ATVOD was sacked from its job as the Video on Demand censor a few weeks back. Ofcom has now taken over the role from 1st January 2016.
Ofcom has just published a paper outlining transitionary arrangements for Video on Demand Censorship and has outlined proposals for future changes to processes. Ofcom is consulting on these proposals and invites responses by 1st March 2016.
Ofcom will take on some employees from ATVOD and in the first instance the ATVOD censorship rules and processes will be continued. However Ofcom makes the following proposals for the future:
Service providers will still be required to register for censorship using more or less the same impossibly convoluted rules that currently exist (perhaps with improved explanation).
Ofcom proposes that service providers should no longer be charged a fee. (Ofcom note that the marginal cost to extend current TV censorship processes to Video on Demand are not great).
Ofcom will reorganise the complaints procedure along the lines of that used for broadcast complaints
Ofcom will rewrite the censorship rules in the style of the TV broadcast rules but substantive content will not be likely to change much as it is basically derived from EU and UK decrees.
ATVOD, the UK Video on Demand censor, has published the result of an appeal to Ofcom which resulted in the confirmation that the Daisy
Rock UK website is subject to suffocating censorship by ATVOD.
An appeal by the service operator against an ATVOD determination in November 2014 that the website was an on-demand programme service and therefore subject to regulation by ATVOD was rejected by Ofcom.
The ruling means that the Daisy Rock UK website -- which provided access to a range of explicit sex videos - must comply with an ATVOD Rule which requires services to keep explicit sex videos behind onerous and unviable access controls which
ensure that children do not normally see them. The website operator had been found in breach of that rule in November 2014 and had brought the service into compliance pending the outcome of the appeal.
In order to fall within the scope of the regulations overseen by ATVOD, a service must satisfy a number of statutory criteria, as set out in section 368A of the Communications Act 2003. One of these is that the principal purpose of the service is the
provision of programmes the form and content of which are comparable to the form and content of programmes normally included in television programme services. The provider of the Daisy Rock UK service had argued that the principal purpose of the
website was to operate as a fan club for an adult porn performer and that the video content was not comparable to TV programmes. The Ofcom decision supported ATVOD's original ruling that the principal purpose of the website was to provide TV-like
programmes, noting that the provision of audiovisual material was the main offering of the service and that the videos themselves were comparable to the type of adult sex material included in certain premium subscription and pay per view television
channels -- even though the content was stronger than that allowed on UK TV.
The UK rules overseen by ATVOD implement an EU Directive which makes clear that the rules are intended to apply to services which are mass media and which compete with television broadcasts services. The provider of the Daisy Rock UK service had
also argued that the low turnover of the service meant it was neither mass-media nor in competition with television services and therefore placed it outside the scope of the Directive. In upholding the original ATVOD decision, Ofcom also rejected this
ATVOD Chief Executive Pete Johnson commented:
The decision to uphold the ATVOD ruling makes clear once again that hardcore porn videos on adult websites may be subject to the ATVOD rules even if they are too explicit to be broadcast on UK television channels. It also makes clear that services with
low turnover fall may within our remit.
Video on Demand censor ATVOD has taken action against 8 adult companies operating 21 websites. 6 of the services
didn't abide by ATVOD's unviable and onerous age verification requirements and 2 contained spanking material, which ATVOD claims is banned under an undemocratically introduced government decree.
In fact spanking material is banned because the Crown Prosecution Service unilaterally claims that it can be successfully prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act. This claim is surely not backed up by recent jury trials, but is maintained by
offering attractive plea bargains to victims being prosecuted to accept a guilty rap rather than go to jury trial. The Crown Prosecution Service writes the porn censorship rules used by the BBFC, and ATVOD in turn, uses the same CPS defined rules as
maintained by the BBFC.
Ultimately ATVOD and the government are making the bollox claim that spanking videos are somehow likely to 'deprave and corrupt' viewers. A claim that's provably nonsense as for all the many people that enjoy the likes of Dreams of Spanking, there simply
aren't any examples of people who have been depraved and corrupted its viewing, not even ATVOD staff.
The two services which featured 'banned' material -- The Bondage Mistress Club and Dreams of Spanking are the subject of ongoing enforcement action. If they fail to become fully compliant in accordance with a strict timetable set by ATVOD,
the service providers will be referred to Ofcom for consideration of a sanction, a procedure which can lead to operators being fined or having their right to provide a service suspended.
