Selling illegal DVDs not illegal because of blunder
People who sell DVDs and videos illegally, including pornography to children, cannot be prosecuted because of a legislative blunder dating back 25 years!
In a major embarrassment crossing several governments, officials have discovered the 1984 act that allows prosecutions for selling illegal videos and DVDs or breaches of age classifications is unenforceable.
It means an effective free-for-all for anyone breaching video sales laws, including supplying “knock-off” or illegal copies, porn and other 18-only films to minors or hard-core pornographic films outside of licensed sex shops.
The blunder centres on the 1984 Video Recordings Act which the then British Tory Government should have notified with the European Commission but failed to do so.
The error also went unnoticed when the laws were amended in 1993 and 1994.
The technicality means the act is unenforceable and urgent action is now under way to notify Europe and re-enact the legislation.
However, the process will take at least three months and is unlikely to be rectified before the New Year.
In the meantime no one can be prosecuted under the laws and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has written to relevant bodies telling them not to pursue any further prosecutions because of the “serious issue”.
The blunder was discovered as the DCMS was preparing to establish a new video games classification system.
However, Lavinia Carey, director general of the British Video Association which represents 90 per cent of the industry, said: "All our members will be continuing to do their business as though the Act was still in force.
“They will not be taking advantage of this legal loophole. It would not be a responsible way to trade.”………and her spaceship is just ready for departure at gate 51