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British Video Recordings Act 1984 Invalid

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the slight-reprieve dept.

Censorship 340

chrb writes "BBC News is reporting that the British Video Recordings Act 1984 is invalid due to a 25 year old legal blunder. The Thatcher government of the day failed to officially "notify" the European Commission about the law, and hence it no longer stands as a legal Act. There will now be a period of around three months before the Act can be passed again, during which time it will be entirely legal to sell any video content without age-rated certifications."

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Of course, Obligatory (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29187161)

They would have passed this shit as a _fake_ law in _1984_

Re:Of course, Obligatory (2, Interesting)

dintech (998802) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187223)

Does this mean that Grotesque [imdb.com] has just been given the best publicity ever [theregister.co.uk] and no way to prevent it from being sold?

Re:Of course, Obligatory (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29187265)

Great post! Slashdot really needs a "+1 refers to '1984' somehow" mod option.

OMG, freedom. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29187163)

What are we going to do with it?

Re:OMG, freedom. (0, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187453)

Teen pregnancy rates will probably drop, because now instead of living in Victorian-style ignorance ("Orgasm? What an orgasm?"), the teens will finally learn what "sex" is thanks to watching these no-longer restricted videos, and what not to do if you don't want to become a mommy or daddy.

Re:OMG, freedom. (5, Insightful)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187761)

Those "no-longer restricted videos" have as much to do with teaching sex as a monster truck rally has to do with teaching you how to drive.

Re:OMG, freedom. (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187783)

I'm all behind the general thing you're pushing, but really, how many R rated or adulty only films (sorry, I don't know the British equivalents) go into ANYTHING relating to what to do if you don't want to become a mommy or a daddy? Heck most porns are probably bad sources on that as these days they have the whole network setup so that the actors are only supposed to have intercourse with other screened actors, which allows them to film without using condoms most of the time.

Don't get me wrong I'm all for sex education, I just don't think the education videos were really being blocked here.

Re:OMG, freedom. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29187745)

For once someone thought of the children?

Re:OMG, freedom. (4, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187759)

So, am I understanding it correctly, that a sovereign nation over there in Europe, cannot pass their own law without it also being reported (and I assume approved) by an outside entity??

If so...doesn't that make you a non-sovereign nation then?

Re:OMG, freedom. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29188227)

The whole idea of the European *Union* is that part of the sovereignty is sacrificed for something beneficial, like open borders (good for the economy), and reducing the likelyhood of war between European countries (you can think of the EU as a response to two world wars).

Not everybody is happy about that, of course, partly because the EU is not as democratic as it should be. In some countries the EU constitution was voted away in a referendum because of that.

Re:OMG, freedom. (2, Interesting)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187787)

Exploit it in the most outrageous and gratuitous ways possible, thereby giving ammunition to the very forces who want to take it away?

More freedom - no copyright now?! (5, Interesting)

chrb (1083577) | more than 5 years ago | (#29188053)

I added this as a comment to the original submission but it didn't get picked up.

According to The Telegraph [telegraph.co.uk] this also means that there is now no copyright on DVDs. I'm not sure of the reasoning for this since copyright is supposed to be enforced by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 [wikipedia.org] , but that's the legal system for you.

So, apparently the UK is now (unwittingly) running the first national experiment in the abolition of copyright and age controls on DVDs. Should be interesting!

Re:OMG, freedom. (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#29188177)

The same thing that chickens do who sat in a tiny cage for their whole lives:
You will just sit there, not knowing what to do. Until you're put back into the cage to work your asses off ("normal"), or killed to be feasted upon by large ugly beasts ("economy crisis"). :P

so who will (2, Insightful)

acrobg (1175095) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187165)

be the first to sell pr0n to little kids without any age-rating?

Re:so who will (3, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187687)

Mr Patel from the corner shop - he already does.

Re:so who will (1)

Hynee (774168) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187809)

be the first to sell pr0n to little kids without any age-rating?

I think there'll be other laws to cover that, like p@edophile laws.

(I know parent is a joke)

I wonder why they don't just change the names and dates on a copy of the old law, get a chorum at the house of commons, get trusted speed readers to check that the old and new laws are the same, and pass it as some sort of emergency act. Surely the don't need Europe to sign their own emergency legislation in Britain?

