Pandora Blake, award-winning activist and feminist pornographer, has won her appeal to Ofcom against ATVOD and can reinstate her site Dreams of Spanking, which was banned under the AVMS guidelines in August 2015, triggering widespread anger among free
speech advocates as well as porn fans.
The controversial Audiovisual Media Services Regulations came into effect in December 2014, banning consensual sex acts from online porn including facesitting, female ejaculation, and spanking that leaves marks. Pandora Blake took part in the facesitting protest
outside Westminster, and also spoke on Newsnight and Women's Hour challenging the sexist and regressive nature of the regulations. She believes that speaking out made her a target for censorship.
ATVOD - the Association for TV on Demand - were tasked with regulating online porn in 2010. While porn critics often focus on the mainstream industry, ATVOD made a point of targeting independent niche and fetish porn producers, including a
disproportionate number of female filmmakers. In January 2016, Ofcom shut down the quango amid rumours that it was acting beyond its remit.
Pandora Blake said:
The point of Dreams of Spanking was to make ethical porn based on my own fantasies. I'm not ashamed of being kinky and there's no harm in adults sharing consensual BDSM films. The AVMS regulations effectively criminalised my sexuality. I was singled out
because I criticised the new laws. ATVOD tried to shut me up, but they failed.
Now I've won my appeal I feel vindicated. It proves that it's worth standing up to bullies. The war against intrusive and oppressive state censorship isn't over, but this decision is a landmark victory for feminist porn, diversity and freedom of
Update: Candy Girls tool
3rd October 2016. From Xbiz
The operator of Candy Girl Productions, Laura Jenkins, also won her appeal involving two online adult sites AllTeensWorld.co.uk and
CandyGirlPass.com as well as 33 other affiliated adult subscription sites.
Ofcom reversed decisions made by previous co-regulator ATVOD and decided the sites listed in the appeal cases were not on-demand video websites and subject to regulation, including requiring a system that verifies that the user is 18 or over at the point
of registration. Each of the online adult companies were subject to fines prior to the appeal cases.
Ofcom said in the rulings that it proposed to quash previous ATVOD determinations in the cases and replace it with the current determinations.
The Adam Smith Institute has just released a new paper by Nicholas Cowen of Kings College London: Nothing to Hide: The case against the ban on extreme pornography.
In it, Cowen makes a robust case against the current prohibition on acts that are legal to perform--and yet not to record--show it to be expensive, dangerous, and illiberal.
The executive summary of the paper reads:
The ban on possession of extreme pornography was introduced in 2009 and extended in 2015. The law, as drafted, bans depictions of some sex acts that can be conducted safely and consensually between adults, with a
specific risk of prosecution posed to LGBT minorities.
The Crown Prosecution Service reports more than a thousand offences prosecuted each year, implying significant enforcement costs that could be deployed effectively elsewhere.
A significant minority of the British population enjoy sexually aggressive fantasy scenarios but do not pose a specific risk of committing violent or sexual offences.
Access to pornography has increased dramatically in recent years, yet social harms imputed to pornography (especially violence against women) have reduced moderately but significantly.
While some survey evidence claims a correlation between individual use of pornography and sexual aggression, econometric evidence suggests this is not a causal relationship and that, if anything, increased access to
pornography can reduce measurable social harms.
The ban itself represents a potential risk to political integrity. Like the ban on homosexuality in much of the 20th century, prohibitions on private sexual conduct can be used to silence, blackmail and corrupt individuals
in positions of authority and responsibility.
There are better policies for reducing violence against women in the dimensions of criminal justice, education and economic reform.
The prevailing free speech doctrine in the United States shows that it is realistically possible to simultaneously tackle damaging forms of expression and maintain strong protections for innocuous forms.
Sam Bowman, Executive Director of the Adam Smith Institute said,
Most people don't want the government in their bedrooms, but that's what extreme porn laws do. This report highlights just how bad these laws really are -- they turn millions of law-abiding adults into potential criminals simply for enjoying
consensual spanking or dressing up in the bedroom. The evidence is very clear that pornography does not drive violence, and indeed it may reduce it. These are badly drafted laws that should never have made it to the statute books, and this report
confirms the urgent need for the government to scrap them."
