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Lo2 workbook

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BTEC ExtendedDiplomainCreativeMedia Production
Unit 7: Understanding the Creative
Media Sector
Learning outcome 2:
Underst...
BTEC ExtendedDiplomainCreativeMedia Production
Understand legal constraints in the creative media sector
Use this workbook...
BTEC ExtendedDiplomainCreativeMedia Production
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WmMhircZOc
This is a YouTube video depicti...
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Lo2 workbook

  1. 1. BTEC ExtendedDiplomainCreativeMedia Production Unit 7: Understanding the Creative Media Sector Learning outcome 2: Understand ethical and legal constraints within the media sector Name: Robbie Hickman
  2. 2. BTEC ExtendedDiplomainCreativeMedia Production Understand legal constraints in the creative media sector Use this workbook to help you with this learning outcome. There is some guidance and further notes which you should read and then remove, replacing it with your own answers. Are representations ever realistic? Media representations define the way different individuals or places are shown in certain types of media e.g. on TV. Representations should not be considered as realistic because they are simply a portrayal of someone or something in a particular manner that is not always a correct depiction. Representations tend to rely on the subject in relation to an audience and producers tend to portray groups of people to consumers who have little to no understanding of them whatsoever i.e. they do not know them therefore they might pay more attention to the way in which they are represented on-screen. For example, the teenage generation of today is represented in a negative way, most likely due to the fact that they are considered immature as well as the cause of many problems in society e.g. vandalism. Therefore, teenagers today are prejudiced against; this is shown by the fact that producers tend to make assumptions that aren’t based on their own experiences or reason, but on a generally small amount of reports or incidents that have occurred involving teenagers in the past. This supports the fact that representations in general are not realistic, mainly because they do not have a great deal of evidence to support them apart from solely negative elements as opposed to any positive aspects most of the time e.g. teenagers might be smart. What sort of things can influence the representations that we see? There are various things that can influence the representations we see. Such representations could include images of a certain location e.g. a nearby town or city, the characteristics of a gender e.g. females or the lifestyles and attitudes or teenagers. First of all, consumers tend to have their own ideas about representations based on past experiences of their own. For example, if a person was bullied as a teenager, that person is likely to have developed a negative view on teenagers in general. This could explain why teenagers are represented in a negative way in the media as causing problems in a society, etc. People might have also lived in a certain place e.g. the outskirts of London like Croydon which is a dangerous place and, based on their stressful experience in an area like that; they might assume the whole of London is exactly the same even though they have only lived in a certain region. London is a big city. People may have also absorbed a representation at a young age, or one that had a significant impact on the way they perceived the world around them, so that they assume the representation they saw is real and that any representation like that would be correct even if it was false or lacking in evidence. Consumers might also have opinions of their own on the world and their own fears could be confirmed; for example, how savage, careless or threatening teenagers can be by something they saw on the news e.g. a riot. Find an example of representation and explain what you are seeing:
  3. 3. BTEC ExtendedDiplomainCreativeMedia Production https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WmMhircZOc This is a YouTube video depicting the ‘city-wide spate of riots, looting and arson’ that occurred in London in Summer 2011. The video shows how the national crisis unfolded through use of footage of people engaging in criminal behaviour and police forces attempting to stop the chaos. It highlights the disbelief of people, as well as the anger and hatred against the police on a severe level. The video could be considered a negative impression on the city of London, as well as the entire nation. People living in other countries might assume Britain is a violent place just because of chaos in one city. This could also be a negative representation of the British in general, or the population of London. This is clearly a negative representation because all of the negative aspects e.g. people yelling profanities, cars and houses on fire, bottles being thrown etc. are shown throughout. Anything positive about London is left out in the video, and there is no mention of hope that things will return to normal in the city. The negative representation is created through use of certain forms of imagery e.g. burning cars, damaged shops and people throwing bottles at police. The video highlights the effects of the chaos, but it also implies that London is a dangerous place and this is not a good impression. The language the narrator uses throughout such as ‘midnight chaos’ and ‘increasingly dangerous’ could evoke emotion within those who are watching the video, and people are likely to believe that the whole of London is not a safe place to live and that the things appearing within the video are the norm. The representation might have been created in this way with the purpose of implying the fierce nature of the rioting and the severe effect the chaos had on areas of London, as well as to gain audience attention. However, the producers of the video have unintentionally created a negative impression on London and its people in the process. The producers may have also intended to give people an idea as to what the chaos would have been like. How many categories of word do Ofcom have? Explain each one. Office of Communications (OFCOM) has three different categories for words that could be considered offensive to many people in various ways e.g. people can react differently to different words in their own set of guidelines for TV programmes (which OFCOMregulates). Certain words are required to be shown at certain times of the day e.g. the watershed. The watershed begins at 9pm and ends at 5.30am. Category 1: At this category, TV programmes are generally unsuitable for children and may even be harmful to them. There is a transition to more adult material here e.g. sexual content, disturbing or graphic imagery or profanity; children are very likely to be distressed by all of these. Offensive language is allowed at this category, however the watershed does not mean frequent use of very strong language or strong gory images are allowed in TV programmes. Things like these are likely to be broadcast later in the evening, and any programme featuring the aforementioned material is not to be broadcast before 9pm. Category 2: There are strict rules regarding what can be shown on TV before the watershed. At this category, programmes can also feature offensive language which would make them unsuitable for broadcast before the watershed, although some programmes can still be shown before 9pm. There are exceptions; for example, the least offensive categories of word are allowed in programmes as long as they are justified by the context of the programme. Programmes rated as 15 must not be shown before the watershed, however programmes that are rated as 12A e.g. the Simpsons and Futurama can be shown. This
