UK iTunes movie store ratings fiasco

Apple has a number of movies left unrated on its UK movie store
Apple has a number of movies left unrated on its UK movie store

Apple's UK branch of its iTunes Movie Store has failed to add ratings to some of the movies for sale or rent on its website, TechRadar can reveal.

The findings were brought to TechRadar's attention after e-comic Moviedrome was banned from the Apple App Store, even though there is no rating system in place on the App store, other than for games.

On – a website that was one of the first in announcing the banning of Moviedrome – there's an interesting article about films with a lack of any rating on the UK iTunes movie store.

The blog itself lists 36 films, which have been given either a 15 or 18 rating by the BBFC, but no actual rating by Apple itself.

While this does not break any laws – online rating is not a legal requirement – it does bring up a moral and a social issue for the company.

The films found to have a lack of rating include: The Terminator, Child's Play, Robocop and Reservoir Dogs. All of these films are rated 18 by the BBFC.

Not all studios on board

We contacted the BBFC about this, and a spokesperson told us that Apple wasn't actually doing anything wrong.

"The BBFC Online is talking to Apple about using its classification system, but so far it has not signed up. The online rating system, however, is not a legal requirement.

"The Apple Movie Store is an aggregator site, and these are a lot more complex to sort out classification for. What Apple seems to be doing is adding ratings to films that it knows the [BBFC] rating for, and not the rest."

TechRadar contacted Apple about this and sent over the list of unrated films. A spokesperson for the company got back to us, defending its lack of ratings.

"Apple uses its own rating system for all movies so if there are any missing, they will be rated as soon as possible.

"The understanding is that the BBFC doesn't yet have all the studios on board and we only want to use one ratings system."

Over 1000 films rated

We put this to the BBFC and it responded: "There are already over a 1000 films with online certificates from Disney, Warners and Fox available for aggregators to use.

"We are talking to the rest of the studios and all major aggregators, but the decision to join is theirs."

As of today, the list of movies still go unrated on Apple's site.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.