UK Internet Censorship

 2014: Oct-Dec



 Offsite Article: Cops and Throbbers...


Link Here 29th December 2014  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn
ATVOD with award for service to foreign industry Censorship, Regulation in the U.K. Gets Underway. By Ben Yates

See article from xbiz.com

 

  F*ck Filtering...

ASA blocks whinge about advert for an ISP that does not censor its customers


Link Here 26th December 2014

fuck filtering advert A magazine ad for a telecommunications company, Andrews and Arnold , appeared in Linux Voice and featured text that stated, Home :: 1 BROADBAND F*CK FILTERING .

The complainant challenged whether it was irresponsible to show the ad in a publication whose readership included children. C

Andrews and Arnold Ltd stated the publication was not targeted at children. They said that its cover price was far more than those of magazines aimed at children. Furthermore, they said that the only other way the magazine could be purchased was via subscription, which required a card payment.

Andrews and Arnold said that the publication had no appeal to children and was a minority interest to adults, with a readership of approximately 8,000. They stated that although the magazine was predominantly technology based in nature, it included articles regarding topics that were not appropriate for children, such as brewing beer. This they believed demonstrated the magazine's adult only readership.

Linux Voice magazine stated that they had not received any direct complaints regarding the ad. They stated that the magazine was targeted at IT professionals and adult hobbyists and that its newsstand price was out of reach for children, and that a credit or debit card was required to buy a subscription. They said that there were many outspoken personalities in the Linux community who used such strong language, including its creator, when strong opinions were being expressed.

Linux Voice stated that internet filtering was an issue which many people were very passionate about, hence the use of strong language. They said that the wording was not directed at a person or group, but was a reaction to a policy, reflecting Linux users' opinions that internet filtering was unwanted.

Assessment: Complaint Not upheld

The ASA noted the expletive in the ad was partly obscured but considered the intended meaning was still clear. However, we noted that Andrews and Arnold and Linux Voice stated that the magazine was not targeted at children and considered that, given its pricing and subject matter, which included technical matters and topics that would not be of particular interest to children. It was targeted at IT professionals and adults with an interest in computer software. Therefore, we considered that the magazine in which the ad was published was unlikely to appeal to children and concluded that it's placement was not socially irresponsible.

 

 Commented: An unpublished ATVOD newsletter reveals further censorship horror...

UK adult websites are facing the prospect that they will only be able to offer a few hundred BBFC censored titles to compete with foreign websites offering tens of thousands of uncensored titles


Link Here 22nd December 2014
ATVOD with award for service to foreign industry The UK's new internet censorship rules banning much mainstream porn content don't always ban face-sitting, ATVOD said in a closed newsletter disseminated yesterday.

ATVOD, which censors video-on-demand in Britain, revealed draconian new rules for the porn industry nearly three weeks ago. Under the new rules, introduced through the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014, content that would be cut by the BBFC is banned from UK VOD services.

Now as the BBFC cuts at least some content from about 15% of all mainstream R18's then at least this percentage of mainstream porn videos are now illegal to include on UK websites. In addition websites will probably have to self censor another 15% just in case the material may cross undefined lines.

Actually the BBFC cut 50% of R18s in the last calendar week for trivial and largely unpredictable reasons. This unpredictability could leave British webmasters with the only practical option to only include videos with an official BBFC R18 rating and all the trivially prohibited bits obligingly cut out. (Which is probably one of the intentions of the new law). Of course the rub is then that there are relatively few official R18s. A British website offering a few hundred censored videos would be competing with US websites offering a tens of thousands of uncensored videos.

UK media censor Ofcom has issued a revised designation allowing ATVOD the powers it needs to enforce the new rules.

Yesterday, in its newsletter, ATVOD clarified some details of what it will be focusing on while enforcing the new censorship rules:

Contrary to some press reports, the new regulations do not ban outright activities such as 'face-sitting' or 'spanking. ... HOWEVER ... they do mean that pornographic material which focuses on the restriction of blood or oxygen to the brain (which is potentially fatal) or on the infliction of lasting physical harm is now prohibited on U.K.

VOD services, as are pornographic scenarios featuring simulated incest [currently a very popular genre], rape or role playing as a child.

The new discriminatory rules also forbid U.K.-based online adult operators from distributing content that includes acts of female ejaculation, fisting and other types kinky content.

In the newsletter, ATVOD also hinted what might be next for foreign porn sites that allow access in the U.S.: A licensing regime. ATVOD said that it has worked with the U.K. payments industry --- including Visa Europe, MasterCard, PayPal, UK Cards Association, British Bankers' Association and Payments Council --- to design a process which would enable payments to be prevented from the U.K. to foreign porn services that allow children to access hardcore pornography.

Preventing payments from U.K. customers would disrupt the existing business model which is based on providing some content free of charge in order to attract visitors who are then encouraged to purchase premium subscription services. It would provide an incentive for foreign porn websites to introduce age-verification mechanisms in order to restart the flow of funds from the U.K.

The payments industry has made clear that in order to put such a process into place there would need to be greater clarity that foreign websites which allow children in the U.K. to view hardcore porn are acting in breach of U.K. law.

Representatives of the payments industry proposed that a licensing regime for foreign porn websites --- similar to that recently introduced for foreign gambling websites --- would be the best way of achieving such clarity.

Comment: ATVOD Idiocy

22nd December 2014. Thanks to Alan

letter writing Does the arrogance of these scumbags know no bounds?

They are quite open about their wish to impose this age verification nonsense worldwide, and to do so specifically by targetting web sites which behave ethically by offering free samples so that potential customers can assess whether or not they wish to purchase a membership. This is a disgrace. I hope that foreign jurisdictions will move robustly to disrupt ATVOD's idiotic control freakery.

Once again, we have the purported protection of children being used to treat everyone as a child. I can understand why opponents of this nonsense may wish to appear respectable by not directly confronting the notion that young people need to be protected, but I wish that they would do so. I very much hope that young lads (and indeed lasses) in search of a bit of naughty material will be able to circumvent ATVOD and parental controls. How old were these clowns when they first encountered smut? I was about fourteen. Are ATVOD staffers so congenitally thick that they only discovered porn at 40?

Over at Ofcom, the new boss is getting a salary for her censorious activities well in excess of the prime minister's headline pay, and maybe even better than Cameron's package including the rent of Number 10 and Chequers. The lunatics really do seem to be in charge of the asylum.

 

  Sorry if this is an inconvenient time, but would you like your internet censored?...

ISPs start hijacking people's browser sessions to ask them if they want to turn on the ISP's website censorship system


Link Here 22nd December 2014
BT logo

 

  Censoring Audiences in an Online World...

Ofcom publishes a report titled 'Protecting Audiences in an Online World'


Link Here 21st December 2014

protecting audiences Ofcom commissioned Kantar Media to conduct a series of deliberative research workshops with members of the public to understand what people think of current protections for audio-visual (AV) content delivered on different platforms and on a range of internet connected devices, and what protections they consider they should have both now and in the future.

Within this overall aim, the research sought to explore opinions towards protection and assurance options, namely: standards protections, content information signposts, and access control tools.

Selected key findings

Understanding and perceptions of current regulation

Regulation of AV content was considered to be highly important, yet there was limited understanding of how regulatory arrangements vary by viewing platform Overall (not focusing on a specific device or platform) the vast majority of participants thought that the regulation of AV content was highly important. The majority of participants had a very limited understanding of the current regulatory landscape, and particularly of how regulation varies by viewing platform. However, there was broad understanding that the internet generally was not a protected or regulated environment.

Devices: importance and expectations of protections

The research explored participants' expectations and perceived importance of regulation across a range of devices, drawing on uninformed discussion before participants were briefed on existing regulation and protection frameworks.

The regulation of TV sets was perceived as most important The majority of participants agreed that the often passive nature of TV viewing and potential exposure to inappropriate content meant that TV sets should be highly regulated, in particular, to protect minors and vulnerable individuals.

The regulation of more personal devices, such as smartphones and tablets, was considered less important as they were associated with more active viewing choices By contrast, the majority of participants, and particularly those of a libertarian viewpoint and the more technology engaged, attributed slightly lower importance ratings to the regulation of more personal devices such as tablets and smartphones, with viewing requiring a more active choice.