The six other services -- Joybear Pictures, Sunday Sport XXXtra, UK XXX Pass, Lisa Cross, Luke's Lair and Lucy Zara -- had all failed to have in place robust mechanisms for preventing under 18s from accessing pornographic material which
would be restricted to adult licensed sex shop customers if distributed on a DVD. Two of the services -- UK XXX Pass and Luke's Lair - had allowed any visitor to view such material free of charge. The remaining four restricted access to hardcore porn to
paying customers only, but accepted the most common forms of payment which theoretically could be used by under 18s.
Following ATVOD's intervention, all six services acted to make changes to bring the service into compliance or closed until such action could be completed. Of these, Joybear Pictures and UK XXX Pass acted in advance of the final breach ruling, while the
remaining four acted in accordance with deadlines set in Enforcement Notifications issued at the time the breach was confirmed.
ATVPD notes that two of the providers recently brought into compliance have since submitted claims -- currently under investigation - that the services have now been transferred to the control of persons based outside the UK. ATVOD has no powers in
relation to services operated from abroad and on-demand services provided from outside the UK -- but accessible within the UK - are rarely required to have in place the sort of age verification and access control systems required by ATVOD.
Comment: Amongst the authoritarian, sanctimonious twats of this world
23rd August 2015. Thank to Alan
I write from a civilised country, in which material illegal under the Dangerous Pictures Act can be shown on terrestrial telly, with the kiddiwinks
protected only by the late hour of broadcast. Maybe I should extend my holiday.
My first reaction to reading the ATVOD determination was laughter. How could anybody write this sanctimonious, po-faced drivel without rolling on the floor pissing his boxers (or her knickers) with uncontrollable, hysterical mirth? Among the
authoritarian, sanctimonious twats of this world, Johnson has shown himself to be the Michelangelo of authoritarianism, the Leonardo of sanctimony and the Raphael of twattishnesss.
One small mercy, I suppose, is that Pandora's real name is redacted. She was seriously concerned that it might be released. (I know of only two models/actresses in the spanking field who have let their demonstrable real name be known, and a couple of
others who have used the same name -- real or assumed -- for spanking and other modelling work.) The more serious aspect, of course, is that PB has had to put Dreams of Spanking on hold until she can win an appeal against this idiocy. My acquaintance
with the woman is extremely limited -- confined to the exchange of a couple of emails -- but she comes across as a thoroughly likable person.
Update: Ariel's Sponsored Caning
24th August 2015. Thank to Alan
It is interesting to note that one of the films singled out for a kicking was Ariel's Sponsored Caning - produced specifically to raise money for the fight against ATVOD, and made available free under Creative Commons.
The well known adult tube site PornHub has recently moved into a premium subscription video service characterised as a Netflix for porn.
The website produced an advert for the new service referencing Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese.
The advert depicts a middle-aged couple shopping in the supermarket, where the man asks the woman: Why don't we get this aged Parmigiano-Reggiano? They say it's the Pornhub Premium of cheeses.
An overly sensitive Italian governmental agency tasked with protecting parmesan is now considering suing PornHub over claims of the vulgar use of cheese.
The consortium strictly regulates cheese-making in Italy, meaning that only products made in Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, and parts of Bologna and Mantova can legally carry the name Parmigiano-Reggiano. Lawyers working for the organisation are
currently considering whether PornHub has damaged the image of the product by comparing its new service to their highly-protected cheese.
In a statement seen by The Guardian , the consortium said the advert was not only distasteful and unacceptable, but offensive for our producers and their work . It went on to accuse Pornhub of vulgarly exploiting the fame of the cheese,
rather than simply using the term parmesan, which is also widely recognised in the US.
I built this site so I would have something that was completely my own. This is the project that was meant save me from having to compromise myself, my alternative to spending the best years of my life working for other people. Dreams of Spanking
represents my creative independence, my sexual self-acceptance, and my financial stability. It's mine, I made it, it works, it was the biggest thing I'd ever done - and just as it started to pay me a wage, it's being taken away from me.
Pornhub, a vast network of online adult content which attracts a 6 million visitors a day, has launched Pornhub Premium, a paid
subscription platform it calls Netflix for porn .
