Appendix 4. Glossary of Key Terms


Meaning in this Report

Adult content

Media content that has been classified R 18+ or X 18+ or, if classified, would be likely to be classified R 18+ or X 18+. These classifications are for content that is not suitable for those under 18 years of age.

Application service provider

An internet intermediary that facilitates access to content by indexing, filtering or formatting content, but is not itself a content platform. An example is a search engine, such as Google.

Authorised industry classifier

Industry-based classifiers who have completed training approved by the Regulator and are authorised by the Regulator to classify media content.

Call-in notice

A notice issued to a content provider requiring that it submit content to the Classification Board for classification. The Classification Act currently provides for such notices, and similar notices are recommended under the new Classification of Media Content Act.


The outright banning of media content on moral or other grounds. Content currently classified ‘RC’, or classified ‘Prohibited’ under the new scheme, is effectively banned.

Classifiable elements

Key elements of media content that are considered in making classification decisions. For example, under the current Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games there are six classifiable elements: themes; violence; sex; coarse language; drug use; and nudity.


The process of assessing media content against criteria and guidelines, and assigning the content to a category, such as ‘G’ or ‘M’. Content is classified for the purpose of providing information to consumers, restricting persons of a certain age from access to some content, and to prohibit certain content.

Classification of Media Content Act

The Act recommended in this Report to establish the new National Classification Scheme.

Classification Act

Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (Cth)

Classification categories

These are the categories assigned to media content as an outcome of the classification process. Currently different categories exist for different types of media content. The categories recommended in this Report for all media content are: G (General); PG (Parental Guidance); M (Mature); MA 15+ (Mature Audience); R 18+ (Restricted); X 18+ (Restricted); and Prohibited.

Classification cooperative scheme

The existing Commonwealth, state and territory cooperative scheme for the classification of publications, films and computer games.

Classification instrument

A classification tool, such as a dynamic online questionnaire and declaration that generates automated classification decisions. These tools generally rely on content providers submitting information in response to questions about the nature and substance of the media content. Classification tools are intended to reflect classification criteria used by classifiers.

Classification markings

A symbol representing the classification given to a piece of media content, such as the letter ‘G’ in a triangle on a green background.

Classified content

Media content that has been classified through an authorised process.

Classification criteria

The term used by the ALRC broadly to describe the current principles, criteria, guidelines and other matters that must be applied or taken into account in making classification decisions. The ALRC recommends one set of ‘statutory classification criteria’ which refers to the criteria that should be applied and the matters that should be taken into account by classifiers making classification decisions under the new classification scheme.


A member of the Classification Board or a person who has been authorised to classify media content by the Regulator.

Classify notice

A notice from the Regulator to a content provider that requires the content provider to classify their content, using either the Classification Board or an authorised industry classifier.

Commercial content provider

A content provider that provides content on a commercial basis, whether through payment for content or associated advertising, or other revenue-raising measures.

Consumer advice

Information that accompanies a classification decision that provides more detail on which classifiable elements (for example violence, sex, coarse language, themes, drug use and/or nudity) led to the classification, to assist consumers to make more informed choices about media content.

Content platform

An entity that provides third party content on the internet through its website. An example is the YouTube platform.

Content provider

An individual or organisation that sells, screens, provides online, or otherwise distributes content to the Australian public.


The process through which digitisation of media content, and common standards, technologies and platforms for content delivery, are blurring traditional distinctions between media types, and elements of the supply chain for content generation, aggregation and distribution.


The process of providing for an equivalent Australian classification by reference to a decision made under another classification system, as authorised by the Regulator under the new Classification of Media Content Act.

Enforcement legislation

State and territory enforcement legislation under the classification cooperative scheme that prohibits the sale, distribution and advertising of unclassified material; and restricts the sale, distribution and advertising of classified material.

Exempt content

Content that is exempt from laws requiring content to be classified. This includes news and current affairs programs, sporting events, recordings of live performances, and business and educational computer games.

Host provider

An entity that hosts websites on a computer server, connecting with the internet and providing storage capacities.

Industry classification codes

Codes dealing with classification-related matters developed by sections of industry and approved by the Regulator under the Classification of Media Content Act.

Internet access provider

An entity that provides services that enable users to access the internet—for example, by connecting the user to the internet via a telecommunications link or otherwise making websites accessible. Includes Telstra, Optus, iiNet, Internode and other providers of internet access.

Internet intermediary

An entity that provides services that enable online content to be provided to the public and includes content platforms, application service providers, host providers and internet access providers.

Legislative instrument

Laws, regulations, rules or guidelines made by a person or body authorised to do so by an Act of the Parliament. Such instruments have the force of law but may be disallowable —that is, subject to Parliamentary scrutiny under the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 (Cth).

Media content

Content that is delivered through media delivery technologies, including print, broadcast, cinema, digital and online platforms, and is intended for an audience, rather than being interpersonal communication.

Media content industry

Industries including film, print, broadcasting, computer games, internet and other industries engaged in producing and distributing media content. This is often, but not exclusively, an activity undertaken on a commercial basis.

Modified content

Content that has had additional elements added or elements removed since it was first classified. Examples include the inclusion of extra items when films or television programs are released as DVDs, and ‘expansion packs’ available with computer games. It may also refer to content released in more than one format (eg, 2D and 3D films) or content that has had elements removed when distributed on other platforms (eg, feature films modified for screening on television in order to meet classification guidelines).

National Classification Code

The Classification Act provides for a National Classification Code (the Code). Classification decisions made under the Act must be made in accordance with the criteria set out in the Code and give effect, as far as possible, to the principles outlined in the Code.

National Classification Scheme

The ALRC uses the term to describe the existing classification cooperative scheme for publications, films and computer games, together with related classification laws applying to online and mobile content and television under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth). Also used to refer to the scheme based on the recommended Classification of Media Content Act.

Offline content

A generic term for media content that is not accessed through the internet.

Online content provider

An entity that provides content made available online through its own website or through an internet intermediary and includes content platforms that control how content is uploaded, generated or displayed.

Prohibited content

Under the recommended Classification of Media Content Act, the ‘Refused Classification’ category of content—across all media platforms both offline and online—would be named ‘Prohibited’. Note that the Broadcasting Services Act schs 5 and 7 currently use ‘prohibited content’ to refer to online content classified RC or X 18+, or classified R 18+ or MA 15+ where not subject to a restricted access system.

Refused Classification (RC)

The highest classification that can be given to media content in Australia at present. Access to such content is restricted by way of prohibitions on sale and distribution; prohibitions on import and export; and prohibitions on publication online.


The Australian Government agency responsible for regulating the classification of media content under the recommended Classification of Media Content Act.

Restrict access

To take measures to prevent persons of a certain age from accessing content. Measures may include seeking to verify the age of customers in retail outlets and facilitating the use of parental locks and internet filters.

Unclassified content

Content that has not been classified under Australian law.