Similarly, participants also considered the regulation of laptops and desktop computers to be less important than TV sets due to the more active choice of viewing involved.

Games consoles were also perceived as relatively less important when compared to TV sets, with many participants failing to immediately recognise their role in delivering AV content.

However, the perceived importance of regulating personal devices increased when participants reflected on instances where they could be used by children viewing content unmonitored on private devices or via games consoles away from the main living room.

Platforms: importance and expectations of protections

The regulation of broadcast TV was considered most important Reflecting the discussion on devices, the majority of participants rated the regulation of broadcast TV as most important in light of the shared nature of viewing and the often passive choice of scheduled broadcast content. The vast majority of participants perceived broadcast TV as being generally safe, with perceptions founded on previous experience and the presence of well-established channel brands. For the majority of participants, brand perceptions extended beyond broadcast meaning people expected brands to retain the same quality standards regardless of method of delivery or point of access.

Most participants wrongly assumed that catch-up programming was subject to the same regulatory standards as broadcast TV because the content had previously been broadcast.

However, perceptions of the regulation of on-demand and other internet content varied amongst the participants There was broad understanding that the internet generally was not a protected or regulated environment.

However, participants' views on how this might be addressed varied widely. The more libertarian participants stated that on-demand services should not be as highly regulated as broadcast TV in light of the active choices made by viewers.

Conversely, those of more protectionist viewpoints associated on-demand services with TV-like content and thought that regulation was highly important.

For the vast majority of participants, regardless of their broader social attitudes, the greatest concern with other internet content centred on protecting children and vulnerable individuals from viewing unsuitable content. Protectionists favoured content standards as the most effective means of protecting people online, while libertarians were more likely to cite access controls as the best means of protecting vulnerable individuals yet still preserving online freedoms.

However, many participants, protectionists and libertarians alike, expressed doubts over the practical feasibility of offering meaningful protection and assurance online due to the vast volume of AV content and the international origin of services.

 

  Censoring and harming the interests of audiences and citizens in content services...

Ofcom consults on its plan of work to introduce further internet censorship in the coming year


Link Here 20th December 2014
Ofcom logo in 2014 Ofcom has played its part in a massive step up in internet censorship British adult websites. It has enthusiastically enforced the totally unviable age verification rules that have crucified British internet businesses involved in the adult video trade. It has embraced discriminatory new rules banning depictions of women enjoying sex and it has declared war on kinksters who enjoy the likes of spanking  and BDSM.

Now it is consulting on an ominous new extension of internet censorship that the government refer to as developing a common framework for media standards. Presumably this means that they are seeking to apply TV standards to the internet.

In what surely must be a gigantic disconnect with the basics of the English language, Ofcom ludicrously write that their repressive censorial nastiness is somehow beneficial. And Ofcom describe their work plan for the coming year in classic Orwellian doublespeak:

Protecting and promoting the interests of audiences and citizens in content services

Protecting audiences from potentially harmful content remains a priority for Ofcom. Next year, Ofcom will continue to work with other groups to promote the safety of audiences online. This includes working with the UK Council for Child Internet Safety to protect children and supporting the Government in developing a common framework for media standards.

Update: More proactive monitoring

29th December 2014.

Another worrying idea to extended censorship is:

Ensure content complies with broadcasting rules by taking a new targeted approach to our enforcement activities for TV broadcasters...Extending monitoring of TV content to detect content which raises issues of potential audience harm, particularly of channels about which we receive few or no complaints;

 

 Offsite Article: Squirt alert...


Link Here 19th December 2014  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn
squirt alert game The terms in this specific porn ban are pretty ridiculous to say the least and outright sexist, so we made this Android game to show how we felt about that.

See article from mikandi.com

 

 Update: Nick Clegg champions people's 'exotic' sexual kicks...

Whilst David Cameron confirms that he is a miserable censorial prat


Link Here 16th December 2014  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn
nick clegg Nick Clegg has slammed new porn laws which outlaws British websites from hosting supposedly harmful bedroom acts between consenting adults

Nick Clegg today warned prudish David Cameron to keep his nose out of people's exotic bedroom habits. He said:

The Government is not there to stick its nose in the bedroom, as long as people are not doing things which are illegal. It's not really for us to judge how people get their kicks.

Speaking at his monthly press conference, Clegg made clear the face sitting porn protestors have his support:

In a free society, people should be free to do things that many people might find exotic, at mildest, or deeply unappetising at worst. It's their freedom to do so.

But Cameron made clear last week he backs the repressive and business destroying new laws. He told a conference in London:

I feel that it's very important. In Britain we have rules about how you can buy pornography in the shop. I believe we should try and make sure you apply those rules when you buy pornography online.

The PM said it was part of a broader principle that the same laws should apply online as on the high street. Of course it never occurred to him to achieve this by freeing up  the ridiculous prohibitions inflicted on high street stores. Cameron spouted further: 

We're trying to make sure that when something is a crime, it is prosecuted and convicted wherever it takes place. My view is that should happen whether it's online or offline. We should try and apply the same rule whether you're visiting a shop in a high street or visiting a store on the internet.

 

 Offsite Comment: Can We Stop Being Judgemental About People's Sex Lives...


Link Here 15th December 2014  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn
Intimate Games DVD Tudor Gates There seems to be a tired, frustrating belief in British culture that sex is something that needs to be kept indoors and not talked about, especially if you're a politician or public figure. By Frances Black

See article from huffingtonpost.co.uk

 

 Update: Crap website blocking...

Sounds like Virgin media is blocking parliamentary website because they use words also used by extremist groups


Link Here 13th December 2014  full story: Crap Internet Blocking...Cheapo automated filters are not up to the job
Account Rendered Extraordinary Rendition Britains At the behest of David Cameron and the Daily Mail, everyone who signs up for an Internet account is asked Would you like to keep 'adult content' blocked on this connection?

It's a misleading question. A more accurate version is Would you like an unnamed third party company to use a secret, arbitrary, ever-changing blacklist to spy on all your clicks and decide which ones are and are not allowed to get through?

Like China's Great Firewall, the UK firewall is a patchwork of rules and filters that are opaque to users and regulators. Every ISP uses its own censorship supplier to spy on its customers and decide what they're allowed to see, and they change what is and is not allowed from moment to moment, with no transparency into how, when or why those decisions are being made.

Case in point: Virgin Media is blocking access to the website of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition . The site hosts Parliament's own documents on extraordinary rendition (this being the favoured government euphemism for sending people to other countries to be tortured ).

There's no way to know why Virgin blocked this. It's probably because much of the vocabulary used, seems to a dumb algorithm, to sound a bit like a website glorifying terrorism. Virgin in fact makes the unlikely sounding claim that the site is serving malware.

Update: Now uncensored

14th December 2014. Thanks to Braintree

The site is now unblocked by Virgin Media.

 

 Update: Life can be fine if we sit on our faces in all sorts of places...

Lively and colourful protest outside parliament over government internet censorship decree


Link Here 12th December 2014  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn
atvod taking piss The Guardian reported:

Sex workers and campaigners have gathered in front of parliament to protest against changes to UK pornography regulations.

Protesters chanted: What do we want? Face-sitting! When do we want it? Now! They say the list of banned activities includes face-sitting , and campaigners carried out a mass demonstration of this while singing the Monty Python song Sit On My Face.

Organiser Charlotte Rose called the restrictions ludicrous and said they were a threat to freedom of expression.

These activities were added to this list without the public being made aware, Charlotte Rose said. They've done this without public knowledge and without public consent.

There are activities on that list that may be deemed sexist, but it's not just about sexism, it's about censorship. What the government is doing is taking our personal liberties away without our permissions.

facesitting protest Mistress Absolute, a professional dominatrix and fetish promoter, said the law was restrictive:

I felt that this was the beginning of something to creep into my sexual freedom and sexual preferences.

Neil Rushton said:

They're very sexist laws. These are very geared towards women's enjoyment as opposed to men's.

Obscenity lawyer Myles Jackman, Jerry Barnett from Sex and Censorship and Jane Fae from the Consenting Adult Action Network were among those making speeches at the protest. Fae called the changes heteronormative , and said:

What is being clamped down on is any kind of online content made by adults who are consenting.