The loophole probably won't be exploited by any shopfront stores.

Hang On (3, Insightful)

totallyarb (889799) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187179)

Can a British lawyer please tell me at what point notification of the European Commission became a requirement for an Act of Parliament to become legally binding? Surely such a surrender of sovereignty was exactly the sort of thing Thatcher opposed?

Re:Hang On (5, Informative)

jfengel (409917) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187369)

IANA(British)L, but here's the gist:

The UK joined the EEC in 1973. Council Directive 83/189/EEC was passed in March 1983. It says that if a country passes "standards" it has to notify other countries.

See, the EEC (now the EU) is designed to allow freer trade between countries. You can't do that if you're implementing standards that you're not telling other people about. It makes for a "gotcha" situation: "Hey, you didn't follow the standard, and we're going to prosecute you under our laws, even though you followed all the rules you knew about."

Re:Hang On (4, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187619)

Ah! So if they up their standards they are legally required to tell other countries "Up yours!"

Re:Hang On (1)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187695)

I'm curious as to why "Ignorance of the Law" is no excuse for citizens, but must be specially handled for companies.

Re:Hang On (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 5 years ago | (#29188039)

Who said anything about companies?

Re:Hang On (4, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187737)

>>>the EEC (now the EU) is designed to allow freer trade between countries. You can't do that if you're implementing standards that you're not telling other people about
>>>

Well that's stupid.

The State of Utah can ban playboy from bookstores (and they have), but they are not any obligation to inform the other 49 states or the U.S. Congress about this change in law. It's called sovereignty - Utah does whatever it pleases within its own boundaries. I'm surprised to hear that the UK has less power over its own laws than does Utah, and I wonder if the EU may be exerting too much power.

Aside-

One cool example is when Delaware passed a law forbidding building new chemical plants without the DE Legislature's permission. Well just a few years later New Jersey built a new plant along the Delaware Bay. Delaware immediately sued NJ, and the NJ governor told delaware to fuck off, and so on. The U.S. Supreme Court dug-out 400 year old documents, reviewed the original charters, and proclaimed Delaware was correct - they own that beachfront. So New Jersey was forced to dismantle their construction and restore the waterline to its original appearance.

Re:Hang On (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29187917)

>>The UK joined the EEC in 1973. Council Directive 83/189/EEC was passed in March 1983.
>>It says that if a country passes "standards" it has to notify other countries.

>>See, the EEC (now the EU) is designed to allow freer trade between countries. You can't
>>do that if you're implementing standards that you're not telling other people about.
>>It makes for a "gotcha" situation: "Hey, you didn't follow the standard, and we're
>>going to prosecute you under our laws, even though you followed all the rules you
>>knew about."

That Directive would have been known in the back room as the Italy Directive. ;-)

Re:Hang On (1)

totallyarb (889799) | more than 5 years ago | (#29188269)

Council Directive 83/189/EEC was passed in March 1983.

Surely, though, an EEC Directive can only govern issues pertaining to trade between EU countries? I can see how under this directive other countries in the EU could be freed of the requirement to comply (or at least, protected from prosecution if they failed to comply), but I don't understand how non-notification would invalidate the law itself.

True or false: If I, a British Subject, today sold an 18-rated DVD to a 12-year old, I could not be prosecuted because some civil servant forgot to tell Brussels that they changed the law 25 years ago.

Basically, I'm asking: is this bad lawmaking or just bad reporting?

Re:Hang On (5, Insightful)

Dr. Hok (702268) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187481)

Can a British lawyer please tell me at what point notification of the European Commission became a requirement for an Act of Parliament to become legally binding? Surely such a surrender of sovereignty was exactly the sort of thing Thatcher opposed?

You call that surrender of sovereignty? Think again. The government didn't have to ask for permission to pass this law, it was only supposed to inform the European Commission. In other words: make it public, so their European partner countries know what's happening in their neighborhood. That's just common sense.

