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This Act has "Not in Force" sections. See the Table of Legislative Changes.

Motion Picture Act

[RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 314

Contents
1Definitions
2Approval of films for exhibition
3Approval of films for distribution
4Exemption for film societies
5Examination and classification of films
6Attendance of and distribution to minors
7Advertising
8Licensing
9Repealed
10–11Repealed
12Power to enter, inspect and seize
12.1Director and delegation
12.2Reconsideration
12.3Agreements
12.4Administrative agreement with administrative authority required
12.5Designation does not make administrative authority an agent of the government
12.6Power of administrative authority to set and retain fees
13Offences and penalties
14Power to make regulations
15Offence Act

Definitions

1  In this Act:

"administrative agreement", in relation to the administrative authority, means the agreement referred to in section 12.4;

"administrative authority" means the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Authority established under the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Authority Act;

"adult film" means a film that produces or reproduces an adult motion picture;

"adult film distributor" means a person who distributes adult films to an adult film retailer or to another adult film distributor;

"adult film retailer" means a person who distributes adult films to the public, but does not include an adult film distributor;

"adult motion picture" means any of the following:

(a) a motion picture that was submitted for review under the former Act or under section 2 (1) of this Act for the purpose of exhibition in a theatre and that, following the review,

(i) was not approved,

(ii) was approved, but had a portion removed, or

(iii) was approved, but with a condition that it may only be exhibited in theatres designated by the director;

(b) a motion picture that has not been reviewed under section 5 that depicts

(i) explicit sexual scenes,

(ii) the coercing, through the use or threat of physical force or by other means, of a person to engage in a sexual act, if that sexual act is depicted in explicit sexual scenes or sexually suggestive scenes,

(iii) incest or necrophilia,

(iv) bondage in a sexual context,

(v) persons who are or who appear to be under the age of 14 involved in sexually suggestive scenes, whether or not they appear nude or partially nude,

(vi) persons who are or who appear to be under the age of 18 involved in explicit sexual scenes,

(vii) explicit sexual scenes involving violence,

(viii) scenes of brutality or torture to persons or animals, depicted in a realistic and explicit manner, or

(ix) sexual conduct between a human being and an animal;

(c) a motion picture that contains scenes that depict conduct or an activity that is prescribed in a regulation made under section 14 (2) (d);

"copy" means

(a) in respect of a motion picture or an adult film that is required to be submitted to the director under section 2 (1) or 3 (1), a motion picture or an adult film that is an identical reproduction, on any type of film, of the motion picture or the adult film that is required to be submitted under those sections, or

(b) in respect of a motion picture or an adult motion picture that was reviewed and approved under section 5, a motion picture or an adult motion picture that is an identical reproduction, on any type of film, of the motion picture or the adult motion picture that was approved under section 5 in the form that it was so approved;

"designated classification authority" means a person or an agency prescribed as a designated classification authority by the Lieutenant Governor in Council;

"director" means, subject to the restrictions specified in a designation, the individual or administrative authority designated under section 12.1 as director;

"distribute" includes rent, lease, sell or supply, or to make an offer to do any of those things;

"film" means photographic film, pre-recorded video tapes, pre-recorded video discs and includes any other object or device on or within which there is recorded, by photographic, electronic or other means, the contents of a motion picture, and from which, by the use of a projector, machine or other appropriate technology, the motion picture may be viewed, exhibited or projected;

"former Act" means the Motion Picture Act, R.S.B.C. 1979, c. 284;

"minor" means a person under the age of 18;

"motion picture" includes a video game;

"motion picture distributor" means a person who distributes a film to a proprietor, lessee, manager or employee of a theatre or who contracts respecting films with any of those persons or with any other motion picture distributor, but does not include the government of British Columbia or Canada;

"theatre" includes a hall, building, premises, room or place, including an open air place commonly known as a "drive-in theatre", where motion pictures are exhibited to the public;

"video distributor" means a person who distributes films to a video retailer or to another video distributor;

"video game" means an object or device that

(a) stores recorded data or instructions,

(b) receives data or instructions generated by a person who uses it, and

(c) by processing the data or instructions, creates an interactive game capable of being played, viewed or experienced on or through a computer, gaming system, console or other technology;

"video retailer" means a person who distributes films to any person.