I organised today's mass face-sitting outside Parliament because I'm not willing to give up my sexual liberties

12th December 2014. See  article from  independent.co.uk by Charlotte Rose

charlotte-rose Draconian new pornography restrictions are an attack on our freedom, so it's time to sit down and be counted

I can hear the laughter now. A mass face-sitting outside Britain's parliament: are they serious?

The answer, for anyone who dares think otherwise is: absolutely. Yes. For the new anti-porn regulations censor people without consent. Nobody has the right to take away peoples personal liberties or personal choice.

If we don't speak out now, more and more amendments are going to be added to existing laws taking our personal rights away.

...Read the full article

 

 Updated: Gallant MPs...

Early Day Motion calls for the annulment of the Government's internet censorship decree


Link Here 12th December 2014  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn

House of Commons logo Early day motion 605

That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 (S.I., 2014, No. 2916), dated 4 November 2014, a copy of which was laid before this House on 6 November, be annulled.

Primary sponsor: Julian Huppert
Sponsors: John Leech and Mike Hancock

Update: 2 more gallant liberals

12th December 2014.

Andrew George (St. Ives) and David Ward (Bradford East) are Lib Dems who have joined the role call of honour.

Update: Julian Huppert gets a positive write up in the Daily Mail

julian-huppert 12th December 2014. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

The Daily Mail writes:

Spanking and whipping should not be banned in British-made online porn videos, Lib Dem MPs have demanded. Backbench MP Julian Huppert attacked rules revealed last week which ban a host of erotic acts considered harmful by ministers.

The new laws aim to bring video-on-demand online porn into line with videos sold in licensed sex shops. It means around 10 acts - ranging from spanking to strangulation, aggressive whipping and being tied up -- are now banned from web porn sold in the UK.

Mr Huppert has tabled a Commons motion calling for the new rules -- laid down in the Audiovisual Media Services Regulation 2014 -- to be annulled. He said:

The new rules mean that all video-on-demand services that originate from the UK can't show various acts, such as spanking.

It seems to me to be very odd to say that this - assuming it is consensual - is acceptable for somebody to do in their own home, for them to photograph it, film it, but not to look at it online if it comes from the UK.

To me the case for banning things should be driven by issues around consent, and around genuine risk, not about whether we happen to like things or not.

 

  So what censorial nastiness is ATVOD cooking up next?...

Guess who's paying these people to sit around a table dreaming up ideas to censor the internet?


Link Here 11th December 2014
ATVOD with award for service to foreign industry ATVOD recently published minutes from the September board meeting which predated the recent government censorship decree for internet porn.

The law was discussed at the meeting but this seems a little irrelevant after the law was published. Other related issues that cropped up were:

Secret Censors Pact

The Board NOTED the progress being made with development of a MoU with Ofcom and BBFC. Once finalised the MoU would be published and made available to Industry Forum members.

Move to censor the internet to the same level as TV

The Board AGREED that ATVOD should offer to provide Ofcom with the benefit of its expertise with regard to the work Ofcom is undertaking on a common framework for media standards.

You can run but you cannot hide

The Industry Forum meeting had supported working party proposals for a process designed to confirm whether an on demand service fell under UK jurisdiction. The Board DISCUSSED the details of the scheme. It was expected that the final scheme would be brought to the November Board meeting for approval.

Licence to kill the adult trade

The Board NOTED that there had been no recent communication from DCMS on proposals to consider the feasibility of a licensing scheme for foreign pornographic websites.

More censorship rules to follow

The Board AGREED that finalisation of ATVOD's additional guidance for adult providers should be put on hold until the new AVMS Regulations was introduced.

In league with the devil

BBFC presentation on 18, R18 and unclassifiable material 8.1

Murray Perkins, BBFC, attended the meeting and gave a presentation which included examples of material classified at 18, material classified at R18 and material which had been refused a classification.

 

  Out in Public...

More crap BBFC R18 censorship that will be seized upon by ATVOD to ban a whole new genre of internet porn


Link Here 10th December 2014
hard cuts 1 According to Treasure Island Media, British film censors have blocked its latest video release, Hard Cuts 1 . Scenes showing drug-fuelled outdoor sex have been opposed by the BBFC, which is demanding evidence that the activities were not visible to members of the public during filming. The company said:

Hard Cuts 1 was released internationally in its uncut form on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014, and is available from Treasure Island Media's website, the company added in a statement. However, stores in the United Kingdom must wait for the DVD to be passed with an R18 classification before selling it.

The BBFC has objected to two scenes, it added. One features Dutch porn star Peto Coast fucking in a forest, and the other, titled Stoner Six-Way, shows six naked men smoking an unidentified substance and fucking on an open-air balcony.

Hard Cuts 1 was shot by Liam Cole, Treasure Island Media's London director, who previously attracted criticism for his 2011 video, Slammed, which was believed to show men having sex under the influence of recreational drugs taken intravenously.

In fact since the piece was published the BBFC have awarded an R18 certificate to the video. The BBFC claim that it was passed uncut but the approved running time of 111:52s is shorter than the 170 minutes specified by Treasure Island Media in its promotional material for the US website release. So it seems likely that the disputed scenes were dropped from the UK release.

 

 Update: Orwellian Control...

A worrying snippet about US website refusing UK debits cards


Link Here 9th December 2014
clips4sale logo A blog post from a UK fetish website provides an interesting but unverified snippet warning of future oppressive control freakery:

It seems the clips4sale saga has taken another twist as they have rapidly put in a solution in place in almost blind panic after many months of pushing it under the bed.

UK customers no longer can use their debit cards to buy clips in c4s stores without registering with the UK government for permission. When I asked them for details of whom to register with or provide a source for this information they well unable to provide further details.

As a UK customer you can buy clips either using a credit card or using the virtual currency "clip cash" or one of these mythical government approved debit cards to buy clips directly.

Of course you still can't sell banned content through them from the UK.

 

 Updated: The government gets a caning...

Gathered comments on the new law introducing internet porn censorship in the UK


Link Here 9th December 2014  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn

New powers to censor digital media are a threat to free expression

backlash logo 3rd December 2014.See article from backlash-uk.org.uk

British digital media producers are now subject to some of the most severe content restrictions in Europe. The regulations will shut down websites and criminalise producers of content that remains legal to produce throughout the European Union. This will have a chilling effect on freedom of sexual expression in the UK. It also makes British media uncompetitive within the EU. This will lead to job cuts and lost revenue for the Treasury.

The government’s new porn laws are arbitrary and sexist

newstatesman logo 3rd December 2014. See  article from  newstatesman.com by Lauren Razavi

In a hopeless government attempt to control what Britons get off on, new rules regulating the UK porn industry have come into force this week. The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 imposes restrictions on the content of pornography made and sold within the UK -- and it does so with a perplexing ignorance about the realities of modern technology.

British porn producers and consumers will now be subject to some of the harshest restrictions anywhere in Europe, with speculation that this is only the beginning. Video-on-demand content produced or sold in the UK is no longer permitted to show a vague and arbitrary list of explicit acts.

BDSM's Section 28

strange things are happening banner logo 2nd December 2014. See  article from  strangethingsarehappening.com by David Flint

So what is the point of the new law, then? Are the government so naive as to think that forcing onerous new rules on the rapidly dwindling number of British based porn sites will make any difference to teenagers accessing hardcore? It seems unlikely. But then, in reality, this was never really about preventing children from accessing adult material. Rather, this seems the first step of a cunning plan. First of all, kill of the British industry by regulating it out of existence. Then, when there are rules in place about what is or isn't legal within the UK, it becomes easier to strangle access to foreign sites. ATVOD are already pushing to stop card payments to foreign sites that don't follow their rules (i.e. all of them). The next step after that will be legally enforced blocks, similar to those imposed on file sharing sites.