Tell the Belgians to fuck off (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187781)

Since it refers to sales which take place wholly within the UK it has zero cross border implications. There are no important international implications - it's not like the straightness of cucumbers or whether carrots are a fruit which obviously everyone in the world needs to know.

Re:Tell the Belgians to fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29187909)

"Sire, there are no Belgians."

Re:Tell the Belgians to fuck off (1)

Dr. Hok (702268) | more than 5 years ago | (#29188063)

There are no important international implications

That's probably true for this particular law, but there may be cases where it isn't, and there may even be cases where the international implications are not easy to predict. So IMHO it is a good thing to publicise laws as a general rule. Do you think it is necessary to keep laws secret?

And, it's the rule. A law is not passed if the rules are not followed. Evidence is not admitted if it was obtained illegally. Etc. It may hurt sometimes, and even seem stupid, but rules should be followed. Especially by governments.

Re:Tell the Belgians to fuck off (1)

mirkob (660121) | more than 5 years ago | (#29188083)

except everyone in europe should be able to sell his video in england,

but if he doesn't know of a standard required there and it sell his product and then will be brought to tribunal for not following the law, you see were the problem is....

Re:Tell the Belgians to fuck off (1)

ConfusedVorlon (657247) | more than 5 years ago | (#29188281)

you are missing the point of cross-border trade.

this is important if you are a belgian dvd shop that wants to sell over the internet to the UK.

Fair enough that if the UK passes some law restricting who/how a belgian store can sell dvds - then they should at least add it to a register of 'things you might want to look out for'

Re:Hang On (1)

totallyarb (889799) | more than 5 years ago | (#29188097)

If we were only talking about a requirement that made the law unenforceable when applied to importers from elsewhere in the UK without notification, you would be right. But in this situation, application of a law domestically becomes impossible without reference to an outside party. You don't think that limits sovereignty?

I'll admit it's a subtle difference, but I don't think a country can truly be considered sovereign when its internal laws can be invalidated by a failure to notify an external party.

Re:Hang On (1)

thirty-seven (568076) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187517)

Can a British lawyer please tell me at what point notification of the European Commission became a requirement for an Act of Parliament to become legally binding? Surely such a surrender of sovereignty was exactly the sort of thing Thatcher opposed?

IANABL. In fact, I am neither British nor a lawyer. I was wondering the same thing as you - since when was it a requirement that an Act of Parliament could not become legally binding until a supranational body is notified?

A bit of Wikipediaing and then Googling turned up that: It is Directive 83/189 from the European Committee for Standardization that required this. It only applies to technical standards and regulations, not all statutes. Presumably, the requirement for notification is so that the different standards and requirements for (in this case) video recordings can be collected and available to other member countries by the European Committee for Standardization.

So reporting new Acts that affect technical standards and regulations to the ECS sounds like a very good idea, but I don't see why this would necessarily make unreported Acts non-binding.

However, although the British Government is dropping all current prosecutions under that law, they are arguing that all past convictions are still valid. It seems very unusual that you can argue that past convictions for violating an invalid law are valid, unless the Government will argue that it was an Act of Parliament and so was really legally binding, but now it is being rescinded non-retroactively and will be re-enacted in order to meet their treaty obligations. To me, that seems like the most reasonable position that is consistent with the Government's actions on this. Then again, IANABL.

Re:Hang On (4, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187677)

The EU is designed in part to be a very close union between member states, in order to combat the extreme nationalism that predicated two major ruinous conflicts on the European continent in the 20th century. Every EU nation gives up some measure of sovereignty (although really not that much in the grand scheme of things) in order to promote the greater good.

Even having said that, though, I would argue that the simple requirement to inform other nations of standards and laws you pass is not really any more of a surrendering of sovereignty than most other provisions in any other treaty between nations.

Re:Hang On (2, Informative)

Dupple (1016592) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187799)

Except it was the tories that signed the Maastricht treaty under John Major, which gave up more british sovereignty than anything else. Not saying Labour would have been any better, but it was the tories that gave up a lot of our indepenance

This is absurd (4, Interesting)

mpeskett (1221084) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187183)

How exactly do 25 years pass without anyone noticing that a law, that's supposed to be official and in force, hasn't actually been enacted?