  4. 4. BTEC ExtendedDiplomainCreativeMedia Production category generally features programmes that can be considered as slightly offensive so that they offend a small amount of people e.g. those who are very sensitive to language, though they aren’t considered offensive enough to be shown after 9pm. To avoid this, offensive language must not be frequent. Category 3: Programmes at this category are pre-9pm, although restrictions do apply. Programmes featuring the most offensive profanities are allowed, however these must be edited or bleeped out, or even have the sound dipped completely. The speaker’s mouth may also be obscured as well, and any instances of nudity are required to be pixelated to obscure them also. In the most ‘exceptional circumstances’, profanity can be included in children’s programmes. A word like ‘bloody’ is allowed because it is inoffensive and unlikely to offend others e.g. children before 9pm. Why does Ofcom have this list of words? Do you think there should be restrictions on when certain words can be used? OFCOM possesses these three different categories of word because they have a purpose: to protect children or those who are sensitive to offensive language, violence etc. from material on TV and Radio that could be considered harmful and offensive towards them. This is the most important duty of OFCOM; to ensure programmes are suitable and that the public is not offended in any way. They may also have them because it allows people to identify what they deem suitable for their children or themselves to watch e.g. programmes before 9pm that are generally suitable for children. I agree that there should be restrictions regarding when certain uses of offensive language should be used. The presence of the watershed means that a certain group of people e.g. adults can view content that would be offensive towards children at a certain time rather than have their children accidently coming across material that would be harmful to them at an early time e.g. the morning or afternoon. In essence, TV is ‘safer’ in many ways. However, I disagree with the fact that the strongest terms e.g. the c-word should be broadcast later in the evening (hours after 9pm). It is obvious that programmes can be more offensive after 9pm in general and that people understand what kind of things they are likely to come across at that time. In my opinion, people should be careful after 9pm on TV programmes as any instance of profanity (as long as this is not frequent and is also justified) can be included after 9pm. Based on research I have undertaken, the c-word has the highest potential to cause widespread offence due to its severity, and religious exclamations like ‘Jesus Christ’ etc. could cause serious offence, especially if they are supplemented with the f-word. Based on this research, it is obvious that a wide range of people can be offended easily. This necessitates the presence of the watershed or the requirement to bleep out swear words to ensure the well-being of the millions of people who watch programs, and also to avoid criticism against companies like OFCOM. Therefore, it is important that we have these restrictions. Why does the NUJ produce language guidelines? The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) stands for the high journalistic standards of the NUJ code of conduct and aims to take a stand for ethical journalism. It is a trade union for journalists based in the United Kingdom and Ireland and it is quite large, having 38,000 members. The union has a democratic structure and it is also a decision-making body. The National Union of Journalists is a member of the International Federation of Journalists, a global union federation aiming to protect the rights and freedom of individuals, support
  5. 5. BTEC ExtendedDiplomainCreativeMedia Production human rights and solidarity, and end corruption and poverty. The NUJ is required to provide guidelines for many different types of news reporting. The reason for this is because journalists may imply, though unintentionally, that different groups of people e.g. those with a specific disability are negative in some way. For example, when discussing a wide range of issues they might refer to people with severe mental disorders and imply that they are criminals, when in actuality they are in need of help. They are not bad people. They may also refer to people with disability issues negatively e.g. deaf and dumb, in a wheelchair. The main aim of the International Federation of Journalists is to promote solidarity and protect the rights of individuals. As a member of this global organization, the NUJ are required to ensure these are fulfilled. To do so, they require that journalists be careful with how they describe others whilst discussing issues on TV. This helps to protect the rights of people. Should we protect groups of people by putting in place guidelines on how we talk about them? In my opinion, it is important that companies provide specific guidelines for journalists when it comes to talking about or referring to individuals and/or places. Many problems can arise if a group of people assume they are being referenced in a way that is unfair; or if they feel prejudiced against while watching a television programme. Companies will be required to deal with complaints from certain groups of people e.g. those with disabilities. The danger is that other people might watch a news report that implies the wrong things about immigrants (for example, through use of terms like illegal or criminals), and may be influenced and mislead to believe those things are true and that group of people is inadequate and do not have equal rights. This supports the fact that journalists must not describe people negatively, even if they do not intend to, because they would be doing this on live TV with millions of people watching. Representations can be influenced by the language journalists are using on news programmes. For example, if a journalist uses words like ‘developing’, ‘judgemental’, ‘reluctant’ or ‘clumsy’, a negative representation of teenagers would be created as this group is regarded as weaker than others e.g. adults. A false impression is created of teenagers being a nuisance, causing problems in society etc. and people may even agree with this, especially if they have experienced problems with teenagers themselves. Using certain forms of language e.g. emotive is wrong because people could interpret it in a way that would lead them to dislike certain groups of people. For example, using emotive language against immigrants can be very damaging and in my opinion, it is a way of attacking a group of people. This article is a good example of how people reference immigrants in a negative way. The headline: “British Towns Being Swamped by Immigrants” can be considered offensive because it implies that people all over the country are getting impatient and do not welcome people who are actually refugees fleeing across Europe because they want to escape the conflict in their own country. Although this won’t be entirely true (i.e. the British government does not think in this manner), the headlines of articles and news reports on TV suggest something that can offend a large group of people, even if they do not intend to.
