Ofcom Behemoth crushes small website operator…HardGlam.com falls victim to a 1500 pound censorship fine for not following impossible age verification rules

Posted: 13 December, 2014 in ATVOD VOD Censor, Ofcom Internet Censor
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Read more Ofcom Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

hardglam The adult website HardGlam (at http://www.hardglam.com and others)has been fined £1500 for transgression ofATVOD’s internet censorship rules:

Rule 1: A person must not provide an on-demand programme service unless, before beginning to provide it, that person has given notification to the appropriate regulatory authority of the person’s intention to provide that service. A notification must be sent to the appropriate regulatory authority in such manner as the authority may require and must contain all such information as the authority may require.

Rule 4: The provider of an On-Demand Programme Service must pay to the appropriate regulatory authority such fee as that authority may require under section 368NA of the Act.

Rule 11: 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.

The usual complaints about not registering for censorship, allowing hardcore material available without the onerous age verification requirements and not being responsive to the censors finger clicking.

Perhaps more interesting is how Ofcom relates to dealing with an adult industry minnow. Ofcom noted:

The Service Provider submitted written representations to Ofcom on 13 November 2014. The Service Provider also attended an oral hearing on 2 December 2014, supported by two family members.

Firstly, the Service Provider apologised for previous lack of engagement with ATVOD and Ofcom. He explained he had not intended to delay or impede the regulatory process and that there were a number of exceptional personal circumstances which had led to him (in his words) putting his, head in the sand . He noted that he was not well connected in the adult or video on demand industries and had run a business focusing on niche fetishes (principally women smoking) for nine years without realising compliance with ATVOD rules was required. When ATVOD contacted him, he had not known where to turn for advice and, having previously fallen victim to scams, had erroneously believed registration with ATVOD was either a scam or at least not a legal requirement. He said that Ofcom’s involvement had alerted him to the seriousness of the situation and, following receipt of documents from Ofcom on 26 October 2014, he had taken steps to disable the websites under referral pending the outcome of Ofcom’s sanctions process. Ofcom had noted this on 18 November, and also noted that the services remained unavailable as at the date of the oral hearing.

Secondly, the Service Provider noted that his was a very small business and provided turnover details which were not available to Ofcom at the time of its Preliminary View. The Service Provider said that he had struggled to make a profit with his original company, J&L Visuals Limited, and had liquidated that company in October 2010. He said that with so much content available free over the internet, subscription based providers were now struggling to cover costs. After seeking alternative employment, the Service Provider explained he had returned to the internet business, as sole trader under the HardGlam name. The Service Provider said that he did not have full accounts for the relevant period but he provided information about his very modest sales during the period from 26 April to 13 November 2014 and on his monthly running costs. The Service Provider said the assumptions in Ofcom’s Preliminary View massively overstated the size of his business and expressed concerns about his ability to continue the business were a fine over four figures to be imposed.

Thirdly, the Service Provider noted the impact of the steps taken by Ofcom and of his own failure to engage earlier with the process on himself and his business. He said that since Ofcom had taken action in relation to the Service, his main payment provider had suspended payment provision in relation to the Service and he had not been able to receive any income or publish new content, leaving him with the costs for the premises he used for filming but no income to cover those costs. He indicated that he had to borrow money to cover these costs..


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