Video on Demand censor ATVOD has taken action against 8 adult companies operating 21 websites. 6 of the services didn’t abide by ATVOD’s unviable and onerous age verification requirements and 2 contained spanking material, which ATVOD claims is banned under an undemocratically introduced government decree.In fact spanking material is banned because the Crown Prosecution Service unilaterally claims that it can be successfully prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act. This claim is surely not backed up by recent jury trials, but is maintained by offering attractive plea bargains to victims being prosecuted to accept a guilty rap rather than go to jury trial. The Crown Prosecution Service writes the porn censorship rules used by the BBFC, and ATVOD in turn, uses the same CPS defined rules as maintained by the BBFC.
Ultimately ATVOD and the government are making the bollox claim that spanking videos are somehow likely to ‘deprave and corrupt’ viewers. A claim that’s provably nonsense as for all the many people that enjoy the likes of Dreams of Spanking, there simply aren’t any examples of people who have been depraved and corrupted its viewing, not even ATVOD staff.
The two services which featured ‘banned’ material — The Bondage Mistress Club and Dreams of Spanking are the subject of ongoing enforcement action. If they fail to become fully compliant in accordance with a strict timetable set by ATVOD, the service providers 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.
The six other services — Joybear Pictures, Sunday Sport XXXtra, UK XXX Pass, Lisa Cross, Luke’s Lair and Lucy Zara — had all failed to have in place robust mechanisms for preventing under 18s from accessing pornographic material which would be restricted to adult licensed sex shop customers if distributed on a DVD. Two of the services — UK XXX Pass and Luke’s Lair – had allowed any visitor to view such material free of charge. The remaining four restricted access to hardcore porn to paying customers only, but accepted the most common forms of payment which theoretically could be used by under 18s.
Following ATVOD’s intervention, all six services acted to make changes to bring the service into compliance or closed until such action could be completed. Of these, Joybear Pictures and UK XXX Pass acted in advance of the final breach ruling, while the remaining four acted in accordance with deadlines set in Enforcement Notifications issued at the time the breach was confirmed.
ATVPD notes that two of the providers recently brought into compliance have since submitted claims — currently under investigation – that the services have now been transferred to the control of persons based outside the UK. ATVOD has no powers in relation to services operated from abroad and on-demand services provided from outside the UK — but accessible within the UK – are rarely required to have in place the sort of age verification and access control systems required by ATVOD.