I ask ChatGPT about the classification scheme in Australia.
What ChatGPT Says:
Q: Hi, how do I figure out the age rating for a story/novel/novella in AUstralia?
In Australia, the classification of books, including novels, novellas and stories, is done by the Australian Classification Board (ACB) which is an independent government body that makes classification decisions based on the guidelines and criteria set out in the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995.
The ACB assigns a rating to books based on their content and themes, such as violence, sex, drug use, and language, among others. The ratings are as follows:
G (General): Suitable for all ages.
PG (Parental Guidance): Suitable for most people, but parental guidance is recommended for children under 15 years of age.
M (Mature): Suitable for people aged 15 years and over.
MA15+ (Mature Accompanied): Suitable for people aged 15 years and over, but not suitable for children under 15 years of age.
R18+ (Restricted): Suitable for people aged 18 years and over.
To figure out the age rating for a story, novel or novella, you can contact the Australian Classification Board and request for the classification of your book. You can also submit the work to the board for classification. The board will then read the work and make a decision on the classification based on the criteria and guidelines.
It’s important to note that the classification of books is not mandatory in Australia, so not all books will have a rating assigned by the ACB. However, if a book has been classified, it will have the rating prominently displayed on the cover, and it’s illegal to sell or distribute a book in Australia without a rating.
Q: Do ebooks, printed books, or audiobooks need classification in AUstralia?
In Australia, the classification of books, including ebooks, printed books, and audiobooks, is not mandatory, meaning that it is not a legal requirement for these works to be classified by the Australian Classification Board (ACB). However, if the classification is done, it is illegal to sell or distribute a book without a rating assigned by the ACB.
Publishers, authors, or distributors who wish to have a book classified can submit their work to the ACB for classification. The ACB will then read the work and make a decision on the classification based on the guidelines and criteria set out in the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995.
It’s worth noting that while the classification of books is not mandatory, some online retailers or platforms may require that books have a classification before they will be sold or distributed through their platform. This is to ensure that the books they sell are appropriate for their audience and to avoid any legal issues.
In case of ebooks and audiobooks, the classification is not mandatory, but still the Australian Classification Board (ACB) may classify them based on the same criteria as the printed books.
It’s always a good idea to consult with the ACB or a legal professional if you have any specific questions about the classification of ebooks, printed books, or audiobooks in Australia.
What Anna Says:
This tallies with what I know about classification in Australia. In the groups I’m part of, it’s actually recommended to NOT get your ebook, printed book or audiobook classified, as it causes restrictions to be placed on publication. The important exception is where you have violence or erotica included in your text or cover.