Melon Farmers Original Version

Internet Porn Censorship


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17th December   

Penthouse on Demand...

New service for the US
Link Here

Adult producer and distributor New Frontier Media is now offering PenthouseTV to nearly 9 million U.S. homes and PenthouseHD to more than two million.

New Frontier signed an exclusive broadcast and VoD deal with Penthouse to develop Penthouse-branded content for broadcast through U.S. cable, satellite and IPTV operators. New Frontier and Penthouse will support the launch of these VoD services with consumer print advertising beginning in February 2008.

New Frontier is also working on the launch of a Penthouse linear TV channel and expects that service to become available within the next 18 months.


10th December   

Regulation on Demand...

Government to announce VOD regulatory regime
Link Here

Video-on-demand providers are to face a tougher regulatory regime when media minister James Purnell unveils a new code of conduct on 12 December.

At present, the Association of Television on Demand (ATVOD) self-regulates the industry.

But following MEP's May agreement over the new Audiovisual Media Services Directive, “television-like” non-linear TV services will now be regulated.

Wary of over-burdening an industry in its infancy, communications regulator Ofcom has decided not to regulate the sector itself.

Instead it has pushed for a system of co-regulation where ATVOD oversees the sector and Ofcom has so-called “backstop” powers to step in should serious breaches occur.

Now ATVOD has overhauled its code of conduct to incorporate new rules, which have been agreed by Ofcom and the DCMS.

Steve Middleton, senior ATVOD consultant, said: We don't want to be too prescriptive. We have tried to bring about a code that can change with technological developments.

However, not all VoD players will be covered by ATVOD's code, including online VoD players such as YouTube, which are not covered by the Audiovisual Media Services Directive.


12th May

    High Flying Playboy ...


Internet video up and magazines down

From AVN see full article

Playboy Enterprises is boasting that it has doubled its first-quarter profits compared to 2006.

With the help of a 77% increase in licensing revenues and a reduction in some expenses, Playboy posted a net first-quarter income of $1.5 million, up from $0.8 million during this period a year ago.

Despite the rapid jumps in both its licensing business — mainly due to the new Playboy club in the Palms casino in Las Vegas — and its "new" media, such as mobile and online services, analysts had thought these gains would fail to compensate for sluggish prospects in the company's publishing and TV divisions.

As predicted, the company's flagship magazine continued its decline, posting an operating loss of $2.4 million. Playboy's domestic TV revenues fell 12% compared to 2006, a loss the company attributed in part to growing competition from VOD.


17th March

    TV Bureaucrats ...


New draft of Television Without Frontiers

From ZDNet

The European Commission has released a new draft of the Audio-Visual Media Services Directive (previously known as Television Without Frontiers)

The amendments have not pleased the UK government who say that European plans to regulate online audiovisual content remain a threat despite modifications.

Warning that continental Europe had a "stronger predilection for state intervention" than the UK, Shaun Woodward, the minister for creative industries and tourism, told a conference on Tuesday that the UK had nearly lost its battle to change the Television Without Frontiers (TVWF) directive, now renamed the Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) directive.

Woodward went on to plead with the media industry to help him in the continuing fight against the directive, saying that it had not done enough to combat what he said was a measure which would have damaged [the creative] industry beyond belief.

The original purpose of the directive was to create a "level playing-field" across Europe for audiovisual services, whether on television or online. In effect, however, this meant that each country would have had to regulate all audiovisual online content put up in that country, with little distinction being made between, for example, what a television station put on normal TV screens and what it put online.

In November a European Council vote was held that forced a rephrasing of the directive, itself soon to be renamed. The latest draft of what is now the AVMS directive, published last week, makes a much clearer distinction between "linear" (ie scheduled, as on television) and "non-linear" (ie on-demand) content — a modification designed to exempt services such as YouTube from the regulation.

Critics are still unhappy with the wording of the directive, however, which some say remains open to interpretation.

Woodward maintained that a self-regulatory approach, with occasional requests that inappropriate or illegal content be removed, was the way to go: The industry in the UK has been achieving spectacular growth in new media… without the need for state controls, Woodward added, while repeating his claim that imposing regulation on the new media industry would only drive production outside EU jurisdiction while failing to protect consumers from accessing "bad" content.

Tim Suter, the Ofcom partner responsible for content and standards, agreed that self-regulation was desirable, and suggested that an organisation for online media, along the lines of the Press Complaints Commission, might be the best option. Describing the AVMS directive as "wrongheaded", he said the best way to protect audiences from inappropriate content was to educate them.


5th February

    Seriously Misguided ...


ie Europe muscling into Internet TV

From the BBC

An EU bid to make internet broadcasters subject to the same laws as traditional television is "seriously misguided", a House of Lords committee has said.

Proposals risk damaging the new media industry, pushing broadcasters to set up outside Europe, the committee said.

The committee was discussing European Commission plans to update the 1989 TV without Frontiers EU directive. The Audiovisual Media Services Directive aims to reflect huge changes in broadcasting in recent years.

It has proved controversial as the EU attempts to increase regulation of video content on the internet, and create a "level playing field" between traditional TV-based and online broadcasts. The EC argues that new broadcasters are effectively competing for viewers and advertising and should be subject to the same rules.

But the all-party Lords European Union Committee rejected this, saying it was not the role of regulation to protect established broadcasters from new competition operating under different business models.

Committee chairman Lord Freeman said: We believe that this attempt was seriously misguided and any future efforts to do the same would be in grave error. Such an attempt risks damaging the new media industry, which is a vibrant and important sector of the UK's economy.

