Adult Industry Execs Weigh In on U.K. Porn Opt-in Plan

Apr 30, 2012 8:00 AM PST

LONDON — Two-thirds of Britain’s populace are in favor of ISPs adopting a porn opt-in plan to protect kids according to a poll, but U.S. adult industry executives say it’s the parents’ responsibility to police what their children access on the Internet.

A new survey conducted by YouGov found that 66 percent of Brits support an "automatic ban" on adult material that was put forth by a conservative group of members of parliament recently.

In response to the move, the Daily Mail, one of the U.K.’s largest newspapers is backing the plan by launching its own Block Online Porn campaign for porn filtering.

In a report yesterday, the paper maintained that ISPs and U.S. porn “barons” won’t get on board with the plan because they simply make too much money from adult material.

Vivid Entertainment co-founder Steven Hirsch admitted that he is worried about losing millions if opt-in becomes a reality, according to the Mail, and because of that is adamantly against the newspaper's crusade.

But despite the paper’s attempt at painting Hirsch as only caring about money, the Vivid boss shot back with a solid argument about parental responsibility being the key to safeguarding kids, not regulation.

Hirsch insisted that he personally takes full responsibility for what his three children access online, even monitoring their passwords.

‘Ten-year-old kids are not interested in watching people having sex because they don’t have sex themselves. They are much more interested in watching the new ‘Batman’ film,” Hirsch told the Mail.

The Mail then pointed out that one in three 10-year-olds have seen online porn, prompting Hirsch to respond, “Ultimately, it’s the parents’ responsibility. They need to be aware of what their children are doing online. But kids don’t go online to look for porn.”

But the newspaper disagreed with Hirsch’s stance, instead pushing that kids will seek porn out of curiosity or daring.

“I think we take a step back as a society when you allow the government to dictate what you can and can’t watch. I mean, just who are the moral police? This ultimately leads you down a path of taking our freedoms away,” Hirsch shot back.

“Look, some people may feel uncomfortable about letting their Internet Service Provider (ISP) know they want adult content," he continued. ‘In a free society we should be able to take that decision for ourselves,” Hirsch said.

The Mail maintained however that big money from online porn, and growing competition amongst the U.K.’s major ISPs including BT, Virgin Media, Talk Talk, Sky Broadband, Orange and O2 — that have 20 million customers between them — are the selfish business reasons for aligning themselves with the major adult players.

But the argument once again turned to parental control and the free market.

Like Hirsch, Hustler President Michael Klein told the Mail it’s the “responsibility and job of the parent” to prevent kids form logging on to porn sites, not the role of government.

“What is being proposed in the U.K. would punish people who want to see good adult entertainment just because others are worried that parents can’t do a good enough job of stopping their own children from viewing such content.

“As long as what you are watching does not include any child pornography or any actual images of someone being hurt or injured against their will, then each person should be able to have freedom to watch and enjoy the programming that they want," Klein said.

He also pointed to the plan’s specter of general censorship.

“What if the next step is that they decide they don’t like martial arts movies or action movies, and decide that in their mind they want to block your ability to see that on the Internet as well because they don’t think you are responsible enough to make sure that your kids don’t see that Sylvester Stallone or Bruce Willis action movie?,” Klein asked the Mail.

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