The FPB published the Draft Online Regulation Policy on 4 March 2015 for public comment. With the increase in the use of portable devices for gaming and social networking, and the rise of high-speed broadband internet, more content is accessible to all of us. The downside is that illegal and harmful content is more easily available than ever. This content can be especially harmful to children and that is why this policy is proposed. Industry players have expressed that the current legislation lacks clarity in relation to how the distributor or the FPB will classify digital content and online media. The main problem they identify is that the regulatory responses to changes in technologies, markets and consumer behaviour were slow or disjointed, and this could cause uncertainty for all involved, including consumers.
The Draft Online Regulation Policy on has major implications for:
- Anyone who distributors content (like Google or Apple),
- Anyone who creates content for a commercial basis (like online and gaming distributors, film distributors, or even someone who has their own blog), and
- Internet users of the content.
Distributors might need to take a much more active role in monitoring and removing content. Creators may need to register with the FPB and their content might need to be rated. Online users might have limited access to content – less content. The consequences of failing to comply are a file or up to six months in jail.
Some Key Parts of the Online Regulation Policy
- A single legislative regime that creates obligations to classify content across all media platforms
- Clarity on the types of content to be classified (including self-generated content like uploaded images and videos)
- Oversight and guidance from the Film and Publication Board
- Co-regulation between the industry and the FPB (content may be classified by online distributors using the FPB classification guidelines and the Act, but subject to FPB’s oversight and review)
The purpose of the online regulation policy is to ensure that anything dealing with classification focuses on the media content rather than the platforms or delivery technologies.
How we can help
- Help you to work out the practical impact on you by writing opinions on the Online Regulation Policy.
- Help you participate in the public comment by preparing a response. Public comment on the latest draft policy is open until 2 June 2015 (for 90 days from the date of publication in the Government Gazette, and by no later than 16h00 on the last day).