Government cracks down on Fifty Shades of Grey style sex acts in online porn videos because it's harmful

Daily Mail logo 3rd December 2014.See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

The Daily Mail surprisingly hasn't supported the government censors. Its piece, borrowing heavily from a Guardian article, seemed to mock the arbitrary moralistic R18 guidelines and gave space to the point that Women's Fifty Shades of Grey pleasures would take a knock by the new law. And the Daily Mail didn't even bother with any sound bites from the miserablists of Mediawatch-UK and the like. The piece included the following comments:

Jerry Barnett, founder of anti-censorship campaign Sex And Censorship, told Vice News:

R18 is a strange thing. It's a set of weird and arbitrary censorship rules decided between the BBFC, the police and the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service). There appear to be no rational explanations for most of the R18 rules - they're simply a set of moral judgments designed by people who have struggled endlessly to stop the British people from watching pornography.

Erotic film director Erika Lust told the Independent:

With this legislation, the UK is in danger of finding itself back in an age where porn is simply the boring, unrealistic, male fantasy of bimbos eagerly pleasing men as if it is their duty, where women are submissive and lack ownership of their sexuality. Women in the industry will now fear the loss of their livelihoods as well as their sexual independence.

Spanking and caning - just two of the sexual acts now banned in British porn films

Telegraph logo 2nd December 2014. See  article from  telegraph.co.uk

Not a very convincing piece in the Telegraph but it did throw in the fact that the government know exactly how this will screw adult companies in Britain:

In its analysis of the new regulation, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport recognised that the new system might lead to some loss of British business. A report noted:

Restricting access to R18 material may lead to businesses moving outside of UK's jurisdiction in order to avoid regulation. Nevertheless, there is public value in ensuring that there is consistency for regulation across platforms so that UK based VOD firms are compliant with the UK's views on harmful content.

DCMS also noted that small businesses might be particularly hard hit by the new rules:

There are a number of small and medium sized firms among the UK-based suppliers of R18 content which may be affected by this measure

View from America: United Kingdom Ramps Up War on Porn and Women's Sexuality

avn logo 5th December 2014. See  article from  business.avn.com

At first glance, the news out of the United Kingdom appears like something The Onion might concoct to lampoon the nation's recent devolution into what everyone thought was a bygone sexual morality. But no; like a nightmare from which one cannot awaken, the government quietly enacted new regulations that went into effect Dec. 1, 2014 banning certain sex acts from being produced and sold in the U.K.

Even the Guardian's high priestesses of PC are unimpressed: I'm no fan of the porno-industrial complex but these new rules are unworkable

The Guardian 5th December 2014. See  article from  theguardian.co by Suzanne Moore

Increasingly, we see legislation made in some archaic vacuum where the internet does not exist. Furthermore, many of these now-censored activities are to do with female pleasure and the activities of dominatrices. Why is it OK to show a male ejaculation but not a female one? What are the qualifications of those who cobble together these rules?

And the Guardian isn't impressed with the law from a science perspective

The Guardian 6th December 2014. See  article from  theguardian.com by Dean Burnett

One of the more controversial things banned is female ejaculation. Female ejaculation is a weirdly controversial subject but science doesn't deny that it's a real thing. Many have cited the ban on female ejaculation as a clear demonstration of the sexist nature of the new rules (especially as it's fine to show male ejaculate, and even people eating it). But the BBFC, responsible for enforcing these rules, say the ban is a reflection of the fact that pornographers claim they're showing female ejaculation when they are in fact showing urination.

Showing urination in sex, water sports , has long been banned in British pornography. This appears to be a cultural consensus rather than a scientific one. Despite the myth that urine is sterile so good for cleaning wounds, this is not the case, so urinating on someone could lead to infection. But then, this is true of any fluid produced by humans, many of which are expressed in pornography but not restricted in this manner.

And the Guardian isn't impressed with the law from a feminist perspective

The Guardian 6th December 2014. See  article from  theguardian.com by Zoe Williams

The conformity that it's imposing is to the worst model of porn. It specifically targets and bans acts that are associated with feminist and fetish porn. Pandora Blake, over welsh rarebit and eggs, was explaining to me the new porn laws. They aren't new, exactly -- it's just a new way of regulating online pornographers, via ATVOD (the Authority for Television and Video on Demand) so that they have to comply with the rules for pornography on DVD.

The UK's sexist new pornography restrictions aren't just an act of state censorship, but could be the first step towards something even worse

The Independent 7th December 2014. See  article from  independent.co.uk by Myles Jackman (Obscenity lawyer)

It's not just the depiction of certain sex acts which is under attack --- our freedom is too

As you might have already heard, an act of state censorship has been declared against British pornography in the guise of innocuous regulation. But what you might not know is that it has also marked the first stage in a campaign to impose global trade sanctions. Strangely, this proposition has received less coverage.

The current discussion around these regulations has focused on the absurd restrictions which are being imposed on pornography. For example, male ejaculation is acceptable to shoot; but its female equivalent is absolutely beyond the pale. Bang out of order. It might be urine. We're not sure. Probably best to ban it.

However, ignoring the inherent sexism of this proposition, it is actually the framework in which these regulations have been allowed to emerge that is of greatest concern to all forms of freedom of expression.

Online porn restrictions will lead to UK exodus'

portland tv logo 8th December 2014. See article from bbc.co.uk

Legislation that censors online porn on UK websites will massively disadvantage the UK industry, according to a leading adult broadcaster.Chris Ratcliff of Portland TV said the industry was already disadvantaged compared to overseas competitors. The result, he predicted, would be an exodus of companies out of the UK :

What it does is take out big swathes of material that, albeit on the fringes, are still very popular in this territory and globally.

The big challenge we face operating in the regulated UK sector is the complete lack of parity between us and the unregulated offshore sector, said Ratcliff, whose company operates Fantasy TV and many of the babe channels. Improved age verification tools, he added, are a more effective means of protecting minors from inappropriate material than the tightening-up of regulation in respect to content strength - a move he said was a mistake.

The regulation of pornography on video-on-demand in the United Kingdom

9th December 2014. See  article from  tandfonline.com by Julian Petley

porn studies This article demonstrates in detail how the British government, the Office of Communications and The Authority for Television on Demand have interpreted the requirement in the European Union's Audio Visual Media Services Directive that any material on video-on-demand services which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of minors must be made available only in a way that ensures minors will not normally hear or see it. By EU standards, the approach adopted has been a strict one, raising questions about whether the UK authorities have gone beyond the requirements of the Directive, and thus whether their policies need underpinning by new legislation at the national level. This in turn poses further questions about the desirability of such legislation, its compatibility with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the advisability of driving abroad the providers of adult on-demand services, and the practicability of attempting to regulate transnational media traffic in an increasingly online world where standards of acceptability vary widely from one country to another.

 

 Updated: So will the spankees take their punishment lying down?...

Sparing a thought for some of those most affected by the government's repressive censorship


Link Here 7th December 2014  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn

pandora blake spanked, not silenced Have a look at Pandora Blake's blog , she's got her own response, toughing it out and letting ATVOD do its worst, her complaint about ATVOD, and a useful list of hyperlinks, including the reaction of some producers: Nimue Allen , who doesn't say explicitly what she proposes to do, Dr Hywel Phillips (the brainiest fetish producer?), who is also calling ATVOD out, and Sarah Bright , who is making the sites she and her husband run resident in Spain.

Interesting that even the Daily Wail seems unenthusiastic about this latest authoritarian codswallop.

More generally, I wonder if any campaigner would go beyond the references to the obvious failure to find any link between exposure to porn and harm to people aged under 18. Is anyone prepared to stand up for the right of young people to view what they choose? After all, the teenage boy enjoying a J Arthur is the stereotypical viewer of porn. If my contemporaries at a boys' grammar school in the late fifties and early sixties were all enthusiastic connoisseurs of the photographic oeuvre of Harrison Marks, Arthur Howell and Russell Gay, I can't imagine that modern young men are slow to find a bit of smut on that internet thingy.

Comment: The problem with banning female ejaculation in porn

7th December 2014. See  article from  dailylife.com.au by Louise Lash

dreams of spanking logo Pandora Blake runs a feminist adult website called Dreams Of Spanking. In a blog post condemning the law, she wrote:

It predominantly targets the cottage industries of women, couples, queers and fetishists -- people who are making enough to cover their costs or perhaps a little more, people who are making their own porn because the mainstream genres don't cater to our needs.

Our films are homegrown, niche, playful, political and sexy, documenting our authentic sexualities where they are not catered to by the mainstream. We work alone or with our partners and like-minded kinky friends. We dare to be different, and to reach out to others who are like us. For this we are criminalised.

