Back Row discussion of DVD


Established Member
Did anyone else catch the program on Radio 4 on Saturday?

Wasn't really all that interesting to be honest except for one point that really perked up my ears.

There was a guy from (I think) the Video Standards Council. He said that their position re classification / cuts were being completely undermined by people importing DVDs from abroad. He then went on (this is the interesting bit) to state that in his opinion Customs and Excise "policy" is to do nothing about this.

Having received Band of Brothers from CD-WOW with it plastered all over the package that it's a DVD costing £50, I can see what he means.

It appears that the government is taking a very liberal view on the personal importing of DVDs to the UK: The DTI don't care about multi region players, HMCE don't open DVDs to check on certification issues (I've never heard of anyone having had a package opened) and the treasury doesn't seem too bothered about collecting the VAT.

If they made the above officially policy, I'd vote Labour without hestitation!! :devil:


Established Member
People are under the impression that HMC&E's job (and the IR come to that) is to enforce the law. This is wrong. They are not there to enforce the law. What they are there for is to make money for the government. If all we were talking about is the gross tax figure then they would be opening every packet and charging people for everything. Obviously due to manpower/cost issues this is never going to happen, so what they are really going to do is maximise the tax take so it's as high as possible. Opening every jiffy bag with a DVD in it is going to result in a net loss so they're never going to do it.
'Course if they get the kit to automate it all with x-ray scanners then that'll be a bit different, but until then you will probably get away with it.

PS I don't think it's technically illegal to import video material that hasn't been certified. I think it's just illegal to distribute it within the UK. I stand ready to be corrected on that one though.


Standard Member
well it seems that we in the UK are very very lucky. The germans have severe problems with their "Zoll" their customs office. nearly every DVD from play, splashdvd and other online shops are opened and checked, even those under the 18quid (22€ in germany) threshold that should pass. They check most for illegal titles (ie titles that are banned in germany, now banned is the wrong name, u can buy them in any shop, they are not displayed, but it is illegal in germany for a shop to send them out via mail order)
I anxious to see what happens to my LOTR collector's edition from splashdvd, cost me 32quid and is well over the limit?
In luxembourg it's even better, there are no certifications hence we can buy R1, and any other region 2 (from germany, france, england, netherlands etc) that's what I call a free country:)
oh and I never had any of my DVDs from play checked.(neither in luxembourg nor england)

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