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Blunder opens way for sale of banned DVDs

25 August 2009

An administrative error dating back to 1984 means that retailers who sell violent video games and 18-rated DVDs to children cannot be prosecuted.

The Thatcher Government at the time failed to notify the European Commission about the classification and labelling requirements in the Video Recordings Act 1984 (VRA), which set down that videos and video games must be classified and age rated by the British Board of Film Classification.

The Act has since been amended more than once, but the error only came to light during work on the Digital Britain project, the final report from which was published in June this year.

Culture Media and Sport Minister Barbara Follett has written to the industry bodies to inform them the Act is "no longer enforceable".

In her letter, she said: "Unfortunately, the discovery of this omission means that, a quarter of a century later, the VRA is no longer enforceable against individuals in United Kingdom courts."

Mrs Follett said the Government hoped to remedy the "unfortunate situation" as quickly as possible.

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