ATVOD wants to be the new BBFC of the internet…ATVOD consults about setting up as the internet film censor complete with wishy washy rules that could be used to ban anything

Posted: 3 December, 2014 in ATVOD VOD Censor
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Read more ATVOD Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

ATVOD with award for service to foreign industry The UK government has just passed worrying new rules about requiring internet porn films to adhere withBBFCguidelines and for websites to impose impractical age verification requirements.The internet video censor, ATVOD, is now consulting on a new set of censorship rules to reflect the new law. However ATVOD has also dreamt up a few new censorship rules of its own, seemingly way beyond the law changes about hardcore porn videos.

ATVOD has defined a new rule 14 which lets the organisation act as a new BBFC for internet video material not actually seen by the BBFC. This is not backed up by any change to law that I have spotted.

ATVOD has cut and pasted a whole load of BBFC statement about banning things for made up reasons such moral harm. Now when these statements appear on the BBFC websites, then it is rhetoric to keep moralist campaigners and MPs happy. Knowing what the BBFC actually bans and censors, generally means that we trust the BBFC not to abuse the open censorship enabling rules.

However there is zero trust for ATVOD which seems to glory in its crucifixion of the adult internet industry with unnecessarily onerous age verification requirements.

Anyway ATVOD introduces the consultation as follows:

Consultation on Proposed New Rules and Guidance Proposal to adopt new Rules and Guidance in light of amendments made to the Communications Act 2003 by the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 This consultation opened on 1st December 2014 This consultation will close at 5pm on 2nd March 2015

This is a consultation by the Authority for Television On Demand ( ATVOD ), the body that Ofcom designated on 18 March 2010 as the co-regulator for VOD editorial content. The purpose of this consultation is to consult on a proposal to adopt an amended Rules and Guidance document.

We expect to publish a statement on the Proposed Rules and Guidance in spring 2015.

And the new Rule 14 reads:

Rule 14: Harmful Material: Prohibited material

An on-demand programme service must not contain any prohibited material. Prohibited material means

  • (a) a video work which the video works authority has determined for the purposes of the 1984 Act38 not to be suitable for a classification certificate to be issued in respect of it, or

  • (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 determine for those purposes that the video work was not suitable for a classification certificate to be issued in respect of it.

In determining whether any material falls within (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.

Guidance

Content whose broadcast complies with the Ofcom Broadcasting Code, or that has been classified by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) in any category, including R18 , would not be considered prohibited material .

Video works which have been refused a classification by the BBFC, and material which if included in a video work would be refused a classification by the BBFC, is prohibited material and cannot be included on an on demand programme service in any circumstances. All material on the service, including still images and other non-video content is subject to this requirement.

There is no requirement for material being provided on an on demand programme service to be classified by the BBFC, but where material has not been classified, ATVOD is required to have regard to the BBFC Classification Guidelines when determining whether it is reasonable to expect that such material when included in an on demand programme service is material which, if contained in a video work submitted to the BBFC, would be refused a classification.

The guidance below sets out the type of material which may be refused a classification by the BBFC. For further information on the guidelines issued by the video work authority see the BBFC’s website at http://www.bbfc.co.uk/what-classification/guidelines. Having regard to the current BBFC Classification Guidelines, the following is a non-exhaustive list of the types of material which may constitute prohibited material:

  • Material in breach of the criminal law (including material judged to be obscene under the current interpretation39 of the Obscene Publications Act 1959) or that has been created through the commission of a criminal offence

  • Material which risks harm to individuals or, through their behaviour, to society. For example:

  • Material which may promote criminal activity

  • Portrayals of children in a sexualised or abusive context

  • Detailed portrayals of violent or dangerous acts, or of illegal drug use, which may cause harm to public health or morals.

  • Material which makes sexual or sadistic violence look normal, appealing, or arousing

  • Graphic images of real injury, violence or death presented in a salacious or sensationalist manner which risks harm by encouraging callous or sadistic attitudes

  • Material which reinforces the suggestion that victims enjoy sexual violence

  • Material which invites viewer complicity in sexual violence or other harmful violent activities

  • Material which is so demeaning or degrading to human dignity (for example, it consists of strong abuse, torture or death without any mitigating factors) that it may pose a harm risk.

  • Material in pornographic works which:

  • Is likely to encourage an interest in sexually abusive activity which may include adults role-playing as non-adults

  • Portrays sexual activity which involves real or apparent lack of consent. Any form of physical restraint which prevents participants from indicating a withdrawal of consent

  • Involves 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 o Involves penetration by any object associated with violence or likely to cause physical harm

  • Involves 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

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