of Rating Systems
From its first appearance, cinema has been widely considered to have an important impact on society in general and viewers in particular. This explains why Member States have taken care to regulate it strictly, particularly the content. At first, propaganda considerations dictated regulation of content, which was also intended to prevent a challenge to civic education through this medium. However, by the middle of the century the idea had slowly developed that content provided via the cinema could be harmful to specific groups of society (children, sensitive persons). Some specific rating bodies were then established, generally under the control of the public authorities, and acting as a monopolistic rating provider (with the exception of Austria, Portugal, and Spain). For the most part, this pattern is present in all Member States. Ratings issued are usually evaluative, assigning a suitable age category, which is decided using either a nondeterministic or semideterministic methodology.
Further to Article 15 paragraph 1 of the Bundes-Verfassungsgesetz (Austrian Federal Constitution), the legislative branches of the nine federal provinces may enact statutory provisions for the protection of minors. For practical reasons we have focussed here on the legal situation in the province of Vienna, which is typical of all the federal provinces.
Two acts are of interest in the context of protection of minors: the Wiener Jugendschutzgesetz 1985 (Vienna Minors Protection Act of 1985) and the Wiener Kinogesetz 1955 (Vienna Cinema Act). The Vienna Minors Protection Act