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PlayboyTV and Demand Adult appeal decisions

News article: 27 September 2013

ATVOD RESPONDS TO OFCOM APPEAL DECISION REGARDING PLAYBOY TV AND DEMAND ADULT 


Decisions turned on new evidence not made available to ATVOD

 

An appeal by Playboy TV UK / Benelux Ltd against ATVOD determinations that as at 14 September 2012 it remained the provider of the video on-demand services Playboy TV and Demand Adult has been upheld by Ofcom.

 

The decision turned on whether Playboy TV UK / Benelux Ltd still exercised “general control” over the selection and organisation of the programmes comprising the relevant video on demand services. The operators won their appeal after providing Ofcom with significant further evidence that key parts of their operations were now being run from  Canada.  The success of their appeal means that they can continue providing hard-core internet porn to UK consumers beyond the reach of British regulation.

 

The ATVOD determinations had been made following representations from Playboy TV UK / Benelux Ltd that control of the services had passed to Canadian company, Playboy Plus Entertainment. Those representations had come shortly after ATVOD found Playboy TV UK / Benelux Ltd to be in breach of ATVOD rules which require UK porn-on-demand websites to keep hardcore porn behind effective access controls which ensure that under 18s cannot normally see it. The UK company was later fined £100,000 in relation to those breaches.

 

Both Playboy TV UK / Benelux Ltd and Playboy Plus Entertainment are part of the Manwin Holding SARL group of companies.

 

The ATVOD decision had been taken on the basis of evidence provided by Playboy TV UK / Benelux Ltd following a request by ATVOD for all relevant information. Ofcom’s decision to uphold the appeal takes into account  significant further evidence from Playboy TV UK / Benelux Ltd and Manwin Holding SARL which was  never offered to ATVOD. The Ofcom’s appeal decisions note that “a limited number of individuals within the UK business continue actively to be involved in the provision of the service[s]” but accept that “there was a genuine reallocation of responsibility within the corporate group.”


Commenting on the decision, ATVOD Chief Executive Pete Johnson said:


“This is a complex area and the appeal system  is a vital part of  the process, giving service providers, in particular, greater clarity over issues such as where regulatory responsibility lies when two or more parties are involved. In this case, it is unfortunate that ATVOD was not provided with all relevant information at the appropriate time - doing so ensures that unnecessary regulatory costs are avoided.


The full text of the Ofcom appeal decisions can be found at:

 

http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/enforcement/video-on-demand-services/

 

The original ATVOD determinations can be found at:

 

http://www.atvod.co.uk/complaints/determinations/2012-determinations/demand-adult-Oct-2012

 

http://www.atvod.co.uk/complaints/determinations/2012-determinations/playboytv

 

Note: The fines imposed on Playboy TV UK / Benelux Ltd in January 2013 still stand as the UK company was the provider of the relevant services at the time the breach occured.