Approval of films for exhibition

2  (1) If a motion picture or a copy of it is intended to be exhibited in a theatre, the motion picture distributor must submit the motion picture to the director for approval.

(2) A motion picture distributor must not distribute a motion picture or a copy of a motion picture for the purpose of exhibition in a theatre unless the motion picture has been approved by the director under this Act, or was approved under the former Act.

(3) A person must not exhibit in a theatre a motion picture or a copy of it unless the motion picture has been approved by the director and, if the approval is subject to conditions under the former Act or under section 5 (7) of this Act, in accordance with those conditions.

(4) Before a motion picture distributor distributes a motion picture for the purpose of exhibition in a theatre, the motion picture distributor must demonstrate, by means of a certificate or some other evidence of approval satisfactory to the director, that the motion picture and all copies of it that are intended for exhibition have been approved as described in subsection (2).

(5) The certificate or other evidence may be inspected by any person on demand.

(6) This section does not apply to the exhibition of a motion picture

(a) under the auspices of the government of British Columbia or Canada,

(b) in prescribed circumstances, or

(c) for a prescribed purpose.

Approval of films for distribution

3  (1) If an adult film or a copy of it is intended to be distributed by an adult film distributor, the distributor must submit the adult film to the director for approval of the adult motion picture that it produces or reproduces.

(2) An adult film distributor or adult film retailer must not distribute an adult film or a copy of it unless the adult motion picture that it produces or reproduces has been approved by the director and, if the approval is subject to conditions under section 5 (8), in accordance with those conditions.

(3) Before an adult film distributor distributes an adult film or a copy of an adult film to an adult film retailer, the adult film distributor must attach, in a manner determined by the director, a certificate or some other evidence of approval, satisfactory to the director, to the adult film or copy stating that the adult motion picture that it produces or reproduces has been approved by the director.

(4) An adult film distributor or adult film retailer must not distribute an adult film or a copy of it if the adult motion picture that it produces or reproduces has been approved by the director unless

(a) that approval is evidenced by the attachment of the certificate or other evidence of approval required under subsection (3) to the adult film or copy, and

(b) the certificate or other evidence of approval has not been removed, reused or tampered with in any manner since the time of its attachment.

Exemption for film societies

4  (1) The director may, in the public interest, exempt from section 2 a non-profit cultural organization, membership of which is by annual subscription and is limited to persons who are 18 years of age or over, if the director considers that the organization has as its objects the encouragement and appreciation of motion pictures as a medium of art, information or education, subject to any conditions contained in the exemption.

(2) If an organization that has been exempted under subsection (1) exhibits a motion picture, it must not permit any person who is not a member of that organization to be present at the place where the motion picture is being exhibited.

Examination and classification of films

5  (1) On receipt of the prescribed fee, the director must ensure that every motion picture and adult motion picture submitted to the director for approval under section 2 (1) or 3 (1) is reviewed, and every motion picture is classified, in accordance with this Act and the regulations.

(2) Despite the Financial Administration Act, if the director considers it to be in the public interest, the director may waive payment of the prescribed fee.

(3) Subject to subsection (5), the director must, before approving a motion picture submitted under section 2 (1) or 3 (1), remove or require the removal of, by erasure or otherwise, any portion of it that depicts any of the following:

(a) coercion, through the use or threat of physical force or by other means, of a person to engage in a sexual act, if the sexual act that was coerced is depicted in explicit sexual scenes;

(b) incest or necrophilia;

(c) bondage in a sexual context;

(d) persons who are or who appear to be under the age of 14 involved in sexually suggestive scenes, whether or not they appear nude or partially nude;

(e) persons who are or who appear to be under the age of 18 involved in explicit sexual scenes;

(f) explicit sexual scenes involving violence;

(g) scenes of brutality to or torture, maiming or dismemberment of persons or animals that are portrayed with such a degree of reality and explicitness that the scenes would, in the director's opinion, be intolerable to the community;

(h) sexual conduct between a human being and an animal;

(i) conduct or an activity that is prescribed in a regulation made under section 14 (2) (f).

(4) Subject to subsection (5), the director must not approve of a motion picture submitted under section 2 (1) or an adult motion picture submitted under section 3 (1) if the motion picture or the adult motion picture predominantly consists of any, or a combination of, scenes referred to in subsection (3) (a) to (i).

