it is consensual. Presumably this is related to the government's overarching policy: What's illegal offline, is illegal online.
  • Extreme Porn as banned from possession in the UK under the Dangerous Pictures Act. This content covers, bestiality, necrophilia, realistic violence likely to result in serious injury, realistic rape

    - This content is illegal to possess in the UK and any websites with such content will be banned by the BBFC regardless of age verification implementation
  • Cartoon Porn depicting under 18s

    - This content is banned from possession in the UK but will be allowed online subject to age verification requirements
  • Photographic child porn

    This is already totally illegal in the UK on all media. Any foreign websites featuring such content are probably already being blocked by ISPs using lists maintained by the IWF. The BBFC will ban anything it spots that may have slipped through the net.

'What's illegal offline, is illegal online'

Elspeth Howe writes:

I very much welcome part three of the Digital Economy Act 2017 which requires robust age verification checks to protect children from accessing pornography. The Government deserves congratulations for bringing forward this seminal provision, due to come into effect later this year.

The Government's achievement, however, has been sadly undermined by amendments that it introduced in the House of Lords, about which there has been precious little public debate. I very much hope that polling that I am placing in the public domain today will facilitate a rethink.

When the Digital Economy Bill was introduced in the Lords, it proposed that legal pornography should be placed behind robust age verification checks. Not surprisingly, no accommodation for either adults or children was made for illegal pornography, which encompasses violent pornography and child sex abuse images.

As the Bill passed through the Lords, however, pressure was put on the Government to allow adults to access violent pornography, after going through age-verification checks, which in other contexts it would be illegal to supply. In the end the Government bowed to this pressure and introduced amendments so that only one category of illegal pornography will not be accessible by adults.

[When  Howe mentions violent pornography she is talking about the Beyond R18 category, not the Extreme Porn category, which will be the one category mentioned that will not be accessible to adults].

The trouble with the idea of banning Beyond R18 pornography is that Britain is out of step with the rest of the world. This category includes content that is ubiquitous in most of the major porn websites in the world. Banning so much content would be simply be impractical. So rather than banning all foreign porn, the government opted to remove the prohibition of Beyond R18 porn from the original bill.

Another category that has not hitherto come to attention is the category of cartoon porn that depicts under 18s. The original law that bans possession of this content seemed most concerned about material that was near photographic, and indeed may have been processed from real photos. However the law is of most relevance in practical terms when it covers comedic Simpsons style porn, or else Japanese anime often featuring youthful, but vaguely drawn cartoon characters in sexual scenes.

Again there would be problems of practicality of banning foreign websites from carry such content. All the major tube sites seems to have a section devoted to Hentai anime porn which edges into the category.

In July 2017, Howe introduced a bill that would put Beyond R18 and Cartoon Porn back into the list of prohibited material in the Digital Economy Act. The bill is titled the Digital Economy Act 2017 (Amendment) (Definition of Extreme Pornography) Bill and is still open, but further consideration in Parliament has stalled, presumably as the Government itself is currently addressing these issues.

The bill adds in to the list of prohibitions any content that has been refused a BBFC certificate or would be refused a certificate if it were to be submitted. This would catch both the Beyond Porn and Cartoon Porn categories.

The government is very keen on its policy mantra: What's illegal offline, is illegal online and it seems to have addressed the issue of Beyond 18 material being illegal offline but legal online. The government is proposing to relax its own obscenity rules so that Beyond R18 material will be legalised, (with the proviso that the porn is consensual). The CPS has published a public consultation with this proposal, and it should be ready for implementation after the consultation closes on 17th October 2018.

Interestingly Howe seems to have dropped the call to ban Beyond R18 material in her latest piece, so presumably she has accepted that Beyond R18 material will soon be classifiable by the BBFC, and so not an issue for her bill.

Still to be Addressed

That still leaves the category of Cartoon Porn to be addressed. The current Digital Economy Act renders it illegal offline, but legal online. Perhaps the Government has given Howe the nod to rationalise the situation by making banning the likes of Hentai. Hence Howe is initiating a bit of propaganda to support her bill.  She writes:

The polling that I am putting in the public domain specifically addresses the non-photographic child sex abuse images and is particularly interesting because it gauges the views of MPs whose detailed consideration of the Bill came before the controversial Lords amendments were made.

According to the survey, which was conducted by ComRes on behalf of CARE, a massive 71% of MPs, rising to 76% of female MPs, stated that they did not believe it was right for the Digital Economy Act to make non-photographic child sex abuse images available online to adults after age verification checks. Only 5% of MPs disagreed.

There is an opportunity to address this as part of a review in the next 18 months, but things are too serious to wait .The Government should put matters right now by adopting my very short, but very important two-clause Digital Economy Act (Amendment) (Extreme Pornography) Bill which would restore the effect of the Government's initial prohibition of this material.

I -- along with 71 per cent of MPs -- urge the Government to take action to ensure that the UK's internet does not endorse the sexual exploitation of children.

I haven't heard of this issue being discussed before and I can't believe that anybody has much of an opinion on the matter. Presumably therefore, the survey presented out of the blue with the questions being worded in such a way as to get the required response. Not unusual, but surely it shows that someone is making an effort to generate an issue where one didn't exists before. Perhaps an indication that Howe's solution is what the authorities have decreed will happen.



Shopping: Pendulum...

1969 USA crime thriller by George Schaefer just released on US Blu-ray with a bit of a history of being cut

Link Here 7th August 2018
Pendulum is a 1969 USA crime thriller by George Schaefer.
Starring George Peppard, Jean Seberg and Richard Kiley. BBFC link IMDb

US: Re-rated R for some violence in 2018 for:

  • 2018 Sony Pictures Home Entertainment RA Blu-ray at US Amazon on 31st July 2018
  • 2018 Sony Pictures Home Entertainment VoD [US only] at US Amazon on 31st July 2018


The Amazon lists gives a running time of ~106:00s which may suggest a a longer version than has been released before.

UK Censorship History

BBFC cuts were required for an 'AA' rated cinema release in 1969. Rated 15 for 1986 VHS. In the US the film was re-rated R by the MPAA in 2018. 

Summary Notes

On the evening of his decoration for bringing a murderer to justice, Washington DC Police Captain Frank Matthews' wife, and her lover are murdered in bed. Jailed as the prime suspect, with the aforementioned murderer released on a technicality Matthews escapes in search of the man he believes to be the real killer.



The Festival...

Inbetweeners style comedy cut for a 15 rated cinema release

Link Here 7th August 2018
The Festival is a 2018 UK comedy by Iain Morris.
Starring Joe Thomas, Hammed Animashaun and Claudia O'Doherty. BBFC link IMDb

The film was passed 15 for strong sex references, crude humour, sex, drug misuse, very strong language after BBFC advised category pre-cuts for cinema release in 2018.

The BBFC commented:
  • This film was originally seen for advice. The company was advised the film was likely to be classified 18 but that their preferred 15 could be achieved by making reductions to three sequences of crude and sexual behaviour. When the film was submitted for formal classification acceptable reductions has been made the film was classified 15.

Summary Notes

When Nick's girlfriend dumps him at graduation, he has a colossal meltdown in front of the entire university. He's convinced his life is over, but his best mate Shane has the perfect solution: three days at an epic music festival. With the help of "festival aficionado" and certified oddball Amy, Shane tries to get Nick to embrace the music, the mayhem and the mud. From the creators of the Inbetweeners comes The Festival, a movie about friendship, growing up, and going mad in a field.


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