back to article Single complaint sparks police raid and total ban on rental movie

Northampton police have seized A Serbian Film from Blockbusters, despite the fact that the version on offer had been approved by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). The raid’s chilling effect was instant, with Blockbuster taking down links to the film from their website and removing it from from stores across the UK …

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Advertising stunt?

Are they perhaps trying to capitalise on the streisand effect?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Advertising stunt?

I don't think this one would need it.

Everything is not an advertising stunt, you know, even if there may be advantages to this kind of ostensible badness.

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And tonights Film Club presentation is...

"A spokeswoman for that force said: "We have a duty to investigate such claims and in agreement with the manager of the shop took a copy away to view and check that it was the edition that has been approved by the British Board of Film Classification for distribution."

which implies that Northamptons finest now have to sit down with the confiscated version AND a pre-BBFC edit (from where, one asks - certainly not one of those naughty downloads, we hope), and note any differences. In slow motion. With replays.

Pass the popcorn...

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Anonymous Coward

Or

More likely, the BBFC supply a list of cuts they mandated.

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Big Brother

BBFC

The police would probably send it to the BBFC:

"The BBFC measures and researches seized material to check whether they are classified works and, if so, whether they are identical or different to the classified version we have in our archive."

"...a Certificate of Evidence will be drawn up... signed by an Officer of the BBFC who has been authorised by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to do so."

Source: http://www.bbfc.co.uk/law/seized-media-requests

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Paris Hilton

Lovefilm

Well as a result of this, this film made it onto my LoveFilm list!

Advertising win! :)

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Stop

It's a good idea add it to your Love Film list...

If you are into films portraying the rape of a new born baby, but then that's up to you I guess.

As for Blockbuster losing money, the store I work in has 1 copy, and that's only being rented about 5 times. By comparison we have about 30 copies of Inception which each copy has been rented more often and some copies have been rent 15 times.

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So it's extreme porn then

And whoever reported it is due some jail time surely?

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DJV

And, if not that...

...then maybe fined for wasting police time (and therefore taxpayers money).

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Big Brother

Laws

Better not let them catch you in possession of this DVD up in Scotland....

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Anonymous Coward

So...

Show rents film.

Someone complains to Police

Police visit shop and with their agreement borrow a copy of the film to check it's the BBFC certified version

Meanwhile as a precaution the shop remove copies from shelfs until version is confirmed ok

Version is confirmed Ok

Shop put film back on shelfs.

This seems fairly ok, surely?

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Big Brother

"As a precaution" ...

How far removed from "presumption of guilt" is that ?

Of course "presumption of guilt" is all the vogue these days, and the more one can make it acceptable practice, less questioned, the norm, the better in some people's minds.

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Anonymous Coward

Hardly...

It's hardly a presumption of guilt, it's a presumption of cock-up by and on behalf of the company, if the police presumed guilt they would have removed all of the copies of the film.

If it were presumed tainted food, you wouldn't leave it on your shelf until the results came back saying it was ok, you'd remove then put it back on sale when it was ok.

Or, it is were an 18 film and the version they had was r18 (can only be sold through a licensed sex shop.) you'd remove it then put it back when you found that it was the 18 version.

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I agree with AC ...

... where's the story? Blockbuster did exactly the right thing given the possibility of having provided a film that was extremely dodgy. Confirmed as OK (though not to everyone's taste) so put back on release.

Only quibble with AC's post is the the plural of 'shelf' is 'shelves' - other than that it's a spot-on précis of a non-story where everyone wins: complainant has properly done his/her civic duty to raise a concern rather than ignore it; police have investigated and worked with Blockbuster to get a sensible agreement, and Blockbuster have done the right thing. Well done all.

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FAIL

Was not "put bacl"

"Shop put film back on shelfs.

This seems fairly ok, surely?"

Not okay.

1) Plural of shelf is shelves.

2) The film WAS NOT PUT BACK. See

http://www.blockbuster.co.uk/product/dvd/serbian_film__a/255311.htm

"We're sorry, but the title you requested could not be displayed."

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Do Blockbusters trade in Scotland?

"We have a close relationship with the law enforcement agencies who keep us abreast of what is likely to fall foul of the law" - except perhaps in Scotland where they would prefer you guess at the boundaries of the law...

http://go.theregister.com/feed/www.theregister.co.uk/2011/01/25/ignorance_of_scottish_pr0n_law_no_defence/

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Am I a bad person.....