(5) The director is not required to remove material under subsection (3) or refuse approval of a motion picture or adult motion picture under subsection (4) if the director considers that the theme, subject matter or plot of the motion picture or adult motion picture is artistic, historical, political, educational or scientific.

(6) If the director reviews a motion picture under subsection (1), the director must, unless the director takes action under subsection (3) or (4),

(a) approve the motion picture, and

(b) if the motion picture is intended to be exhibited in a theatre, classify the motion picture in accordance with the regulations made under section 14 (2) (c).

(7) The director may impose conditions on the approval of a motion picture submitted under section 2 (1) including conditions

(a) respecting the use and exhibition of it,

(b) imposing age restrictions on the attendance by minors at theatres where the motion picture will be exhibited,

(c) that any advertising material in connection with the exhibition of the motion picture be submitted to the director for approval, and

(d) that the classification designation of the motion picture and warnings, having a content specified by the director, be placed on all advertising material in the manner specified by the director.

(8) On approving an adult motion picture submitted under section 3 (1), the director may

(a) require that a copy of the adult film be deposited with the director, and

(b) attach conditions to the approval including the conditions referred to in subsection (7) (c) and (d).

Attendance of and distribution to minors

6  (1) If the director has approved a motion picture subject to a condition that a minor be prohibited from viewing it in a theatre, a person in charge of a theatre must not permit a minor to attend at the theatre to view the motion picture.

(2) A video retailer must not distribute a film or a copy of a film to a minor if,

(a) as a condition of approval imposed under section 5 (7), all minors are prohibited from viewing it in a theatre, or

(b) as a condition of approval under the former Act, it could only be exhibited in theatres designated by the director.

(3) An adult film retailer must not

(a) distribute an adult film to a minor, or

(b) except in accordance with conditions imposed under subsection (4) (a), permit a minor to be present on the premises of the adult film retailer.

(4) Without limiting section 8 (2), the director may impose conditions on the licence of an adult film retailer respecting

(a) the presence of minors on premises where adult films are distributed, and

(b) the manner of ensuring that adult films and any advertising material in connection with them will be physically and visually segregated from minors who may be permitted on the premises of that retailer.

Advertising

7  The director may require that advertising material contain

(a) words describing the classification of the motion picture, and

(b) other comments that the director considers advisable.

Licensing

8  (1) A person must not carry on the business of a motion picture distributor, adult film distributor, video distributor, adult film retailer, video retailer or theatre unless

(a) the person is licensed to do so by the director in respect of each location from which the business is carried on, or

(b) the director otherwise orders.

(2) The director may impose conditions on a licence when issuing the licence under subsection (1).

(3) If a licensee

(a) contravenes this Act, the regulations, a condition of any licence issued under this Act to the licensee or a decision of the director made under this Act, or

(b) is convicted of an offence under this Act

the director may, with respect to any licence issued under this Act to the licensee

(c) impose conditions on the licence or rescind or amend existing conditions of the licence, or

(d) suspend or cancel the licence.

(4) A motion picture distributor must not distribute a film to a person who carries on business as a theatre unless that person holds a valid licence issued under subsection (1).

(5) An adult film distributor must not distribute an adult film to an adult film retailer unless that retailer holds a valid licence issued under subsection (1).

Repealed

9  [Repealed RS1996 (Supp)-314-1.]

Repealed

10–11  [Repealed 2002-52-42.]

Power to enter, inspect and seize

12  (1) The director, a peace officer or anyone authorized by the director may

(a) at any time during regular business hours enter a theatre or the premises of a motion picture distributor, an adult film distributor, a video distributor, an adult film retailer or a video retailer for the purpose of

(i) viewing or inspecting a film or an adult film, or

(ii) determining if the licensing provisions of this Act or the regulations or the conditions of a licence have been or are being complied with, and

(b) use any equipment located at the theatre or on the premises referred to in paragraph (a) for the purposes referred to in that paragraph.

(2) Anyone authorized under subsection (1) to enter a theatre or premises may seize

(a) any film that he or she believes will be exhibited in a theatre and that has not been approved, or does not have attached to it a certificate or other evidence of approval, for exhibition in a theatre,

(b) any adult film that he or she believes will be distributed by an adult film distributor or adult film retailer and

(i) that produces or reproduces an adult motion picture that has not been approved under section 3, or

(ii) that does not have attached to it a certificate or other evidence of that approval as required by section 3,

(c) any adult film that he or she believes is being used to produce or reproduce an adult motion picture, that has not been approved under section 3, on another adult film that he or she believes will be distributed by an adult film distributor or adult film retailer, and

(d) any adult film that is not segregated in accordance with any conditions imposed under section 6 (4) on a licensee.