  6. 6. BTEC ExtendedDiplomainCreativeMedia Production There are 3 ways in which a broadcaster can make it easier for people with a disability to access its programmes. What are they? BBC (British Broadcasting Company) sometimes repeats programmes at a certain time during the day; in these repeated programmes, OFCOMservices for consumers who have a certain disability e.g. deaf or hard or hearing or sight problems appear on-screen. These are: Subtitling: this is defined as text shown on-screen to represent speech and sound effects within a TV programme. The service would apply to those who have hearing impairments and speech and sound effects within programmes would not be audible to them. The text and sounds are usually synchronised as closely as possible to what appears on the screen, therefore ensuring people who are deaf or hard of hearing can enjoy a programme without expressing frustration at inaccuracy of the subtitles. TV broadcasters are required to provide subtitles for the most popular programmes which are prioritised. However, a broad range of programmes that appeal to a variety of different viewers are also focused on. Signing: Signing, also known as sign-language, comprises the use of gestures, facial expressions, body language etc. in an effort to convey what people on a television programme are saying as best as possible. Sign language is the method deaf or hard of hearing people use as their own way to communicate with or understand others due to the fact that they cannot hear properly. This service is very common in that there is such thing as ‘signed programmes’. These appear 5% of the time on a TV channel and take the form of repeated programmes from different times of the day, but with a person shown at the bottom corner of the screen providing deaf-sign language. This is evident through repeated use of gestures and facial expressions by the person. Signed programmes appear at certain times during the day and not at all times; in this case, distraction could be caused to those who have no impairments and do not wish to see the signer whilst watching a programme. Audio Description: Audio description takes the form of an additional commentary heard throughout the course of a TV programme, usually from a narrator in the background providing a voice-over. The narrator describes the narrative and action within a film or TV programme in a formal manner, and even though the commentary is taking place, people who have sight problems are still able to enjoy whatever they are watching because the soundtrack of the programme can still be heard as the narrator is speaking. This service applies to people who are blind or partially sighted, and is necessary for people with conditions of this nature to still enjoy the programme they are watching even though they can’t see the action taking place. The commentary would help to create a picture within the mind of the blind/partially sighted person. Who ensures that broadcasters are making their programmes accessible? What are the consequences for broadcasters if they do not meet their accessibility requirements? Regulatory organizations are responsible for regulating the content and output of broadcasters as well as other companies. They do their job by ensuring that media companies do not break the law or mislead, harm or offend the public in any way. Such regulatory bodies include the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Office of Communications (OFCOM) which regulate Adverts and TV/Radio respectively. They each have their own set of responsibilities; for example, the key responsibilities of OFCOMare to ensure broadcasts and TV programmes appeal to a wide range of audiences, protect audiences from being targeted and treated unfairly e.g. prejudice, and deal with audience
  7. 7. BTEC ExtendedDiplomainCreativeMedia Production complaints. As stated, OFCOMis responsible for ensuring broadcasting companies are making their programmes accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities like sight or hearing problems through use of services like audio description and subtitling. This could also apply to programmes featuring adult content e.g. violent themes which will not be suitable for everyone, therefore necessitating the presence of the Watershed (9pm). If television/radio broadcasters are not meeting their requirements (including accessibility, answering complaints and avoiding unfair treatment of audiences), OFCOMwill be able to punish them in various ways as they impose strict rules and take any breach against these rules very seriously. For instance, OFCOMmay provide a fine to a broadcasting company and issue penalties such as license revocation and even imprisonment. These are examples of the legal powers OFCOM has which allow them to enforce the law. In one such case of punishment by OFCOM: (see here: http://uk.businessinsider.com/ee- ofcom-complaint-fine) the British mobile network operator and internet service provider EE Limited was issued a £1 million fine in 2015 for failing to handle audience complaints efficiently; one of the requirements of broadcasters. According to OFCOM, EE “mishandled customer complaints that should have been referred to a special alternative dispute resolution (ADR)” for a considerably long period of time (2011 – 2014). In other words, EE failed to respond to the grievances of consumers which should be heard as the ADR Scheme is a free initiative that anyone can access. In this case, consumers weren’t able to access all the information they needed and deserved whilst pursuing complaints. This was considered a ‘serious failure over an extended period of time’ by OFCOM who had launched an investigation over EE’s issues in complaints handling. Why do we have codes of practice? Professional codes of practice are defined as the way media producers work and follow a certain set of rules. Codes of practice tend to cover professionalism, self-regulation, and setting penalties and consequences for breaches in rules. They are, in essence, the framework that governs the commissioning of TV content and information about agreements over the production of programmes. The reason why we have codes of practice is to ensure relations between companies are fair. This is accomplished through negotiations regarding rights, tariffs, programme pieces, payments etc. For example, the BBC Code of Practice ensures fair relations between the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) and other independent media companies, as well as including information about license periods, exclusivity, distribution etc. The code has been approved by OFCOM and states that the BBC will deliver content that has been funded by its compulsory license fee to its audiences, ensure content commissioned in accordance with the code of practice will remain vested in the producer who created it, and grant a license of public service rights towards audiences. Use one code of practice and investigate it in detail:
  8. 8. BTEC ExtendedDiplomainCreativeMedia Production The ITC Programme Code is a code of broadcasting practice in the United Kingdom. It rules that certain programmes (those containing adult themes) must be shown after the Watershed (9pm) as they are not suitable for children. The code is responsible for ensuring offensive material e.g. racist jokes are subject to regulation, as well as making considerations regarding the suitability of other content e.g. violence on TV programmes. This code of practice therefore applies to young audiences e.g. children or individuals who are sensitive to violence and ensures that the public isn’t offended, harmed or mislead in any way. It applies to children specifically due to the fact that they are at the age where they would be most vulnerable to things they see on TV. In other words, they would be too young to comprehend what is real and what isn’t. This necessitates the reason why certain programmes are shown after the Watershed; the code is responsible for deciding which programmes should be shown after 9pm so as to ensure children are protected from their violent content which could be otherwise disturbing and/or distressing towards them. The ITC Programme Code has specific guidelines and rules. First of all, they provide the editorial standards which audiences are entitled to expect from television programmes within the UK. It also ensures that requirements covering the content of programmes e.g. offensive material such as violence are met, thus ensuring creativity, development and innovation within television programmes today. Within the UK, all television operators must possess a valid license provided by the ITC, and these license holders must comply with the Programme Code by ensuring their programmes and services operate within its framework. The ITC monitors the content and output of programmes and deals with complaints from members of the public. If the code is breached in any way, the ITC can use sanctions against license holders. All members are required to report to the ITC the manner in which they deal with audience complaints as they receive them. The ITC takes all complaints very seriously and will be forced to take action if they feel a complaint needs to be justified in some way, with the licensee concerned. A good example of one such case involving the ITC can be found here: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/static/archive/itc/itc_publications/complaints_reports/programme_c omplaints/show_complaint.asp-prog_complaint_id=405.html. On 3rd – 4th June 2015, a series of complaints arose from the presence of substance use and sexual abuse in a scene from a TV programme on Channel 4 which was considered to ‘glorify such actions and lead to emulation’. A total of 12 viewers issued complaints towards the ITC as they were concerned about the ‘portrayal of rape’ within the scene which could harm and/or offend many people as it is highly disturbing. The ITC recognised this also, however they defended the programme and its nature. They highlighted the fact that the drama explored the lives of four men who were ‘at a crossroads in their lives’ and ‘indulged in drugs which led to degradation and violence’ whilst considering the area of sexual violence. They further defended the programme by stating that it was shown at a suitably late time (long after 9pm at midnight) and that pre-transmission warnings on Channel 4 had signalled the nature of the drama. Also, the producers of the programme did not intend to glorify the actions of these men; instead, they wanted to evoke sympathy within the audience towards the characters who were ‘emotionally scarred and paid with their jobs and relationships’. Furthermore, the ITC highlighted the fact that the scene was not presented in a gratuitous way, but rather in a way that could make the audience feel sorry for the main character who will have been thinking ‘What have I done?’ as well as to build tension within the audience to a certain extent of what was to come after. The actual scene involved the character discovering a videotape and viewing what he and his friends had done (he had forgotten afterwards). The playback of the video within the programme was ‘brief, grainy and unglamorising’ so as to convey the savage nature of what the characters did and highlight it as an act of brutality. In other words, nothing positive was implied by the scene and all the negative aspects were put forward. The part of the code involved will have been the
  9. 9. BTEC ExtendedDiplomainCreativeMedia Production statement that programmes must not feature sequences of highly disturbing and offensive content unless ‘justified by their content’. The scene clearly was justified because the ITC highlighted the nature of the program and confirmed that it wasn’t glorifying crime of that nature. The outcome was that the ITC concluded that the drama was not in breach of the Programme Code in any way. This proves that the Code defended the nature of the scene and highlighted its significance within a programme depicting the desperation, confusion and hopelessness of ordinary individuals. The ‘generally excessive behaviour’ of the characters was indeed justified and not a way of encouraging the viewer to emulate the same thing. What is the Broadcasting Act and what did it do? The Broadcasting Act 1990 is a law provided by the British Parliament which is often regarded as a ‘quintessential example of Thatcherism’ i.e. it represents the most perfect example of the conservative politics, leadership and philosophy of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The terms characterized by Thatcherism are ‘monetarism, privatization, and labour union reform’. This indicates that the Act is regarded in a fairly positive manner by both its supporters and its critics. The primary motivation of the Act was to reform the structure of broadcasting within the United Kingdom; previously, television within the country had consisted of ‘restrictive practices’ as described by Margaret Thatcher. The Act was highly influential because it helped to pave the way for drastic changes in ownership and availability of media outlets, as well as the creation of Channel 5, which at the time was considered the ‘fifth analogue television channel in the UK’. It also stipulated that the British Broadcasting Company was to source 25% of the content and output from independent production companies, as well as for the launch of three independent commercial radio stations (two on the medium wave frequencies and the other on the FM frequency). The Act led to the abolishment of the Independent Broadcasting Authority, thus allowing for the creation of different companies (as well as stations for radio) at a national and regional level. What is the Official Secrets Act? The Official Secrets Act is a piece of law based in the United Kingdom, India, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Ireland. It is legislation that allows for the protection of state secrets and official information, mostly national security of countries. In the UK, people who work with sensitive information are required to sign a statement to indicate that they abide by the restrictions of the Official Secrets Act, which is a law that individuals are bound to, even if they have not signed anything. Those who sign do so because they are under certain obligations e.g. their employment involves access to information from MI5 or MI6 and that they promise not to expose any information whatsoever. Find an example of when it has been used and explain why it was used and what the outcome was.
