The blockbuster success of Fifty Shades of Grey has opened the doors for erotic fiction - and sparked a boom in so-called mummy porn .
The temperature-raising trilogy by British writer EL James has sold more than half a million
copies in the UK alone - and topped the New York bestsellers list. James currently holds the top three spots in the prestigious Sunday Times bestsellers for paperback fiction and has sold an estimated ten million copies worldwide.
her success has dragged erotic fiction, once the domain of the backstreet bookstore only, firmly into the mainstream.
Matthew Curry, of Britain's biggest online sex toy retailer Lovehoney.co.uk, explained:
Shades of Grey, and its sequels, which describe a wide number of sexual activities in quite some detail, have piqued the interest of UK readers who want to push their bedroom play further.
Not only has Lovehoney seen nearly a 400
per cent increase in sales of erotic fiction, but an increase in the sales of blindfolds, restraints, and intimately revealing lingerie as turned-on couples recreate some of the book's steamy chapters.'
The Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) has announced the list of finalists for the title of Internet Hero and Internet Villain at the 2012 ISPA Awards.
Internet Hero Finalists
Broadband for the Rural North (B4RN) for bringing high speed internet into remote rural communities, setting an example for others to follow
Ofcom -- for its independent assessment of the website blocking measures in the DEA,
which they found to be neither practical nor desirable and trivial to circumvent
Reg Bailey -- for his government review into childhood sexualisation which found that giving parents and carers an active choice over
what content is suitable for children and young people is preferable to default content filtering
Foreign Secretary Rt Hon William Hague MP -- for recognising, at the London Cyber Conference, that the future internet must be without government control or censorship
where innovation and competition flourish and investment and enterprise are rewarded
Court of Justice of the European Union -- for its verdict on the Scarlet-Sabam case, which found that an injunction requiring a complicated
and costly filter for copyright infringing material would not strike a fair balance between the right to protect intellectual property and the right to conduct business
Internet Villain Finalists
The International Telecommunications Union -- for its internet governance land-grab which could lead to a less open and free internet, controlled by governments in a top-down manner
Karel De Gucht and Directorate-General Trade -- for pushing IPR enforcement standards through ACTA and disregarding the concerns from EU citizens and European Parliament in relation to the threats against fundamental rights
U.S. Representative Lamar S. Smith -- for introducing SOPA: an ill-thought out, draconian piece of legislation that would have stifled innovation and free speech online
Goldeneye International (Associated with Ben Dover)
-- for following in the dubious footsteps of previous speculative invoicing, by demanding £ 700 in damages from account holders who had allegedly downloaded copyright infringing material, relying solely on IP matching
and claiming that bill payers were liable for any infringement
Jerry Barnett speaks of three main areas of censorship affecting the adult industry:
Over recent years I have attempted to track regulations that may affect the UK adult industry. ATVOD's rule
11, which specifies that web sites are responsible for age-verifying users before any hardcore still or moving images can be displayed, is a source of major concern.
I have made representations to ATVOD that this regulation is
punitive to UK businesses as it is not possible for a web site to implement such a mechanism without losing the bulk of its customers. Furthermore, since this only applies to businesses based in the UK, it has no effect on availability of adult content
anyway -- this regulation seems to be designed solely to drive UK adult businesses either offshore, or out of business.
ATVOD's response to this has not been sympathetic -- they repeat the mantra that they are protecting
children while ignoring the simple fact that these rules do nothing to reduce the availability of easily accessible adult content. My position is that the right approach to this is for the industry to use proper labeling technologies and ensure that
parents are empowered and educated in how to block adult content if they so wish. Driving the UK adult industry out of existence would simply destroy the chance of any self-regulation.
I am currently taking legal advice on whether
these regulations can be challenged and feel there are several grounds on which to challenge them.
2) Internet filtering
Claire Perry MP (backed by the Daily Mail) is pushing for the ISPs to filter out
adult content at the connection level. I'm strongly opposed to this approach for several reasons -- as are a number of free speech organisations, not to mention Google. I have met with some anti-censorship organisations that are opposing the filter and
will continue to meet with more. It appears an alliance against the plans is building.
There are several problems with network-level filtering:
Do we trust the government to decide what is adult ?
The experience in other online censorship exercise shows that the list of blocked sites will grow over time. The filter in Australia was extended to cover all sorts of material that the religious right objected to. We know that many people who legally
enjoy adult content would not switch off the filter (for a variety of reasons -- confidentiality, embarrassment, etc.) The filter would be easy to get around. It's likely that teenagers would find out how to avoid it while their parents are left with a
false sense of security. It takes control out of the hands of parents and puts it into the hands of a nanny state that makes moral decisions about what adults and teenagers should choose to look at.
The Michael Peacock obscenity trial, in which he was found not guilty, seems to have undermined the case for obscenity prosecutions and for certain censorship decisions taken by the BBFC. However, the CPS and BBFC have stated that
despite losing the prosecution the guidelines remain the same.
There is an opportunity to challenge the BBFC and CPS guidelines and it is likely that lawyers will take up this opportunity later this year. I believe this will be
beneficial both for the industry and for free speech, and will be supporting this action.
Philosopher Alain de Botton plans to launch the Better Porn campaign and website promoting pornography in which sexual desire would be invited to support, rather than permitted to undermine, our higher
Erotic Trade Only is the UK adult industry trade magazine. The annual ETO Trade Show held at Birmingham NEC also hosts the ETO Awards. This year the show will be held on the 24th and 25th June. Voting is open now for ETO readers.
The Melon Farmers
are proud to have been nominated in the category of Best Online Resource. The list of nominees for this award is:
A man has been convicted by Belfast Crown Court of prostitution and supposed human trafficking offences. Matyas Pis was convicted of the 'trafficking' of two women into the UK, controlling prostitution and brothel keeping.
It is is the first
conviction for 'trafficking' in Northern Ireland.
Recorder Tom Burgess imposed a sentence of 18 months imprisonment followed by 18 months on licence.
On three occasions, between December 2010 and March 2011 Pis arranged for two women to
work in Belfast as prostitutes. The women said they asked the Hungarian national to book their air tickets, and he provided them with an apartment in Belfast. The women paid the defendant rent for the apartment and paid back their travelling expenses.
There was no allegation that the women were brought or held against their will.
Judge Burgess claimed that even though there was no coercion involved, any case of trafficking human beings was a serious case.
As this was the first
time that the courts in Northern Ireland have had the opportunity to sentence someone for trafficking offences, the recorder set out guidance for the courts to follow until the Court of Appeal has had an opportunity to provide an authoritative guideline.
If Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg is worried by his party's poor showing in the polls, he might be advised to take some tips from another fairly liberal leader currently doing rather better down under.
Two weeks ago, Fiona Patten, convenor of the
Australian Sex Party, celebrated her party's breakthrough into double digits, when they scored 10% of the vote in a Victoria state contest. This is approximately 2% better than polls are currently placing the UK's Lib Dems!
Fiona is in the UK this
weekend delivering a keynote address to an academic conference, Onscenity, which is dedicated to exploring the new visibility of sex in commerce, culture and everyday life.
Her message is simple: small parties can make a difference. They need to
make a difference. Fiona explains:
Proportional representation and very similar showing by the two main parties means that the Australian parliament has been hijacked by the religious right.
With just a small proportion of the votes, and rarely more than one or two seats nationally, parties with a religious or family values agenda have stalled a great deal of social reform in both major parties.
Our clear objective, in the Australian Sex Party, is to use the same system to give voice to the vast majority of Australian men and women who believe in allowing adults to be adults, and are sick and tired of being lectured to by
a nanny legislature.
As a former sex worker and Chief Executive of the Eros adult trade association, Fiona is no stranger to controversy. However, her commitment to political change is serious, and despite adding a slight edge to
Australian politics, the Sex Party's agenda is equally serious and unlikely to look out of place in many European states.
Their policies include a commitment to sex education in schools, as well as advocating a range of rights for women and
members of other minority groups which are now taken for granted in most western nations.
Trade body AITA is calling on all UK porn producers and performers to suspend all shoots immediately following reports that a performer has had an initial positive test for HIV.
The news was initially broken in an email from Adult Industry
Resources which emphasised that it was a preliminary result which could still turn out to be a false alarm. The mail did not name the person but it said that the relevant NHS clinic would be contacting those who may be at risk through having worked with
The content of the email was discussed on industry forums and Twitter and AITA has now issued the following statement:
AITA has heard this morning that a UK adult performer has had an initial
positive test for HIV. This person is having a second test today to confirm. We call on producers and performers to do as follows:
1) Please suspend all shoots IMMEDIATELY, pending the results from the second test. Your health,
the health of others and the potential future of your livelihood are all at stake.
2) If the result of the second test is positive, all shooting should be suspended while all performers are re-tested, particularly those performers
who have worked directly or indirectly with the performer concerned.
3) All performers should use condoms with sexual partners while this process takes place to avoid any risk of further spread.
be working to get the full information on the situation and advise as we have the facts.
Trade body AITA
has confirmed that the UK adult performer who initially tested positive for HIV has undertaken a second test with negative HIV results. The performer is therefore clear of HIV and other sexual diseases and the industry-wide suspension on shooting has
Erotica 2012 has been cancelled following an in-depth review of the market by the show organisers. The adult lifestyle consumer event will return in 2013 with a new generation format, possibly in a different venue and at an earlier time of year.
The cost of a tenancy at London's Olympia rises every year in line with the Retail Price Index and Erotica's Savvas Christodoulou told ETO that it would have been difficult to run Erotica 2012 without either increasing the price of entry tickets
or charging exhibitors significantly more than they had paid previously.
Erotica is one of the best-known consumer events in the UK, reportedly chalking up more visitors than the Ideal Home Show at its peak. It has been staged annually at London's
Olympia for the last 17 years.