Nick Cowen, author of the paper said,
The extreme porn ban criminalises depictions of sex acts even if they are safely performed by consenting adults. We have seen the law used, in particular, to target and expose gay men. Each such case represents a personal tragedy and a
disgraceful use of our criminal justice system's scarce resources. The costs of the law are disproportionate to any public benefit, and as implemented cannot plausibly protect women's interests for which the ban was supposedly introduced.
The Queen's Speech contained the following reference to the Digital Economy
Digital Economy Bill
Measures will be brought forward to create the right for every household to access high speed broadband. Legislation will be introduced to make the United Kingdom a world leader in the digital economy.
It seems a bit of a contraction that one of the main elements of the bill is designed to make the UK a world straggler in the digital economy when it comes to adult contents,
The notes reveal a little more about the internet censorship section of the bill which reads:
Protecting citizens in the digital economy
Protection for consumers from spam email and nuisance calls by ensuring consent is obtained for direct marketing, and that the Information Commissioner is empowered to impose fines on those who break the rules.
Protection of children from online pornography by requiring age verification for access to all sites containing pornographic material.
The government notes that the bill will apply to the entire UK.
While preventing children from seeing pornography is a worthy aim, age verification is fraught with difficulties, if infringements of privacy and free expression are to be avoided. We will urge caution and advocate avoiding blunt instruments such
as website blocking.
We are also expecting the government to introduce a law that will allow the filtering of websites without prior consent by the end of this year and will be asking whether this is going to be part of the proposed bill.
Offsite Comment: No one can stop teenagers from watching porn -- not even David Cameron
Online harassment and abuse is stifling debate and ruining lives , according to Yvette Cooper , who is calling on
police and prosecutors to follow the Guardian's lead in unmasking the true extent of the problem.
The Labour MP claimed that misogyny, racism and homophobic abuse were all growing online.
The comments come after the Guardian launched a major series called the Web We Want , which revealed the darker side of online comments on its own website, generally disagreeing with the extreme PC nonsense peddled by Guardian writers.
Cooper called for online threats, harassment and stalking to be included in the Crime Survey for England and Wales, and said other media providers should carry out research similar to that done by the Guardian.
Cooper has also launched a campaign called Reclaim the Internet , which will hold a conference in late May. It is an allusion to the feminist campaign, Reclaim the Night. It will focus on how police and prosecutors can tackle hate crimes, threats
and intimidation. It will also look at how social media platforms can be persuaded to be more proactive about censorship.
Even those of us who care little or nothing about the sex lives of celebrities should care about the latest farcical attempt by the
English courts to use an injunction to gag a tabloid newspaper.
The case sets a potentially dangerous new standard in allowing judges to screw over press freedom and dictate what the public should be allowed to know. The judicial campaign to impose a privacy law by the back door is the big issue we should all be
concerned with, behind the squalid details of celebrity scandal.
Update: Google forced to censor links to the not very secret celebrity scandal
Google has removed links to articles about the celebrity couple at the centre of a injunction in response to legal demands. Searches for the names of either person return notices at the bottom of the page saying results have been removed. Links are still
available when accessing Google from outside the UK (or maybe EU).
Google's removal notices in this case are of the form normally used for taking down links to copyrighted information and are different to the messages Google posts when it censors links under EU right to be forgotten rules.
The Daily Mail reported that an online privacy firm claiming to be acting on behalf of the couple had complained about more than 150 links.
Offsite Article: Google not censoring links to the not very secret celebrity scandal
Maria Miller, the Conservative former culture secretary and equalities minister has claimed that Britain needs better internet laws to
stop online abuse that may be creating a nightmare for society in future.
Now the chair of the Commons women and equalities committee, she said the government needed to wake up to some of the problems the internet was creating, from vile abuse on social media to easy sharing of violent explicit images among young people.
In 2014, ministers quadrupled the maximum six-month prison term for internet insults to two years. The time limit for prosecutions has also been extended to three years.
Miller now says that the laws around insult and harm on the internet could be updated further and internet companies could do more to act against threatening and abusive material online. She claimed:
We need better laws and we need better enforcement. Government needs to stop allowing internet providers from hiding behind arguments about the protection of free speech.