  10. 10. BTEC ExtendedDiplomainCreativeMedia Production The Official Secrets Act was developed in 1911 (see here: http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7422). It has been amended many times throughout the years as different sections involving offences were established. For example, Section 2 of the Act states that categories including security and intelligence, defence, international relations etc. must be protected at all costs. This part of the Official Secrets Act was established in 1989. The Act was has been used due to the presence and growth of international espionage. In some cases, this was highly severe. A good example of when the Act was used is the controversy involving British newspaper employees who utilized phone hacking as a means of collecting illegal information. One specific newspaper who used phone hacking is the News of the World. News of the World engaged in phone hacking, police bribery and improper influence exercises (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_International_phone_hacking_scandal) in their own pursuit of stories. Such individuals affected by these illegal methods were Prince Charles of Wales, Steve Coogan (English actor and impressionist), Milly Dowler (a murder victim whose case was a mystery), and relatives of British Army Soldiers. Early investigations by the Act were carried out in the 1990s, and others were carried out on the phone hacking scandal in 2011 after it occurred in 2005-2006. The Act will have prioritized these investigations because it is responsible for ensuring privacy, especially within government companies and celebrities. The phone hacking scandal revealed information about the aforementioned individuals and massive public pressure ensued as a result. The phone hacking was widespread and there were revelations of wrongdoing which had the potential to cause significant harm to those affected. The Official Secrets Act conducted its investigations successfully, along with the Press Complaints Commission. The investigations allowed for the Act to identify whose information was exposed and who was affected by the illegal phone hacking. On 6 July 2011, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the phone hacking and police bribery would be looked into, and following this, a number of arrests and convictions occurred. Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News of the World, was accused of being unfit to ‘exercise the stewardship of a major international company.’ The Newspaper was closed and is as of now defunct. The Press Complaints Commission was changed into the International Press Standards Organization (IPSO). Should we have an Official Secrets Act? In my opinion, it is important that we have an Official Secrets Act as well as other services of a similar type e.g. ones that control MI6 and MI5 because they are vital for preventing the disclosure of information, especially that of the government. The fact that the Act exists is also vital for ensuring no chaos takes place to an extent similar to that of the News of the World Phone Hacking Scandal in which many people had personal information exposed and their rights to a private life violated. People have the right to decide what they reveal about themselves and should not be judged because of this. They also have the right to live without any form of interference from the government. The Official Secrets Act is there to ensure the wellbeing of citizens through the prevention of information getting disclosed without authority, as well as to investigate and prevent spying. Under Section 1 of the Act, ‘a person commits the offence of spying if they enter a prohibited place, make a plan, sketch, model or note which is calculated to be useful to an enemy; or communicate a plan, sketch, model or note calculated to be useful to an enemy for any purpose prejudicial to the safety or interests of the state’. http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7422
  11. 11. BTEC ExtendedDiplomainCreativeMedia Production What is the Obscene Publications 1959 and what is its definition of obscenity? The Obscene Publications Act 1959 is an Act of Parliament which amended the law relating to the publication of obscene material through the protection of literature and the strengthening of the laws surrounding things like pornography. The Act reformed the laws relating to obscenity; in other words, the level of offensive and/or disturbing material that is allowed on television, in films and in music was considered strongly for the sake of ensuring the public wasn’t offended in any way. The definition of obscenity by the Act stresses that ‘it is an offence to publish, whether for gain or not, any content whose effect will tend to "deprave and corrupt" those likely to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it.’ Give an example of a recent case involving the act (1990 onwards). What happened, who was involved and what was the outcome? An example of a case involving the Obscene Publications Act is the response to the 2011 Dutch Horror Film The Human Centipede II by the British Board of Film Classification. The BBFC had deemed the film ‘just too horrible to show’ because it contained ‘brutality, degradation and mutilation which posed a real risk to cinemagoers’. The film was denied an 18 certificate, effectively banning it in the United Kingdom and making supply of the film in any format illegal. It was not only believed that the nature of the film would offend a large number of people or cause them to emulate the violence within it; the BBFC actually thought that the Human Centipede II ‘posed a real, as opposed to a fanciful, risk that harm is likely to be caused to potential viewers’ and therefore took the rare move of ‘refusing to classify the film and explaining that no amount of cuts would allow them to give it a certificate.’ The Obscene Publications Act was involved because it was believed the Human Centipede 2 would fall foul of it due to the fact that ‘There is little attempt to portray any of the victims in the film as anything other than objects to be brutalised, degraded and mutilated for the amusement and arousal of the central character, as well as for the pleasure of the audience’ as stated by the BBFC. The film focuses on the fantasies of the central character on the torture he inflicts on his kidnapped victims in an attempt to recreate the concept of the Human Centipede, after viewing the first film (the sequel is based in ‘real life’ and involves a ‘film within a film’). The director of the Human Centipede films, Tom Six, defended the nature of his films, especially the sequel. He even went as far as to criticize the BBFC over the rejection of his works. Six even stated that he had given a warning before the release of the second film; he said that part one would be "My Little Pony compared with part two". However, the BBFC’s decision was refuted and censors accepted to provide a rating to the movie after compulsory cuts were made. The overall result was that the British version of the sequel appeared ‘heavily butchered’ thus implying how many offensive scenes were present in the film. These offensive scenes consisted of ‘the death of a new born baby, teeth getting hammered out’ etc. and the censoring of these scenes proved vital for ensuring the film could be rated as appropriate for adult audiences to watch. The film seemed ‘quite choppy in some places, but still watchable’. What is the Video Recordings Act? Why was the Video Recordings Act introduced?
