Vivid Entertainment, one of the world's major adult film studios, has said that it will launch Vivid for Google TV,
the first TV app designed to make sexually explicit content available through the new Google TV set top device. The new channel will stream content in high definition to subscriber television sets and computer screens.
Vivid for Google TV will be available at no additional cost to subscribers to www.vivid.com, which currently offers a package of features such as streaming of Vivid's award-winning adult movies, celebrity sex tapes, XXX parodies of popular
superheroes, educational videos and other content. Access to the site is restricted to persons over 18 years old.
People with Google TV set top devices can now access the new system.
Vivid for Google TV gives our fans a new way to enjoy Vivid movies in high quality HD and with other benefits that provide a very appealing, highly enjoyable, and user friendly experience, said Steven Hirsch, co-founder and co-chairman of
Vivid. It is a central part of our making Vivid available everywhere concept, which gives fans unified access to our content through their personal computers, mobile devices, tablets, television sets and DVD players.
Hirsch said no other adult companies are currently deploying a true Internet system that includes 24/7 access and constantly streaming movie content. We spent more than a year developing a code base for a robust, standalone Internet-TV channel
with a friendly interface for the consumer that can be used with the current Google TV technology and other Internet protocol presentation methods now in development, he said.
, a 70s sexploitation coming-of-age tale starring the exceptionally beautiful Olivia Pascal.
Dan Reed, Managing Editor of TLACult.com said:
We've been huge admirers of Severin's for years and, when they came to us saying they needed a VOD home for their legendary erotic exploitation movies, we knew right away it was a perfect fit. We're large enough to have a platform for streaming
rentals in place, but small enough to be free of the content restrictions against taboo materials and full-frontal nudity that the industry giants impose on themselves. Plus, our customers have purchased quite a lot of Severin DVDs over the
years, so making these films available for our customers to stream was an absolute no-brainer.
The initial batch of films is available now for streaming rental. Other selections include films by noted exploitation directors Joe D'Amato, Gerard Kikoine and Lucio Fulci. TLA and Severin also plan to make more films available to stream in the
next few months.
Each film is available to stream worldwide for $3.99 (for a 7 day rental) at TLACult.com and will also be available on TLA's adult site TLARAW.com.
HotMovies.com has teamed up with classic porn studio DistribPix to release of a series of digitally restored and re-mastered classics from the golden age of porn.
The first round of high definition transfers will include Private
Afternoons of Pamela Mann
and Inside Little Oral Annie
, with stars like Barbara Bourbon and Georgina Spelvin. This is what porn was like before Deep Throat, said James Cybert, HotMovies director of business development. These are shot on film, on location in New York. They're real movies.
It's fascinating, and you don't see stuff like this anymore. The Little Oral Annie version is amazing. I don't know what kind of magic they used on Little Oral Annie, but I've never seen a blowjob look more fantastic.
These releases are HotMovies.com Video on Demand exclusives. DistribPix has been working for years to painstakingly restore each frame of these classic porn titles and transfer them to a High Definition format. This is a difficult effort that
requires a lot of time, money, patience, and a genuine love of the medium. These efforts ensure that these classic movies will survive the ravages of time for future generations.
Having the High Definition transfers right from the original negatives makes an enormous difference. Original theatrical versions of the films actually cropped off about 30% of the frame.
We're excited to be the only Video on Demand website to get these classic adult movies, said Cybert. Classic porn is some of our most popular material on HotMovies, and these re-mastered releases from DistribPix are a great way to round
out our collection.
The releases include softcore versions that the original editors created for legal reasons as well as the uncut hardcore versions. Plenty of special features abound including commentary tracks from the legendary directors, subtitles, bonus
footage, and theatrical trailers.
Video on Demand still a small part of British viewing
The viewing of television VoD comprises a small proportion of total online video consumption in the UK, according to new
research from ComScore and Attentional. The findings showed that internet video consumption in the UK was broadly flat last year.
The research, from a consumer panel of hundreds of thousands of people, showed that only an average of 4.2% of video views were from services such as the BBC iPlayer and ITV Player.
The mainstays of video views are porn which provides 57% of video viewed and YouTube like sites that provided 38% of videos viewed.
Overall, it was found that an average person in the UK spends 19 minutes a day watching internet videos on computers, compared with nearly four hours a day watching live television, and a further 18 minutes watching recorded TV content.
The Authority for Television On Demand is a supposedly independent co-regulator for the editorial content of UK video on
demand services. However the government seems to be in the driving seat when it comes to restricting access to porn.
ATVOD is not formally subject to Freedom of Information law, but is listed on WhatDoTheyKnow.com due to its public regulatory role.
This report concerns the protection of children from hard core pornography on UK- based video on demand services1 . The government is concerned that under the current UK legislation these protections may not be adequate.
On 1 April 2010, DCMS wrote to Ofcom about the new legislation for UK-based video on demand services (implementing European law), which for the first time impose certain minimum requirements on regulated UK-based video on demand services
In particular, the legislation introduces minimum requirements on the provision of potentially harmful material in VOD services. The relevant section of the Communications Act (368E(2)) states that:
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 .
DCMS raised concerns as to whether this provision would in practice provide sufficient safeguards to protect children from sexually explicit material, or whether greater safeguards might be appropriate for such material which is made available
over VOD Services.
DCMS considered in its letter to Ofcom that a precautionary approach would be justified. This was because such an approach:
would be generally supported by the public, given the nature of the material in question and the need to protect minors
would be consistent with the tough constraints which Parliament has already placed on the distribution of sexually explicit material in hard copy form as a film or a DVD (i.e. material classified as R18 by the British Board of Film
would also be consistent with the approach Ofcom has taken on the provision of this material on television under its Broadcasting Code.
In DCMS's view, there is plainly an argument for concluding that on-demand programme services, which are capable of being accessed by children and young people at home round the clock, require sufficient safeguards.
Evidence relating to harm
In light of the Government's clearly stated intentions, we commissioned research to inform our response to DCMS.
A review was commissioned from Dr Guy Cumberbatch, an independent expert in the effects of media, especially on young people.This looked at the available evidence on the risk of harm from R18 material. The review updates the review of the research
literature in this area conducted for Ofcom by Dr Ellen Helsper of the London School of Economics ( LSE ) in 2005.
Guy Cumberbatch's main conclusions are consistent with the conclusions of the 2005 review. Firstly, that the research does not provide conclusive evidence that R18 material might seriously impair minors' development. Secondly, the research
does not provide clear, conclusive evidence of a lesser degree of harm. It is acknowledged that the research is by its nature limited given there are significant ethical constraints about conducting experiments which expose children to this type
of material and monitor their development for signs of potential harm.
However, some experts believe that there is evidence that exposure of minors to R18 material can have adverse effects. In short, this area remains highly controversial and in light of these considerations, it cannot be confidently concluded that
sexually explicit material carries no risk of harm to the development of minors.
Guy Cumberbatch's report has been peer reviewed by Dr Sonia Livingstone of the LSE's Department of Media and Communications.
Conclusions and recommendations
In reaching a view in response to DCMS's request as to whether greater safeguards might be appropriate for the protection of children in this important and controversial area, Ofcom considered both R18 material and also material stronger than R18.
It took account of the following important considerations.
In relation to R18 material, these considerations are:
that the evidence for children being caused harm by exposure to R18 material is inconclusive and the research is necessarily limited by the ethical constraints of exposing children and young people to sexually explicit material
Ofcom has a statutory duty under Section 3 of the Communications Act 2003 to further the interests of citizens and consumers and in doing so, to have regard to the vulnerability of children (and others whose circumstances appear to Ofcom to put
them in need of special protection)
that the public (including parents) consider that whilst those who wish to should have access to pornography, access to this material should be restricted in such a way that children cannot see it
the range of approaches in Europe as regards implementing the might seriously impair obligation in the Directive, and the number of countries that have relied on other legislation (existing or new) to restrict access to sexually explicit
material on VOD
the lack of any test case under current UK law establishing whether R18 promotional material supplied over the internet is obscene (i.e. has a tendency to deprave and corrupt its likely audience), but noting also that according to
the Crown Prosecution Service ( CPS ) (Legal Guidance to prosecutors) , it is possible that the publication of such material, provided it is sufficiently explicit and is freely accessible, is capable of being prosecuted as obscene and therefore a criminal offence under the Obscene Publications Act [Although it is noted later in the report that no such prosecution has ever actually been attempted].
the desirability in the public interest of giving children appropriate protection from highly unsuitable material
the absence in the current regulations of a clear standard requiring sexually explicit material of R18 standard (or its equivalent) to be prohibited, in VOD services, unless it is made subject to restrictions;
the Government's clear intention to ensure protection of children from sexually explicit material on UK-based VOD services
the value of adopting a precautionary approach to protecting minors from the risk of harm from accessing R18 material (and material stronger than R18) on UK- based VOD services. There is clear evidence that the public (and in particular parents)
support a precautionary approach.
In relation to material stronger than R18 we had regard to the following considerations:
content stronger than R18 material encompasses a wide variety of unclassified material which cannot legally be supplied in the UK in licensed sex shops and includes abusive and/or violent pornography, examples of which have been held to be
obscene and a criminal offence to provide, if accessible by children
this material is acknowledged to be potentially harmful or very harmful to adults, particularly those who are vulnerable
yet the current legislation does not clearly prohibit it from VOD Services.
In summary, Ofcom's opinion is that taking into account:
all the considerations set out in this report, including the evidence relating to harm
DCMS's clearly stated intention to ensure the protection of children
the desire for certainty in this important and controversial area
the legislative protections currently in place are not sufficiently clear to provide that certainty. Greater safeguards should therefore be put in place.
We recommend the Government introduce new legislation which would specifically:
prohibit R18 material from being included in UK-based VOD services unless appropriate mandatory restrictions are in place
prohibit altogether from UK-based VOD services material whose content the BBFC would refuse to classify i.e. material stronger than R18.
Ed Vaizey wrote to Ed Richards of Ofcom on the subject of restricting hardcore Video on Demand:
SEXUALLY EXPLICIT MATERIAL AND VIDEO ON DEMAND SERVICES
Ofcom produced a report on this last autumn and our officials have subsequently discussed the best way forward in the light of the recommendations of the Ofcom report, the policy position taken by ATVOD to require access
controls to any such material and Government policy generally on access to potentially harmful material, including work in UKCCIS and the current Communications Review.
Like you, we are quite clear that children should not have access to hard-core pornography on ATVOD-regulated video-on-demand services. The current rules put in place by ATVOD requiring access controls on such material should
remain in place.
As ATVOD regulates only a comparatively small number of services available over the Internet, our wider approach to protecting children from potentially harmful material is being taken forward by the UK Council for Child
Internet Safety (UKCCIS), building on the commitments made in our industry round-tables. We are committed to making progress in this area, preferably through industry action, but if necessary through legislation. Any necessary legislation is best
taken forward in the forthcoming Communications Bill.
Your report examined the current UK regulations, transposing the requirement in the Audiovisual Media Services Directive that VOD material which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of minors
[is] only made available in such a way that ensures that minors will not normally hear or see [it] (which means in effect that this content must generally be encrypted). Department for Culture, Media and Sport
What concerned us was whether that requirement would provide sufficient safeguards to protect children from material equivalent to that classified by the BBFC at R18 and suitable for sale on DVD only in licensed sex shops.
Our policy aim was that such material should not be made available in ways accessible to children on those UK-based VOD services which fell to be regulated under the Audiovisual Media Services Directive.
The Ofcom report concluded that this was an area in which it was probably impossible to get conclusive evidence of harm and that it was Ofcom's view that, in the absence of such evidence, there was a case for taking a
precautionary approach and indeed seeking a legislative opportunity to provide a more certain legal basis for requiring access controls to protect children.
In the meantime, of course, ATVOD's rules have continued to require access controls to prevent children's access to R18 material on regulated sites – as we understand it, this generally at present takes the form of short
video sequences promoting hard- core pornography sites which can be accessed in full only after supplying credit card details.
The Ofcom review considered two main areas of content. The principal one, and the one on which the Department had sought your advice in particular, was the availability of hard-core pornography with content equivalent to that
which would be classified by the BBFC as suitable to the R18 category in DVD format. However, the report noted that there may also be material for which the BBFC would refuse a classification but which would not necessarily be illegal to
distribute to adults.
All such material is prohibited by Ofcom on licensed broadcasting services and is allowed on VOD services regulated by ATVOD only when access controls are in place to prevent access by children. Outside the small number of
regulated services, such material is known to be widely available on the Internet and that is why Ministers have given priority to working with ISPs to allow parents to make an active choice as to whether they want such material to be available to
their household. The wider application of this policy by ISPs, and the use of effective parental controls by parents, would do much to minimise the accessibility of hard-core pornography, and worse, by children on all on-demand services.
The questions addressed by the Ofcom report were therefore whether, on the small number of on-demand services regulated by ATVOD, where additional controls could be put in place under the AVMS Directive, the Regulations
provided an adequate level of protection for children from material equivalent to R18 by offering a secure legal basis on which to require access controls. Department for Culture, Media and Sport
We remain of the view - like you - that there is a good case that the Regulations require a precautionary approach in that the test is whether material might be seriously harmful rather than that it necessarily is
demonstrably harmful. However we accept that, in the light of Ofcom's recommendation, it would be preferable to provide legal certainty to ensure that the ATVOD rules are robust, in case of future legal challenge, and the protection for children
In these circumstances, and given the wider policy context, it seems to us that these issues would be best addressed comprehensively in the Communications Review. We would appreciate it if Ofcom, with ATVOD, would take any
steps necessary in the interim period to ensure that children remained adequately protected under the ATVOD rules, in the knowledge that we could bring forward Regulations in the short term if it proved necessary to support this position.
A Conservative government will introduce a powerful new Star Chamber cabinet committee, to be chaired by Ken Clarke, which will enforce a stringent One In – One Out requirement where any new law must include cuts in old laws.
New law in:
Repressive new website registration law driving much of the UK internet business offshore
Old Law out:
Shops will be allowed to sell liquor chocolates without an alcohol licence.
ATVOD have announced a long list of websites that are under investigation for not registering with them, and of course, not paying their burdensome registration fee required to keep the red tape administrators in business.
ATVOD explained that the Website Registration Act requires that nearly all websites incorporating video need to notify ATVOD by 30 April 2010.
By the end of April 2010 it was apparent to ATVOD that a significant number of websites had not registered.
ATVOD therefore began an investigation process in order to ensure that such services were identified, were informed of their obligations, and were given an opportunity to notify or to make representations on the issue.
Repressive controls to prevent children from accessing hard-core pornographic material through video-on-demand (VoD) services will
be secured as part of the comprehensive review of communications legislation currently being undertaken, Communications Minister Ed Vaizey has announced.
Rules are already in place which mean that video which the BBFC would classify as R18, pornography which is explicit and sold in licensed sex shops, but not illegal, can be made available through VoD services only if excessively restrictive
controls are in place to prevent children from accessing it.
The Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) is the internet censor for VoD services and enforces rukles which ensure that any material which 'may' seriously impair children's physical, mental or moral development, but probably doesn't must not
be freely available. Access controls such as pin protection must be put in place if R18-type content is to be made available on anytime television services or internet websites that include video.
But, in the light of an Ofcom report which recommended a precautionary approach to protecting children and new legislation, the Government has committed to securing the present controls and looking at whether the legal position should be bolstered
further by future-proofing legislation as part of the current review of communications policy.
The Government is clear that children must be protected from harmful content, on television or online. We have made it a priority to address the concerns of parents that their kids are being exposed to material that's not
appropriate for them to see.
Without a doubt we want to make sure that video-on-demand services carrying adult material cannot be seen by children and it's already a legal requirement that any such content has access controls.
But the communications review gives us an opportunity to consider whether there's more we should do to ensure children remain protected and to limit access to potentially harmful material, such as introducing unclassified
material into the statutory framework.
The review will look at the availability of both R18-type material, and video content which is stronger than that classified as R18 by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) but still might be made available to adults.
Ensuring the effectiveness of restrictive controls on VoD services will also complement the recommendations made by Reg Bailey in his independent review of the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood, Letting Children Be Children.
The Adult Industry Trade Association (AITA) recently organised an open meeting with Pete Johnson of ATVOD.
Pete Johnson (ex BBFC) has been charged to head ATVOD, an organisation sanctioned by OFCOM under an EU directive to collect fees from all websites that fit the video on demand criteria under law.
They provide no service to the website owner whatsoever, but imposed a charge of £ 2900 per site in 2010 (currently consulting about a variable charge related to turnover for 2011).
Practically every website with video gets caught up in the censorial rules, except for user content websites along the lines of YouTube. Perhaps only Google are big enough to have the political clout to avoid the censorship.
The EU law underpinning the censorship requirement is supposed to be 'light touch'. It only really bans hate material, has restrictions on sponsorship/product placement and requires child protection from material which might seriously impair
the physical, mental or moral development of persons under the age of eighteen, such material must be made available in a manner which secures that such persons will not normally see or hear it.
But of course it is this last requirement that has been used to stitch up the UK adult trade.
In a very illuminating talk (available at the above link), Pete Johnson outlines some of the extremes of child protection to be enforced by ATVOD (although Johnson alludes to the overly strict interpretation of the law being down to the British
Government, rather than ATVOD).
Onerous Age Verification requirements
In essence, the powers to be have decided that all hardcore content has be locked off in sections of websites where age verification is in place. Although over mechanisms may appear over the coming years, the only currently acceptable method seems
to require a credit card payment before allowing access.
Even debit card payments are unacceptable, as such cards are sometimes held by under 18's.
No hardcore video may be made available on free preview areas of adult websites. Perhaps the only hope of convincing prospective customers that a website will deliver the goods, is that, hardcore photos are not covered by this law and are
therefore allowed without age verification (assuming that they are not considered legally obscene).
And in a truely bizarre piece of reasoning, all 18 rated video, be it torture horror, or softcore porn, can be shown without such mandatory age verification. So a graphic castration is acceptable whereas as a blow job isn't.
Surely its going to be very limiting to be able to sell only to credit card holders, and even more limiting to only be able to promote to people who are willing to type in the arduous details required for credit card transactions, just for a
look-see. Surely the trust issue will also deter customers who would like to see an extensive and fully operational website as evidence of being trust worthy as opposed to a fly-by-night rip off.
Also the UK adult business suffers from a lot of softcore on satellite and cable (and historically from sex shops) pushed by companies desperately trying to suggest that their material is hardcore, when in fact, it is nothing of the kind. (I for
one am still bitter from being ripped off by sex shops from 20 years ago). It must be very important for British companies to be able to convince prospective customers that they are selling pukka hardcore before they hand over their cash.
It hardly seems a very fair trading environment for Britain. Foreign competitors can incorporate free hardcore material for promotional purposes, and thereafter accept payments via any method. Suddenly the porn tubes suddenly got a whole lot more
Rules for UK Eyes Only?
Pete Johnson was very keen to present these new censorial rules as a fait accompli. He glossed over any debate or explanation as to whether hardcore porn can actually seriously impair the moral development of under 18s. Surely it is
debatable that the sight of such a fundamentally normal activity of life can do so much damage. The same issue was debated in court at the time of the legalisation of R18 videos and DVDs and no such serious impairment was proven to the
In fact there seems to have been a change of view amongst UK censors. The BBFC wrote about this same topic in 2010 (in their Annual
Report of 2009 [pdf]
The duty to enforce the new rules lies with Ofcom who, in relation to 'editorial content', intend to delegate most of those powers to the Association for Television On Demand (ATVOD). Both Ofcom and ATVOD have made clear
that, in their view, content which has been classified by the BBFC in any category, including 'R18', would not be considered likely to seriously impair those under 18, and therefore does not need to be placed behind access controls.
Perhaps ATVOD's newly censorial interpretation of the European directive may also rattle a few cages in the rest of Europe. Hardcore films are broadcast there on encrypted subscription TV as part of standard general film channels such as Canal
Plus. Indeed Netherlands TV has shown hardcore films on unencrypted broadcast TV. It would be interesting to see if these countries would appreciate being told by Britain that they are seriously impairing the moral development of their youngsters.
Perhaps the British video on demand trade should debate some of these issues before kowtowing to the censorial interpretation being pedaled by ATVOD.
It has emerged that the government has not acted on a recommendation from the TV and internet censor Ofcom, which said
last year that the law should be changed so that sexually explicit content on video-on-demand websites could not be seen by children.
The government asked Ofcom last year to examine whether the law should be changed to protect children from pornographic material that was easily available on some adult sites, including Playboy.tv, which allowed paying members to download a wide
range of pornographic material.
Many of them also offer some sexual material as try before you buy content that can be easily viewed without a credit card or account number.
Ofcom recommended in a report passed to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) nine months ago that the government should pass legislation forcing those sites to protect their free trial content with a pin number. But the coalition has
not published Ofcom's report or acted on its recommendations.
Predictably Labour has tried to claim a few morality votes from this technically infeasible Ofcom suggestion.
Ivan Lewis, the shadow culture secretary, said: David Cameron's commitment to act on Bailey's recommendations rings hollow now we know his government has suppressed this important report. It is either incompetence or a deliberate attempt to
keep the public and parliament in the dark. Ofcom's report should be published without delay so we can consider its findings and take the necessary action.
The DCMS said the report was still being considered by ministers. It said: The government is committed to protecting children from accessing harmful material and DCMS has requested advice from Ofcom and others regarding regulation of
video-on-demand services. There is a range of views on whether new measures are required and we are currently considering options.
The proposals would only affect UK websites that are monitored by ATVOD, the internet video on demand censor.
Playboy TV's appeal to the TV censor Ofcom has been rejected. Playboy had asked that their video on demand servces be
declared outside of the remit of the Authority for Television On Demand ( ATVOD ), the video on demand censor.
The two hardcore adult video-on-demand websites operated by Playboy TV UK Ltd (Demand Adult and Climax 3) are therefore subject to new statutory rules enforced by ATVOD for on demand programme services and the explicit sex videos
available on the websites must be kept behind access controls which ensure that children do not normally see them.
The new rules do not apply if videos are not TV-like . Playboy TV had argued that because the video content on Demand Adult and Climax 3 features fully explicit sexual images, and was therefore too explicit to be broadcast on UK television,
it was not TV-like and was not therefore subject to the new ATVOD rules.
The appeals rested on whether the form and content of the hardcore sex videos made available on the websites should be considered comparable to the form and content of programmes normally included in television programme services , a
key test under the new statutory regime. Playboy TV argued, in essence, that the videos were too explicit to be regulated.
In determinations made on 24 Sept 2010 (Demand Adult) and 21 Dec 2010 (Climax 3), ATVOD had ruled that, while more explicit than adult programmes shown on UK TV services, the videos were nevertheless comparable to such programmes and were
essentially the same as adult programmes which are frequently broadcast on linear TV channels in other EU jurisdictions, and were therefore subject to rules designed to protect children.
Playboy TV appealed against the ATVOD determinations, but the appeals have today been rejected by Ofcom.
Commenting on the decision, ATVOD Chair Ruth Evans said:
The idea that a video on demand service should escape regulation on the grounds that its content was too extreme would make a mockery of the whole purpose of regulation in this area which, in large part, is designed to
protect children from exposure to video content which poses a risk of serious harm.
ATVOD Chief Executive Pete Johnson added:
These are the first appeals heard by Ofcom under the new arrangements for the regulation of video-on-demand services in the UK and the decisions establish an important point of principle. UK websites offering 'hardcore'
adult video-on-demand content cannot sidestep the new statutory rules by claiming that the content is, in effect, too explicit to be regulated. Instead they must ensure that such content is provided in a manner which ensures that children do not
normally see or hear it.
The company said with intense competition on the web, Video on Demand sites have to work hard to stand out, and the sheer amount of content at HotMovies.com may have helped it along. Currently they have more than 150,000 movies.
Director of business development James Cybert said:
At Hot Movies, we're fans ourselves. We know what we want from a streaming porn site and we give it. Customers get fast high-quality video, accurate information about scenes and stars, the most powerful recommendation system in the
industry. All so they can search and watch adult videos easily --- ideally with one hand.
Our employees put us over the top. From the developers and the crack web design team to the 24- hour customer service department, our attention to detail and love of the product shine through.