For $9.99 a month, members will receive access to exclusive, full-length HD videos, along with the ability watch the rest of Pornhub's 3m videos without being subjected to pop-up ads and with faster video playback and higher streaming quality. The
service will complement the company's free offering.
While Pornhub describes the new site as Netflix for porn , a more apt point of comparison is Spotify, which also offers a free, ad-supported version to go along with its core paid product. Considering the challenges unique to its space, if Pornhub
finds a way to convince users to cough up cash every month, it will pose an instructive model for the rest of the digital content industry.
The Guardian has published an article presumably based on a government press release:
David Cameron is to give pornography websites one last chance to produce an effective voluntary scheme for age-restricted controls on their sites or he will introduce legislation that could see them shut down.
In a consultation to be launched in the autumn, the government will seek views on how best to introduce measures to further restrict under-18s' access to pornographic websites.
The industry, in the shape of either UK-based websites or internet service providers, will be given an opportunity to develop proposals to block content through payment providers, such as advertisers and other means.
The consultation will also consider the best form of legislation should voluntary agreements not work. A regulatory approach could see primary legislation introduced to make it an offence in the UK to publish pornography online without age
verification controls, possibly with a regulator to oversee and enforce controls.
The government recognises the spread of the internet makes it a challenge to find a form of legislation that would cover such sites both in the UK and internationally. The government has raised the prospect of setting up a pornography regulator
to oversee the process and fine firms that breach either legislation or the voluntary guidelines.
The aim is to ensure that the rules that apply offline apply online, giving parents the peace of mind of knowing that their children can use the internet safely.
Cameron said his government was working:
To make the internet a safer place for children, the next step in this campaign is to curb access to harmful pornographic content, which is currently far too widely available. I want to see age restrictions put into place or these websites will
face being shut down.
The minister for internet safety and security, Joanna Shields, said:
As a result of our work with industry, more than 90% of UK consumers are offered the choice to easily configure their internet service through family-friendly filters -- something we take great pride in having achieved. It's a gold standard that
surpasses those of other countries.
Whilst great progress has been made, we remain acutely aware of the risks and dangers that young people face online. This is why we are committed to taking action to protect children from harmful content. Companies delivering adult content in
the UK must take steps to make sure these sites are behind age verification controls.
UK VoD industry forced to cough up half a million quid so that 3 staff and 3 fat cats can investigate 55 complaints, of which 10 were upheld and 10 are ongoing. That's 22,000 quid spent for each happy complainant
No wonder ATVOD keep banging on about on about their campaign against hardcore porn websites. There's not much else to do.
ATVOD writes in its press release:
The Authority for Television On Demand , co-regulator of editorial content in UK video on demand services, has today published its annual report detailing steps taken by ATVOD in the year to 31 March 2015 to protect children from hardcore porn on
regulated video on demand ( VOD ) services.
Twelve services, operating across 137 websites, were found to be in breach of the statutory rules in 2014-15 because they featured hardcore porn material which could be accessed by under 18's.
Of the twelve services, eight acted to make changes to bring the service into compliance or closed, and two were the subject of ongoing enforcement activity at year end. The remaining two were transferred to the control of a person or company
established outside the UK. ATVOD has no powers in relation to services operated from abroad and on-demand services provided from outside the UK are not required to have in place the sort of age verification and access control systems required by
ATVOD in the UK to protect children from hardcore pornography.
Given the ability of adult website operators to place their services beyond the reach of current UK regulations, ATVOD counsels against complacency and has continued to encourage policy makers to consider how children might be better protected
from pornography online.
ATVOD Chief Executive Pete Johnson said:
We have made good progress in ensuring that UK operators of regulated VOD services comply with rules designed to protect children from harmful content, but we are not complacent and will continue to monitor relevant services and act as required.
Our enforcement activity has sent a clear message that UK providers of hardcore pornography on demand must take effective steps to ensure that such material is not accessible to under-18's. Asking visitors to a website to click an I am 18 button
or enter a date of birth or use a debit card is not sufficient, if they are going to offer explicit sex material they must know that their customers are 18, just as they would in the offline world.
ATVOD will continue to discuss with policy makers further options for reducing the exposure of children to pornography and other potentially harmful VOD material on websites based both inside and outside the UK. We strongly support initiatives
designed to improve the take up of parental control software and worked with the Department for Culture Media and Sport on the drafting of legislation introduced in December 2014 which prohibits on UK based, tv-like VOD services any material
which would not be classified for sale on a DVD.
