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MPAA Ratings Crackdown
Archives of fanfiction on the net have traditionally grouped stories according to rating (i.e. X, R, PG-13, PG, and G), so that everyone knows what to expect before they read a story. But it turns out that their use of the rating system may be illegal. A few fanfiction writers have apparently begun receiving cease-and-desist notices from the MPAA demanding that they stop using the rating system since it's the intellectual property of the MPAA. The people receiving these notices can hardly believe they're real. And other people are puzzled as well. Riba Rambles summarizes:

Some are wondering if this isn't a hoax. Not only has this practice [i.e. rating fanfiction] been going on for years without incident, but so far only smallfry individuals have reported receiving notices, rather than major archive sites. Others question the MPAA's legal standing pointing out that the MPAA's trademark specifically states its use for motion pictures, and besides there's no profit in fanfic to go after. Meanwhile, a few people are having fun suggesting useful (and silly) alternate ratings systems.

My guess is that the cease-and-desist notices are real. As with the Eiffel Tower copyright issue, it's another example of the strange lengths to which copyright and trademark enforcement are being taken. Or rather, another example of lawyers with nothing better to do.
Law/Police/CrimeLiterature/Language
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 17, 2005 Comments (21)
Also, if some mom looks over her kid's shoulder & sees a "PG" rating on fanfic & it doesn't seem appropriate to her...she'll get on the MPAA's case b/c it's THEIR rating system. With the rates of frivolous lawsuits in the U.S. it's no wonder this didn't happen earlier.

I remember a lot of parents not allowing their kids to rent cartoons that had an "NA" rating. I tried to explain that "NA" simply meant that the movie had not been rated by the MPAA, or it pre-dated MPAA rating system. A lot of black & whites have an "NA" rating b/c they were around long before the rating system went into affect.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  07:00 AM
OK, here's a brand-new ratings system that I'm authorizing anyone to use free of charge

eX
aRrgh
PeeGee13
PeeGee
Gee
Posted by hibiscusroto  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  07:35 AM
My guess is also that they are probably real. I don't remember the marks in detail, but if they are trademarks then U.S. law dictates that they must defend the trademark from general acceptance by the public. Basically, if people start using something you've trademarked in the general public and you don't try to stop them, the trademark becomes surrendered to the public and the owner loses the ability to enforce their rights. The best example is "aspirin" generally used to describe pain killers, which if memory serves belonged to "Bayer" as a trademark on salicylic acid.
Posted by ReadbackMonkey  in  Ottawa, Canada  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  09:26 AM
IIR, trademark issues are why the MPAA started using the NC-17 rating. They had never trademarked X and it ended up being used in ways they had never intended. Since NC-17 is trademarked it can't be used without permission, although I don't know that I'd be interested in an adult movie labeled NC-17NC-17NC-17 ACTION!!!
Posted by Charybdis  in  Hell  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  10:04 AM
On a somewhat related note, I've noticed a few PG-13 movies that have come out lately with "Partial Nudity" or "Nudity" in their ratings description at the bottom. When did nudity become okay in the PG-13 rating? This is the first time I've seen that.
Posted by Silentz  in  general  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  10:55 AM
Actually, some of the first movies with a PG-13 rating had nudity. Check out The Woman in Red 1984. It contained the lower frontal half of Kelly Lebrock naked.
Posted by Charybdis  in  Hell  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  01:45 PM
I think you can even say "fuck" up to two times in a PG-13 movie.
Posted by joemono  in  Portland, OR  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  04:02 PM
One of my friends got one, so I know they're really receiving the letters. I can't see why anyone would start sending these out in jest...unless they have waaaaay too much time on their hands.
Posted by cantwaltz  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  08:31 PM
Actually, Bayer lost their trademark on "Aspirin" in many countries because of their being a German company and World War One happening.

It's still a valid mark in others, e.g. Canada.

See the Wikipedia article.

Carl
Posted by Carl Fink  on  Fri Feb 18, 2005  at  11:44 PM
Bayer lost the "Aspirin" trademark to Sterling; Sterling lost it for the aforementioned reason. There are plenty of other examples, such as "thermos" and "cellophane" -- both trademarked, but inadequately defended, thus they became generic terms.
Posted by John  on  Sat Feb 19, 2005  at  10:49 PM
Sixteen Candles (Molly Ringwald) is rated PG. There is at least one F*ck, and breast nudity in a shower scene. It's PG! For my family's rating system: if I were watching this movie...would it be okay if my mom heard/saw that?? My mom is one of those people that changes it if there are too many G-D references. A girl I worked with at the video store had a '3 strikes & it's out' type deal. 3 of any violation...nudity, f-word variations, explicit anything...it was off. Although, the only exception she made was with horror films. Blood & gore was okay. I'll pretty much watch anything...I get that it's not REAL & I'm an adult now & not easily influenced by the media.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Sun Feb 20, 2005  at  07:30 AM
See that's why I never bothered with the raitings on a movie anyway. They never make sence. I would rather my kid see some boobs than someone getting killed any day of the week. I mean, I generally let her see things up to a PG-13. "Signs" was rated PG. It scared the crap out of me but because it didn't have exessive swearing or nudity it didn't rate the 14A I would have given it.
Posted by Terry  on  Fri Feb 25, 2005  at  01:36 AM
Looks to be real. FanFiction.Net, the largest fanfiction archive out there, has just adopted a new rating system from http://www.fictionratings.com.
Posted by Sam  in  California, USA  on  Mon Mar 28, 2005  at  04:53 PM
I think that the rating system has lost all morals and try to justify all the scenes of sex and nudity and it is way to easy to allow a person under thirteen to see PG-13 movies.Nudity is now acceptable in PG13-rated movies, as long as it is said to be non-sexual in nature, filmmakers are now free to show men or women totally nude from behind running around doing whatever as long as it is not in a sexual context. The MPAA claims to rate the movies to prevent kids from seeng the "bad stuff" but they rely on kids to buy the movie tickets. Anyone of any age can buy a ticket. If the parents of a 10 year old were to drop him off at the mall and he goes to the theater and asks for a ticket; he will not be denied admittance to a PG-13 film.
Posted by Chris  in  Texas  on  Sat Apr 23, 2005  at  12:41 AM
A LOT LIKE LOVE SUCKS AND SHOULD BE RATED R!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! excaim
Posted by Bob  in  texas  on  Sat Apr 23, 2005  at  12:44 AM
Chris said:

"I think that the rating system has lost all morals and try to justify all the scenes of sex and nudity and it is way to easy to allow a person under thirteen to see PG-13 movies.Nudity is now acceptable in PG13-rated movies, as long as it is said to be non-sexual in nature, filmmakers are now free to show men or women totally nude from behind running around doing whatever as long as it is not in a sexual context. The MPAA claims to rate the movies to prevent kids from seeng the "bad stuff" but they rely on kids to buy the movie tickets. Anyone of any age can buy a ticket. If the parents of a 10 year old were to drop him off at the mall and he goes to the theater and asks for a ticket; he will not be denied admittance to a PG-13 film."

Nice rant, Chris. The only problem is that it has almost NOTHING to do with the subject of this thread.

By the way, what's the big deal about a child seeing a naked body? You don't have mirrors around your house?
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Sat Apr 23, 2005  at  02:39 AM
wow.. are the MPAA really that big of pricks? i agree with the previous poster that there are too many bored lawyers in this country.. ridiculous

and i dont understand america's (speaking generally here) horror at nudity. I assume it dates back to the puritan ideals early in the country's history. Or perhaps its the christian influence.. where you're taught that your body is holy and yet also a vile disgusting thing.

also, to clear things up, some 80s movies seem a bit more risque because before 1984 there was only PG and R. Even when PG13 came around (due to Speilberg's Gremlins and the Temple of Doom) PG didnt become really watered down until the mid-90s.

Its strange what the rating system has done to movies.. I love R movies because I feel that the story is less restricted and can be told as originally intended. Some movies are even pegged R or PG13 for adult themes and nothing else, which in my opinion restricts movies that aim for PG in more ways than just language and nudity. I don't mind swearing or nudity violence can sometimes be a way to bring power to a movie than cant be done otherwise (imagine schindler's list without the violence) in any case sometimes I will be watching a PG movie and suddenly hear the word "damn" and I almost feel as though I should be offended simply because it's PG (even though 'damn' is allowed). It's as though I'm inadvertantly searching for something to be outraged about..

anyway i guess what im saying is that ratings are important cus otherwise who could distinguish an innocent kids movie from a splatter fest, but i think the current ratings system is out of date and kids shouldnt watch stuff that gives them nightmares but completely shielding them (to the point where a person's behind is extremely offensive) isnt good for them either. Some of the movies from my childhood that I most remember and hold very dearly were rated PG13 or even R (or equivalent) and they havent turned me into a druggie/slut/serial killer raspberry

sorry this turned into more of a comment on the ratings system in general rather than the MPAA's severe ego problem.
Posted by rhea  on  Tue Jun 28, 2005  at  09:35 PM
blank stare come on who cares really!!! I think the children reading the fics have good judgement and If they think it is too appropriate they should stop reading it so stop messing us up!!!
and PeeGee so so stupid........

just saying...................
Posted by smily  on  Tue Nov 08, 2005  at  09:45 AM
Great Movie - I loved it, I was just a little shocked with the shower shot (of a older teenage girl in a shower, you can see her breasts and "the water" is used to make it a really sexy shot) I think the rating needs to be changed to at least pg-13, if not R for nudity, Others wise great story: Summary below

Girl's 16th birthday is forgotten due to the commotion of her older sisters wedding. She gets really p*ssed off, and curses a lot. Basically she goes through a day mad, and has this huge crush on this guy.

NOTE: This movie shouln't be PG due to nudity, cursing, suggested sex, a "sex" test asking questions such as "have you every touched it?" and "Have you every done it?". The movie also has to do with guys paying to see a girl's underwear (a geek gets hold of a pair of girls underwear and uses it to claim he had sex with a girl" This movie also had teenage partying (drinking) and lots of references to sex. Keep the kiddies away, otherwise great movie.
Posted by Friend of Movies  in  USA  on  Sun Jan 29, 2006  at  04:33 PM
I think many people especially most mothers are way to over protective when comes to nudity but then let kids watch some guy get his head chopped off. As long as its not some steamy sex scene what the hell is the problem with some nudity
Posted by TK  on  Sat Feb 23, 2008  at  04:58 PM
@Rhea:I totally agree with you, on everything you have said. yeah PG movie did get watered down until the mid-90's. i guess thats when i noticed it to? smile
Posted by class of fitness  on  Fri Jul 22, 2011  at  03:13 PM
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