8.1 This chapter deals with laws that attach to content that must be classified—laws that prescribe how such content should be marked, packaged and advertised, and laws relating to when and where this content may be screened. Content that the ALRC recommends should be required to be classified is discussed in Chapter 6, and includes feature films, television programs, and computer games likely to be MA 15+ or higher.

8.2 In this chapter, the ALRC recommends that the Classification of Media Content Act (the new Act) should provide that for content that must be classified, content providers must display a classification marking. This marking should generally be shown, for example, before broadcasting the content, on packaging, on websites and programs from which the content may be streamed or downloaded, and on advertising for the content. The ALRC suggests that the detail concerning precisely when and how such markings should appear should be provided for in industry codes approved by the Regulator.

8.3 This chapter also discusses when classified content is changed such that it should be reclassified, or given new consumer advice. The ALRC recommends a more flexible modifications policy, which should reduce the need for the same content to be classified twice. However, the ALRC also suggests laws that will ensure content is not sold in packages with classification markings or consumer advice that is not appropriate for the content.

8.4 The ALRC also considers the phasing out of time-zone restrictions imposed on commercial broadcasting services, in the context of the digital switchover and as parental locks become used more widely.

8.5 In the ALRC’s model, advertisements for content that must be classified would be treated in much the same way as advertisements for other products, services and media content. This means that they would be subject to the existing voluntary advertising codes, with complaints being handled by the Advertising Standards Board. However, these codes should be amended to provide that, in determining the suitability of an advertisement, consideration should be given to the classification or likely classification of the content that is being advertised.

8.6 The chapter concludes by considering whether some media content displayed in public, such as higher-level outdoor advertising, should be prohibited.