Comments on the passing of the Digital Economy Bill which feeds British porn viewers to the scammers, blackmailers and ID thieves
|2nd May 2017
29th April 2017. See article from
The Digital Economy Bill (DEBill) will require that porn sites verify the age of their users in order to prevent under 18s from viewing pornography. Despite concerns that this will leave porn users vulnerable to hacks and security risks, the
Government has failed to amend the Bill so that privacy is written into the legislation. Instead, Codes of Practice will place the responsibility for protecting people's privacy with porn sites not the companies supplying age verification technology.
Executive Director Jim Killock said:
Age verification is an accident waiting to happen. Despite repeated warnings, parliament has failed to listen to concerns about the privacy and security of
people who want to watch legal adult content.
As we saw with the Ashley Madison leaks, the hacking of private information about people's sex lives, has huge repercussions for those involved. The UK government has failed to take
responsibility for its proposals and placed the responsibility for people's privacy into the hands of porn companies.
The Bill will also enable the creation of a censorship
regime as the BBFC will be given powers to force ISPs to block legitimate websites without any judicial process. These powers were added to the Bill, when it became apparent that foreign porn sites could not be compelled to apply age verification. During
parliamentary scrutiny, they were extended to include other content, not just pornography, raising further concerns about the threat to free speech.
These new powers will put in
place a vast system of censorship which could be applied to tens of thousands of adult websites. The BBFC will be under pressure to censor more and more legal content. This is a serious assault on free speech in the UK.
Almost 25,000 ORG supporters signed a petition calling for the Government to reject plans for blocking legal pornography.
Comment: Royal Assent
2nd May 2017 See article from pandorablake.com Thanks to Alan
The Digital Economy Bill has received the royal assent. Interesting comments and links on Pandora Blake's blog. Apparently a thrilling thirteen parliamentary jobsworths could be arsed to turn up for the final debate in the House of
Comics. I would think it's now in the interest of porn producers, as well as their British customers, to drop any restrictions on access via VPNs and to help UK punters get round any attempted firewall.
Pandora seems to know more
about the matter than the 650 political twats together!
See latest news from pandorablake.com
a good write up of how the bill will effect porn sites and their readers from pandorablake.com
ATVOD internet censors act against BDSM material on two VoD websites
||9th May 2015 |
See article from atvod.co.uk
See also full ATVOD determinations
See also ATVOD's new censorship rules
ATVOD has announced actions against two adult services breached new Tory censorship laws banning material on UK video on demand services which would be banned on DVD under the police censorship rules implemented by the BBFC.
Two providers of
on-line porn have fallen vicyim of new regulations banning on a UK video on demand ( VOD ) service material which would be banned on DVD. The service providers also failed to keep strong fetish videos and hardcore porn images behind unviable and
onerous age verification requirements.
Banned pornographic material made available on the UK based services included videos of whipping likely to cause more than trifling harm, and the infliction of pain on a person who 'appears' unable to
withdraw consent, even if filmed under totally consensual and safe conditions. Also repeated strong kicks to the genitals which appear to draw blood. Such material has been prohibited on UK based VOD services since 1 December 2014 under new censorship
rules introduced by the Tory government.
The findings by the Authority for Television On Demand ( ATVOD ) are the first it has made under the new prohibited material rule introduced by Government in December and comes as ATVOD issues
new guidance on the statutory rules it enforces following a three month consultation.
The two online video on demand victims are Glasgow Mistress Megara Furie and Mistress R'eal were held to be in breach of statutory requirements
incorporated into ATVOD's censorship rulebook as Rule 11 (age verification) and the new Rule 14 (following BBFC R18 rules for VoD).
The UK based services allowed under 18s access to explicit hardcore and strong fetish porn videos which could be
viewed on-demand. Yet the content of the videos was equivalent to, and in some cases went beyond, that which could be sold only to adults in licensed sex shops if supplied on DVD.
Both services allowed any visitor free, unrestricted access to
hardcore pornographic video promos or still images featuring strong fetish material and real sex in explicit detail. Access to the full videos was open to any visitor who paid a fee. As the services accepted the most common payment methods, such as debit
cards, which can be theoretically used by under 18's. However nobody seems to have actually documented any cases of any under 18s actually paying for porn with a debit card.
The operator of Glasgow Mistress Megara Furie closed the service within
three days of the breaches being brought to their attention.
Enforcement action regarding the Mistress R'eal service is ongoing. If it fails to become fully compliant in accordance with a timetable set by ATVOD, the service provider will be
referred to Ofcom for consideration of a sanction, a procedure which can lead to operators being fined or having their right to provide a service suspended, as happened in relation to the service Jessica Pressley.
ATVOD has also published
determinations that three further UK based adult websites - Lads Next Door, Panties Pulled Down and Montys POV , failed to keep hardcore porn videos and images beyond the reach of children.
Following enforcement action by ATVOD, the
operator of the Lads Next Door service acted to bring the website into compliance with the relevant Rule. The operators of Panties Pulled Down and Montys POV failed to become fully compliant in accordance with a timetable set by ATVOD. The service
providers have therefore been referred to Ofcom for consideration of a sanction.
The latest rulings come as ATVOD publishes new guidance on the rules it enforces. Publication of the new guidance follows a three month consultation which began when
the new censorship rules came into force.
Comment: ATVOD, the self appointed Pornfinder General
9th May 2015. See
Critics of the new rules have long argued online viewers of niche pornography are still able to access content banned in the UK by watching videos filmed abroad, and new rules amounts to arbitrary censorship , while Myles Jackman, a British
obscenity lawyer said that the case showed regulators were making up their interpretation of obscenity laws as they go along .
A spokesperson for Backlash UK, which is campaigning to defend freedom of sexual expression, added:
Atvod have erected themselves - pun intended - as the UK's Pornfinder General.... The sole purpose of this new puritanism is mass control and surveillance, under the pretence of protection.
Furie, who describes herself as a professional dominatrix, said that she had taken her site down immediately after she was informed by the censor. She now uses a more robust third-party operator to host her videos. She said:
The banned material, as far as I am aware was one ball kick, which resulted in the equivalent of a shaving cut and lots of blood because it was a testicle. I was happy to take that down. It was an eye-opener and I'll now be more
selective about my content. I wasn't aware I was breaching the rules.
Comment: Mistress R'eal appeals against ATVOD censorship
9th May 2015. See
article from xbiz.com
Mistress R'eal, the dominatrix whose scenes on Clips4Sale.com were the subject of a recent ATVOD probe and determination, has appealed the U.K. video-on-demand regulator's decision that she breached Rule 14.
With her appeal, Mistress R'eal
also is challenging the legitimacy of the AVMS 2014 law. Currently, she faces a £10,000 fine and a ban on streaming online.
The videos that breached Rule 14 are:
- A Bullwhipping in the Woods, parts 1 and 2,
- Double Domme CBT and Pegs.
The scenes are explicit in the films, but they are like most BDSM content shown on a countless number of websites. For example, in Double Domme CBT and Pegs, a man is retrained against a cross and has weights attached to his bound scrotum, several
pegs attached to his body, and a violet wand played over his genitals,. While his arms appear to be free initially, it's implied (and seems to be the case) that his wrists are restrained quite early in the clip. He is also gagged (and appears to be
unable to speak with any real clarity) and has his legs bound. Hence his means of clearly indicating a withdrawal of consent is not apparent.
Mistress R'eal yesterday appealed against ATVOD's ruling that her site is in breach of regulations on the
basis that the AVMS 2014 is not valid. Her appeal, according to SexAndCensorship.org , says the following:
I submit that the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014, which introduced sections 368E(2) and (3) into
the Communications Act 2003, were made ultra vires the Secretary of State's power to pass secondary legislation under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972. Section 2(2) gives the Secretary of State the power to pass secondary legislation for
the purpose of implementing any EU obligation or for the purpose of dealing with matters arising out of or related to EU obligations. I note that the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (2010/13/EU) imposes an obligation on Member States to prohibit
hate speech on ODPS (Art. 6); by contrast, it does not contain any obligation to ban content that may be harmful to minors from ODPS, only an obligation to ensure that access to such content is appropriately restricted (Article 12). In the premises, I
fail to see how the 2014 Regulations (and, by extension, section 368E(2) & (3) of the 2003 Act), could be said to implement an obligation in the AVMS Directive or to deal with matters arising out of related to that Directive. The 2014 Regulations
plainly go well beyond the scope of the directive -- and, in doing so, subvert the appropriate democratic process for dealing with an important human rights (free speech) issue. In light of the foregoing, I submit that the 2014 Regulations and sections
368E(2)-(3), CA2003 are void -- as so, by extension, is ATVOD's Rule 14, which is based solely on the aforementioned sections of the Communications Act 2003.
|4th March 2015
Prospective MP and campaigner against David Cameron's internet porn censorship
See article from vice.com
||13th February 2015 |
More heavy handed restrictions expected as ATVOD looks to extend power. By Ben Yates
report [pdf] from pervlens.com
||15th January 2015 |
David Cameron's repressive and ludicrous porn censorship law draws US comments. New pornography regulations in the UK seem to be the latest in a series of campaigns against female sexuality. By Chris Chafin
article from psmag.com
||8th January 2015 |
The demand for pornography is not going to go away, so is it time for the state to legislate, control and tax it properly, asks Martin Daubney
article from telegraph.co.uk
||6th January 2015 |
This Anti-Porn Law is Our Clause 28. By Itziar Bilbao Urrutia
See article from sexandcensorship.org
|29th December 2014
Censorship, Regulation in the U.K. Gets Underway. By Ben Yates
See article from xbiz.com
December 2014 |
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
Whilst David Cameron confirms that he is a miserable censorial prat
||16th December 2014 |
See article from
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.
||15th December 2014 |
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
article from huffingtonpost.co.uk
Early Day Motion calls for the annulment of the Government's internet censorship decree
December 2014 |
7th December 2014 See article from
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
12th December 2014. See article from
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
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.
Lively and colourful protest outside parliament over government internet censorship decree
||12th December 2014 |
See article from
pictures from the protest from
pictures from the protest from
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
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
2014. See article from
independent.co.uk by 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
Gathered comments on the new law introducing internet porn censorship in the UK
||9th December 2014 |
New powers to censor digital media are a threat to free expression
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
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
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
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
3rd December 2014.See article from
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
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
5th December 2014. See article from
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
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
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
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
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
7th December 2014. See
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
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.
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.
of pornography on video-on-demand in the United Kingdom
9th December 2014. See article from
tandfonline.com by Julian Petley
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.
The Government chips in by killing an entire industry of small adult internet businesses (without even having the decency to ask parliament first)
||6th December 2014 |
See article from
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
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
The BBFC and police impose some downright stupid porn censorship rules, but not quite as broad as the list being quoted in the press
||5th December 2014 |
4th December 2014. See article from
theguardian.com by Murray Perkins of the BBFC
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
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
5th December 2014. See article from
eyeforfilm.co.uk by Jane Fae
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
ATVOD comments on its new internet censorship powers
See article from atvod.co.uk
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.
A new government law to crucify British adult websites has come into force today
||1st December 2014 |
16th November 2014. See The Audiovisual Media Sevices Regulations 2014 [pdf] from
See also Explanatory Memorandum to
the Audiovisal Media Sevices Regulations 2014 (sic) [pdf]
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.
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.
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
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)
(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)
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
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.
When will politicians ever do anything useful, like funding a convenient and free age verification system that businesses will then be keen to use?
||31st October 2014 |
27th October 2014. See
Porn websites will be forced to check users are over 18 under a new crackdown to stop children accessing explicit material.
Mobile phone companies and credit card firms will have to ensure that someone proves they are aged 18 or over before being
given access to adult websites.
Now it has emerged that plans are being drawn up to force adult websites to carry out checks on the age of users. It would cover pornography sites, as well as those selling guns and other age-restricted material,
the Sunday Times reported.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is working on the plans with Treasury minister Andrea Leadsom, who oversees regulation of the banking system.
However, the new rules would only cover UK-based websites
to begin with. It is already nearly impossible to run a British adult website due to onerous age verification rules and critics have noted that only one of the 1,266 adult websites visited from the UK in December 2013 was a service that is
regulated in this country. It seems very unlikely that these new rules will have any impact on the availability of porn to children. Even if new downloads were stopped tomorrow there's probably already enough knocking around and hard drives and
memory sticks to last several lifetimes of playground swopsies. The only effect it will have is to add to the mountain of red tape, administrative costs and restrictive regulations that is impoverishing the west.
Offsite Comment: Why age checks on porn sites will do more harm than good
28th October 2014. See article from
telegraph.co.uk by Martin Daubney
The Government's plan to introduce age verification checks only shows that politicians remain too scared to approach the
porn problem in a meaningful manner.
...Read the full article
Update: Will the payment providers provide age verification?
31st October 2014. See
article from business.avn.com
That tidbit of information, along with other reports indicating that PayPal and Visa will be taking part in the new scheme in addition to other approved methods of verification, suggests that one way the government ostensibly means to gain
control of the internet is by pressuring processors to age-verify while simultaneously holding out the (dubious) promise of increased and officially sanctioned business.
Podcast of a debate about the practicalities of onerous age verification requirements for British adult websites
October 2014 |
See article from
The Adult Provider Network is a coalition of individuals and companies engaged in the provision of satellite and web-based adult media in the UK.
The podcast is from a session at the recent XBIZ EU conference where the topic of ATVOD censorship of the
British adult website trade was discussed.
Much of the debate was about the expense and viability of implementing age verification of British porn websites with some positive ideas for reasonably priced schemes.
However there were also some
reprehensible attitudes on show rather offsetting any sympathy for an industry being suffocated by the government.
One contributor was keen to get customer payment handed over first, and only then presenting the hurdle of age verification
before the customer can get what he/she has paid for. Given that a third of age verification checks fail for adults, over being unknown by credit checking agencies, or by not being on the electoral role, or not wanting to send personal ID data to porn
websites, then this seems a disgraceful way to run a business.
Another contributor joked (or maybe not) that his content was crap, and the site does better with customers not being able to see a sample. Where the censors effectively won't allow
samples, then customers will end up paying for crap.
A visit to the Xbiz adult industry conference reveals a business on its deathbed, agonising over suffocating regulations.
||7th October 2014 |
6th October 2014. See
article from theguardian.com
by Amelia Gentleman
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
Comment: Objectivity according to Object
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.)