Pandora points out that the laws seem to have been written by people who have no real understanding of kink. For her, the depiction of consent in her spanking films is vital and is a pillar of her commitment to ethical porn production. Unfortunately the new rules don't allow for that. It doesn't matter if an adult willingly agrees to be spanked, or caned, or tied up, their agency and ability to consent is not acknowledged.

 

 Update: Small Business Saturday...

The Government chips in by killing an entire industry of small adult internet businesses (without even having the decency to ask parliament first)


Link Here 6th December 2014  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn

mistress whiplash logo The whiplash backlash: it's not as if we're hurting anyone (else)

A new law will outlaw video-on-demand websites which showcase certain sexual practices. Jamie Merrill meets the practitioners with livelihoods on the line

From her secluded studio in Hampshire, Nikki has been running her online business for 15 years. A successful local businesswoman, until this week she would give work to up to 30 different models, actors and actresses.

Few of her neighbours will have known her speciality though; she produces pornographic videos of face sitting and female domination.

Following a change in the law, Nikki, who is professionally known as Mistress Whiplash, has had to close six of her video-on-demand websites after the new rules made her business model unprofitable.

She used to charge visitors to her websites up to £30 to view her niche videos, which she insists are consenting , legal and helping to reduce the stigma for people who have different kinks in society.

Nikki, 30, is not alone. She is one of dozens of small British pornographers who have hit out against a change in the law which means niche paid-for online pornography of unusual fetishes is now regulated in the same way as traditional DVDs bought in sex shops.

...Read the full article

 

 Commented: The Truth about the Porn Law Changes...

The BBFC and police impose some downright stupid porn censorship rules, but not quite as broad as the list being quoted in the press


Link Here 5th December 2014  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn

BBFC logo On 1 December, the Communications Act 2003 was amended. The regulation of R18 pornographic content available on-demand in the UK will henceforth be subject to the same standards as those applied to pornography on DVD by the British Board of Film Classification, where I am a senior examiner. The amendment applies to those works whose primary purpose is sexual arousal or stimulation, with the R18 category being a special and legally restricted classification primarily for explicit works of consenting sex, or strong fetish material involving adults.

While some non-pornographic films may contain material which raises issues comparable with those which might be found in sex works, and which may also be subject to cuts -- such as scenes of sexual violence -- there is no direct crossover between the standards for sex works and those applied to non-pornographic films.

Underpinning the BBFC guidelines is a specific requirement for the Video Recordings Act to have special regard to any harm that may be caused to potential viewers, or, through their behaviour, to society. This means that, before classifying a work, the BBFC may cut certain acts in pornographic works where imitation or the influencing of attitudes is a particular concern. Breath restriction is one such example. It would be wrong to assume that the BBFC consequently cuts all sight of people sitting across other people's faces. But the BBFC will cut sight of clear and deliberate restriction of a person's ability to breathe during sexual play. Breath restriction for the purposes of sexual enjoyment can result in death. Given such a clear and well-documented risk of harm, passing such breath play in a sex work would be contrary to the BBFC's designated responsibility.

The BBFC also intervenes where material risks prosecution under UK law. This includes prosecution under the Obscene Publications Act 1959. Indeed, the BBFC's designation under the Video Recordings Act requires that it does not pass any content in breach of UK law. We regularly consult both the Crown Prosecution Service and the Metropolitan police to understand and keep up to date with the types of content which are subject to prosecution and conviction. Consequently, we may not classify any material which may be subject to prosecution. Among other activities, this includes any repeated focus on urination during sex and urination over any other person, including any act which cannot be distinguished from urination on the basis of the onscreen evidence alone.

It has recently been suggested that the introduction of the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations will lead to several acts now being banned from UK on-demand services, including spanking and verbal abuse. Much of this information is inaccurate, some of it is wrong. In judging material which may or may not be allowed under BBFC Guidelines, it is often unhelpful to speak hypothetically and in generalisations when specifics of context and potential harm in a given situation are among the considerations which really matter. The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations will ensure that UK on-demand content is consistent with legally available pornography off-line, benefiting from the application of UK law and the expert legal and medical advice which informs BBFC decisions.

Comment: 10 questions for the BBFC about R18 porn rules

5th December 2014. See article from strangethingsarehappening.com by David Flint

strange things are happening banner logo That so many people are appalled by these rules seems to have rather shaken the BBFC. After all, they pride themselves on their feminist credentials, and consider many of the acts and images they forbid as acts of sexual violence, mostly against women. To be told that they are being sexist and patriarchal by banning spanking movies must genuinely baffle them.

...Read the full article

Comment: Carry on censor Who decides what is too shocking for us to see?

5th December 2014. See article from eyeforfilm.co.uk by Jane Fae

eye for film logo It has been suggested in the past that the BBFC simply ask the public on these topics [obscenity rules]. After all, if the test of obscenity is what a majority of people consider to be obscene, then this is one area where opinion polling could be helpful. What is interesting about the culture at the BBFC is that when such suggestions have been made, the BBFC has reacted with superior amusement -- incredulity even.

What do you mean? Actually ask the public what they think on a matter where the public are the final arbiter.? What an extraordinary idea!

...Read the full article

 

 Petitions: Remove Regulations for Video on Demand Pornography...

We call for a complete removal of this amendment, underhandedly rushed through parliament in only one month, which is inherently sexist, insulting and damaging to many British people


Link Here 5th December 2014  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn

remove regulations for vod porn Sexist, archaic and damaging. This amendment to the communications act (2003) was rushed through parliament to take away the rights British people have on the internet.

Since 1/12/14, The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 requires that video-on-demand (VoD) online porn now adhere to the same guidelines laid out for DVD sex shop-type porn by the BBFC.

This includes the likes of: Spanking, Caning, Penetration by any object associated with violence , Physical or verbal abuse (regardless of if consensual), Watersports, Female ejaculation, Facesitting, Fisting.

The regulations make NO distinction between consensual and non-consensual acts.

They treat female ejaculation as a myth (and more unsafe/disgusting than male ejaculation).

This is one further attempt to censor the internet, as with David Cameron's plan to force ISPs to filter pornography.

They will damage smaller, independent film makers and producers, where as huge pornography companies will be left comparatively unscathed, causing a loss of british jobs as independent film makers are forced overseas.

Uneccesary censorship, patriarchal behaviour is all too often the path our government takes. We have 50 shades of grey out in the CINEMA in february, yet we're not allowed to watch a real equivalent made by British people. The government have no right to dictate what a responsible adult does for work, or what they look at on the internet.

We call for a complete removal of this amendment, underhandedly rushed through parliament in only ONE MONTH, which is inherently sexist, insulting and damaging to many British people.

Sign the petition

Petition: Bound-by-law. Against sexually repressive legislation.

4th December 2014. See petition from you.38degrees.org.uk (607 signatures on 4th December)

keep ypur filthy hands off me To: Sajid Javid MP - Minister for censorship culture

Reverse the recent ban on a variety of sexual acts being depicted in UK content. They breach the freedoms and civil rights of consenting adults who participate in the sexual acts as listed below, and have duly signed their legal agreement to such participation of their own free will.

Why is this important?

Recently the government and the BBFC banned a list of sexual acts, which mainly appear to take aim at female pleasure, from appearing in UK pornography. The government are arbitrarily deciding what is nice sex and what is not nice sex.

There are greater acts of violence in mainstream movies, as indeed there are also acts of a sexual nature, and some of which are extreme. Are the government also intent on banning the multi-billion dollar Hollywood movie industry from showing such films to a British audience?

I certainly don't recall being consulted about this back-door sexual repression policy by my MP! Yet it affects me, as it does every other adult, here in the UK.

We must NOT be denied the right to choose for ourselves with regard to what do watch and what we do, and just because I happen to view a female ejaculate , for instance, what does it matter?

They banned: Spanking Caning Aggressive whipping Penetration by any object associated with violence Physical or verbal abuse (regardless of if consensual) Urolagnia (known as water sports ) Female ejaculation Strangulation Facesitting Fisting

Sign the petition

Petition: Repeal new anti-porn legislation

5th December 2014. See petition from submissions.epetitions.direct.gov.uk   (874 signatures on 5th December)

hm government e-petitions4 logo Responsible department: Department for Culture, Media and Sport

The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 came into force on December 1st, restricting UK production of online pornography which depicts spanking, caning, facesitting, female ejaculation, fisting, bondage, and other acts legal to perform between consenting adults. We want this legislation repealed.