It's beyond a joke... although I'm sure there will be plenty of jokes.

Re:This is absurd (5, Insightful)

EddyPearson (901263) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187583)

Thats not how we do it in the UK mate. Here we make as many laws as possible, criminalizing as many people as we can. This so that when we decide we don't like them anymore there's a quick exit waiting. It also makes it easier for the police to root out the bad guys. When everybody has committed at least one crime, gives them leverage.

This was an embarressing oversight, normal service will be resumed shortly.

Re:This is absurd (0)

dogeatery (1305399) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187735)

"This is how we do it in the US, mate"

There, fixed that for you

Re:This is absurd (3, Interesting)

Rayeth (1335201) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187767)

Oh what a coincidence! I think this is the same strategy the US uses for drug and patent policy. It all makes so much sense now.

Re:This is absurd (3, Funny)

Xphile101361 (1017774) | more than 5 years ago | (#29188113)

I think by now you've ran out of continents to ship these people off to

Re:This is absurd (3, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187845)

More importantly ,what about anyone convicted under that act while it wasn't really an act? Do they get their time, money, etc back?

Scandalous (5, Informative)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187191)

FTA:

"Our legal advice is that those previously prosecuted will be unable to overturn their prosecution or receive financial recompense," she said.

So people who were previously prosecuted for breaking a non-law will be unable to overturn their prosecution.

Re:Scandalous (5, Informative)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187243)

Of course not.

"An emergency Injunction was passed until a formal law could be passed."
The Censorship Nazgul don't give up that easily.

Re:Scandalous (1, Insightful)

Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187521)

FTA:

"Our legal advice is that those previously prosecuted will be unable to overturn their prosecution or receive financial recompense," she said.

So people who were previously prosecuted for breaking a non-law will be unable to overturn their prosecution.

Overturn their conviction perhaps.

Re:Scandalous (1)

thirty-seven (568076) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187537)

FTA:

"Our legal advice is that those previously prosecuted will be unable to overturn their prosecution or receive financial recompense," she said.

So people who were previously prosecuted for breaking a non-law will be unable to overturn their prosecution.

It seems very unusual that you can argue that past convictions for violating an invalid law are valid, unless the Government will argue that it was an Act of Parliament and so was really legally binding, but now it is being rescinded non-retroactively and will be re-enacted in order to meet their treaty obligations. To me, that seems like the most reasonable position that is consistent with the Government's actions on this.

Re:Scandalous (1, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187923)

>>>people who were previously prosecuted for breaking a non-law will be unable to overturn their prosecution.

Jeez. More stupidity. People should not be forced to adhere to a law, or be punished by a law, that has been declared unconstitutional. "All laws, rules and practices which are repugnant to the constitution are null and void." Marbury v. Madison, early 1800s.

"The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of it's enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it... No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law, and no courts are bound to enforce it." - Sixteenth American Jurisprudence, Second Edition, Section 256

"Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule-making or legislation which will abrogate them." Miranda v. Ariz., 384 U.S. 436 at 491 (1966)."

Apparently the European Union and/or UK Parliament doesn't understand these basic precepts.
Since the law has been declared unconstitutional, all crimes or punishment under that law
should be reverted back to the first day of enactment (1984), as if that law never existed.

Re:Scandalous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29188079)

>>>people who were previously prosecuted for breaking a non-law will be unable to overturn their prosecution.

Jeez. More stupidity. People should not be forced to adhere to a law, or be punished by a law, that has been declared unconstitutional. "All laws, rules and practices which are repugnant to the constitution are null and void." Marbury v. Madison, early 1800s.

"The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of it's enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it... No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law, and no courts are bound to enforce it." - Sixteenth American Jurisprudence, Second Edition, Section 256

"Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule-making or legislation which will abrogate them." Miranda v. Ariz., 384 U.S. 436 at 491 (1966)."

Apparently the European Union and/or UK Parliament doesn't understand these basic precepts.
Since the law has been declared unconstitutional, all crimes or punishment under that law
should be reverted back to the first day of enactment (1984), as if that law never existed.

What are you talking about? Britain doesn't even have a constitution.