The problem is rooted in the fact that many internet companies won't acknowledge that they can challenge, and should stop, criminal behaviour, saying they are just like the postal service and can't help that people use their services for criminal
activity, that it's not their problem. It is their problem and we need to sit up, take notice and realise that we are creating a nightmare future.
People are unleashing their inner venom in a way I just do not think is healthy for society. We have got to have an honest debate about this. Too many people in government are saying it is all about freedom of speech and it is not.
Of course John Whittingdale should be free to enjoy a relationship with whom he so chooses, but surely he shouldn't be denying freedoms to Brits to enjoy their own choice of adult fun.
Whittingdale's Department of Culture, Media and Sport is currently pushing through legislation to censor internet porn. (of course in the name of 'protecting the children'). Not to mention the fact that Whittingdale is on a personal crusade to bring the
BBC under the control of the government propaganda department.
The department's (just closed) consultation document
on proposals for internet censorship lists a number of alleged harms that have been linked to over-exposure to pornography. The DCMS states:
Many people worry that young people will come to expect their real life sexual experiences to mirror what they or their peers see in pornography, which often features ambiguous depictions of consent, submissive female stereotypes and unrealistic
i wonder if this statement should be updated a little
Many people worry that young people will come to expect their real life sexual experiences to mirror what their MPs or peers get up to, which often features ambiguous depictions of consent, dominating female stereotypes and unrealistic scenarios.
Ofcom is considering whether to update rules in the Broadcasting Code (“the Code”) relating to the protection of children. Specifically, Ofcom is
considering whether broadcasters should be allowed to show a wider variety of content more suitable for adults before the watershed, provided that a mandatory PIN protection system is in place.
Through this Call for Inputs we are seeking the views of industry and consumers on these potential changes to the rules. We will take responses into account before publishing any proposals for changes to the Code later this year.
Ofcom invites written comments on the questions raised in this consultation, to be submitted to Ofcom by 5pm on 21 April 2016 . Ofcom strongly prefers to receive responses in electronic format. This web form will allow you to indicate your data
protection preferences and send your views to the team responsible for this consultation.
Question 1: To what extent do you think allowing a wider range of post-watershed content to be shown during the daytime behind a mandatory PIN would benefit audiences? :
Question 2: Are there likely to be any negative impacts on the user experience for viewers accessing channels or programmes where the content is restricted behind a mandatory PIN? For example, if a viewer had to enter a mandatory PIN every time they
change between a restricted channel or programme, or if a viewer is unable to update to a new PIN system?:
Question 3: If you are a broadcaster, would you be likely to change your output following any revision to Ofcom's rules to allow post-watershed content to be broadcast pre-watershed behind a mandatory PIN, and what genre of material might you wish to
broadcast during the daytime as a result? :
Question 4: What, if any, are the technological difficulties associated with showing post-watershed content during the daytime behind a mandatory daytime PIN? What impact would these technological difficulties have on affected broadcasters (please
provide evidence or estimates)? How might these technological difficulties be overcome?:
Question 5: Are there practical or cost issues with consistent implementation of PIN protection across a variety of set-top-boxes or receivers?:
Question 6: How effective is mandatory restricted access in providing protection to children from unsuitable broadcast content? Do you think allowing a wider range of post-watershed content to be shown in the daytime behind a mandatory PIN still offers
sufficiently robust protection for children?:
Question 7: Do you think allowing a wider range of post-watershed content to be shown in the daytime behind a mandatory PIN could have an adverse impact on the 21:00 watershed or dilute its effectiveness for audiences?:
Question 8: If Ofcom were to amend the Code to allow a wider range of post-watershed content to be shown in the daytime behind a mandatory PIN, are there any particular obligations that should be placed on broadcasters providing content behind mandatory
PIN during the daytime (e.g. additional information to parents and carers)?:
Question 9: What effect might any revision of the Code to allow a wider range of post-watershed content to be shown in the daytime behind a mandatory PIN have on competition between broadcast services, and also between linear broadcast and on-demand
Question 10: Are there any other issues, factors or information you think should be considered as part of our review on mandatory restricted PIN access?: