Voluntary Media Rating

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Table of Contents

Introduction Motivations Advantages Ratings Graphics Metadata Examples History Contact Appendix FAQ



Introduction

The VoMeR – or Voluntary Media Rating – is a content rating system for creators of literature, art, music, film, video games, phone apps, web or other forms of new media. It is meant for global use, transcending international borders.



Motivations

The system was initially devised for US-based filmmakers frustrated with the limitations and arbitrary classifications of legacy film rating organizations; the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and Film Advisory Board (FAB). However, it has been augmented to work with all media worldwide. With the continued growth of global internet usage, creative works increasingly transcend geographic borders. So creative producers need a simple, decentralized system of content rating.

Furthermore, if a particular title exists in multitple media - for example a graphic novel, which is translated to a motion picture and a video game - then having a common rating system (or rating) among all formats provides incredible convenience and consistency while minimizing confusion.



Key Advantages

  • Complete disclosure – system provides much finer classification of content than previous rating systems.
  • Parental Control – much more beneficial to parents in making choices for their children.
  • Flexible – provides for more age-appropriate levels.
  • Immediate – Filmmakers no longer need “This film is not yet rated” wording for imminent releases.
  • Greater control for filmmakers – avoid political and religious censorship.
  • Transparent & Decentralized – No mysterious, dubious committees.
  • Free – No licensing or trademark issues. Ratings and graphics are public domain.
  • International – Same rating for a given title in multiple countries.
  • Consistent system across various media formats.
  • Avoids future Federal Trade Commission (FTC) crackdown on 'NR' (Not Rated) media.



Ratings

Content producers self-rate their content with the Voluntary Media Rating system. There are two levels of parental admonishment; with Adult under [ wA < ] and Restricted under [ Rc < ]. The admonishment level is refined by the age number.
Rating your content is very simple. There are two informative parts to the voluntary self-rating; a Letter+Age code and disclosure details.

The letter designations work in conjunction with ages:

  Ev Everybody
  wA < [age] with Adult supervision under [age]
  Rc < [age] Restricted content under [age]

The disclosure section should use adjectives such as ‘mild,’ ‘brief’ or ‘extreme’ to qualify language; ‘implied’ or ‘graphic’ to qualify sex; ‘brief,’ ‘graphic,’ ‘emotional’ or ‘extreme’ to qualify violence, etc.   Moralistic tone or judgements such as ‘Deviant Behavior’ should be AVOIDED, as such assessments are highly subjective, misleading and counter-productive.

Note these ratings are recommendations by the content creators or distributors. How they are applied is up to parents, educators, websites and theatre operators. The differences between wA and Rc admonishment codes allow for many content and viewer situations. For example, Rc < 14 makes sense for sex-education materials, while wA < 14 makes sense for content with sporadic cussing.



Graphics for Marketing and Packaging

It is now recommended that content creators utilize the following graphics templates, which are public domain. (Use freely and often!


or Inverted:


High-Resolution Graphics for free download (right-click to 'Save Link As')
Template .PNG .PSD (CS3 compatible) .SVG
Ev vomer_template_Ev.png vomer_template_Ev.psd (avail soon...)
wA < 6 vomer_template_wA6.png vomer_template_wA6.psd (avail soon...)
wA < 10 vomer_template_wA10.png vomer_template_wA10.psd (avail soon...)
wA < 13 vomer_template_wA13.png vomer_template_wA13.psd (avail soon...)
Rc < 13 vomer_template_Rc13.png vomer_template_Rc13.psd (avail soon...)
wA < 14 vomer_template_wA14.png vomer_template_wA14.psd (avail soon...)
wA < 17 vomer_template_wA17.png vomer_template_wA17.psd (avail soon...)
Rc < 17 vomer_template_Rc17.png vomer_template_Rc17.psd (avail soon...)
Rc < 18 vomer_template_Rc18.png vomer_template_Rc18.psd (avail soon...)
These graphics are Public Domain - download & use freely and often!

'Decker' or other Sans-Serif fonts should be used for readability. Alternatively, the entire graphic can be created with an HTML table, as shown in Examples.



Metadata Embedding

Metadata methods and XML namespaces are in the works for the VoMer system. Please stay tuned…

Currently we're researching Dublin Core®, MPEG-7, and SMPTE methods.

With regard to DCI (Digital Cinema Initiatives) DCP mastering, metadata is very straightforward. The CPL (Composition Playlist) section of the DCP (Digital Cinema Package) is an XML, human readable header that has a field called 'Rating.' This is where the VoMeR rating code shall be included.