Re:Scandalous (4, Insightful)

DrJimbo (594231) | more than 5 years ago | (#29188283)

What are you talking about? Britain doesn't even have a constitution.

No problemo. They can take ours. We're sure not using it.

Another implication (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187221)

Wouldn't that mean that everyone prosecuted under it for the last 25 years is also innocent?

Re:Another implication (1)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187269)

You would think so, but apparently they solved that problem by just telling them to STFU.

Re:Another implication (1)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187273)

I'm not familiar enough with British law to say for sure, but in the US I believe they could appeal and challenge the basis of the case. If the law wasn't enacted, they can't put a new one on the books and keep them in jail - it would be an ex post facto law.

IANAL.

Re:Another implication (3, Informative)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187359)

Pending prosecutions will be abandoned, but existing convictions will stand.
So, yes, they will just keep them in jail.

Re:Another implication (4, Insightful)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187485)

"Existing convictions will stand"

In other words "existing convictions will collapse as soon as they are challenged in court, but let's lie about this and hope that everyone believes us".

Re:Another implication (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Cowar (1608865) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187547)

If all of the judges in the land believe it is within their power to continue with the lie and refuse to hear appeals based on this, guess what happens?

Re:Another implication (1)

bheekling (976077) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187731)

If all of the judges in the land believe it is within their power to continue with the lie and refuse to hear appeals based on this, guess what happens?

Anarchy?

Re:Another implication (2, Funny)

Anonymous Cowar (1608865) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187821)

Only after tea but before supper.

Re:Another implication (1)

HoppQ (29469) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187823)

They take it to the EU courts?

Re:Another implication (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187907)

If all of the judges in the land believe it is within their power to continue with the lie and refuse to hear appeals based on this, guess what happens?

A. Start a media campaign to name and shame
B. Take it to the European Court of Human Rights.

Re:Another implication (1)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187941)

That's like a legislature getting together and deciding that pi = 3. Couldn't happen.

at least they're fixing it (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29187251)

I have a feeling that in a "law and order" country like the US, the law would never actually stop being enforced - law enforcement and judiciary would make up something about the "spirit" of the law or some other legal nonsense.

So, kudos to them for actually being a country that follows the letter of the law, not simply a "well that's what we meant"-tough-on-crime policy like the US.

Re:at least they're fixing it (2, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187471)

I have a feeling that in a "law and order" country like the US, the law would never actually stop being enforced - law enforcement and judiciary would make up something about the "spirit" of the law or some other legal nonsense.

Got a citation for that or are you just looking to repeat stereotypes about the US? It's interesting that you could condemn the US criminal justice system when we still have our right to remain silent and right against self-incrimination. Tell me, how are those rights faring in the UK? Surely they don't hold it against you [wikipedia.org] if you remain silent or compel you to be a witness against yourself [infoworld.com] ?

Re:at least they're fixing it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29187919)

How can I cite a source? I was speculating, but I'm on solid ground here - this country has demonstrated many times that it does not care about the rule of law when it comes to being "tough on crime",

Re:at least they're fixing it (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#29188071)

this country has demonstrated many times that it does not care about the rule of law when it comes to being "tough on crime",

Which explains why so many violent criminals manage to dodge convictions here based on legal technicalities. It's rather apparent that you don't know anything about how the American legal system actually works and are only repeating stereotypes.

Re:at least they're fixing it (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#29188009)

I'm glad you've been marked "troll" because you're flat wrong.

Time-and-time again laws have been declared unconstitutional and the prisoners freed (see my previous post filled with quotes). Just watch Henry Fonda's excellent movie "Gideon" for an example which is about a real man who stood-up against tyranny, and won.

Re:at least they're fixing it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29188129)

how many innocent people have been convicted, put on death row, and subsequently exonerated? Do you think system always catches its mistakes? Of course it doesn't. This country has executed innocent men before and will do so in the future. The fact is, Americans don't care. It's a "tough on crime" mentality that flies in the face of the liberty Americans claim to love.

So they will find something else to charge you wit (1)

HomerJ (11142) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187259)

They probably have 10 different laws on the books that overlap. They can just pick one of the others to charge you with.

