ATVOD

The Association for Television on Demand
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ATVOD acts to protect children

News article: 20 September 2013


ATVOD ACTS TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM HARDCORE PORN ON UK VOD SERVICES AND WILL HOLD SUMMIT WITH FINANCIAL INDUSTRY ON BLOCKING PAYMENTS TO NON-UK PORN SERVICES


ATVOD publishes determinations that 10 ‘adult’ video on demand services had breached statutory rules requiring UK video on demand providers to keep hardcore pornographic content out of reach of children and announces summit with financial industry on blocking payments to non-UK porn services which fail to protect children

Ten more providers of on-line porn have fallen foul of media regulators for failing to keep explicit videos or still images beyond the reach of children.

 

Hardcore porn ranging from real explicit sex to bondage, domination and sado-masochism could be accessed by children on the internet services, in breach of a statutory rule.

 

Today’s findings by the Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) bring to almost 30 the number of porn operators against whom the regulator has acted over the past two years for failing to protect children. They come on the eve of a summit in which the regulator hopes to persuade banks and card companies to block payments to on-UK porn operators who do not safeguard under-18’s.

 

The 10 online video on demand services  - Absolute Cruelty, Belted by Beauty, Bitch Slapped, CFNM, CMNM, Frankie and Friends, Jessica Pressley, The British Institution, The Casting Room and Young Dommes – were held to be in breach of a statutory rule which requires that material which might seriously impair under 18’s can only be made available if access is blocked to children.

 

The ten services offered any user access to explicit hardcore porn videos which could be viewed on-demand. Yet the content of the videos was equivalent to that which could be sold only to adults in licensed sex shops if supplied on DVD.  

 

The  services each broke the statutory rules in two ways. Firstly, they allowed any visitor free, unrestricted access to hardcore pornographic or BDSM video promos/trailers or still images featuring real sex in explicit detail or strong BDSM activity. Secondly, access to the full videos was open to any visitor who paid a fee. As the services accepted payment methods – such as debit cards – which can be used by under 18’s, ATVOD ruled that each service had also failed to put in place effective access controls in relation to the full videos. As a result of ATVOD’s action -

 

          -  five services took steps to ensure that children accessing the websites could not normally view  explicit ‘hardcore’ or  BDSM material;

          -  one service (Jessica Pressley) has been referred to Ofcom for consideration of a sanction. Under this sanctions procedure, operators who have failed to comply may be fined: Playboy TV was fined £100,000 for similar breaches earlier thisyear;

          -  one service ceased providing video content altogether

          -  control over the remaining three services was claimed to have been transferred to a Dutch company, which would put them outside ATVOD’s remit, even though they are still accessible from the UK (one of the services subsequently closed). ATVOD is investigating this claim and expects to reach a conclusion shortly.

 

ATVOD counsels against complacency as most websites which allow UK children to access hardcore pornography operate from outside the UK and therefore fall outside ATVOD’s remit.

 

ATVOD notes that Crown Prosecution Service guidance on the Obscene Publications Act makes clear that non-UK websites which offer unrestricted access to hardcore pornography and which can be accessed from the UK are likely to be considered to be operating in breach of UK law. Such websites offer free content as a “shop window” to attract subscriptions mainly paid by credit and debit card. ATVOD has therefore questioned whether it  can be right for businesses which are likely to be operating illegally to draw revenues from UK bank and credit card accounts.

 

ATVOD has raised this issue directly with those involved in facilitating such payments and is holding a summit with the UK Cards Association, the Payments Council, the British Bankers’ Association, and leading payment scheme operators on 10 October to discuss how the financial industry’s response to the problem might evolve. 

 

ATVOD welcomes the Government support for the initiative announced by  Home Office Minister Damian Green who said The Government supports the work that the Authority for Television on Demand (ATVOD) has undertaken. This will explore with UK financial institutions and card companies the possibility of declining to process payments to websites operating outside the European Union which allow under-18s in the UK to view explicit pornographic content.”  


ATVOD has also provided government with a detailed briefing on policy options which could be considered if children are to be better protected from hardcore pornography online.

 

ATVOD Chief Executive Pete Johnson said:


“We have made good progress in ensuring that UK operators of regulated VOD services comply with rules designed to protect children from harmful content, but we are not complacent and will continue to monitor relevant services and act as required.


“Our recent enforcement activity has sent a clear message that UK providers of hardcore pornography on demand must take effective steps to ensure that such material is not accessible to under-18’s. 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.”


ATVOD Chair Ruth Evans said:

 

“We believe more should be done to protect UK children from porn websites operating from other countries, which may be unregulated. It is surely time to think about more imaginative ways of ensuring that the  safeguards ATVOD  institutes around  UK services are replicated for hard-core porn websites accessible  in the UK, but operated overseas.


