The key statutory obligations

Who must comply

1. The classification obligation: To classify and mark the following content:

  •  feature films;
  •  television programs; and
  •  computer games likely to be MA 15+ or higher.

However, this content must only be classified if it is both:

  • made and distributed on a commercial basis; and
  • likely to have a significant Australian audience.

Content providers, such as film and computer game distributors, broadcasters, cinemas, retailers, and online content platforms.

This obligation only applies to commercial content.

For some, complying will mean not distributing content unless someone else (eg, a distributor) has had it classified.

2. The restrict access obligation: To take reasonable steps to restrict access to ‘adult content’—ie, content that has been, or is likely to be, classified R 18+ or X 18+.

These reasonable steps will vary, depending on the content and the content provider. For some, it might mean trying to verify the age of customers. For others, it might mean promoting parental locks and internet filters.

This obligation does not require content providers to classify their content.

Content providers (see above), and particularly retailers, publishers and distributors of adult films and magazines, and online content platforms that provide adult content.

This obligation applies to both commercial and non-commercial content, but more would be expected of commercial content providers.

3. The Prohibited content obligation: Not to distribute Prohibited content—ie, content that has been, or is likely to be, classified Prohibited.

This will involve identifying, or taking reasonable steps to identify, Prohibited content, and responding to notices from the Regulator.

Content providers (see above), and internet intermediaries, such as application service providers, host providers and internet access providers.