Looking forward, we note with interest the Conservative Party manifesto commitment to require age verification for access to all websites containing pornographic material.
Chairman Ruth Evans notes that she is standing down from the role in 2016.
Ruth Evans is now set lead the British government's Payments Strategy Forum, which is currently being assembled to bring together the U.K. payments industry and representatives of all those that use payment systems. She will begin her new role on
July 27 while still helming the title of chair for ATVOD.
As chair of the Payments Strategy Forum, Evans will be responsible for guiding and progressing discussions among stakeholders, including card payment systems operated by Visa and MasterCard, as well as direct debit processors. Evans' slot will be
independent of the industry but appointed by and accountable to the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), the new economic regulator for U.K. payment systems that became fully operational in April.
They really seem to be going after young Pandora. The classic "you couldn't make this up" bit is
that they actually get their knickers in a twist over the free video made by Pandora and Amelia Rutherford (aka Ariel Anderssen) as a fundraiser for fighting against ATVOD!
And this on the day in which Carole Cadwalladr, interviewing Max Mosley in the Observer, says S&M has gone mainstream.
Adult entertainment industry representatives met at a roundtable meeting with the UK VoD censors of
ATVOD for a discussion over age-verification compliance.
The discussion, instigated by ATVOD, IFFOR, ICM Registry and the Adult Provider Network, also took an inward look at how the adult entertainment industry, domestically in the U.K. and worldwide, could evolve and adapt with onerous new rules put in place
and ones that could be on the way.
A central question was, Can the adult industry coalesce and work with the authorities over existing and proposed new rules?
Steve Winyard of ICM Registry, which operates the registry for .xxx, .porn, .adult and the upcoming .sex top-level domain sites, said that the real question is:
How far are people willing to be compliant when the hammer comes down?
Most of the big companies [in the online adult entertainment industry] control 80-90% of adult content across the world,. If they come to the table, the rest of the operators would have to follow.
The thinking is that in a world of ID theft, few customers will be willing to trust small websites with extensive personal details or else their credit card details. And even if they trust them, even fewer will want to make the effort of typing in such
details just to browse a website to see what is on offer.
The natural final solution is that customers will only use, big, well known companies that can be trusted with personal details, and that can offer a massive enough choice of porn such that customers don't have to keep entering ID details for
And of course the end game will then be a US mega mall monopoly for porn along the lines of Amazon, eBay, iTunes and Play. And no doubt it will charge adult content providers the going rate of about 30%.
At the meeting, ATVOD's Cathy Taylor fielded queries for 20 minutes on the new AVMS rules and the government statement over site blocking domestic and foreign adult websites. Taylor was joined by ATVOD chief censors, Ruth Evans and Pete Johnson, at the
Winyard of ICM Registry spent another 20 minutes on how the adult business worldwide is reacting to the AVMS directive and whether the industry can work with the British government on proposed new regs.
Chris Ratcliff of Portland TV (Television X) and the Adult Provider Network spent 10 minutes on what role should the adult trade play in the debate and whether age-verification is in the future for all adult sites.
The meeting was also attended by Sex & Censorship's Jerry Barnett, obscenity lawyer Myles Jackman, Vince Charlton from the US trade group ASACP and IFFOR's Sharon Girling.
Update: Details of ATVOD censorship censored
21st May 2015. Thanks to Sergio
One Eyed Jack originally posted a podcast of the meeting but it seems that this has had to be taken down on 'legal advice'.
So the meeting that was called to explain the status quo in the censorship of adult videos on websites is reprehensibly censored.The segment of the UK adult industry who could not attend are not to be informed about practical details of the current
interpretation of ATVOD's onerous and suffocating age verification requirements.
Update: View from America: Britain is to become a world leader in internet censorship
Britain is to become a world leader in internet censorship, instituting Chinese-style internet filters to block pornography,
unless websites agree to check the identities of all visitors -- risking creating a database of British porn viewers.
Sold to the public on the pretence of protecting children from being able, either intentionally or accidentally, to view pornography on-line, sexual websites will soon be required to know exactly who is viewing them. By checking identities through
government databases such as local government or the Royal Mail, or though third parties such as banks or mobile phone operators, the government hopes to force companies to assume a child protection role.