It's like when you get a DUI, and they charge you for both "drunk driving" and "driving with a BAC of .08".

Amazing loss of sovereignty (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187271)

My first idea in such a case would be "so the UK has violated the EU treaty, but the law is still valid".
That a law can actually be invalid because of such an administrative error is surprising and I wonder what other things like this are hidden in the legalese of the EU treaty.
I also wonder why a national government accepts this so easily. Do they, perhaps, hope to upset the balance of powers through the EU?

Re:Amazing loss of sovereignty (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187401)

I see stories like this and wonder about the people who argue that member countries of the EU are not the equivalent of U.S. states. This actually makes them less sovereign than U.S. states, since U.S. states don't need to "inform" the federal government when they pass a new law for it to be a law.

Re:Amazing loss of sovereignty (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29187527)

This actually makes them less sovereign than U.S. states, since U.S. states don't need to "inform" the federal government when they pass a new law for it to be a law.

U.S. states can not pass laws regulating interstate commerce.

Re:Amazing loss of sovereignty (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187571)

U.S. states can not pass laws regulating interstate commerce.

I guess that depends on what your definition of 'regulate' and 'interstate commerce' is. New York State regulates insurance companies when they choose to do business here, even if they are located elsewhere. Is that not interstate commerce? What about regulating utility companies? How about California imposing their own standards on cars manufactured outside the state?

Re:Amazing loss of sovereignty (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187643)

New York State regulates insurance companies when they choose to do business here, even if they are located elsewhere. Is that not interstate commerce?

No, it's not. That insurance company is doing business in New York and as such New York is well within it's power to regulate their actions within their state.

What about regulating utility companies?

What about it?

How about California imposing their own standards on cars manufactured outside the state?

They don't. They only impose standards that must be followed if you want to do business in their state. There is nothing stopping any car manufacturer from ignoring California's regulations when selling cars in other states.

Re:Amazing loss of sovereignty (1)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187561)

With the exception that if they don't want to be in the EU, they can choose not to be. If England so desperately wants to go back to its time of Splendid Isolation [wikipedia.org] , they can just say so. If they don't, the EU expects them to respect the treaties they helped set up.

P.S. I know this is hugely hypothetical.

Re:Amazing loss of sovereignty (2, Informative)

Desler (1608317) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187507)

The point of such a clause is so that every member country in the EU is notified of any regulations you have passed that affect doing commerce in your country so that they know all know about. Seems to be a rather sane idea contrary to the usual knee-jerk anti-EU hysteria that will come about in this thread. Would you like to be sued because you sold something in the UK, for instance, and didn't know they had passed some new regulation that required you to jump through some legal loophole before you could sell your product?

Re:Amazing loss of sovereignty (1)

Dr. Hok (702268) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187861)

I also wonder why a national government accepts this so easily.

Um, perhaps because it is a union. Where countries cooperate.

But actually, I am quite surprised that the British government does not simply ignore this little mistake. Britain has not exactly been the model EU member with all its exceptions and vetos. At times I thought they only joined the EU because it'd be easier to sabotage it from the inside.

Hurray?! (5, Insightful)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187325)

So when society DOESN'T collapse into anarchy, are they going to realize this law was idiotic and unnecessary and not pass it again?

Re:Hurray?! (1)

AndyboyH (837116) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187553)

It's a shame there's not a Score: +1 Optimistic...

No, Police will probably pretend law is valid (3, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187587)

during those 3 months until Parliament can scramble together a Save the Children act.

I heard that the FBI kept on relying on parts of the (un)Patriot(ic) Act long after the Supreme Court overturned those same parts of it. Business as usual, carry on.

Re:Hurray?! (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187777)

I imagine that the MPs won't be able to distinguish "idiotic and unnecessary" due to the high background levels of idiocy and superfluousness built into the Commons.

Just watch... (4, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187349)

When the British Video Recordings Act 2009 is passed, it will be more restrictive than the original 1984 verson. I mean, why would any good centre-right, middle-class courting, focus-group driven pack of fear-mongers pass up a perfectly good opportunity for a moral panic? Won't somebody PLEASE think of the CHILDREN!?

