News Article: 1 February 2012
ATVOD RULES THAT ‘ADULT’ WEBSITE MUST BLOCK ACCESS TO CHILDREN
ATVOD publishes determination that ‘adult’ video on demand website ‘Bootybox.tv’ had breached statutory rules requiring video on demand providers to ensure that under 18s cannot normally access hardcore pornographic content
The Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) has today published its determination that the provider of the online video on demand service ‘Bootybox.tv’ was in breach of a statutory rule which requires that material which might seriously impair under 18s can only be made available if access is blocked to children.
The Bootybox.tv website offered users access to explicit hardcore porn videos which could be viewed on-demand. The content of the videos was equivalent to that which could only be sold in licensed sex shops if supplied on DVD.
Responding to a complaint from a concerned father, who had discovered that his son had visited the site, ATVOD found that the website broke the statutory rules in two ways. Firstly, it allowed any visitor to the website unrestricted access to a selection of hardcore pornographic video promos/trailers featuring real sex in explicit detail and featured a large still image of explicit sex on the homepage. Secondly, access to the full videos was open to any visitor who paid a fee. As the service accepted payment methods – such as debit cards and prepaid vouchers – which can be used by under 18s, ATVOD ruled that the service had also failed to put in place effective access controls in relation to the full videos.
ATVOD followed up its ruling with an Enforcement Notification, requiring the provider of Bootybox.tv to either remove the hardcore porn content from the service or put it all behind effective access controls which will ensure that only adults can see it. The service has now ceased operating.
Speaking today at a conference at the House of Lords on ATVOD’s role in child and consumer protection, ATVOD Chief Executive Pete Johnson will say:
“UK providers of hardcore pornography on demand must take effective steps to ensure that such material is not accessible to under 18s. Asking visitors to a website to click an ‘I am 18’ button or enter a date of birth or use a debit card is not sufficient – if they are going to offer explicit sex material they must know that their customers are 18, just as they would in the ‘offline’ world.”
Last week, ATVOD followed up its ruling with a seminar for providers of adult content on video on demand services. The seminar was designed to ensure that such providers fully understood their obligations under the statutory rules and to make clear that ATVOD would take action in relation to any other providers found to be in breach of the rule.