ATVOD has announced actions against two adult services breached new Tory censorship laws banning material on UK video on demand services which would be banned on DVD under the police censorship rules implemented by theBBFC.Two providers of on-line porn have fallen vicyim of new regulations banning on a UK video on demand ( VOD ) service material which would be banned on DVD. The service providers also failed to keep strong fetish videos and hardcore porn images behind unviable and onerous age verification requirements.
Banned pornographic material made available on the UK based services included videos of whipping likely to cause more than trifling harm, and the infliction of pain on a person who ‘appears’ unable to withdraw consent, even if filmed under totally consensual and safe conditions. Also repeated strong kicks to the genitals which appear to draw blood. Such material has been prohibited on UK based VOD services since 1 December 2014 under new censorship rules introduced by the Tory government.
The findings by the Authority for Television On Demand ( ATVOD ) are the first it has made under the new prohibited material rule introduced by Government in December and comes as ATVOD issues new guidance on the statutory rules it enforces following a three month consultation.
The two online video on demand victims are Glasgow Mistress Megara Furie and Mistress R’eal were held to be in breach of statutory requirements incorporated into ATVOD’s censorship rulebook as Rule 11 (age verification) and the new Rule 14 (following BBFC R18 rules for VoD).
The UK based services allowed under 18s access to explicit hardcore and strong fetish porn videos which could be viewed on-demand. Yet the content of the videos was equivalent to, and in some cases went beyond, that which could be sold only to adults in licensed sex shops if supplied on DVD.
Both services allowed any visitor free, unrestricted access to hardcore pornographic video promos or still images featuring strong fetish material and real sex in explicit detail. Access to the full videos was open to any visitor who paid a fee. As the services accepted the most common payment methods, such as debit cards, which can be theoretically used by under 18’s. However nobody seems to have actually documented any cases of any under 18s actually paying for porn with a debit card.
The operator of Glasgow Mistress Megara Furie closed the service within three days of the breaches being brought to their attention.
Enforcement action regarding the Mistress R’eal service is ongoing. If it fails to become fully compliant in accordance with a timetable set by ATVOD, the service provider 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, as happened in relation to the service Jessica Pressley.
ATVOD has also published determinations that three further UK based adult websites – Lads Next Door, Panties Pulled Down and Montys POV , failed to keep hardcore porn videos and images beyond the reach of children.
Following enforcement action by ATVOD, the operator of the Lads Next Door service acted to bring the website into compliance with the relevant Rule. The operators of Panties Pulled Down and Montys POV failed to become fully compliant in accordance with a timetable set by ATVOD. The service providers have therefore been referred to Ofcom for consideration of a sanction.
The latest rulings come as ATVOD publishes new guidance on the rules it enforces. Publication of the new guidance follows a three month consultation which began when the new censorship rules came into force.
Comment: ATVOD, the self appointed Pornfinder General
9th May 2015. See article from independent.co.uk
Critics of the new rules have long argued online viewers of niche pornography are still able to access content banned in the UK by watching videos filmed abroad, and new rules amounts to arbitrary censorship , while Myles Jackman, a British obscenity lawyer said that the case showed regulators were making up their interpretation of obscenity laws as they go along .
A spokesperson for Backlash UK, which is campaigning to defend freedom of sexual expression, added:
Atvod have erected themselves – pun intended – as the UK’s Pornfinder General…. The sole purpose of this new puritanism is mass control and surveillance, under the pretence of protection.
Megara Furie, who describes herself as a professional dominatrix, said that she had taken her site down immediately after she was informed by the censor. She now uses a more robust third-party operator to host her videos. She said:
The banned material, as far as I am aware was one ball kick, which resulted in the equivalent of a shaving cut and lots of blood because it was a testicle. I was happy to take that down. It was an eye-opener and I’ll now be more selective about my content. I wasn’t aware I was breaching the rules.
Comment: Mistress R’eal appeals against ATVOD censorship
9th May 2015. See article from xbiz.com
Mistress R’eal, the dominatrix whose scenes on Clips4Sale.com were the subject of a recent ATVOD probe and determination, has appealed the U.K. video-on-demand regulator’s decision that she breached Rule 14.
With her appeal, Mistress R’eal also is challenging the legitimacy of the AVMS 2014 law. Currently, she faces a £10,000 fine and a ban on streaming online.
The videos that breached Rule 14 are:
- A Bullwhipping in the Woods, parts 1 and 2,
- Double Domme CBT and Pegs.
The scenes are explicit in the films, but they are like most BDSM content shown on a countless number of websites. For example, in Double Domme CBT and Pegs, a man is retrained against a cross and has weights attached to his bound scrotum, several pegs attached to his body, and a violet wand played over his genitals,. While his arms appear to be free initially, it’s implied (and seems to be the case) that his wrists are restrained quite early in the clip. He is also gagged (and appears to be unable to speak with any real clarity) and has his legs bound. Hence his means of clearly indicating a withdrawal of consent is not apparent.
Mistress R’eal yesterday appealed against ATVOD’s ruling that her site is in breach of regulations on the basis that the AVMS 2014 is not valid. Her appeal, according to SexAndCensorship.org , says the following:
I submit that the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014, which introduced sections 368E(2) and (3) into the Communications Act 2003, were made ultra vires the Secretary of State’s power to pass secondary legislation under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972. Section 2(2) gives the Secretary of State the power to pass secondary legislation for the purpose of implementing any EU obligation or for the purpose of dealing with matters arising out of or related to EU obligations. I note that the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (2010/13/EU) imposes an obligation on Member States to prohibit hate speech on ODPS (Art. 6); by contrast, it does not contain any obligation to ban content that may be harmful to minors from ODPS, only an obligation to ensure that access to such content is appropriately restricted (Article 12). In the premises, I fail to see how the 2014 Regulations (and, by extension, section 368E(2) & (3) of the 2003 Act), could be said to implement an obligation in the AVMS Directive or to deal with matters arising out of related to that Directive. The 2014 Regulations plainly go well beyond the scope of the directive — and, in doing so, subvert the appropriate democratic process for dealing with an important human rights (free speech) issue. In light of the foregoing, I submit that the 2014 Regulations and sections 368E(2)-(3), CA2003 are void — as so, by extension, is ATVOD’s Rule 14, which is based solely on the aforementioned sections of the Communications Act 2003.