Empire Building…DCMS formally informs the European Commission of a draft UK regulation to incorporate ATVOD’s impractical age verification rules into UK law. (And then ludicrously claims that this will not have an impact on international trade).

Posted: 18 August, 2014 in ATVOD VOD Censor, Internet Censorship
Tags: , ,
Read more UK Government Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

DCMS logo On the 7th July 2014, the UK Government Department of Culture, Media, Sport and Censorship notified the European Commission of its draft regulation toincorporateATVOD’s impractical age verification rules for accessing hardcore porn on the internet into UK law.The DCMS document states:

The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014

Main Content

Part 4A of the Communications Act 2003 (inserted by the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2009 and 2010) transpose the requirements of Directive 2010/13/EU in relation to on-demand programme services. Section 368E(2) provides that on-demand material that might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of persons under the age of eighteen must only be made available in a manner which secures that such persons will not normally see or hear it. This draft instrument amends section 368E in two ways. First, it provides that any material that the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has issued a R18 classification certificate in respect of (or any material that would have been issued such a certificate) (hard-core pornography) must not be included in an on-demand service unless it is behind effective access controls which verify that the user is aged eighteen or over. Secondly, it provides that any material that the BBFC has refused to give a classification certificate in respect of (or any material that would have been refused such a certificate) must not be included in an on-demand service at all.

Brief Statement of Grounds

In 2010 the Department wrote to Ofcom raising concerns about whether section 368E would in practice provide sufficient safeguards to protect children from sexually explicit material. Ofcom’s report in 2011 recommended that the Government introduce new legislation to prohibit R18 material from being included in on-demand services unless mandatory restrictions are in place and prohibit altogether material whose content the BBFC would refuse to classify. The co-regulators, Ofcom and the Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD), were concerned that the evidence for children being caused harm by exposure to R18 material is inconclusive and the legislative protections currently in place were not sufficiently clear to provide certainty in this area. In the interim period pending legislative changes the co-regulators, adopting a precautionary approach, interpreted section 368E(2) as requiring R18 material to be behind access controls. This instrument has the effect of removing any uncertainty from the regulatory framework providing clarity to consumers and providers of on-demand services. It also provides the same level of protection that exists on the high street in relation to the sale of hard-copy DVDs to the provision of on-demand services. In a converging media world these provisions must be coherent. The BBFC classification regime established under the Video Recordings Act 1984 is a tried and tested system of what content is regarded as harmful for minors. This Act was notified as a technical standard – Notification No. 2009/495/UK.

Reference Documents

  • References of the Basic Texts: Part 4A of the Communications Act 2003
  • ATVOD Rules and Guidance and research report
  • Video Recordings Act 1984
  • BBFC Guidelines
  • Ofcom Report: Sexually Explicit Material and Video On Demand Services, 2011
  • Exploratory Memorandum

TBT aspect

No – The draft has no significant impact on international trade

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