British Board of Film Classification RSS feeds and Movie metadata

The BBFC have several RSS feeds on their site, carrying information about their judgements on various cinematic works for a UK audience. Recent film decisions, recent adult (sex) videos and films, etc. Each entry in the feed points to a descriptive page and summarises a BBFC judgement in a simple textual description, eg. “The BFC gave the English language video LES PERVERSIONS 5 a rating of R18 on Thu, 10 Feb. Consumer advice is not supplied for R18 titles. the video is directed by Sineplex.“.

While their adult feed is interesting in the context of the debates around Web filtering etc., the mainstream feed is also interesting. It has textual information about sex, violence, drugs etc., which could easily be exposed in machine-processable form if they’d used RSS 1.0 + IRCA/RDF labels. Both make the semantic web point about data-reuse – since they can be used for finding things as much as for not finding things.

The BBFC gave the English language film TABLOID a rating of 18 on Fri, 28 Jan. This film contains STRONG SEX, VIOLENCE, LANGUAGE AND DRUG USE. The film is directed by David Blair. The cast includes Matthew Rhys, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, David Soul, John Hurt, Stephen Tompkinson, Art Malik, Dani Behr, Keith Chegwin, Ainsley Harriott, Gail Porter, Beverley Callard, Les Dennis, Danny Dyer, James Hewitt, Freddie Jones, Vicky Holloway, Vikki Thomas and Anna Kumble.

I’ve been thinking about how FOAF could better support recommendation systems, eg. around MusicBrainz for music, or systems like MindSwap’s FilmTrust for movies. For movies, one core issue is quite simple: providing unique identifiers for films (direct or indirect, eg. via a page that has some film as it’s primary topic). BBFC or IMDB pages, or movie homepages, could serve such a purpose. Unfortunately, the world of movies doesn’t yet have a good open-content licensed database, unlike music, where we have MusicBrainz. Until we agree on some tricks for identifying things like movies (and actors, …), we won’t get the data integration needed to have a really rich Web-wide movie review system.

We will eventually, I am sure, see a framework in which various sites aggregate and syndicate such opinions, either numerical ratings or (more likely I think) textual reviews. Often I’m quite interested to see how a movie was perceived by people I disagree with, or have never met. The CapAlert site is often entertaining, for example. All these sources (as well as smaller community datasets) will be mixed together in a metadata marketplace. Information that some people use for filtering, blocking and avoiding will be used by others for searching, browsing and discovery. It’s just a matter of time before we’ll be using W3C’s new SPARQL technology to query BBFC judgement feeds, FOAF+review data from sites like like Filmtrust and other weblog-based data sources… Anyhow, definitely check out the Filmtrust site if you’re interested in movie metadata and ratings.

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