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Trade Screenings

Under section 7 of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993, an unlabelled film may be screened for business purposes only, providing that all of the following criteria are met:

  • The film is screened by the maker, owner or distributor, or their authorised agent; and
  • The film is screened to people either from the film industry, or closely associated with it; and
  • The screening is carried out in accordance with normal trade practices before the maker, owner or distributor has applied for the issue of a label.

Exemptions from labelling under Section 8 of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993

All videos and DVDs made available for supply to the public must be labelled in accordance with section 6 of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993. This means that all films that are offered for supply to the New Zealand public must be either examined by the Classification Office, or rated by the Film and Video Labelling Body.

However, under section 8 of the Act there are exceptions to this requirement. Videos and DVDs that fulfil criteria laid out in section 8 are exempt from labelling requirements. The exemption does not apply if there is anything in the video or DVD that might be classified restricted or objectionable.

The law places the onus of the decision as to whether a video or DVD is exempt on the person or company supplying it to the public. If there were any enforcement action taken over the publication the distributor must defend the decision to treat it as exempt and supply it without a label. Neither the Office, nor the Film and Video Labelling Body can issue an exemption.

If there is any doubt, the video or DVD should be sent to the Film and Video Labelling Body. This is the organisation that rates most unrestricted films and videos and issues labels for all films and videos. They will be able to provide further information on the process for submitting a publication for labelling. They will also forward the publication to the Office of Film and Literature Classification if classification is required.

Video games

Although subsection (q) states that video games are exempt, many games have content that is likely to be restricted. For this reason, all games classified MA15+ in Australia, or any other game likely to be restricted, must be submitted for classification in New Zealand.

Sporting films

Although it appears under subsection (h) that sporting films are exempted from labelling, if a film shows other behaviour which is likely to be restricted, it must be submitted to the Labelling Body. For example, skateboarding videos sometimes show drug and alcohol use and wrestling videos are frequently more violent than is appropriate for a general audience.

Educational films

Educational films must be related to the curriculum of pre-school, primary, secondary or tertiary educational institutions. Any other educational film must come under another of the exemption criteria if it is to be exempt.

For further information on exemptions contact the Information Unit.



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