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Notice to Distributors/Retailers of Japanese Anime
November 9, 2005
Within the past few months, the Saskatchewan Film Classification Board (the "Board") has received two complaints alleging that retailers are renting/selling unclassified Japanese Anime, a practice in contravention of The Film and Video Classification Act (the "Act") and related regulations. One of the complaints also contained an allegation of copyright infringement. Note that while the Board has the authority to address classification issues, copyright matters are beyond the Board's jurisdiction and should be directed to the R.C.M.P.
A classification compliance audit has been conducted of the outlets cited in the complaints. The audit has revealed that while there is substantial compliance with the legislation, there are a number of Japanese Anime titles that have not been classified by a classification body recognized by the Act. Accordingly, these titles do not have an appropriate classification symbol affixed to them. Many of the non-compliant titles have a numeric age rating applied by the producer/wholesale distributor. While this classification program, initiated by the Japanese Anime industry, provides some consumer direction respecting age suitability, it does not meet the requirements of the current Act and regulations.
In order to address the compliance issue, retailers may opt to voluntarily remove non-compliant titles from their inventory. Alternatively, retailers may apply to the Board for a classification exemption for Japanese Anime titles. If there is significant interest in this approach, the Board will consider a general exemption for Japanese Anime. The Board has the authority to grant an exemption subject to any restrictions that it considers appropriate. Additional information about classification requirements and the exemption process is contained in the Act and regulations.
The Board, in conjunction with other Film Classification Boards, will be approaching Japanese Anime producers/distributors to advise them of provincial classification requirements and to encourage them to adopt the more comprehensive Canadian Film and Home Video Rating Program. If adopted, this would ensure that retailers receive compliant Japanese Anime products directly from their suppliers.
The Board will be conducting random compliance audits to ensure that legislative requirements in this area are being met. The Board will consider enforcement proceedings against retailers who offer non-compliant Japanese Anime titles for sale or rent. Note that any person who contravenes the Act or regulations is guilty of an offence and is liable to a fine of up to $2000.00 with a further fine of $100.00 for every day the offence continues.
If you have any questions about this notice, please do not hesitate to contact Eric Greene, Chairperson of the Saskatchewan Film Classification Board at 1-877-880-5550 (toll free) or (306) 787-2952 or by Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.