The list of banned activities is transparently sexist: depictions of irrumatio (forceful fellatio) are explicitly permitted, but facesitting (even fully clothed) is banned. Similarly, male ejaculation on a partner is explicitly permitted, but female ejaculation on a partner is banned.

In addition, these restrictions will cripple small independent UK businesses producing niche pornographic content, while favouring large companies producing mainstream content. They will also benefit foreign companies producing content which is now illegal to produce in the UK, but still legal for UK customers to purchase and view online.

Sign the petition

 

  Crowing...

ATVOD comments on its new internet censorship powers


Link Here 3rd December 2014  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn
ATVOD logo 2011 New statutory rules banning the most extreme content have come into force for UK video on demand services regulated by ATVOD.

Under the new rules -- introduced through the Audiovisual Media Service Regulations 2014 -- material which would be refused a classification by the British Board of Film Classification ( BBFC ) will be prohibited on a UK video on demand service. This means that content which cannot lawfully be distributed on a DVD can no longer lawfully be distributed on a video on demand service operated from the UK.

ATVOD Chair Ruth Evans said:

Under the new rules, material which is banned from sale on a DVD in the UK will also be banned from UK video on demand services. This is particularly likely to affect pornographic videos which feature violence, coercion or abusive scenarios such as incest. If you can't walk into a licensed sex shop and buy it, nor will you be able to view it at home on a video on demand service regulated by ATVOD from today.

ATVOD will also 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.

ATVOD Chief Executive Pete Johnson said:

Almost 90% of British adults think it is important that UK providers are required to take the steps set out in the ATVOD Rules and Guidance to ensure that under 18's can't see hardcore porn material. We have made good progress in ensuring that UK operators of regulated VOD services comply with those rules, but we are not complacent and will continue to monitor relevant services and act as required.

Our recent 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 wants to be the new BBFC of the internet...

ATVOD consults about setting up as the internet film censor complete with wishy washy rules that could be used to ban anything


Link Here 2nd December 2014
ATVOD with award for service to foreign industry The UK government has just passed worrying new rules about requiring internet porn films to adhere with BBFC guidelines and for websites to impose impractical age verification requirements.

The internet video censor, ATVOD, is now consulting on a new set of censorship rules to reflect the new law. However ATVOD has also dreamt up a few new censorship rules of its own, seemingly way beyond the law changes about hardcore porn videos.

ATVOD has defined a new rule 14 which lets the organisation act as a new BBFC for internet video material not actually seen by the BBFC. This is not backed up by any change to law that I have spotted.

ATVOD has cut and pasted a whole load of BBFC statement about banning things for made up reasons such moral harm. Now when these statements appear on the BBFC websites, then it is rhetoric to keep moralist campaigners and MPs happy. Knowing what the BBFC actually bans and censors, generally means that we trust the BBFC not to abuse the open censorship enabling rules.

However there is zero trust for ATVOD which seems to glory in its crucifixion of the adult internet industry with unnecessarily onerous age verification requirements.

Anyway ATVOD introduces the consultation as follows:

Consultation on Proposed New Rules and Guidance Proposal to adopt new Rules and Guidance in light of amendments made to the Communications Act 2003 by the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 This consultation opened on 1st December 2014 This consultation will close at 5pm on 2nd March 2015

This is a consultation by the Authority for Television On Demand ( ATVOD ), the body that Ofcom designated on 18 March 2010 as the co-regulator for VOD editorial content. The purpose of this consultation is to consult on a proposal to adopt an amended Rules and Guidance document.

We expect to publish a statement on the Proposed Rules and Guidance in spring 2015.

And the new Rule 14 reads:

Rule 14: Harmful Material: Prohibited material

An on-demand programme service must not contain any prohibited material. Prohibited material means

  • (a) a video work which the video works authority has determined for the purposes of the 1984 Act38 not to be suitable for a classification certificate to be issued in respect of it, or

  • (b) material whose nature is such that it is reasonable to expect that, if the material were contained in a video work submitted to the video works authority for a classification certificate, the video works authority would determine for those purposes that the video work was not suitable for a classification certificate to be issued in respect of it.

In determining whether any material falls within (b), regard must be had to any guidelines issued by the video works authority as to its policy in relation to the issue of classification certificates.

Guidance

Content whose broadcast complies with the Ofcom Broadcasting Code, or that has been classified by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) in any category, including R18 , would not be considered prohibited material .

Video works which have been refused a classification by the BBFC, and material which if included in a video work would be refused a classification by the BBFC, is prohibited material and cannot be included on an on demand programme service in any circumstances. All material on the service, including still images and other non-video content is subject to this requirement.

There is no requirement for material being provided on an on demand programme service to be classified by the BBFC, but where material has not been classified, ATVOD is required to have regard to the BBFC Classification Guidelines when determining whether it is reasonable to expect that such material when included in an on demand programme service is material which, if contained in a video work submitted to the BBFC, would be refused a classification.

The guidance below sets out the type of material which may be refused a classification by the BBFC. For further information on the guidelines issued by the video work authority see the BBFC's website at http://www.bbfc.co.uk/what-classification/guidelines. Having regard to the current BBFC Classification Guidelines, the following is a non-exhaustive list of the types of material which may constitute prohibited material:

  • Material in breach of the criminal law (including material judged to be obscene under the current interpretation39 of the Obscene Publications Act 1959) or that has been created through the commission of a criminal offence

  • Material which risks harm to individuals or, through their behaviour, to society. For example:

  • Material which may promote criminal activity

  • Portrayals of children in a sexualised or abusive context

  • Detailed portrayals of violent or dangerous acts, or of illegal drug use, which may cause harm to public health or morals.

  • Material which makes sexual or sadistic violence look normal, appealing, or arousing

  • Graphic images of real injury, violence or death presented in a salacious or sensationalist manner which risks harm by encouraging callous or sadistic attitudes

  • Material which reinforces the suggestion that victims enjoy sexual violence

  • Material which invites viewer complicity in sexual violence or other harmful violent activities

  • Material which is so demeaning or degrading to human dignity (for example, it consists of strong abuse, torture or death without any mitigating factors) that it may pose a harm risk.

  • Material in pornographic works which:

  • Is likely to encourage an interest in sexually abusive activity which may include adults role-playing as non-adults

  • Portrays sexual activity which involves real or apparent lack of consent. Any form of physical restraint which prevents participants from indicating a withdrawal of consent

  • Involves the infliction of pain or acts which may cause lasting physical harm, whether real or (in a sexual context) simulated. Some allowance may be made for moderate, non-abusive consensual activity o Involves penetration by any object associated with violence or likely to cause physical harm

  • Involves sexual threats, humiliation or abuse which do not form part of a clearly consenting role-playing game. Strong physical or verbal abuse, even if consensual, is unlikely to be acceptable

 

 Updated: The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014...

A new government law to crucify British adult websites has come into force today


Link Here 1st December 2014  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn
arms of the british governmentjpg logo The European Audio Visual Media Services Directive provides a justification for censorship that was implemented in UK law in the Communications Act 2003:

If an on-demand programme service contains material which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of persons under the age of eighteen, the material must be made available in a manner which secures that such persons will not normally see or hear it.

Unfortunately for the censorial government, there is no particular evidence that hardcore porn seriously impairs children. In fact all the kids are already watching porn and they don't seem to be ending up being seriously harmed, at least any more than any other generation.

So the legal underpinning for ATVOD's onerous suffocating age verification rules for British adult websites seems somewhat shaky and open to challenge. Therefore the government are changing the law so as to explicitly make age verification a requirement without having to rely on mythical serious harm. The government has introduced the following statutory instrument which means that it will not be debated in parliament, just nodded through.

The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014

These Regulations may be cited as the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014.

  • Laid before Parliament on 6th November 2014

  • Coming into force on 1st December 2014.

Amendment of section 368E of the 2003 Act (harmful material) .

In section 368E(4) of the 2003 Act (harmful material), for subsection (2) substitute:

(2) An on-demand programme service must not contain any prohibited material.