With regard to ATSC transport streams, the recommended practice is placing VoMeR rating information into the PSIP's (Program and System Information Protocol) RRT (Rating Region Table). { dimension_name="VoMeR"; dimension_index=[highest number of rating dimensions used]; grad="0" } Content Advisory Descriptor information to be defined. VoMeR Rating enumerations for the RRT are below.

ATSC RRT rating enumerations: VoMeR
  code (hex)   rating
 0x0 Ev
 0x1 wA <  6
 0x2 wA <  8
 0x3 wA < 10
 0x4 wA < 12
 0x5 wA < 13
 0x6 wA < 14
 0x7 wA < 17
 0x8 Rc < 12
 0x9 Rc < 13
 0xA Rc < 14
 0xB Rc < 15
 0xC Rc < 16
 0xD Rc < 17
 0xE Rc < 18
 0xF [reserved]

With regard to the MP4 media container, it is possible to use typical metadata editors to write rating codes into the files. However, there is not yet a consensus on which metadata fields to use. We're working on it though.

With regard to iPhone and Android apps, we're also researching metadata methods.

If you wish to volunteer to help define these methods, please get in contact.

Please note that the system is ready to use in low-tech mode (graphics and text).



Examples

The best way to understand the VoMer system by studying some examples of ratings codes with possible corresponding disclosure details.

Ev
 
Family Fantasy

Voluntary Media Rating: vomer.info

wA < 6
 
Mild Action; Carton Violence

Voluntary Media Rating: vomer.info

wA < 14
 
Emotional Themes; Brief Language; Intense Action
Voluntary Media Rating: vomer.info

Rc < 12
 
Mature Themes; Mild Language

Voluntary Media Rating: vomer.info

Rc < 14
 
Supernatural Horror; Brief Sexuality; Intense Violence
Voluntary Media Rating: vomer.info

wA < 17
 
Nudity; Adult Themes

Voluntary Media Rating: vomer.info

Rc < 17
 
Graphic Sex; Caustic Images; Torture
Voluntary Media Rating: vomer.info

Rc < 18
 
Drug Use; Gore; Extreme Violence; Graphic Sex; Extreme Language
Voluntary Media Rating: vomer.info



History

The VoMer system was created in 2010 and first adopted by US-based indie film Spectrauma, which the producers gave a wA < 14 rating as detailed below:


Contact

Contact us via email: info [a t] vomer [d o t] info
or on facebook .

Let us know if you're using the system, we'll list your film/media title here! Also, post links to your media from our Facebook page.



Appendix

Equivalent VoMeR, MPAA, ESRB, BBFC and FSK ratings.

  VoMeR   MPAA   ESBR   BBFC   FSK
  Ev   G   EC   U   FSK 0
  wA < 6   [n/a]   E   [n/a]   FSK 6
  wA < 10   PG   E 10+   [n/a]   [n/a]
  wA < 12   [n/a]   [n/a]   12A   [n/a]
  wA < 13   PG-13   T   [n/a]   [n/a]
  wA < 14   M*   [n/a]   [n/a]   [n/a]
  wA < 17   R   M   [n/a]   [n/a]
  Rc < 12   [n/a]   [n/a]   12   FSK 12
  Rc < 15   [n/a]   [n/a]   15   [n/a]
  Rc < 16   [n/a]   [n/a]   [n/a]   FSK 16
  Rc < 17   NC-17   [n/a]   [n/a]   [n/a]
  Rc < 18   X*   AO   18 / R18   KJ
  * = archaic



FAQ

Q: Since the rating system is public domain, does that mean I'm required to make my film public domain or creative commons?
A: No, You can of course still copyright and control your content.

Q: Can I still use other rating systems along with VoMeR?
A: Yes, that is your choice. However, depending on the situation, that may defeat the purpose.

Q: I'm a U.S. filmmaker and like your system. If I use it, will the MPAA/Hollywood blacklist my film?
A: Spineless filmmakers can never achieve anything great. Let your voice be heard. Stand for a principle. Do not tolerate bullying or intimidation.

Q: I am a film producer in [insert country name]. Will I get in trouble with my country's film authority or censor board?
A: Depending on the country, there could potentially be implications, so use at your own risk. Ask your legal counsel if you have any doubt. With regard to use within the United States, our lawyers see no legal isses in adopting the system. VoMeR and its affiliates, however, will not be liable for any legal woes which you may encounter.





This page, all rating codes and all graphics are PUBLIC DOMAIN - use freely and often!