Re:Just watch... (1)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187375)

This time next year:

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs rated 14+ (for indecent displays of affection)

Re:Just watch... (3, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187589)

Technology has made it irrelevant anyway. Any kid can get any video he wants over the network.

Re:Just watch... (4, Funny)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187669)

Isn't the Labour party in power? Aren't they the good guys? Won't they pass a sensible, populist law?

-Peter

Re:Just watch... (1)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187705)

Isn't the Labour party in power? Aren't they the good guys?

Good guys? When was the last time you checked up on politics?

Re:Just watch... (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 5 years ago | (#29188013)

I'll admit that I don't follow UK politics very closely. But I thought that draconian censorship was more of a Tory thing.

-Peter

Re:Just watch... (1)

lisaparratt (752068) | more than 5 years ago | (#29188235)

New Labour, putting the National back into Socialist!

Re:Just watch... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29187773)

Dude you owe me one sarcasm detector.

Re:Just watch... (1)

an unsound mind (1419599) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187843)

Good guys? In politics?

RAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA (2, Funny)

fireylord (1074571) | more than 5 years ago | (#29188007)

mod this +1 funny!

Re:Just watch... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29187707)

Considering that the BBFC decided *by itself* in 2002 to legalise pr0n videos/dvds, this may have an actual impact if they re-outlaw them.

Re:Just watch... (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187733)

I mean, why would any good centre-right, middle-class courting, focus-group driven pack of fear-mongers pass up a perfectly good opportunity for a moral panic? Won't somebody PLEASE think of the CHILDREN!?

Agreed, but actions speak louder than words.

Instead of just thinking about the kids, what I do is help them with what they really need. Using my own youth as a point of reference, that typically means alcohol or cigarettes.

Re:Just watch... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29187841)

Which is probably why we hear about this thing to begin with.

Only in dictionary does 'coincidence' come before 'fascism'.

Great! (1)

Colourspace (563895) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187391)

Now I'll finally be able to buy that copy of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre I was too young to buy when I was 17 in 1991!

Sorry, but the new 2009 version of this law . . . (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187661)

. . . will only let you buy "naughty" stuff if you are over the age of 40.

Re:Great! (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187673)

I was thinking of another movie [wikipedia.org] with a Texan theme ;)

Re:Great! (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187817)

I saw it when I was about 14, on broadcast TV. I set the VCR timer to record it, it was on at ~midnight.

These laws are pretty irrelevant to kids these days.

(At least you've correctly noted this is the UK, so the "bad stuff" is violence rather than sex.)

Retroactive courts? (1, Interesting)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187451)

Does this mean that anybody found guilty and punished for breaking this law in the past 25 years will now be paid back by the government?

Since when were there DVDs in 1984? (1)

117 (1013655) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187629)

From TFA:

Don Foster said: "The Conservatives' incompetence when they were in government has made laws designed to ...protect children from harmful DVDs unenforceable"

I don't think a law passed in 1984 was designed for DVDs, considering they were still ten years from making an appearance at that time.

Hey England! (1)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187725)

1984 called. They want their video age-ratings back...

Sillyness (1)

Demonantis (1340557) | more than 5 years ago | (#29187981)

Giving legal advice is rather dangerous. She may have just entered herself into a client/lawyer relationship with anyone that was in the room and maybe even reads the article. IANAL so I have no idea what it implies, but it is on every single lawyer site that I read that a relationship has not been created.

the comments on these stories always make me laugh (-1, Troll)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#29188183)

the usual comment on this typical sort of slashdot story is something about how the "won't someone think of the children!" hysteria is so wrong

but the usual comment also consists of a heavy dollop of hysteria itself, as if these kinds of laws actually threaten you, as if they represent some sort of unstoppable slide into all-encompassing fascism

these laws are silly. your reaction to them is equally silly. its all circus, and you're an enthusiastic participant

in the real world, none of these laws amount to squat. its a tempest in a teapot

but please, don't let me stop you from getting your panties in a twist about the coming autocratic theocracy, or whatever your hysterical fear is

zzz

Wrong Time (1)

Rehnberg (1618505) | more than 5 years ago | (#29188199)

And all of this two weeks after I leave the UK? Great...
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