For example, given that many such services appear to be operating in breach of the Obscene Publications Act,  can it be right that they are part-financed by payments made from UK bank  accounts?


We will be discussing this issue with the financial industry at a summit early next month and welcome the recent Government statement of support for the initiative”


 The full text of the determinations can be found at:

 




Ten more providers of on-line porn have fallen foul of media regulators for failing to keep explicit videos or still images beyond the reach of children.

 

Hardcore porn ranging from real explicit sex to bondage, domination and sado-masochism could be accessed by children on the internet services, in breach of a statutory rule.

 

Today’s findings by the Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) bring to almost 30 the number of porn operators against whom the regulator has acted over the past two years for failing to protect children. They come on the eve of a summit in which the regulator hopes to persuade banks and card companies to block payments to on-UK porn operators who do not safeguard under-18’s.

 

The 10 online video on demand services  - Absolute Cruelty, Belted by Beauty, Bitch Slapped, CFNM, CMNM, Frankie and Friends, Jessica Pressley, The British Institution, The Casting Room and Young Dommes – were held to be in breach of a statutory rule which requires that material which might seriously impair under 18’s can only be made available if access is blocked to children.

 

The ten services offered any user access to explicit hardcore porn videos which could be viewed on-demand. Yet the content of the videos was equivalent to that which could be sold only to adults in licensed sex shops if supplied on DVD.  

 

The  services each broke the statutory rules in two ways. Firstly, they allowed any visitor free, unrestricted access to hardcore pornographic or BDSM[1] video promos/trailers or still images featuring real sex in explicit detail or strong BDSM activity. Secondly, access to the full videos was open to any visitor who paid a fee. As the services accepted payment methods – such as debit cards – which can be used by under 18’s, ATVOD ruled that each service had also failed to put in place effective access controls in relation to the full videos. As a result of ATVOD’s action -

 

·         five services took steps to ensure that children accessing the websites could not normally view  explicit ‘hardcore’ or BDSM material;

·         one service – Jessica Pressley - has been referred to Ofcom for consideration of a sanction. Under this sanctions procedure, operators who have failed to comply may be fined: Playboy TV was fined £100,000 for similar breaches earlier this year;

·         control over the remaining four services was claimed to have been transferred to a Dutch company, which would put them outside ATVOD’s remit, even though they are still accessible from the UK. ATVOD is investigating this claim and expects to reach a conclusion shortly.

ATVOD counsels against complacency as most websites which allow UK children to access hardcore pornography operate from outside the UK and therefore fall outside ATVOD’s remit.

ATVOD notes that Crown Prosecution Service guidance on the Obscene Publications Act makes clear that non-UK websites which offer unrestricted access to hardcore pornography and which can be accessed from the UK are likely to be considered to be operating in breach of UK law. Such websites offer free content as a “shop window” to attract subscriptions mainly paid by credit and debit card. ATVOD has therefore questioned whether it  can be right for businesses which are likely to be operating illegally to draw revenues from UK bank and credit card accounts.

ATVOD has raised this issue directly with those involved in facilitating such payments and is holding a summit with the UK Cards Association, the Payments Council, the British Bankers’ Association, and leading payment scheme operators on 10 October to discuss how the financial industry’s response to the problem might evolve. 

ATVOD welcomes the Government support for the initiative announced by  Home Office Minister Damian Green who said The Government supports the work that the Authority for Television on Demand (ATVOD) has undertaken. This will explore with UK financial institutions and card companies the possibility of declining to process payments to websites operating outside the European Union which allow under-18s in the UK to view explicit pornographic content.”  

ATVOD has also provided government with a detailed briefing on policy options which could be considered if children are to be better protected from hardcore pornography online.

ATVOD Chief Executive Pete Johnson said:

“We have made good progress in ensuring that UK operators of regulated VOD services comply with rules designed to protect children from harmful content, but we are not complacent and will continue to monitor relevant services and act as required.

“Our recent enforcement activity has sent a clear message that UK providers of hardcore pornography on demand must take effective steps to ensure that such material is not accessible to under-18’s. 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.”

ATVOD Chair Ruth Evans said:

“We believe more should be done to protect UK children from porn websites operating from other countries, which may be unregulated. It is surely time to think about more imaginative ways of ensuring that the  safeguards ATVOD  institutes around  UK services are replicated for hard-core porn websites accessible  in the UK, but operated overseas.

For example, given that many such services appear to be operating in breach of the Obscene Publications Act,  can it be right that they are part-financed by payments made from UK bank  accounts?

