On Wednesday, Vimeo announced it is bringing content ratings to its videos. As of today, videos on Vimeo will have a little badge next to their title, labeled as one of three types: All Audiences, Mature, or Not Yet Rated.

In short, Vimeo is looking to ensure its site isn’t blocked at schools and businesses, remaining accessible to all audiences. The content ratings let viewers know what’s in the video they’re about to watch, and the company says that it is working on eventually offering “an option to filter out mature content.” Vimeo also says it will use these designations, at some point in the future, to help viewers decide which types of mature content they want to see and which they’d like to filter out.

rating Vimeo announces content ratings: Videos will now be marked for All Audiences, Mature, or Not Yet Rated

Here’s how it works: Vimeo now asks creators to tell it if there’s nudity, violence, profanity, or illegal substances in their videos, which can still be uploaded to the site as long as they comply with its Guidelines. Based on the categories they select — or don’t select — one of the above badges will appear next to a video’s title.

In other words, Vimeo won’t be manually labelling the videos itself. Furthermore, those who never upload videos with mature content can mark everything as appropriate for all audiences in their global video settings.

That being said, Vimeo moderators will be changing misrated videos, and locking in the changes. If you’re found to be intentionally misrating your videos to shock or confuse people, your account may be closed or restricted.

The company notes that mature content can be anything from “essential to artistic expression” to “decidedly less essential for certain audiences, such as children, office workers with their computer speakers turned up too loud, and people who’d rather not encounter particular things.” Instead of simply banning “boobs, blood, and curse words,” as Vimeo put it, the service will simply let content creators mark their content appropriately.

Vimeo is apparently willing to strike a balance between users who might be offended by some content and everyone else. The company’s stance is as follows:

As the home for exceptional original videos and the people who make them, we have an unflinching belief in the integrity of visual storytelling, including — in some cases — material that may make some viewers uncomfortable. But the truth is that one cannot ignore the naked, the violent, and the swearing when striving to capture the breadth of the human condition. Uncomfortable subjects, even discomfort itself, are essential components of our shared experience, and artists need the freedom to express them.

There’s a fine line between filtering and censorship, and Vimeo appears to be doing a great job walking it, so far.

See also – Vimeo continues as YouTube’s foil: Now lets you tip creators, plans to introduce paywalls next year and Vimeo previews upcoming pay-to-view service for creators, coming to PRO members early 2013

Image credit: Ariel da Silva Parreira