Although the system being administered by the Digital Policy group is designed to keep the identities of those accessing adult material secret, privacy campaigners have said the databases will inevitably be fallible, and could allow the details of
individuals, and what they view, to fall into the hands of third parties.
The Guardian reports the comments of free speech campaigner Jerry Barnett, who said:
We know that privacy in such cases is often breached by accident, by hackers, or secretly by the police and intelligence services.
This is the state, yet again, intervening in people's private lives for no reason other than good old British prurience and control-freakery... I don't believe [The Government's] plans can be achieved without drastically changing the face of the
Britons may soon face ID checks to access adult material on the internet, according to discussions between the government and groups from the beleaguered
UK adult trade.
A scheme proposed by the industry group, The Digital Policy Alliance, would see adult sites verifying visitors' identity with organisations such as banks, credit reference agencies or even the NHS. Adult websites would offer visitors a choice
of identity providers -- from Vodafone to the Department for Work and Pensions -- to vouch for their age, O'Connell said. The user would sign in to the provider with a username and password, and a check would be run against the data it holds. To boost
privacy, checks would pass through an anonymising hub . This strips identifying information in both directions of the request. In theory, the provider never knows the reasons for the checks, and the site never knows users' true identities, just
that they are over 18.
It comes ahead of an expected new law demanding age checks for online pornography and threatening a block on any sites which don't comply. It is a key Conservative pledge. But critics say the plans are a privacy nightmare. Some warn they are a step
towards Chinese-style internet restrictions. Myles Jackman, a lawyer specialising in obscenity law said:
This is cutting-edge censorship. We are now becoming the world leaders in censorship. And we are being watched very closely from abroad.
British-based sites have had to make stringent age checks since 2010, using credit cards, the electoral roll and credit reference agencies. It's a quite intrusive means of identifying age, said Chris Ratcliff, chief executive of Portland TV, which
runs Television X. Many customers simply go elsewhere, he said. Ratcliff, a key member of the DPA's age verification working group, expects government action by the end of the year.
According to Tory proposals, a regulator would have the power to block sites that don't use stringent enough checks. Observers believe this will be the Authority for Television on Demand (Atvod), which currently enforces age-check and obscenity rules on
UK streaming video sites. The result of ATVOD's 'enforcement' is that it is near impossible to run a UK site within the current rules and has led to the UK industry losing out to foreign operations.
The legal situation is also confused. Ratcliff said it was unclear whether new rules would make content not behind age filters illegal. Jackman added:
As a matter of international law, I don't understand how it can possibly work. And I don't understand how it can work under the Obscene Publications Act. It's just being made up as they go along.
The stub of the UK adult trade that has been persevering with ludicrous British censorship required, eg Ofcom rules only allowing softcore TV, believe that acceptable age verification may be a benefit, but this seems unlikely. As with eBay, Amazon,
Apple, and Google, once governments start making life tough with onerous rules and red tape, only the largest operation have large enough economies of scale to handle the burdensome expenses, so creating a natural monopoly. and as the US has the largest
markets, so they can grab the lion's share of the market.
And as for the kids, there's already enough porn knocking around on hard drives to keep them happy for decades. Perhaps they will just go back to swapping porn mags, or the modern day equivalent, 64GByte memory sticks with enough porn to last a year.
And as a final thought, It is not clear that the security services would be very impressed if half the population of Britain were forced into using VPNs and the like. It would make life an awful lot tougher to keep track of the bad guys.
Pandora Blake has done sterling work in opposing ATVOD's nasty censorship grab of anything on the internet with video. She writes in a blog entry about the inevitable attempt by ATVOD censors to get their own back:
I thought I was going to be devastated to receive the letter, but when I opened it I just felt numb. I'd known it was coming. It was inevitable. I'm one of the most visible producers in the UK porn scene who is standing up and opposing the new laws. I've
been writing blogposts, appearing on TV, distributing free protest videos and generally making a nuisance of myself. They joined my website for 5 days in January, so I already knew they were aware of me. It was only a matter of time before they sent the
I'm absolutely horrified by this, especially as Pandora is so conspicuously ethical (to the extent, to be honest, of sometimes pissing off other spanking erotica producers).
