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 2000: April-June

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17th June   Legal Hardcore

Truely remarkable news is now filtering through from the meeting at the Home Office mentioned below. The indications are that the Home Office has accepted the recent R18 judgement and will now be requiring the BBFC and Customs to amend their guidelines. It is not entirely clear whether they will try and impose a limit based upon the current R18 compromise hardcore (short snippets only, no close-ups, anal sex nor cum-shots).  Initial reports from conversation with the Home Office suggest the compromise position but others have got the impression that full hardcore will become legal for both UK purchase and import.

Recent worries about extended prohibition seem unfounded but there may increased regulation regarding making hardcore available to kids. There is also a feeling that the Obscene Publications Act will fail Human Rights tests presumably because it allows people to be put in prison without defining exactly what they have done wrong). However no-one seems to have yet come up with an alternative.

The satellite hardcore channel Adult-X have been applying a lot of pressure on the Government. They have been lined up for a proscription order but on the other hand if they are pushed, they may well challenge our creaking laws in European Court and cause even more grief to the Government.

In the mean time it would be interesting to hear if anyone gets porn opened by customs, whether seized or let through, it will certainly confirm or refute some of the above indications of change.

12th June   Goings on at the BBFC Home Office

There is to be a meeting next week at the Home Office now doubt to discuss the State's latest attempts to try and maintain the corrupt ban on adult consensual porn. The BBFC will be turning up along with, Police, Customs and the IWF. The BBFC seem to be keenly awaiting a convenient and rushed little piece of research concerning the experiences of those who work closely with traumatised kiddies. The BBFC have promised to review their guidelines by July so that will certainly give an indication of battle lines to be drawn

In the meantime the BBFC are predictably refusing to alter their ludicrously repressive guidelines (now illegally by my reckoning). So guess what, 9 more videos that have been hanging around the BBFC for 18 months are now up for another mega-appeal.

I have also heard that Customs have also not changed their guidelines so they too are continuing to break the law in that they seize material which is readily and legally available in UK shops.

8th June   Jumping Mad Jack

I have received some feedback about how Jack Straw responded to the Judical Review victory:

As you know the BBFC got stuffed on the judicial review. This has really set the cat amongst the pigeons and I fear it may have sent that poor man Mr. Straw totally over the edge. Word filtering down, is that Straw is apoplectic, foaming at the mouth, chewing the carpet and in need of restraint and medication. But seriously...the news is that having been beaten in every legal challenge re the R18 matter the establishment is now resorting to time honoured behaviour... if other people play by the rules and beat you...well, change the rules! Straw is of a mind to tack an amendment on to the upcoming Sexual Offences bill, to the effect that the R18 category would simply cease to exist. Prosecutions re "hardcore" material would no longer fall under the Video Recordings Act (or even the OPA) but under the new Sexual offences bill. Based on the assumption (despite the fact that there is no proof, but hey why let a little thing like standards of evidence get in your way) that such material causes harm to children suppliers would then face a possible prison sentence and (as we are now talking sex offences) they would also have to sign the SEXUAL OFFENDERS REGISTER!! The strongest allowable material would be "18" standard.

Its hard to believe, but thats the line of thought being pursued by the Home Office/BBFC. What can you say...they are absolutely and completely barking fucking mental, in a saner society we would laugh them out of office but sadly we live in sad, retarded, oppressive Olde Englande and these lunatics have power over our lives! I feel in my water that a beleagured and really crap Labour Party that is deservedly adrift in the polls would be strangely attracted to a WAR ON VILE PORN MERCHANTS in the hope of recapturing its fair weather friends in the right wing press...can you imagine how much the Daily Mail would love a morality campaign.

There are other implications. I guess for example that all existing R18 product would have to removed from the shops...and if you say that children can be harmed by pornographic videos, then they could equally be harmed by pornographic magazines...so I guess that's the game up for magazine publishers as well!

Finally would Mad Jacks ideas stand up to EU Human Rights legislation...is prison and social ignominy proportionate to the offence of flogging a bit of harmless, jolly smut...I think not, is the offence clearly defined (the BBFC currently believes for example that a cock in a mouth is obscene but an arse freshly sprayed with spunk is not...Can you explain that one, I can't) and backed up with proof...no. Some comfort there then...except that my recent experience of the BBFC/HOME OFFICE is that little things like the law, justice and common sense don't really come into the equation....

 

6th May   Last House Latest

Good new from Leicester as reported by Simon Osborne. A few entries in the halls of shame & fame I think

A horror film featuring "explicit and sadistic sexual violence" is to be screened in Leicester after councillors granted it a certificate.  Last House on the Left will be shown on June 25 at the Phoenix Arts Centre as part of a special one-day event featuring its leading actor, David Hess.