(3) Prohibited material means:

  • (a) a video work which the video works authority has determined for the purposes of the 1984 Act not to be suitable for a classification certificate to be issued in respect of it, or
  • (b) material whose nature is such that it is reasonable to expect that, if the material were contained in a video work submitted to the video works authority for a classification certificate, the video works authority would determine for those purposes that the video work was not suitable for a classification certificate to be issued in respect of it.

(4) An on-demand programme service must not contain any specially restricted material unless the material is made available in a manner which secures that persons under the age of 18 will not normally see or hear it.

(5) Specially restricted material means:

  • (a) a video work in respect of which the video works authority has issued a R18classification certificate,
  • (b) material whose nature is such that it is reasonable to expect that, if the material were contained in a video work submitted to the video works authority for a classification certificate, the video works authority would issue a R18classification certificate, or
  • (c) other material that might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of persons under the age of 18.

(6) In determining whether any material falls within subsection (3)(b) or (5)(b), regard must be had to any guidelines issued by the video works authority as to its policy in relation to the issue of classification certificates.

(7) In this section:

  • the 1984 Act means the Video Recordings Act 1984;
  • classification certificate has the same meaning as in the 1984 Act (see section 7 of that Act);
  • R18 classification certificate means a classification certificate containing the statement mentioned in section 7(2)(c) of the 1984 Act that no video recording containing the video work is to be supplied other than in a licensed sex shop;
  • the video works authority [BBFC] means the person or persons designated under section 4(1)of the 1984 Act as the authority responsible for making arrangements in respect of video works other than video games; video work has the same meaning as in the 1984 Act (see section 1(2) of that Act).

Amendment of section 368B of the 2003 Act (supply of information)

Insert:

(d) OFCOM may supply information to the video works authority, within the meaning of section 368E, for use by the video works authority in connection with functions of OFCOM as the appropriate regulatory authority;

(e) a designated body may supply information to the video works authority, within the meaning of section 368E, for use by the video works authority in connection with functions of the designated body as the appropriate regulatory authority.

[This looks like a measure to stop the BBFC effectively changing the law by changing its own guidelines. It looks like Ofcom and ATVOD will be able to step in should the BBFC change its rules].

BBFC R18 Guidelines

For reference the current BBFC Guidelines for R18 takes the form of a list of material prohibited from R18:

The following is a list of prohibited material:

  • material which is in breach of the criminal law, including material judged to be obscene under the current interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act 1959
  • material (including dialogue) likely to encourage an interest in sexually abusive activity which may include adults role-playing as non-adults
  • the portrayal of sexual activity which involves real or apparent lack of consent. Any form of physical restraint which prevents participants from indicating a withdrawal of consent
  • the infliction of pain or acts which may cause lasting physical harm, whether real or (in a sexual context) simulated. Some allowance may be made for moderate, non-abusive, consensual activity
  • penetration by any object associated with violence or likely to cause physical harm
  • sexual threats, humiliation or abuse which do not form part of a clearly consenting role-playing game.
  • Strong physical or verbal abuse, even if consensual, is unlikely to be acceptable

These Guidelines will be applied to the same standard regardless of sexual orientation of the activity portrayed

CPS Obscenity Guidelines

Of course the guidelines don't fully define what is 'judged to be obscene under the current interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act 1959', but the CPS does offer some guidance. See charging practice from cps.gov.uk :

It is impossible to define all types of activity which may be suitable for prosecution. The following is not an exhaustive list but indicates the categories of material most commonly prosecuted:

  • sexual act with an animal
  • realistic portrayals of rape
  • sadomasochistic material which goes beyond trifling and transient infliction of injury
  • torture with instruments
  • bondage (especially where gags are used with no apparent means of withdrawing consent)
  • dismemberment or graphic mutilation
  • activities involving perversion or degradation (such as drinking urine, urination or vomiting on to the body, or excretion or use of excreta)
  • fisting

The Guidelines are still insufficient for VoD providers to judge the legality of their catalogue

The most immediate issue with the new law is how commonplace 'rough sex' will be treated. There are many films that suffer a few cuts for hair pulling, gagging, retching, spitting etc. Will a film that would be R18 after a few cuts now become illegal? If so, there are thousands of them. It is not clear how these cuts correlate to the guidelines. The guidelines are clearly produced for interpretation by the BBFC rather than the public and will effectively leave VoD service providers unable to judge the legality of films without a BBFC certificate. Perhaps that is the idea. But then again it will leave British websites with a tiny fraction of the range of choice to that of foreign competitors.

Comment: Scrapping red tape

letter writing 18th November 2014. From the Melon Farmers

Coincidently I got a circular emall from David Cameron yesterday claiming:

"we will carry on backing businesses by scrapping red tape, cutting taxes - and continuing to invest in the infrastructure that is vital to create jobs and enable Britain to compete successfully in the global race".

Well if Cameron considers this new law as `backing businesses` and `scrapping red tape` then Britain is doooomed.

 

 Offsite Article: Filter Fail O2...


Link Here 28th November 2014  full story: Crap Internet Blocking...Cheapo automated filters are not up to the job
o2 logo More hurdles to complain about crap website blocking. By Jane Fae

See article from sexualitymatters.wordpress.com

 

 Updated: Less Consumer Rights Bill...

Elspeth Howe re-introduces her repressive clause to require onerous age verification for adult content on the internet


Link Here 27th November 2014  full story: Online Safety Bill...Elspeth Howe proposes onerous website age verification
elspeth howe The Consumer Rights Bill is progressing through Parliament is currently at the report stage in the house of Lords. It will next be debated on 24th November.

Elspeth Howe has again proposed her clause requiring age verification for adult content. It has been kicked out several times in the past as the government recognises the need to work with the telecoms industry rather than impose onerous new laws (of course the government hasn't shown the same pragmatic approach to the adult internet industry).

The new clause was proposed by Baroness Elspeth Howe, Baroness King, Lord Cormack and Baroness Floella Benjamin. It is titled amendment 50D.

"Duty to provide an internet service that protects children from digital content

(1)     Internet service providers must provide to subscribers an internet access service which excludes adult content unless all the conditions of subsection (3) have been fulfilled.

(2)     Where mobile telephone operators provide a telephone service to subscribers which includes an internet access service, they must ensure this service excludes adult content unless all the conditions of subsection (3) have been fulfilled.

(3)     The conditions are--

(a)   the subscriber "opts-in" to subscribe to a service that includes adult content;

(b)   the subscriber is aged 18 or over; and

(c)   the provider of the service has an age verification policy which meets the standards set out by OFCOM in subsection (4) and which has been used to confirm that the subscriber is aged 18 or over before a user is able to access adult content.

(4)     It shall be the duty of OFCOM, to set, and from time to time to review and revise, standards for the--

(a)   filtering of adult content in line with the standards set out in section 319 of the Communications Act 2003 (OFCOM's standards code);

(b)   age verification policies to be used under subsection (3) before a user is able to access adult content; and

(c)   filtering of content by age or subject category by providers of internet access services and mobile phone operators.

(5)     The standards set out by OFCOM under subsection (4) must be contained in one or more codes.

(6)     Before setting standards under subsection (5), OFCOM must publish, in such a manner as they think fit, a draft of the proposed code containing those standards.

(7)     After publishing the draft code and before setting the standards, OFCOM must consult relevant persons and organisations.

(8)     It shall be the duty of OFCOM to establish procedures for the handling and resolution of complaints in a timely manner about the observance of standards set under subsection (4), including complaints about incorrect filtering of content.

(9)     OFCOM may designate any body corporate to carry out its duties under this section in whole or in part.

(10)     OFCOM may not designate a body under subsection (9) unless, as respects that designation, they are satisfied that the body--

(a)   is a fit and proper body to be designated;

(b)   has consented to being designated;

(c)   has access to financial resources that are adequate to ensure the effective performance of its functions under this section; and

(d)   is sufficiently independent of providers of internet access services and mobile phone operators.

(11)     In this section, internet service providers and mobile telephone operators shall at all times be held harmless of any claims or proceedings, whether civil or criminal, providing that at the relevant time, the internet access provider or the mobile telephone operator--

(a)   was following the standards and code set out by OFCOM in subsection (4); and

(b)   acting in good faith.