Another, nasty piece of empire-building by the toxic twats of ATVOD. Pandora's probably a target because she has been so vocal in her opposition to this idiocy. Not a clever move on the part of ATVOD, since they have managed to rally to Pandora's support
at least one of that class of person whom they might have expected to be porn-bashing cheerleaders for censorship, the robustly feminist Guardian journalist Zoe Williams.
There are a few factors that make this whole thing particularly stressful which I haven't mentioned yet. The most significant is this: if and when ATVOD issue their Determination against me (that is, the final step of their investigation process), they
are likely to out me. The way they are likely to do this is by publishing my legal name as the Service Provider of the site Dreams of Spanking on the list of 2015 Determinations on their website. Nearly all of the providers ATVOD have targeted so far
this year have been listed by their legal name.
This is depressing. It looks very much as if they're going after Pandora because she's had the bottle to stand up to these idiots. I very much hope that Jackman resolves the issue for her.
The whole thing seems ridiculous. This protecting children twaddle (where the children are adolescents aged 14-17) is a complete nonsense. Is the average modern young man REALLY so technically inept that he can't beat parental controls ?
ATVOD has announced actions against two adult services breached new Tory censorship laws
banning material on UK video on demand services which would be banned on DVD under the police censorship rules implemented by the BBFC.
Two providers of on-line porn have fallen vicyim of new regulations banning on a UK video on demand ( VOD ) service material which would be banned on DVD. The service providers also failed to keep strong fetish videos and hardcore porn images
behind unviable and onerous age verification requirements.
Banned pornographic material made available on the UK based services included videos of whipping likely to cause more than trifling harm, and the infliction of pain on a person who 'appears' unable to withdraw consent, even if filmed under totally
consensual and safe conditions. Also repeated strong kicks to the genitals which appear to draw blood. Such material has been prohibited on UK based VOD services since 1 December 2014 under new censorship rules introduced by the Tory government.
The findings by the Authority for Television On Demand ( ATVOD ) are the first it has made under the new prohibited material rule introduced by Government in December and comes as ATVOD issues new guidance on the statutory rules it enforces
following a three month consultation.
The two online video on demand victims are Glasgow Mistress Megara Furie and Mistress R'eal were held to be in breach of statutory requirements incorporated into ATVOD's censorship rulebook as Rule 11 (age verification) and the new Rule 14
(following BBFC R18 rules for VoD).
The UK based services allowed under 18s access to explicit hardcore and strong fetish porn videos which could be viewed on-demand. Yet the content of the videos was equivalent to, and in some cases went beyond, that which could be sold only to adults in
licensed sex shops if supplied on DVD.
Both services allowed any visitor free, unrestricted access to hardcore pornographic video promos or still images featuring strong fetish material and real sex in explicit detail. Access to the full videos was open to any visitor who paid a fee. As the
services accepted the most common payment methods, such as debit cards, which can be theoretically used by under 18's. However nobody seems to have actually documented any cases of any under 18s actually paying for porn with a debit card.
The operator of Glasgow Mistress Megara Furie closed the service within three days of the breaches being brought to their attention.
Enforcement action regarding the Mistress R'eal service is ongoing. If it fails to become fully compliant in accordance with a timetable set by ATVOD, the service provider will be referred to Ofcom for consideration of a sanction, a procedure which can
lead to operators being fined or having their right to provide a service suspended, as happened in relation to the service Jessica Pressley.
ATVOD has also published determinations that three further UK based adult websites - Lads Next Door, Panties Pulled Down and Montys POV , failed to keep hardcore porn videos and images beyond the reach of children.
Following enforcement action by ATVOD, the operator of the Lads Next Door service acted to bring the website into compliance with the relevant Rule. The operators of Panties Pulled Down and Montys POV failed to become fully compliant in accordance with a
timetable set by ATVOD. The service providers have therefore been referred to Ofcom for consideration of a sanction.
The latest rulings come as ATVOD publishes new guidance on the rules it enforces. Publication of the new guidance follows a three month consultation which began when the new censorship rules came into force.
Comment: ATVOD, the self appointed Pornfinder General
Critics of the new rules have long argued online viewers of niche pornography are still able to access content banned in the UK by watching videos filmed abroad, and new rules amounts to arbitrary censorship , while Myles Jackman, a British
obscenity lawyer said that the case showed regulators were making up their interpretation of obscenity laws as they go along .