(3) If the person whose theatre or premises are entered under this section is required to be licensed under section 8, anyone authorized under subsection (1) may seize any adult film that person is not licensed to exhibit at that theatre or to distribute from those premises, even though the adult film has been approved for exhibition or distribution or has a certificate or other evidence of approval attached to it.

(4) Unless reconsideration has been requested under section 12.2, a film seized under subsection (2) or (3) becomes the property of the government and, no earlier than 60 days after the date of seizure, the government may have the film destroyed by the director.

(5) For the purpose of an investigation under this section, anyone authorized under subsection (1) to enter a theatre or premises may do one or more of the following:

(a) at any time during regular business hours, inspect, copy and seize records that are located in the theatre or on the premises;

(b) require a person referred to in subsection (1) (a) or an employee of that person to produce information, records or other things in the person's possession or control.

(6) A person referred to in subsection (5) (b) must not withhold, destroy, conceal or refuse to provide any information or thing reasonably required for the purposes of an investigation under this section.

(7) If a record is seized under subsection (5) (a), the director must return the record, after a reasonable time, to the person from whom it is seized, unless

(a) the record is required for the administration of this Act or the regulations made under it, or

(b) returning the record would be contrary to the public interest.

Director and delegation

12.1  (1) The minister may designate as a director either or both of the following:

(a) an individual appointed under the Public Service Act;

(b) the administrative authority, if the Lieutenant Governor in Council has approved the administrative agreement.

(2) If the minister designates both an individual and the administrative authority as directors and both directors may perform or exercise powers, functions and duties under this Act at the same time, the minister must specify in each designation

(a) the powers, functions and duties that the individual or administrative authority may perform or exercise, and

(b) the restrictions to the performance or exercise of those powers, functions and duties.

(3) Subject to subsection (4), the director may delegate to a person or a class of persons any of the director's powers, functions or duties under this Act, including, without restriction, any power, function or duty referred to in sections 2 to 8, 12 and 12.2.

(4) The director's delegation must be in writing and may include any terms or conditions the director considers advisable.

Reconsideration

12.2  (1) A licensee, an applicant for a licence, or an applicant for an exemption from the requirement to be licensed may request the director to reconsider

(a) a decision or an order made under this Act, or

(b) a seizure under section 12 (2) or (3).

(2) On receiving a request for reconsideration, the director must reconsider the decision, order or seizure.

(3) The request must be made, and the reconsideration completed, within the time limits and in accordance with any rules specified by regulation.

Agreements

12.3  (1) The minister may enter into agreements for the purposes of this Act.

(2) Without limiting subsection (1), the minister may enter into an agreement with a designated classification authority respecting

(a) its review and classification of films,

(b) its functions and duties, and

(c) other matters related to its functions and duties.

Administrative agreement with administrative authority required

12.4  (1) Subject to the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, the minister may enter into an administrative agreement with the administrative authority permitting the authority to perform or exercise some or all of the director's powers, functions and duties under this Act.

(2) An administrative agreement must include provisions that specify all of the following:

(a) the expected outcomes to be achieved by the authority in performing or exercising the director's powers, functions and duties under this Act;

(b) the performance objectives of the authority;

(c) the authority's acceptance of the responsibility to perform or exercise powers, functions and duties set out in the agreement;

(d) the terms for financial arrangements between the authority and the government, including the collection and payment of fees due to the authority or the government and any other financial transitional matters;

(e) the right of access of the authority to records created by the government and the right of access of the government to records created by the authority;

(f) the requirements for records management by the authority;

(g) the requirement that the authority report to the government any matters in respect of the powers, functions and duties the authority performs or exercises under this Act;

(h) the requirement that the authority carry adequate insurance;

(i) indemnification between the authority and the government;

(j) the obligations of the parties if the agreement is terminated;

(k) the time period of the agreement or the procedure for the review of the agreement by the authority and the government;

(l) procedures for the settlement of disputes;

(m) the liability of the authority arising out of its performance or exercise of the powers, functions and duties of the director under this Act.

