BFI Mediatheque policies

Policies for the new BFI Southbank Mediatheque and its free, venue-based digital service

House rules for usage

The following rules are in the interest of fair use and encouraging a pleasant viewing environment for all.

  • There are no time limits on mediatheque user sessions. However, during busy periods you may be asked to limit your session in order to allow other visitors to access the mediatheque content. This will be done with reasonable notice by staff.
  • The mediatheque space is a mixed age space; please be mindful of content accessed in the shared area.
  • The mediatheque space is designed solely for the purpose of accessing the mediatheque content on the dedicated terminals available; any other use of the space is prohibited and you will be asked to leave if you are occupying space but not accessing the content.
  • Please switch mobile phones off or to silent during your visit and be mindful of conversation levels whilst in the mediatheque space.
  • The recording or photographing of mediatheque content is strictly forbidden.
  • Help with using the mediatheque is available at the Box Office or in the library should it be needed.

BFI Southbank Mediatheque content restriction policy


The BFI Southbank Mediatheque provides free access to digitised material from the BFI Archive on dedicated research terminals in the BFI Southbank venue. Nearly all digitised material held in the archive can be viewed via the mediatheque. However, in some cases specific works may have access restricted by the BFI. This policy sets out those restriction principles.

Digital material may be restricted from access in the BFI Southbank Mediatheque on the following grounds:

  • Legal restriction

    This restriction is applied to works that would put the BFI in breach of UK law if it was made accessible via the mediatheque. It may also apply to works that were/are subject of a complaint upheld by the UK regulator Ofcom (and its predecessors). It also takes into consideration individual rights agreements for the works and any restrictions therein.
  • Strategic restriction

    This restriction is applied to content that is strategically important to the BFI’s cultural programme and would undermine the BFI’s cultural and/or commercial plans if it was made accessible via the mediatheque: this restriction will be of limited duration. The strategic restriction also applies to contemporary works acquired by the Archive for preservation: in most cases this restriction will be time sensitive and after a defined embargo period the content will be made accessible via the mediatheque.
  • Appropriateness restriction

    This restriction is applied to sensitive works that are considered to have a very high risk of causing significant and damaging offence should they be made accessible via the mediatheque. Only in the most extreme examples of sensitive works will this restriction be applied. In most cases works will not be restricted and, subject to our awareness, sensitive works will carry appropriate warnings and if available a BBFC certificate, so they can be accessed at the viewer’s own discretion.

How will the restrictions be implemented?

BFI curators will be responsible for identifying and marking works restricted in the BFI Southbank Mediatheque.

Decisions will be based on a set of definitions and guidelines on how to apply the three restrictions to mediatheque content.

All content marked for restriction will be ratified by the Head Curator and in complex or controversial cases also by the Head of Collections and Information.

The BFI reserves the right to apply these restrictions at any time and withdraw digital content from the mediatheque without notice.