A spokesperson for Backlash UK, which is campaigning to defend freedom of sexual expression, added:
Atvod have erected themselves - pun intended - as the UK's Pornfinder General.... The sole purpose of this new puritanism is mass control and surveillance, under the pretence of protection.
Megara Furie, who describes herself as a professional dominatrix, said that she had taken her site down immediately after she was informed by the censor. She now uses a more robust third-party operator to host her videos. She said:
The banned material, as far as I am aware was one ball kick, which resulted in the equivalent of a shaving cut and lots of blood because it was a testicle. I was happy to take that down. It was an eye-opener and I'll now be more selective about my
content. I wasn't aware I was breaching the rules.
Comment: Mistress R'eal appeals against ATVOD censorship
Mistress R'eal, the dominatrix whose scenes on Clips4Sale.com were the subject of a recent ATVOD probe and determination, has appealed the U.K. video-on-demand regulator's decision that she breached Rule 14.
With her appeal, Mistress R'eal also is challenging the legitimacy of the AVMS 2014 law. Currently, she faces a £10,000 fine and a ban on streaming online.
The videos that breached Rule 14 are:
A Bullwhipping in the Woods, parts 1 and 2,
Double Domme CBT and Pegs.
The scenes are explicit in the films, but they are like most BDSM content shown on a countless number of websites. For example, in Double Domme CBT and Pegs, a man is retrained against a cross and has weights attached to his bound scrotum, several pegs
attached to his body, and a violet wand played over his genitals,. While his arms appear to be free initially, it's implied (and seems to be the case) that his wrists are restrained quite early in the clip. He is also gagged (and appears to be unable to
speak with any real clarity) and has his legs bound. Hence his means of clearly indicating a withdrawal of consent is not apparent.
Mistress R'eal yesterday appealed against ATVOD's ruling that her site is in breach of regulations on the basis that the AVMS 2014 is not valid. Her appeal, according to SexAndCensorship.org , says the following:
I submit that the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014, which introduced sections 368E(2) and (3) into the Communications Act 2003, were made ultra vires the Secretary of State's power to pass secondary legislation under section 2(2) of the
European Communities Act 1972. Section 2(2) gives the Secretary of State the power to pass secondary legislation for the purpose of implementing any EU obligation or for the purpose of dealing with matters arising out of or related to EU obligations. I
note that the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (2010/13/EU) imposes an obligation on Member States to prohibit hate speech on ODPS (Art. 6); by contrast, it does not contain any obligation to ban content that may be harmful to minors from ODPS, only
an obligation to ensure that access to such content is appropriately restricted (Article 12). In the premises, I fail to see how the 2014 Regulations (and, by extension, section 368E(2) & (3) of the 2003 Act), could be said to implement an obligation
in the AVMS Directive or to deal with matters arising out of related to that Directive. The 2014 Regulations plainly go well beyond the scope of the directive -- and, in doing so, subvert the appropriate democratic process for dealing with an important
human rights (free speech) issue. In light of the foregoing, I submit that the 2014 Regulations and sections 368E(2)-(3), CA2003 are void -- as so, by extension, is ATVOD's Rule 14, which is based solely on the aforementioned sections of the
Communications Act 2003.
Designer Holly Gramazio makes games you play in person, at events and installations. But thanks to a very special set of rules--namely, the long list of sex acts suddenly banned in the United Kingdom --Gramazio was drawn to make a hilarious digital game
for the first time.
So when the UK's bizarre list of sex acts banned from pornography began making the rounds, Gramazio saw an opportunity to try making a digital game for the first time ( these sound like bad rules, she thought).
The result is Gramazio's Pornography for Beginners , released late last year. It's a charming game that sees the player visiting a porn shed to find all the little bits that make up a porn, from genitalia to faces and wine glasses. Thanks
to the natural limitations of PuzzleScript, the tool Gramazio used to make her game, the genitalia is limited to 25 pixels. Watching your screen fill with tiny dongs is hilarious, as is Gramazio's charming, winking writing.
A can't image mainstream video on demand companies are very happy about having to fund ATVOD's
expensive moral campaign against the adult trade. But it looks like they will have to stump up more cash as porn companies have been closed or forced to move abroad and hence no longer contribute to the costs.