  12. 12. BTEC ExtendedDiplomainCreativeMedia Production The Video Recordings Act 1984 is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom that was passed in the year 1984, hence its name. It states that commercial video recordings of any kind offered for sale or hire were required to carry a classification that has been agreed upon by the Home Office. The British Board of Film Classification was designated as the classifying authority of the VRA in 1985. Under the VRA, it is illegal to sell video works to individuals who are under the age of the designated classification e.g. 18. If a work has been refused classification, the Act states that it mustn’t be sold or supplied to anyone regardless of age. The Act also states that video works must not depict violence, sex or incite a criminal offence. If a video work of this kind is to be classified, the BBFC will require cuts to be made. The Video Recordings Act came into force because of the presence of ‘video nasties’ which sparked moral panic within the United Kingdom. The VRA was, in essence, a legislative reaction to the presence of highly offensive material that had the potential to harm others. Before the VRA came into force, there were no regulations whatsoever as to what was allowed to be made, therefore allowing for anyone to make what they desired no matter how ‘sick’ it was. There were protests due to the disturbing nature of countless video works, and something had to be done for the sake of ensuring people weren’t offended. This is why the Video Recordings Act 1984 was brought in. From 1985 onwards, all video works had to be submitted to the VRA for classification. What were some of the films that were prosecuted by the Director of Public Prosecution? ABSURD: This film was directed by Joe D’Amato and starred George Eastman who played the leading role: ‘a mental patient who’s on the run from his former doctor’. In 1983, the film was prosecuted by the Department of Public Prosecution due to the presence of highly graphic and disturbing material such as ‘heads getting stuffed in ovens, hypodermic needles in eyes, and an axe to the head’ among many other gory scenes. The film was subject to the BBFC following prosecution and passed for a cinema release following a series of cuts totalling 2 minutes 32 seconds. However, the disturbing film has ‘not seen the light of day since then’. BLOOD BATH: Also referred to as ‘the Bay of Blood’, Blood Bath was a stalk and slash film made by Italian director Mario Bava. It revolves around the struggle of a group of relatives as they attempt to kill each other off so that the last one standing can own a desirable country mansion. The film was prosecuted by the Department of Public Prosecution for repeated use of graphic and disturbing imagery such as ‘people getting axes in the face and being repeatedly stabbed’. The sick nature of the film will have resulted in that it was unsuitable for being shown at cinemas. It was initially refused a certificate; however it was released following a series of cuts totalling 43 seconds. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST: Cannibal Holocaust revolves around a search and rescue team which heads into the Columbian Jungle in search of a missing film crew who were actually killed by cannibal tribes; the team learns this through the stock of film left behind by the deceased film crew which depicts their gruesome deaths at the hands of the tribes they encountered. Cannibal Holocaust was prosecuted by the Department of Public Prosecution and suffered many outrageous claims, gaining controversy due to the presence of animal cruelty throughout. The distributors were prosecuted for obscenity by the Department, despite the fact that they
  13. 13. BTEC ExtendedDiplomainCreativeMedia Production had removed seven minutes from the film; these seven minutes will have encompassed the most offensive moments from within the film. What is the equality act? The Equality Act 2010 is an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom. It was established with the purpose of ensuring that all different groups of people (including gender and race) are treated in an equal way that is inoffensive and fair. The Act encourages the elimination of discrimination, which is defined as the way someone is treated unfairly due to one of the nine characteristics (as shown below). It also encourages the progression of the realization of equality today, especially for people who are disabled. Under the Equality Act, people are protected against unfair treatment on the grounds of specific laws; this could relate to disability, discrimination and harassment. What are the 9 protected characteristics? Age Sex/Gender Race/Ethnicity Pregnancy/Maternity: Marriage/Civil Partnership Sexual Orientation Gender Reassignment Disability Religion and Belief Can you find an example of a case involving the equality act? What happened and what was the outcome? A good example of a case involving the Equality Act can be found here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/8698042/Catholic-nurses-use-Equality-Act-to- protect-their-pro-life-beliefs.html. The case revolves around two Roman Catholic Nurses who won the right to avoid working in an abortion clinic. They accomplished this by accusing the NHS of breaching equality laws. This case clearly revolves around one of the 9 Protected Characteristics: Religion and Belief because it highlights the thoughts and feelings of two individuals who belong to a certain religion and follow certain teachings. In some religions, abortion is highlighted as wrong because it is ‘like murder’. The nurses were from overseas and worked at a London hospital to carry out nursing duties. The nurses also worked at an abortion clinic once a week. At one point, both nurses were required to ‘induce a miscarriage’ using drugs to perform an early medical abortion. Because abortion is a method used to terminate pregnancy, it is considered to be murder in some religions, which is among the worst sins. Upon realizing this, the nurses refused to continue with the work, however the managers insisted that they should despite their uncertainty. The hospital later backed down when the managers understood that the nurses believed in the sanctity of life, which was highlighted as a ‘philosophical belief’ which is protected under