Am I a bad person for now really wanting to add this to my I Love Film list?

(Not sure the wife will want to join me for it though, she thought Machete was bad enough!)

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machete

I couldn't stop laughing during the "fight scene" near/at the end where everyone is armed and no-one is firing!

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"I cannot imagine why anyone would want to watch something like that"

I cannot imagine why anyone would want to watch a lot of stuff that passes for popular entertainment these days, but I don't call for it to be banned (other than facetiously) simply because I don't like it.

More importantly, however, once again we see the Nanny State stepping in and telling us that we cannot be trusted to watch something because we're so weak-minded and suggestible that, if we do see it, we'll immediately go out and do Bad Things (tm)

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Seconded...

..as someone whose partner has just rented out "TheHuman Centipede".

ick!

i shall not even be in the room when that is on.

jane

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Badgers

It's simple enough.

It's simply the difference between a libertarian and a fabian.

For example

If a libertarian doesn't like guns they probably won't own one.

A fabian doesn't like guns so wants all guns banned for everyone else.

Obviously the DVD was veiwed by a fabian. They didn't like it so wanted to ban it for everyone else. A libertarian would have just registered their own personal distate for the DVD.

Guess which way our society is heading.

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Anonymous Coward

right

Nice logical fallacy, but unless there's a sudden spate of people who don't like the film being sliced to pieces with sharpened DVDs by people who do then your comparison doesn't really stand up.

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Re: It's simple enough.

Thanks for clearing that up. I have modified my thesaurus accordingly by adding "fabian" to the list of synonyms for "cunt".

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FAIL

Logic Fail!

>>He added: "I cannot imagine why anyone would want to watch something like that."

Right after having watched it...

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Black Helicopters

Remove this at once!

This film should be removed. I was watching The X-Factor not long ago and shortly after started wearing too much makeup and applying white powder to my nose and sometimes up it, giving my self the last name of Mafia and turning to prostitution

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FAIL

No worse...

Sounds like the film is no worse than Northampton town center on a Friday night, maybe the police could look into doing something about that as well...

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Troll

Is it legal in Scotland?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/01/25/ignorance_of_scottish_pr0n_law_no_defence/

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Accurate answer

Nobody knows and there's no way of finding out.

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"I cannot imagine why anyone would want to watch something like that."

But he did watch it through to the end?

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Go

Movie Rental

"A spokeswoman for that force said: "We have a duty to investigate such claims and in agreement with the manager of the shop took a copy away to view and check that it was the edition that has been approved by the British Board of Film Classification for distribution."

Did they have to pay to rent the copy from the shop, and did they return it on time?

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Anonymous Coward

a regular

"Did they have to pay to rent the copy from the shop, and did they return it on time?"

I wondered the same. Also, whether next Friday one of the officers on night shift duty will anonymously phone in a complaint about Inception so they have to go and get a copy of that to watch...

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Big Brother

Why bother with BBFC if it can still be pulled?

Why does there need to be a "gentleman's agreement" if the film can still be pulled, despite being given a BBFC classification. The complaint should have been sent to the BBFC directly, not the police, and I'd have thought the police would have referred the complaint to the BBFC in the first instance as a matter of protocol?

How could the complainant, who was proved wrong in this case, know if this version was the uncut copy and not the version approved by the BBFC if they do not contact them directly.

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@Jane Fae

"The Human Centipede"? I don't know what that is - but given this is El Reg, I'm not going to be googling it at work...

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neb
Go

@Graham Bartlett

its a lovely homage to the classic childrens program 'will o the wisp' & lewis carrols 'alices adventures through the looking glass'

my advice, sit down with the family and watch it after lunch on sunday, they'll never forget your kindness at choosing such a treat for their viewing pleasure

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Stop

@Jane Fae - Just what you thought

from imdb.com http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1467304/

"A mad scientist kidnaps and mutilates a trio of tourists in order to "reassemble" them into a new "pet"-- a human centipede, created by stitching their mouths to each others' rectums. "

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Freetards beware....

So this is definately not a movie to pirate as you are likely to get an uncut version that will get you in a lot of trouble. ...

