Censors Now Rating YouTube

The government of South Korea has launched a new ratings system for music videos, which now encompasses even YouTube.

Previously, all music videos shown on television had to be rated by the Korea Media Rating Board for content, but now even music videos posted to online sites like YouTube must be approved by the board. The new rule even applies to music clips and movie teasers.

The purpose is to protect younger Koreans from images considered indecent or violent. Critics fear that any content labeled “not suitable for persons under 19 years of age” will be rendered effectively unavailable to all potential viewers.

Persons who post unrated videos online are subject to a maximum of two years in jail and a fine of 20 million won ($18,000).

The authorities have countered by saying that the rule will not apply to “non-business individuals,” which has confused the music community, as it seems that anyone who actually makes money from their music would be considered a business and thus any music video they made and posted would be subject to censorship.

Moreover, the Rating Board will charge a “screening fee” to anyone who submits a video for approval.

Even large talent agencies say such a system will seriously disrupt marketing schedules, as videos are often released far in advance of record releases to create buzz. With the rating board, it may be weeks before a video can be released.