We will be discussing this issue with the financial industry at a summit early next month and welcome the recent Government statement of support for the initiative”

 The full text of the determinations can be found at:

·         Absolute Cruelty 

·         Belted by Beauty 

·         Bitch Slapped 

·         CFNM 

·         CMNM 

·         Frankie and Friends 

·         Jessica Pressley 

·         The British Institution 

·         The Casting Room 

·          Young Dommes 



[1] Bondage, Domination and Sado-Masochism

 

 

Ten more providers of on-line porn have fallen foul of media regulators for failing to keep explicit videos or still images beyond the reach of children.

 

Hardcore porn ranging from real explicit sex to bondage, domination and sado-masochism could be accessed by children on the internet services, in breach of a statutory rule.

 

Today’s findings by the Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) bring to almost 30 the number of porn operators against whom the regulator has acted over the past two years for failing to protect children. They come on the eve of a summit in which the regulator hopes to persuade banks and card companies to block payments to on-UK porn operators who do not safeguard under-18’s.

 

The 10 online video on demand services  - Absolute Cruelty, Belted by Beauty, Bitch Slapped, CFNM, CMNM, Frankie and Friends, Jessica Pressley, The British Institution, The Casting Room and Young Dommes – were held to be in breach of a statutory rule which requires that material which might seriously impair under 18’s can only be made available if access is blocked to children.

 

The ten services offered any user access to explicit hardcore porn videos which could be viewed on-demand. Yet the content of the videos was equivalent to that which could be sold only to adults in licensed sex shops if supplied on DVD.  

 

The  services each broke the statutory rules in two ways. Firstly, they allowed any visitor free, unrestricted access to hardcore pornographic or BDSM[1] video promos/trailers or still images featuring real sex in explicit detail or strong BDSM activity. Secondly, access to the full videos was open to any visitor who paid a fee. As the services accepted payment methods – such as debit cards – which can be used by under 18’s, ATVOD ruled that each service had also failed to put in place effective access controls in relation to the full videos. As a result of ATVOD’s action -

 

  • five services took steps to ensure that children accessing the websites could not normally view  explicit ‘hardcore’ or BDSM material;
  • one service – Jessica Pressley - has been referred to Ofcom for consideration of a sanction. Under this sanctions procedure, operators who have failed to comply may be fined: Playboy TV was fined £100,000 for similar breaches earlier this year;
  • control over the remaining four services was claimed to have been transferred to a Dutch company, which would put them outside ATVOD’s remit, even though they are still accessible from the UK. ATVOD is investigating this claim and expects to reach a conclusion shortly.

ATVOD counsels against complacency as most websites which allow UK children to access hardcore pornography operate from outside the UK and therefore fall outside ATVOD’s remit.

ATVOD notes that Crown Prosecution Service guidance on the Obscene Publications Act makes clear that non-UK websites which offer unrestricted access to hardcore pornography and which can be accessed from the UK are likely to be considered to be operating in breach of UK law. Such websites offer free content as a “shop window” to attract subscriptions mainly paid by credit and debit card. ATVOD has therefore questioned whether it  can be right for businesses which are likely to be operating illegally to draw revenues from UK bank and credit card accounts.

ATVOD has raised this issue directly with those involved in facilitating such payments and is holding a summit with the UK Cards Association, the Payments Council, the British Bankers’ Association, and leading payment scheme operators on 10 October to discuss how the financial industry’s response to the problem might evolve. 

ATVOD welcomes the Government support for the initiative announced by  Home Office Minister Damian Green who said The Government supports the work that the Authority for Television on Demand (ATVOD) has undertaken. This will explore with UK financial institutions and card companies the possibility of declining to process payments to websites operating outside the European Union which allow under-18s in the UK to view explicit pornographic content.”  

ATVOD has also provided government with a detailed briefing on policy options which could be considered if children are to be better protected from hardcore pornography online.

ATVOD Chief Executive Pete Johnson said:

“We have made good progress in ensuring that UK operators of regulated VOD services comply with rules designed to protect children from harmful content, but we are not complacent and will continue to monitor relevant services and act as required.

“Our recent enforcement activity has sent a clear message that UK providers of hardcore pornography on demand must take effective steps to ensure that such material is not accessible to under-18’s. 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.”

ATVOD Chair Ruth Evans said:

“We believe more should be done to protect UK children from porn websites operating from other countries, which may be unregulated. It is surely time to think about more imaginative ways of ensuring that the  safeguards ATVOD  institutes around  UK services are replicated for hard-core porn websites accessible  in the UK, but operated overseas.

For example, given that many such services appear to be operating in breach of the Obscene Publications Act,  can it be right that they are part-financed by payments made from UK bank  accounts?

We will be discussing this issue with the financial industry at a summit early next month and welcome the recent Government statement of support for the initiative”

 The full text of the determinations can be found at:



[1] Bondage, Domination and Sado-Masochism