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Age ratings for online UK music videos are here to stay

Nick Summers, @nisummers
August 18, 2015
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After a six-month trial, the UK government has successfully persuaded record labels, YouTube and Vevo to display age ratings on music videos. Under the new system, labels will pass their work onto the BBFC before sending the final rating onto YouTube and Vevo. The video will then list the classification in its description and, in YouTube's case, be restricted to adult viewers if it's been given an 18. Vevo says it's looking at a similar system that would link ratings to age controls on its site, but we're still waiting on the details.

Sony, Universal and Warner Music are all lending their support, so today the UK government has turned its attention to indie labels. The Department for Culture, Media & Sports is announcing a "six-month pilot phase" today for these smaller companies, but we'll have to wait and see if there's take up. If you're curious to see the ratings in action, check out Couple of Stacks by Dizzee Rascal on YouTube -- of the 132 videos submitted so far to the BBFC, it's the only one to receive an 18 rating. If you're signed out or have a Google account with an earlier date of birth, you should encounter the warning screen above. Of course, such a system should be easy to thwart, but at least adults, labels and video providers have a first line of defence now when it comes to keeping children safe online.

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