ATVOD have written in its board meeting minutes for November 2014:
The high number of Super A [top tier of fees] debtors at 60 days or more was noted.
The Board DISCUSSED at length the potential increase in fees in 2015-16, which was likely to be necessary as a result of a shrinking fee base as consolidation took place in a maturing VOD market. It was acknowledged that ATVOD had achieved a good working
relationship with industry, and had established collaboration and built trust. The Board DISCUSSED cost reduction options and the paramount need to ensure that ATVOD had sufficient resources effectively to undertake its functions as a co-regulatory body.
The merits of maintaining a research budget were underlined. It was considered important that ATVOD should be open, honest and transparent about the cost of providing a high quality regulatory service for stakeholders.
The Board CONSIDERED that it was appropriate for stakeholders to be aware of the volatility of fee income from ODPS, and the impact on ATVOD. The Fees Consultation document would continue to provide additional detail about the specific activities that
ATVOD undertakes and the resources required.
Update: A high price to pay for ATVOD's censorship campaign
ATVOD are estimating that as well as suffocating all the small players in the VoD industry that the larger players will merge and consolidate and hence reduce in numbers. This decrease in 'Super A' players is having a deep impact at ATVOD, and to
maintain the lifestyle that they have grown accustomed to, they are proposing a large fee increase.
These Super A companies will be 'asked' to pay up an extra 14.9% whilst the smaller players will be 'asked' for an extra 5.7%.
ATVOD has identified two further adult services that breached its censorship rules requiring unviably onerous age
The findings by the Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) - which came on Safer Internet Day - bring to more than 170 the number of porn websites against which the censor has acted over the past three years.
The two online video on demand services, Daisy Rock UK and She Bang TV, were held to be in breach of a ATVOD rule 11 which requires that material which ATVOD considers might seriously impair under 18's can only be made available if access is blocked to
The services each broke the statutory rules in two ways. Firstly, they allowed any visitor free, unrestricted access to hardcore pornographic video promos/trailers or still images featuring real sex in explicit detail. Secondly, access to the full videos
was open to any visitor who paid a fee via the most popular payment method of debit cards, which may be held by under 18s.
It would be interesting to know if any under 18s have ever actually paid for porn with debit cards.
Following enforcement action by ATVOD, the operator of Daisy Rock UK acted to implement the business killing rules and also lodged an appeal with Ofcom against a separate ATVOD ruling that the service falls within what ATVOD claims to be TV-like.
The operator of She Bang TV failed to become fully compliant in accordance with a timetable set by ATVOD. The service provider has therefore been referred to Ofcom for consideration of a sanction.
Pandora Blake runs a very popular website on the theme of Spanking. She has taken a prominent role in opposing the Government's discriminatory new law censoring British porn, and particularly targeting kinks focusing on women's enjoyment of sex.
She has recently posted 3 articles on the topic:
Channel 4 debate on UK porn protest
You have all probably seen this already, but I haven't mentioned it here yet, on 12th December after the facesitting protest outside Parliament against the new UK porn laws, I was invited to debate the issue on Newsnight.
I finally got round to making a video blog about the new UK porn censorship laws. The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations (AVMS) 2014 impose dramatic restrictions on the sort of online porn that can be published in the UK, disproportionately
targeting fetish, queer and feminist porn with no reference to whether the content was ethically and consensually produced. These laws criminalise me and my site Dreams of Spanking, and put me and other independent UK porn producers in a very
precarious position. If you want to know more detail about the laws, exactly what is restricted, and how they affect me, watch this.
The best chance for me and every other producer affected by this is to join forces and support Backlash, the campaign group who are lobbying against these regulations, as well as defending freedom of sexual expression on many other fronts. The
best way to support them, if you can, is by donating hard cash. They explain on their website:
The majority of our income is spent on legal support for people who fall foul of laws and practises that criminalise, or discriminate against, their consensual and victimless sexual practises. We also endeavour to advocate our beliefs in such
freedoms and make challenges to the legislative process where we can.
Any producer who refuses to comply with these regulations and ends up in court will need every bit of support Backlash has to offer.
David Cameron's repressive and ludicrous porn censorship law draws US comments. New pornography regulations in the UK seem to be the latest in a series of campaigns against female sexuality. By Chris Chafin