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Big Brother

Unintentional Consequences

I'm all for art pushing the boundaries. I'd argue that that's one of the reasons it should exist. It makes people think of stuff they wouldn't want to ordinarily, which can only be a good thing.

I do wonder whether an unintended consequence of this film though will be that people think it's a documentary so end up believing the BS about there actually being a global snuff film industry, which ironically could lead to it being banned after all.

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Re: Freetards beware

"So this is definately not a movie to pirate as you are likely to get an uncut version that will get you in a lot of trouble."

Indeed (also note that any clips from the film - even the legal cut version - may still be illegal to possess under new laws on "extreme" images, which exempt BBFC films, but not clips from those films).

But I do wonder: the argument against piracy is that it causes losses for the producer. The argument against these films is that producing them is bad. So surely, by both of these arguments, people who pirate such films are doing good, by harming producers. But no - instead we get the argument that it "fuels demand".

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people who pirate such films are doing good

Completely agree and have made the same though some what tounge in cheek arguement about child pOrn. That if getting music and movies from p2p is destrying said industies, then surely people getting child p0rn from p2p are destrying the child p0rn industry, right?

Now again this a completly tounge in cheek comment in the vain of Jimmy Carr or Ricky Gervais and is not in anyway advacting child p0rn, OK? OK...

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Headmaster

advacting?

and it's pr0n.

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Anonymous Coward

Piracy causes loss

A bit like pirated copies of Windows sunk Microsoft, and pirated copies of Photoshop sunk Adobe... or did it make them the leaders of their respective markets?

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Forgot to proof read....

Yeah, I know my speelling is rubbish. Don't judge me....

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FAIL

RE: advacting?

Dude, you had "some what", "tounge", "arguement", "destrying", "industies", "completly" and "in the vain of..." to choose from and you singled that out?

@ph0b0s, no offense; I don't grammar-Nazi any more (well, only at the Reg journos and copy-editors who are paid for their command of language) but I hate to see someone else doing a half-hearted job of it ;)

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Coat

Ok, sorry

It took me longer to figure out what was meant by advacting, my primary thought was to acting, but second thoughts made me realise it was not. That's why I singled it out, but yes, I should if I'm going to go grammar nazi do a better job. For that reason I will be downvoting my own post.

I suck.

Tounge is a good one, it was used twice.

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Coat

Take 2

Completely agree and have made the same, though some what tongue in cheek, argument about child pr0n. That if getting music and movies from p2p is destroying said industries, then surely people getting child p0rn from p2p are destroying the child p0rn industry, right?

Now again this a completely tongue in cheek comment in the vain of Jimmy Carr or Ricky Gervais and is not in anyway advocating child pr0n, OK? OK...

There you go, what is should have said. Well that was embarrassing... Man these forums not having an edit function, really separates the men from the boy's. English lesson flash backs....

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The real news here...

is that Blockbuster still have shops in the UK!

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i have heard that

this film is one of the most fucked up films ever. and not in the good way. stuff like'bad boy buddy' is fucked up but in a good way. i think this is one of those ones that wants to see how nasty it can be.

not really sure about all this torture and snuff type of thing that seems to be coming out so often. i seriously worry about people who like films like hostel.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: i have heard that

I don't think this film is comparable to Hostel - it's supposedly a deeply political film although this may turn out to be arsewash.

Hostel isn't really that dreadful - Eli Roth is more self-aware and satirical than he is given credit for, and I've seen worse things on screen with less justification. It does have a story, which puts it a bit above 'torture porn' (in the sense of the story being a flimsy construct which is only there to support the gory bits, as the story in porno is only there to support the sexy bits). There are far more trashy exploitative torture flicks that have squeaked through into the mainstream, and have rightly been given short shrift. Hostel is pretty gruesome, but it's not a bad film as far as I'm concerned, and it seems to have become a scapegoat.

Anyway, I have no desire to see A Serbian Film but it may well be artistically valid. Or it might be a tawdry shocker for the sake of it. Either way I am OK with it existing.

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Paris Hilton

Sir

My wife is pretty fucked up with regards to viewing material, so I've added both 'The Serbian Film' and 'The human centipede' to my lovefilm list.

Once she's watched them for us, I'll get her to write up a proper review and I'll post it on Lovefilm :) (or here)

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FAIL

why have a BBFC at all?

Oh, that's right...nanny state.

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