(12)     For the avoidance of doubt, nothing in subsections (1) and (2) prevents providers of internet access services and mobile phone operators from providing additional levels of filtering content.

(13)     In this section--

"adult content" means an internet access service that contains harmful and offensive materials from which persons under the age of eighteen are protected;

"harmful and offensive materials" has the same meaning as in section 3 of the Communications Act 2003 (general duties of OFCOM);

"material from which persons under the age of eighteen are protected" means material specified in the OFCOM standards under section 319(2)(a) of the Communications Act 2003 (OFCOM's standards code);

"opts-in" means a subscriber notifies the service provider of his or her consent to subscribe to a service that includes adult content."

Update: Howe's amendment thrown out

27th November 2014. See  article from  parliament.uk . Thanks to Therumbler

Elspeth Howe's new clause was defeated by  124 votes to 64. Labour supported the bill, while most, but not all, Tories and LibDems opposed it.

 

  A watershed for the internet...Mediawatch-UK will be pleased...

Sky Broadband introduces option for parents to automatically set times of day when internet website blocking is in force


Link Here 13th November 2014
Sky TV Sky's Broadband Shield parental controls tool now lets families set timers for content blocking.

The content blocks applying to all devices in the home, gives parents the choice between three pre-defined censorship levels based on ages ratings, PG, 13 and 18.

Parents were always able to switch between the three categories at will but the new Watershed tool means that settings don't have to be manually changed; timers can be applied so that the PG or 13 setting is in place during the day hours with the 18 setting coming on after bedtime. The tool can also enforce blocking levels selected for homework hours.

 

 Offsite Article: BLOCKED!...


Link Here 8th November 2014  full story: Crap Internet Blocking...Cheapo automated filters are not up to the job
strange things are happening banner logo ISP Filters are so strict that almost half ban the 'Strange Things are Happening' site - but ATVOD still want more internet censorship. by David Flint

See article from strangethingsarehappening.com

 

 Commented: British sex doesn't sell: the decline of the UK adult trade...

A visit to the Xbiz adult industry conference reveals a business on its deathbed, agonising over suffocating regulations.


Link Here 7th October 2014  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn

xbiz eu 2014 logo If pressed, delegates like to argue that women are the power players in the porn industry, equivalent to football stars, well-paid and able to create global brands. But this cheerful characterisation is dismissed by Roz Hardie, chief executive of Object, who points to one site, whose owner is at the conference, based on the theme of exploited African immigrant women. We don't believe those women are well-paid. Industry representatives try to present themselves as no more saucy than a Carry On film, but it's a very superficial gloss. Some of these sites are very disturbing.

Everyone here is anxious to analyse the impact of new UK regulations that require owners of sites to conduct an age-verification check before allowing browsers to access hardcore material. There is considerable bitterness from the audience, because this has been the death knell for the already struggling industry. Age verification costs the website provider around £1.50 a visit, and discourages a large proportion of browsers. Since sites based outside the UK don't require it, people simply hop to another international site.

...Read the full article

Comment: Objectivity according to Object

7th October 2014. Thanks to Alan

Gentleman's piece in the Guardian's interesting, if predictably a bit po-faced. Couldn't she have found some female pornographers to interview? (I understand that a while ago somebody from the Graun interviewed Pandora Blake, but she mentioned on her blog several weeks later that nothing had appeared in the paper.) Gentleman also seems to take what the Object spokeswoman says as gospel. There does exist an exploitedafricanimmigrants.com website, but Rabbit's porn reviews slates it for not living up to its title.

Also worth noting, perhaps, is that in the same newspaper, within a few pages of Gentleman's less than enthusiastic article about porn, there appears Pamela Stephenson Connelly's sexual health column, with a letter from a bloke whose GF doesn't like giving him a blowjob, which might have appeared in Mayfair circa 1980, and an article about the photographer William Mortensen, some of whose work might fall foul of the Dangerous Pictures Act. (But it's in black and white and very arty - so that's OK, then.)

 

  Will some body think of the children...

Government led UKCCIS discusses new ideas for internet censorship


Link Here 5th October 2014
UKCCIS logo The UK Council for Child Internet Safety is a government led forum where it discusses internet censorship issues with industry and selected campaigners. It is not really limited to child safety issues.

The latest minutes reveal discussions about:

  • Revenge porn .

    Maria Miller for the government argued that the posting of sexual images of adults without their consent should be classified as a sexual offence. The law is currently opaque in this area and there is a need for guidance.
     
  • Net Neutrality .

    There were concerns that the push for net neutrality does not allow for interference in a free internet, for example by imposing mandatory website censorship for public wi-fi.
     
  • Religious Extremism .

    Immediately before the Executive Board, James Brokenshire met with the four ISPs to talk about the inclusion of extremist material in their family friendly filters.

    Filtering often doesn't reach content on social media platforms. The Home Office is in conversation with major social media companies about safe mode   have spoken to Google, Facebook etc.
     

  • Public Wi-Fi

    It is worth considering other areas of concern where public Wi-Fi has a role to play e.g. revenge porn and extremism. We should find out whether public Wi-Fi could filter further.

 

 Shopping: Pop Party 13...

Is this music video by Hannah Lux and Davis the first victim of new regulation requiring the BBFC to censor music videos?


Link Here 2nd October 2014
Pop Party 13 Various Pop Party 13 is a music video by Hannah Lux and Davis.
Starring Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj. BBFC link

UK: Passed PG for mild sex references after 12:59s of BBFC category cuts for:

  • 2014 Universal Music TV video at UK Amazon released on 27th October 2014
The BBFC commented:
  • Distributor chose to remove stronger sexual content within music videos and to remove a use of strong language for PG. An uncut 12 was available.

UK Censorship

This video may have the distinction of being the first victim of a new law removing an exemption from BBFC censorship for music videos. It was cut for category on the day that the new regulation came in, 1st October 2014.

 

 Update: New Laws start today...

A new government imposition of burdensome and unnecessary BBFC censorship on music, sport and documentary DVDs starts on 1st October


Link Here 1st October 2014  full story: VRA Exempt...Video Recordings (Exemption from Classification) Bill

bbfc cash logo Video Recordings Act extended to previously exempt works

The BBFC announced:

On 4 August 2014, the Video Recordings Act was amended to lower the threshold at which certain video content loses its exemption from classification. This amendment comes into effect on 1 October 2014.

From 1 October, documentaries, sports and music video works that can currently claim exemption will be required to seek a BBFC classification if they contain material which could be potentially harmful or otherwise unsuitable for children and, as with video games, works will have to be classified if they contain material which would be rated 12 and above.

See also BBFC Submission Guide covering fees and procedures [pdf]

The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Quotation and Parody) Regulations 2014

See new law from legislation.gov.uk

A new law came into force today allowing use of copyright material for the purposes of parody:

Caricature, parody or pastiche

Fair dealing with a work for the purposes of caricature, parody or pastiche does not infringe copyright in the work.

So at least we can now generate parody BBFC symbols.

 

 Update: New schemes start todayish...

Voluntary BBFC ratings for UK based music videos on YouTube


Link Here 1st October 2014  full story: BBFC Online Music Censors...Scheme for UK music publishers to get BBFC rating for videos
robin thicke blurred lines video This Friday a pilot scheme to add age ratings to online music videos starts but don't expect to see any huge 12s, 15s or 18s on videos just yet. All parties involved say people watching the videos won't see any changes until the end of the year.

YouTube says it is committed but technical change may take time and Vevo has agreed to trial the scheme.

Three of the biggest labels in the UK - Sony, Universal, and Warner Brothers - have all also agreed to take part. But it will only apply to artists signed to UK labels.

The BBFC will be awarding the age ratings.

Mercury-nominated singer FKA Twigs commented:

I think that the answer to protecting younger viewers is not to ban things, it's to show an alternative.

I guess with my videos we're talking directly about sexuality and there's nothing wrong with that.

Why shouldn't younger people learn and explore about what sexuality is as an adult? Why shouldn't they do that?

We're not living in Victorian Britain, do we want to be repressed? Do we want to have these kids doing weird things behind closed doors or should this be a country that is leading by example in explaining to people?