  14. 14. BTEC ExtendedDiplomainCreativeMedia Production the Equality Act. Any attempts to pressure the nurses to continue working in the clinic would be illegal, therefore the nurses were allocated to other duties. However, by invoking the Equality Act 2010, the nurses could have been given greater protection because trying to pressure someone to commit something against his/her beliefs can be considered ‘discrimination, victimization or harassment’ and it interferes with the 9 Protected Characteristics, therefore it also interferes with the Equality Act 2010. The case is a good example because it represents ‘a rare example of equality laws’ for Christians. It also has a fairly high level of severity as courts had ‘failed to protect religious freedom’ as stated by the Act. What protects people from journalists invading their privacy? The Independent Press Standards Organization (IPSO) is an independent regulator of the newspaper and magazine industry and it ‘exists to promote and uphold the highest professional standards of journalism in the UK, and to support members of the public’. It appears to operate in association with the Editor’s Code of Practice. This Code of Practice is responsible for dealing with accuracy, invasion of privacy and intrusion into grief or shock and harassment, whilst IPSO highlights concerns within newspapers and magazines regarding editorial content as well as the conduct of journalists. This also highlights the presence of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). There is such thing as Privacy Protection, which is provided by the Editors’ Code of Practice as a key section of the Code. There are three aspects of privacy protection. They are: The right to a private life: this is defined as the human right to live peacefully without interference from the government. Privacy of Family Members: family members of celebrities who are famous have the right to privacy i.e. just because they are related to someone who is well-known doesn’t necessarily mean that they should be well-known as well. The actions of family members of celebrities should not be considered within the interests of the public. Super Injunctions: this is defined as a way of preventing information from being publically enclosed. It can be considered as a directive approach to preventing the disclosure of information on a specific issue. This proves that the Independent Press Standards Organization, the Editor’s Code of Practice, and the National Union of Journalists are all responsible for preventing the unnecessary and possibly damaging invasion of privacy posed by journalism. In addition, the National Union of Journalists must not intrude into anyone’s life unless justified by the consideration of the public interest that would be overriding. Find a privacy case and explain who was involved, what happened and what the outcome was. There are other Acts which relate to and prioritize the protection of privacy; one of which is the Data Protection Act 1998 which is responsible for the protection of collected data. It accomplishes his through providing specific ‘Data Protection Principles’. These are defined as methods taken to protect data and prevent it from getting exposed, damaged etc. All collected data must be relevant, be processed fairly and lawfully, must not be transferred out of the country, and be collected for lawful reasons amongst many other principles. The principles of Data Protection are important because they also ensure fair processing. In
  15. 15. BTEC ExtendedDiplomainCreativeMedia Production other words, the person collecting the data has the right to inform the individual the purposes for which the data is being collected, usually through what is known as a Privacy Notice. There have been some cases where the Data Protection Act has been breached. One in particular is an incident with SONY over failure to update security software on the PlayStation Network. The Information Commissioners Office found out that SONY had allowed a serious breach to occur within the network in April 2011. This facilitated the exposure of massive amounts of personal information e.g. names, addresses, dates of birth and credit card information which will have been highly dangerous, bearing in mind that criminals could find this information. The breach allowed for hackers to break into the PlayStation’s online store. According to the BBC, the breach was one of the most serious some had ever come across as the database was targeted by criminals and multiple attacks ensued. The outcome of this incident was that SONY was fined £250,000 and received multiple complaints. For example, someone on the BBC had stated ‘There's no disguising that this is a business that should have known better’. This implies the disgust against SONY as it had ultimately failed, despite the access it had to technical knowledge and resources which might have prevented an incident of such nature from even happening, as well as ensuring the protection of people’s information. Ever since, SONY has been able to ‘rebuild its service from the bottom up to be more secure’, thus proving that the company had learned from its mistakes. Source(s): http://www.thedrum.com/news/2013/01/24/sony-fined-250k-over-serious-data- protection-act-breach What areas does the Copyright and Intellectual Propertylaw cover? There are 4 different areas that are covered by the Copyright and Intellectual Property Law, which was designed with the primary intention of protecting work that people have created or invented. These areas are: Patents: these are known as licenses or government authorities conferring a right or title for a certain period of time, mostly with the purpose of excluding other individuals from making, using or selling an invention until it has become well-recognized. Trademarks: these take the form of symbols or words that are established by their purpose of representing a specific media product, whether it is a film, a book, a character etc. Copyright law ensures that trademarks are not stolen with the intention of representing something else. Designs: these can be defined as plans that are produced to present the functions/workings of a product before it is made. This could refer to the pre-production process or concept art in particular, of a media product. Intellectual law would cover the designs of a media product before it is made publically available. Copyright: copyright allows those who own a certain work to control how their own product/material is used. The areas covered by copyright law are music, books, images, videos, software, film etc. Copyright can last for up to 50 years after a product that is made becomes publically available; at that point, the copyright would expire and the property would be in the public domain i.e. it is no longer covered. There are some media products that will never expire e.g. Mickey Mouse. Copyright and Trademarks are the two areas that are most relevant to the print industry. If a company has licensed content to someone else, for example, to hand over the rights to make a film adaptation of a novel, then the former company would be paid
