Brooks Barnes writes in today’s New York Times about the increased accessibility of “red-band” trailers, movie previews that contain R-rated material.
Over the last two years, movie marketers have flooded the Web with R-rated video ads known as “red band” trailers. While most trailers are approved for broad audiences, the red-band variety typically features profanity, nudity or other material deemed inappropriate for children….[T]he Web has proved extremely hospitable to them despite a difficult-to-enforce industry rule that restricts their release to sites that use age-verification tests.
Barnes describes what the MySpace executives call an “anomaly,” which made the controversial “Kick-Ass” trailer available without any age verification to ensure that it was only being seen by viewers 17 and older. John Phillips, chief executive of Aristotle, a maker of age verification technology, calls the MySpace security system “a ‘total joke,’ a ‘train wreck’ and a ‘continued embarrassment.'” MySpace counters that Aristotle’s system is also easy to fool. All of which means that the challenge for parents in protecting children from R-rated trailers with nudity, drug use, an 11-year-old shooting someone in the face and using extremely crude language and more is a little tougher — and even more important.