This month, the South Korean government will institute a ratings system that will require bureaucrats to screen music videos and movie trailers.
If a producer uploads a music video without censor approval, they could face up to two years in prison or a nearly $18,000 fine.
Of course, many in the K-Pop community are up in arms about this, with one rapper tweeting, “No more music videos for me!” and a music video director lamenting that the K-Pop boom may come to a halt.
By the end of August, you’ll likely see less of your favorite K-Pop stars on YouTube and the proliferation of music videos go down to a trickle.
With that said, is it possible that the United States could introduce the ratings system they use for movies and television to YouTube videos? It shouldn’t surprise anyone, though unlike the situation in South Korea, it is industry bodies that will most likely conduct ratings, not government officials.
Currently, YouTube does restrict non-users from watching videos and only users 18 and over can see content flagged as adult material. That will not likely stop a teenager from watching a grisly accident uploaded on YouTube since it’s easy to fake ages.
Whenever a new groundbreaking technology like online video captures a generation’s attention, moralists are bound to regulate the content. Censoring content is nothing new. For instance, the motion picture industry had no formal censorship until after a series of scandals and scandalous films prompted the studios to formulate guidelines dictating what can and can’t be shown on film. The Hays Code dominated filmmaking for four decades until the current rating system took effect in 1968.
Television also faced flack for showing scandalous material, which prompted Congress to make guidelines that would regulate television content beyond the already established nudity and profanity rules. You can thank Congress for setting up the TV ratings you see on the far left hand corner today.
History will likely repeat itself again; it will take a while, however, for ratings to become a reality on YouTube unless someone makes a fuss. Should that happen, expect YouTube music videos or other content to slow down to a trickle and frustrate many, many YouTube creators and fans for all eternity.