Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Careful out there

As if New Zealand's censorship regime weren't confusing enough, here's another fun risk for you.

Suppose that you're putting together an art installation that includes clips from age-restricted movies. The films you used were all R18, so you restrict entry to those aged 18 and up. You're all fine, right?

Well, maybe not.

The Classification Office put up a handy offence guide recently. I'd missed Section 132 before. Their plain-English interpretation reads:
"It is an offence to exhibit only part of a non-objectionable or restricted publication if that part would be objectionable in itself when taken out of context."
So if the artistic merits of a film counterbalanced the raunchy bits and that's what allowed the film to get an R18 rating instead of being deemed Objectionable, and your exhibit focused on the raunchy bits, you could be subject to penalties under Sections 123, 124, 127 or 129. But you can't tell, because you have no way of knowing whether the Office would deem the excerpts to be objectionable when taken as excepts, unless you thought to get your exhibit classified. Maybe the exhibit as a whole had sufficient artistic merit that they'd then say it's ok, maybe it wouldn't.

Also, you can put up whatever poster you like supporting some concert, subject to the risk that the Office might deem it objectionable. But if you put up a poster advertising a movie and that poster hasn't been approved, you can get a $2000 fine.

And remember too that you can get a $3000 fine for playing an age restricted video game with your child if your child is under the age limit, even if you're unaware that the game is age-restricted.

I am not a lawyer. Hopefully you won't need one. Careful out there.

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