Should North America have a uniform rating system for motion pictures and home videos



  • Across the world, most nations have a consistent home video rating. In North America, it's inconsistent. In the US, home videos either have a "not rated" rating, a rating based off the TV Parental Guidelines ratings (this is especially true for anime DVDs because of how people interpret animation as), or (in the case of movies shown at theaters) have an MPAA rating. In Canada (with the exception of Quebec, as classification is handled by the Régie Du Cinéma), it's a little more consistent because it has the Canadian Home Video Rating System (CHVRS), but its enforcement is wildly variable, with the only enforcement happening in the Maritimes and Manitoba provinces (not to mention, not all home videos released in North America have a CHVRS rating), and the ratings process is bureaucratic due to it classification being left to the provincial authorities (to determine the final ratings: all of the ratings from the provinces are added together and divided, leading to unique cases like this:

    ! a film receives five 14As and three 18As, the numerical values would be 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, and 4 (the Maritimes count as three provinces, and Saskatchewan is counted separately from British Columbia) which gives an average of 3.4, which would equate to a 14A Canadian Home Video Rating).

    There is (as of now) only one uniform rating system that covers both the US, Canada, and even Mexico (in the case of DVDs, it would have to be made regions 1+4 since Mexico uses region 4 as opposed to the US & Canda's region 1, though all three have the same blu-ray region): the ESRB, which rates video games for nations that adopt it. If there can be a uniform rating system for video games in North America, why not for motion pictures and home videos. I suggest that there should be the same for motion pictures, home videos, and even television, something like this:

    The North American Video Ratings Board (NAVRB ) will act as a uniform rating system for motion pictures, home video and television, replacing the MPAA for motion picture classification in the US, and the MPA Canada and CHVRS for motion picture and home video classification in Canada, respectively. Like the ESRB (it video-game counterpart), it is a self-regulatory organization and enforces industry-adopted advertising guidelines for motion pictures and home videos in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Although use of the NAVRB ratings system is not enforced by federal law in North America (with the exception of the Refused Classification rating), it will effectively be a de facto standard rating system for motion pictures and home videos like the ESRB. On television, the TV Parental Guidelines and Canadian TV Classification System will use categories and logos derived from the North American Video Ratings Board, replacing the previous content ratings on the two systems.

    ! Here are the ratings:
    ! NOTE: All programs can air on cable & satellite TV unrestricted unless noted otherwise.
    ! * A/0+ (color-coded green): Suitable for all ages. (replaces: TV-G, TV-Y, TV-Y7, TV-Y7-FV, TV-PG (low end) (TV Parental Guidelines); G, PG (low end) (MPAA); G, C, C8, PG (low end) (Canadian TV Classification System); G, PG (low end) (MPA Canada and CHVRS))

    • B/12+ (color-coded blue): Suggested for persons 12 and older. (replaces: TV-PG, TV-14 (low end) (TV Parental Guidelines); PG, 14+ (low end) (MPAA); PG, PG-13 (low end) (Canadian TV Classification System); PG, 14A (low end) (MPA Canada and CHVRS))
    • C/15+ (color-coded yellow): Suggested for persons 15 and older. (replaces: TV-14, TV-MA (low end) (TV Parental Guidelines); PG-13, R (low end) (MPAA); 14+, 18+ (low end) (Canadian TV Classification System); 14A, 18A (low end) (MPA Canada and CHVRS))
    • D/16+ (color-coded orange): Suitable for persons 17 and older. Persons under 17 must be accompanied by an adult. On broadcast televisoin, programs bearing this rating can only air in the watershed hours as defined by the FCC and CRTC in the US and Canada, respectively. A person may be asked to show proof of their age before viewing, renting, or purchasing a D/17+-rated program. (replaces: TV-MA (TV Parental Guidelines); R (MPAA); 18+ (Canadian TV Classification System); 18A (MPA Canada and CHVRS))
    • Z/18+ (color-coded red): Restricted to persons 18 and older. No view, rental or purchase by persons under 18. Programs bearing this rating cannot be aired on broadcast television and can only air in the watershed hours as defined by the FCC and CRTC in the US and Canada, respectively, on cable & satellite television. On premium television (i.e. channels like HBO, Starz and Showtime), programs bearing this rating can air at any time. A person may be asked to show proof of their age before viewing, renting, or purchasing a Z/18+-rated program. (replaces: TV-MA (high end) (TV Parental Guidelines); NC-17 (MPAA); 18+ (high end) (Canadian TV Classification System); R (MPA Canada and CHVRS))
    • X/X18+ (color-coded purple): For adults only. Not suitable for persons under 18. Programs bearing this rating can only air on premium television. (used exclusively for pornography)
    • E (color-coded white): Exempt from classification. Only very specific types of material (including educational material and artistic performances) can be exempt from classification, and the material cannot contain anything that exceeds the constraints of the A rating. The assessment of exemption may be made by the distributor or exhibitor (self-assessed) without needing to submit the product for certification by the Ratings Board. Self-assessed exempt films cannot use the official marking, although it is advised that films that are self-assessed as exempt display, "This film/computer game is exempt from classification by the NAVRB".
    • RC (color-coded black): Banned from being sold, viewed, or advertised publicly in the United States in Canada and cannot be aired on television. Films bearing this rating can only be sold in licensed stores and cannot be screened in any cinema nor be supplied by mail order. It is a federal offense to publicly sell, view or advertise programming bearing this rating, with the punishment of fines and/or up to 5 years in Federal Prison. Videos are rated RC if they contains any of the following (as shown below).
      ** The sexual exploitation of children.
      ** Extreme violence, torture and/or cruelty
      ** Bestiality
      ** Coprophilia
      ** Urophilia
      ** Necrophilia

    ! Here are the specific content types:

    • Drugs (D)
    • Violence (V)
    • Horror (H)
    • Controversial Subject Matter (C)
    • Sex (S)
    • Language (L)

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