It will be the first time the film, which was refused a certificate by the BBFC in 1972, will be publicly shown in the UK. Six out of the seven councillors on the city's licensing sub-committee voted in favour of allowing the film to be screened under a special licence.

Their decision was welcomed by the Phoenix's Head of cinema and media, Alan Alderson Smith, who described it as a ground-breaking move. He said: It is a small thing, but it is a very significant thing. It puts a crack in the BBFC argument for not giving the film a certificate."

The BBFC had objected to eight minutes of images showing the horrific stripping, rape and knife murder of two women, which its German distributor refused to cut.

The councillors reached their decision after watching the film in private session yesterday. Liberal Democrat Councillor Anne Bunce said: I think it is absolutely degrading to women. It is absolutely horrendous. But I have no right to censor or tell the people of Leicester what they should or shouldn't watch. Sub-committee chairman Coun Winston Nurse said he had watched a worse film on Channel 5.  Vice-chairman Abdul Osman voted against granting the film a certificate.

3rd May   The Last House in Leicester

Spotted in the Leicester Mercury

Arts centre in horror film row Campaigners want a horror film featuring explicit and sadistic sexual violence to be banned in Leicester. The Phoenix Arts Cinema, Newarke Street, is seeking permission from Leicester City Council to screen The Last House on the Left.

The 1970s slasher movie, by Scream director Wes Craven, has been denied a cinema release for more than 20 years in the UK. A number of retailers were prosecuted in the 1980s for illegally selling and hiring a video copies of the film. It was again refused an exhibition certificate two months ago by the British Board of Film Classification. The censor objected to eight minutes of images showing the horrific stripping, rape and knife murder of two women which its German distributor refused to cut.

Craig Lapper, assistant to the director, said: The board concluded that The Last House on the Left is not suitable to for cinema exhibition because of its explicit and sadistic sexual violence. The Phoenix wants to show the film, containing the controversial eight minutes of footage, on June 25 as part of a one-day event featuring its leading actor David Hess and Texas Chainsaw Massacre star Gunner Hanson. It has applied to the city council's licensing sub-committee for a special licence to screen the movie and has provided members with a video copy to view before they make a decision on Tuesday.

Head of cinema and media at the Phoenix Alan Alderson Smith said: We will use the film to discuss the whole rationale behind censorship. No-one is claiming this film is four-star entertainment but it is interesting in many respects. But John Beyer, director of the media watchdog, the National Viewers and Listeners Association, called on councillors to stop the film being shown. He said: It sounds absolutely appalling. Depictions of these types of brutality should not be tolerated in a civilised society. The council should ban this film.

 

1st May

  FilmFour Claims to be Uncut

FilmFour bannerEarly FilmFour advertising claimed that films were shown uncut. The reality of FilmFour's policy was that they did not make any further cuts to those imposed by the BBFC. The false advertising claims were then taken up with the Advertising Standards Association (ASA) with the following result in May 2000

Complaint

Objections to national press advertisements, direct mailings and an internet advertisement, for a broadcast film channel, that stated “Films uncut and uninterrupted. Just as the director intended. No compromises”. The complainants, who believed the advertisers were required by the Independent Television Commission (ITC) to censor films to the same degree as a British Board of Film Classification (BBFC)-cut video version, challenged the claim.

Adjudication

Complaints upheld

The advertisers said they operated a premium subscription film channel that had gained a reputation as the “film buff’s film channel”. They maintained that their reputation was built on high editorial standards and quality control. They said they restored titles to the “director’s cut” wherever possible; they claimed that they proactively restored films to their original versions if their age or changes in the BBFC regulations allowed it.

The advertisers asserted that they showed advertisements only between films: all films were shown “uninterrupted”. They believed their audience was aware of the ITC Programme Code, which limited the broadcast of certain material; they considered that viewers would interpret the claim in that context.

The advertisers nevertheless accepted that they were subject to ITC regulations. They explained that in 1999 they showed BBFC-censored video-certificated versions of 22 films: those comprised 1.6% of all films shown. They said that if possible they reframed shots or “pixillated” them instead of removing sections of footage. The advertisers supplied the titles of those films that they had restored for broadcast and those films for which the BBFC video-certificated version was a slightly censored version of that shown in cinemas.

The advertisers’ analysis showed that most films broadcast with BBFC-enforced cuts for video certification had had less than one minute of footage removed. The Authority acknowledged that the advertisers showed films uninterrupted by advertisements. It nevertheless noted that 22 films had been broadcast in a censored version. Although it understood that the advertisers were bound by the ITC Programme Code, the Authority considered that the claim “Films uncut … Just as the director intended” was not true of all films broadcast by the channel. The Authority asked the advertisers to consult the Committee of Advertising Practice Copy Advice team before advertising again.