The committee said enforcing the new directive would be difficult, as the pace of change in new media was so quick the definition of services covered may not offer enough legal certainty.

There was also particular concern about attempts to water down the "country of origin principle", which allows broadcasters to offer pan-European services, while complying with the laws of the country they are based in.

Lord Freeman added: Most of our concerns on the proposed directive rest on whether the country of origin principle, which we see as essential to the proper operation of single market legislation, will be maintained. We are firmly convinced that it should be.


24th January

    Downloading an Unfair Advantage ...


Ofcom criticise BBC plan for time shift downloads

From the BBC

The BBC's plans to offer all its TV and radio shows on-demand via the internet and cable TV have been criticised by Ofcom.

Ofcom said that certain aspects of the BBC's on-demand service, which is due to start later this year, could have a "negative effect" on commercial rivals.

It added that while the BBC's plans would boost interest in rival services, it would likely limit their investment. Ofcom said such an outcome would not be in the long-term public interest.

Under the BBC's proposals, viewers would be able to watch any BBC programme from the previous seven days via the internet, using a tool called iPlayer, or through NTL-Telewest's cable television service at a time of their choosing.

Ofcom estimates that the BBC's on-demand service could account for almost four billion viewer and listener hours by 2011. In addition to limiting investment by commercial rivals, Ofcom said it was also concerned about the impact on related markets such as DVD rentals and sales. For this reason it has recommended that the BBC's on-demand service reduces from 13 weeks the planned amount of time that users could keep downloaded programmes.


23rd January

    British Board of Internet Censors ...


BBFC move into the censorship of Internet video

From Strictly Broadband posting on the Beer and Bollocks webmasters forum
Also see notes from NOC Meeting on a similar subject

I had a meeting with the BBFC last week to discuss their plans, and get their views on where the law is going. Note that the BBFC don't set the law, but they need to interpret it. Below are the points that came out of the meeting, most of them known already to some degree. A follow-up meeting will be held next week to look in more detail at how they intend to enforce the use of their online certificates specifically for streaming content.

  • The BBFC will shortly (well before the end of this year) be introducing a VoD certificate. This will be issued free of charge to companies that submit content for distribution on DVD/video. It will cover downloads for sure, and possibly streaming. The certificate will allow companies to display BBFC certificate logos on their web sites.
  • For companies that do not certificate for the time being, the BBFC will soon be publishing a set of guidelines for adult web companies laying out in more details what they do/don't consider legal content. I see this as a good step forward, as it will allow adult webmasters a clearer view of what may be likely to get them prosecuted under the OPA.
  • Certification will for now be voluntary for online use.
  • Online certificates will have three parts:
    1. A visible logo to display online
    2. A video "card" to put at the start of a certificated video
    3. A paper certificate to file away
  • The BBFC will be making content submission possible online - currently you need to submit on physical media.
  • By 2010, the UK will have to sign up to the EU's Television Without Frontiers framework - this means that laws will be introduced to regulate online content - my interpretation of this is that within a couple of years, all adult content online will fall within regulation.
  • The BBFC expect that their certification of online content will be a key part in enforcing the new legislation.
  • People within the BBFC scheme will be fairly well protected from prosecution - those outside the scheme have no protection.
  • In the longer term, the BBFC are investigating content labelling schemes, especially for adult material - this will be technically similar to existing ICRA content labelling.
  • The timescales are fluid, but will be forced by the implementation of the EU legislation.
  • I raised the specific issue of watersports; many webmasters are unaware that this is illegal in the UK. the BBFC have no role in deciding what is classed as obscene, they are simply guided by the police. I was informed that the police have made prosecutions of web sites for this content - the problem being that webmasters tend to plead guilty to avoid a prison sentence, and so the guideline hasn't been challenged in court.


18th January

    The Future is Clips ...


Porn downloaders only watch a few minutes

From Nine MSN

Rather than aiming to download high-quality movies either permanently or temporarily, it seems that the majority of adult viewers are quite happy with short spurts of viewing, using relatively low-resolution streaming protocols.

Richard Cohen, CEO of , a prominent pay-per-minute adult site network which charges its customers US 10 cents per minute to watch the skin flick of their choice. Apparently, it's a fairly quick process.

Customers do not want to watch entire movies, Cohen said. They want to watch scenes. They might watch a scene once or twice, then they move on - but they come back to the site over and over again.

Most porn viewers don't want to watch an adult movie in its entirety, since their functional purpose is unlikely to stretch to 90 minutes or more. With rare exceptions, most mainstream viewers do want to watch movies in their entirety. Nonetheless, the trend seems worth noting.

According to Cohen, porn is a particularly transient business. They don't want to own it, they don't want to see it more than once, he told a seminar on delivery technologies at last week's Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas. A lot of them don't want it on their hard drive, if they're doing it at home.

That might explain why permanent options don't seem popular with porn consumers. We have iPod downloads, but they don't really sell, Cohen said. The same applies to Amazon-style sell-through schemes. We have links on thousands of titles saying 'buy this movie' and it's unbelievable how little people click on them. And download-to-own is the same. People don't use it.

Cohen predicts a rapid demise for 'conventional' adult sites which aim to achieve a recurring monthly subscription for a particular set of content: Membership sites for adult content are dying. The consumer is sick and tired of having to pay every month.

He concedes more competition is likely if that happens, but doesn't seem worried. It's like Las Vegas: they keep building more hotels, and people keep coming. Pay-per-minute is going to grow the entire market.

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