Nafforf Atvod…Campaign group propose legal action to strike at the legal heart of ATVOD who are doing their best to suffocate the British adult industry with impossibly onerous censorship rules

Posted: 20 January, 2014 in ATVOD VOD Censor
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nafforf atvod logo Nafforf Atvod is a loose alliance of individuals opposed to the introduction of government regulation of the internet in the United Kingdom.

Many people are probably unaware of an insidious threat to freedom of speech on the internet posed by a quango called Atvod (the Authority for TeleVision On Demand). Most people have probably never heard of Atvod. But this quango has been given powers by another Government quango, Ofcom, to issue licences without which citizens in the UK are prohibited from making websites that consist of videos. Anyone making such a website must pay Atvod a licence fee, must allow the content to be regulated, and may be required to verify the identity of every visitor to the website. Anyone failing to register and pay Atvod faces the possibility of a fine of up to £250,000 or greater. Anyone who ignores the directions of this organisation commits a criminal offence, may be punished, and can be banned indefinitely from ever posting a video image on the internet again. Even if videos are merely posted to a video sharing site, even if the site is hosted in another country, Atvod has still threatened individuals with draconian sanctions.

The idea that in a democracy we could be required to get a license before posting a video to the internet seems incredible, but this is happening now. The price of liberty is eternal vigilence. Unless Atvod is opposed, and made to respect our right to freedom to express ideas and exchange information, there will be no end to censorship of the internet.

Nafforf Atvod has been formed with the intention of opposing this threat to freedom of expression by challenging the legality of the actions of Atvod and Ofcom. Nafforf Atvod proposes to do this by writing to Ofcom to demand that it reins in Atvod. If necessary Nafforf Atvod will apply to the Court for permission to seek judicial review on behalf of its supporters.

That is why we need your support. Your support is the legitimacy to oppose Atvod. The more supporters we have, the greater the legitimacy of a claim to represent a broad spectrum of internet users. Please follow us on twitter, @NafforfAtvod, or e-mail us at with the word support in the title.

Draft letter before action

Old BaileyBelow is the text of a draft of a letter before action that it is proposed to send to Ofcom. Under Court rules Ofcom is obliged to reply within 14 days stating whether or not it concedes the case in whole or in part. The core of the claim is that for technical reasons Ofcom/ATVOD had no lawful power to make rules requiring age verification. Neither is the requirement to pay ATVOD fees lawful. Therefore Ofcom acted unlawfully in issuing a direction that a website called Jessica Pressley should be shut down following findings that it had not notified , paid a fee and instituted age verification checks. This action is being pursued to protect a matter of principle, on the basis that everyone has a right to be able to receive information and ideas from any source without interference from a public authority. It isn’t being pursued on behalf of the Jessica Pressley website, or any other private interest. Jessica Pressley has had no involvement with the bringing of this case.

Because the statutory requirements are unambiguous, Ofcom has (hopefully) very little room to make a defence. It is hoped therefore that Ofcom will concede the issue and reign in ATVOD without the matter needing to go to Court. But if it is necessary to apply for judicial review we are quietly confident (albeit in advance of a response from Ofcom) that we would succeed.

…Read the Draft letter

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