  16. 16. BTEC ExtendedDiplomainCreativeMedia Production royalties after the latter company gains permission. The main advantages of Copyright and Intellectual Law are that intellectual property is protected and income use of work is received by companies. Why is copyright important to the creative media sector? In my opinion, copyright law is important to the creative media sector because it allows for a strong sense of variety within the media. In other words, filmmakers can come up with things of their own and, when their own works are made public, they can benefit over their own ideas and feel assured that no one will steal them or attempt to alter them in their own ways, for better or for worse. Copyright ensures that ideas are original and that the same thing won’t be emulated over and over. For example, if someone came up with and produced Star Wars and copyright and intellectual property laws were never put in place, the media would be quite repetitive and therefore not ‘creative’ after all. It would be very boring, and there is always the chance of certain individuals expressing great frustration over work that they value as their own being copied over and over again. Problems could arise within the media sector and companies might not make money if people are refusing to see films, play games, or read books. It might get to the point where, if most products are exactly same as each other e.g. in terms of narrative, characters and locations, a negative impression could develop within the media in general and people could refuse to interact with it altogether. Companies, entertainment stores etc. could lose money. Things would certainly be far more difficult if certain laws and regulations were never put in place, and everything stated above could show just how effective copyright and intellectual law can be when it comes to the media sector. Without them, other problems would most likely arise, mostly due to the fact that companies will be making money from the ideas of someone else. The person who came up with the idea would clearly be frustrated and might develop a feeling that they have been ‘thwarted’ in some way. The frustration of this person would only be made worse by the fact that he/she would have no one to complain to. For example, if I had come up with an idea during the pre-production process of a new video game and found out that someone else in the department had stolen it and developed it in his/her own way, I would have been very disappointed, especially if the idea was put forward by the company and that person had gained credit for it. A good example of the frustration that can arise during a copyright case is here: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2012/sep/18/james-cameron-avatar-copright-case. The case revolves around the complaints of Elijah Schkeiban, who wrote a screenplay for a film titled ‘Bats and Butterflies’ towards James Cameron, who wrote and directed Avatar. Schkeiban accused Avatar of being similar to the concept of his own works in many ways. For example, the elements including a ‘weak hero’ and a plot twist in which ‘the bad guys attack the good guys’ were highlighted in both Avatar and Bats and Butterflies. According to the courts, the screenplay for Bats and Butterflies was ‘not substantially similar’ to Avatar, highlighting the differences between a children’s book and an action movie as well as the mood conveyed by Avatar, which was quite distinctive compared to Bats and Butterflies. It was also stated that ‘bad guys attacking good guys is not copyrightable’.
  17. 17. BTEC ExtendedDiplomainCreativeMedia Production What is libel? What must you be able to prove to win a libel case? Libel is the term used to describe the publishing of a lie, whether it be imprinted or broadcasted, about an individual or company which has the potential to harm their reputation severely. Other similar terms include defamation and slander, which involve commenting or lying about a person rather than publishing which also has the potential to harm someone and their reputation. A person who has been damaged by a statement that is libellous or defamatory has the right to sue the one who made the false statement. The damaged person also has the right to claim money to ease the harm they obtained to their reputation. These are known as damages. If one is able to win a libel case, it must first be proved that the statements are based solely on fact rather than on personal opinion/or mixed statements of opinion and fact. If the statements are based on facts that can be proved, then the one who is trying to prove a libel case will win. Find an example (not the one you were given in the lecture) of a libel case. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/madeleinemccann/11568725/Madeleine- McCanns-parents-awarded-357k-in-Portuguese-libel-case.html This is an example of a libel case which was won. The case involves Goncalo Amaral, a police chief who investigated the disappearance of three year old Madeleine McCann, who went missing from her family’s apartment in May 2007 on holiday whilst her parents were out. The ensuing investigation led to multiple dead ends; this will have hampered the efforts of the police and strained their confidence. The McCanns were cleared; due to lack of evidence, the police investigation was shelved. Mr. Amaral, the chief who conducted the investigation, wrote and published a book titled ‘the Truth of the Lie’ which accused Madeleine’s parents of ‘faking their daughter’s abduction to cover up her death in the apartment’. This resulted in tremendous damage to the McCanns; it caused emotional and psychological harm to them. However in 2010, the parents of Madeleine won a court battle in Lisbon to ban sales of the book. Mr Amaral was accused of libel, as well as breaching human rights in a severe manner and causing damage to the investigation of Madeleine. The outcome was that Amaral was forced to pay £357,000 in damages to the McCanns. Afterwards, he was sacked from the investigation and further sales of his book were banned. In the years since, Madeleine’s disappearance has become one of the most famous cases of a missing person of all time. As of today, she has never been found.

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