 

28th April   Censorship 4 Idiots

Lars Von Trier's The Idiots originally caused a rumpus as it features a few fleeting scenes of explicit penetrative sex. The BBFC kept their cool on this occasion and granted the film an uncut 18 certificate. The video version also escaped unscathed. Channel 4 have now scheduled the film for a broadcast on FilmFour but the human rights abusers at the ITC have stepped in to insist that penetrative sex has no place on TV. (Though they were previously OK about it when the Adult Channel broadcast the Lover's Guide video).

Channel 4 have therefore had to censor the movie but they have promised to make amends by organising a webcast of the excised scenes on their website. They are also organising of forum on censorship. Good on them.

The Idiots will show on FilmFour on May 5th and later on in the year on Ch4.

24th April   A Hackneyed MP

A shameful Labour MP last month called on London Underground to order a cover-up of some of the increasingly explicit soft-porn magazines on sale at newspaper kiosks on the Tube.

Margaret Moran, chairman of the all-party committee investigating domestic violence, believes that commuters and tourists should not be confronted with sexual material that depicts women as sex objects, and says that some displays may be easily visible to young children.  I'm not against people reading these magazines, and I'm not calling for censorship, I accept that they are readily available in most newsagents. But why should fare-paying customers have to put up with them when they travel on the Tube? (A classic and shameful: I don't believe in censorship...but...)

It wouldn't be so bad if they were placed along a top shelf or covered up apart from the titles, as is done by some responsible outlets. I think the availability of this material just creates a rather sleazy image when the Tube should represent all that we should be proud of about London. (I think that the censorship of this material just creates a rather sleazy image of a Government that represents  all that we should be ashamed of about London).

A London Underground spokesman said: It is totally unfair to single out the Tube. None of our concessions sell porn. They do have adult magazines, as does every newsagent all over the country. We abide by the law of the land and do not allow anyone to sell magazines which contravene that law.

12th April   Avoiding Obscenity

I have been informed of a couple more items of news that confirm the reluctance of our persecution services to use obscenity law when it comes to dealing with porn.

The Crown Persecution Service have decided to drop the obscenity case against the porn mail order operation recently tried at York Crown Court. The jury there failed to reach a verdict. Of course the state don't want to see the defendants go unpunished (even though they have not been found guilty of any crime) and are trying to confiscate the video recorders etc that were used in the operation in return for the dropping of proceedings.

Now the fact that juries fail to find in favour of the state is not going to be used as evidence that obscenity law is out of date. Instead, they are simply going to use the noxious Video Recording Act which only has to show that video material has not received official state sanction. You wouldn't expect JackBoots Straw and Co to show respect for democracy now would you.

As an example I have been informed of a case where someone was recording porn from various hardcore satellite channels and selling the tapes. The unfortunate victim of a raid by police and Trading SubStandards has resulted in an up and coming prosecution. The authorities are not going to use the Obscene Publications Act but will prosecute under the Video Recordings Act. Lets hope the juries see through this perversion of the law. After all, the defendant pointed out that it is perfectly legal to subscribe to and view the channels concerned. In fact a little interesting research and extrapolation from data from a satellite shop suggests that there may be as many as 600,000 hardcore viewing cards in use in the UK.

9th April   Extreme Concern
Today's Sunday Mirror was going a little over the top with the following shock horror bollocks:

SICK WRESTLING VIDEO GOES ON SALE IN BRITAIN

Sick Wrestling Video Goes on Sale in Britian

A barbaric form of wrestling in which competitors attack each other with machetes and razors has arrived in Britain.

Extreme Championship Wrestling is a big hit in America and now a video game of the bloodthirsty "sport" is going on sale here. There are versions for Sony Playstation, Nintendo 64, Sega Dreamcast and GameBoy - raising fears that youngsters will be exposed to scenes of savage violence....

9th April   Amateurish Hardcore

The hardcore porn channel, Adult X, will focus future programming on amatuer material eg live amateur shows, which will include; erotic games, contests, strip-teases, amateur videos, etc. AdultX's 'Home Video Show' will be the first amateur-erotic series, and will feature submitted home-videos from the European public. AdultX have recently introduced a new "TV Channel Of Real Amateur Sex" slogan to promote its new route in programming, and is also advertising for participants to take part in the new shows.

From next weekend, Adult X are starting themed evenings, eg Sunday is Slutday and gay porn features on Manday Monday.

 

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