What we classify
What we do classify
Films and computer games
Every film and computer game has to be classified before it can be legally made available to the public, unless it is exempt or is being shown at a registered event.
Films includes things like movies, series and documentaries that are watched in cinemas, via streaming services, on DVD/Blu-ray and online. Computer games include video games, console games, online gaming and smartphone game apps.
We also classify internet content, publications, films and computer games which are submitted by:
- state and federal police within Australia
- Australian Border Force in relation to the importation of publications, films and computer games
- the e-Safety Commissioner in relation to online content
Some publications, called ‘submittable publications’ also need to be classified.
The definition of a submittable publication includes publications containing depictions or descriptions that are:
- likely to cause the publication to be Refused Classification (RC)
- likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult
- unsuitable for a minor to see or read
Bona fide artworks
Bona fide artworks, including photographic artworks, are not generally required to be classified. Bona fide artworks which may offend some sections of the adult community may be ‘submittable publications’. These may be accommodated in the ‘Unrestricted’ category when set in a historical or cultural context.
What we don’t classify
Radio and TV broadcasts
The Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA) establishes a co-regulatory scheme for broadcast services including radio and television. These rely on codes of practice developed by industry and registered with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
We don’t classify programs for broadcast on TV or radio networks, pay TV or digital broadcasting. TV programs are classified by assessors who work at the TV stations. Any enquiries about content broadcast on TV should be directed to the relevant station.
Contact the ACMA for complaints about radio and TV content.
For films screened on TV, the BSA requires that codes of practice apply the film classification system set out in the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995.
Online content is regulated by the Online Content Scheme in Schedules 5 and 7 of the BSA and administered by the e-Safety Commissioner. Prohibited and potentially prohibited content is determined by reference to the classification guidelines and classification categories in the National Classification Scheme.
If the e-Safety Commissioner receives a valid complaint about Australian-hosted online content or discovers potential prohibited content on its own initiative, it may (and in some cases must) submit the material to the Classification Board for classification.
Recorded music is monitored by the Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA). Warning stickers are displayed on products with music that includes strong lyrics. Contact ARIA for complaints about the content of recorded music (without any visual content).
We don’t classify every book and magazine because only a small section of publications fit the definition of a submittable publication.
Live shows and music concerts
Live theatrical performances (including music concerts) do not generally fall within the classification scheme. If a theatre production is considered indecent or obscene, it may breach state and territory legislation or common law. This is a matter for the enforcement authority in the relevant state or territory. There may be limitations on how and where performances that are arguably obscene and/or indecent are shown. Works may be considered obscene where they are offensive to contemporary community standards.