(3) The administrative authority must comply with the terms of the administrative agreement, and may not perform or exercise the powers, functions and duties of the director under this Act except in accordance with that agreement.

(4) Subject to the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, the minister may amend or revoke the administrative agreement without the consent of the administrative authority if the minister gives the authority prior written notice.

Designation does not make administrative authority an agent of the government

12.5  If the administrative authority is designated as a director under section 12.1, the authority is not an agent of the government for the purpose of that designation.

Power of administrative authority to set and retain fees

12.6  (1) Despite the power of the Lieutenant Governor in Council under section 14 (2) (i) [power to make regulations prescribing fees], but subject to subsection (2) of this section, if the administrative authority is designated as a director and is authorized to issue licences under this Act, to review motion pictures under section 5 (1) or to perform or exercise any other power, function or duty under this Act, the administrative authority may set the fees payable for those licences, for purposes of those reviews or in relation to those powers, functions and duties, as the case may be, including, without limitation, fees for any of the following:

(a) applications for licences, licence amendments or exemptions from the requirement to be licensed, and for processing those applications;

(b) decals, certificates or other evidence of approvals or classifications;

(c) replacement, amendment or copying of a record described in paragraph (a) or (b) or of any other record;

(d) administering reconsiderations under section 12.2.

(2) The administrative authority may not charge fees under subsection (1) unless they are approved by the minister.

(3) Fees set under this section may be different for different kinds of

(a) motion pictures and their intended uses,

(b) motion picture distributors, video distributors, video retailers and theatres, and

(c) licences.

(4) Fees approved and payable pursuant to this section do not constitute public money under the Financial Administration Act and are to be collected and retained by the administrative authority and used to fund the operating costs and capital expenditures necessary to perform or exercise the powers, functions and duties that the authority is authorized to perform or exercise under this Act.

Offences and penalties

13  (1) A person who does any of the following commits an offence:

(a) contravenes section 2 (2) or (3), 3 (2), (3) or (4), 6 (1), (2) or (3) or 8 (1), (4) or (5);

(b) contravenes a decision of the director made under this Act;

(c) obstructs an individual authorized under section 12 (1) in the performance of the individual's duties or supplies that individual with false information.

(2) A person who commits an offence under subsection (1) is liable to a fine of not more than $10 000 or to imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or to both.

(3) An offence under subsection (1) committed by a person in respect of a theatre is also an offence of the person licensed to carry on the business of that theatre.

Power to make regulations

14  (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations referred to in section 41 of the Interpretation Act.

(2) Without limiting subsection (1), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations as follows:

(a) respecting the operation and licensing of motion picture distributors, adult film distributors, video distributors, adult film retailers, video retailers and theatres and prescribing conditions under which adult films may be distributed;

(b) respecting the location of adult film retailers;

(c) prescribing a classification scheme, for the purposes of section 5 (6), that the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers necessary for motion pictures that are exhibited in theatres;

(d) prescribing conduct or an activity for the purpose of paragraph (c) of the definition of "adult motion picture";

(e) defining "explicit sexual scenes" and "sexually suggestive scenes" for the purposes of this Act and the regulations;

(f) prescribing conduct or an activity for the purposes of section 5 (3) (i), in order to be consistent with the Criminal Code;

(g) respecting the use and display of advertising material by a person required to be licensed under this Act or employees of that person;

(h) [Repealed 2002-52-45.]

(i) prescribing the fees payable under this Act;

(j) exempting classes of films from the application of one or more provisions of this Act;

(k) exempting classes of motion picture distributors, video distributors, video retailers and theatres from one or more provisions of this Act;

(l) specifying rules of practice and procedure, including time limits and rules of evidence, for the purposes of a reconsideration under section 12.2;

(m) establishing a classification scheme for films, including

(i) the establishment of different classification schemes for different classes of films, and

(ii) the adoption, by reference, with changes that the minister considers appropriate, of a classification scheme for films;

(n) prescribing a designated classification authority.

(3) The fees prescribed under this Act may be different for different kinds of

(a) motion pictures and their intended uses,

(b) motion picture distributors, video distributors, video retailers and theatres, and

(c) licences.

Offence Act

15  Section 5 of the Offence Act does not apply to this Act or the regulations.