Playboy TV Fined £100,000 by British Regulators

Jan 16, 2013 8:15 AM PST

LONDON — Playboy TV has been fined £100,000 (about $160,000) by British regulator Ofcom for not having sufficient age-verification controls on its Demand Adult and Playboy TV websites.

According to reports, the Demand Adult home page displayed hardcore material without warnings or credit card controls.

The regulator hit Playboy with a £65,000 fine and said that the adult pay-TV company's failure to have proper controls to stop people under 18 from accessing two of its websites was "serious, repeated and reckless.”

Ofcom further said that porn could be viewed by anyone at the click of a button and additional content could be accessed with just a debit card.

Although the Playboy TV website had less explicit material and required users to verify their age, Ofcom said it wasn’t enough because other porn was readily available. Playboy TV was fined an additional £35,000 for that infraction.

"There are a number of controls that websites can use to verify the age of users. This includes asking for credit card details before any adult content is made accessible. Credit cards, unlike debit cards, are not available to under 18s. Playboy TV and Demand Adult had breached U.K. rules by having no effective systems in place to protect under 18s from unsuitable free and paid-for content.

"We concluded that Playboy's failure to protect children from potentially accessing these sites was serious, repeated and reckless," Ofcom said.

According to The Guardian, the Playboy TV channel was fined £110,000 in 2011 for broadcasting a series of TV ads for its adult sex chat services featuring "presenters" enticing viewers with lewd gestures.

Playboy's websites are regulated by Ofcom and the Authority for Video on Demand (ATVOD) – unlike other porn sites because they provide access to videos in a similar way to adult services broadcast on TV and fall within U.K. jurisdiction.

In December, Ofcom fined Strictly Broadband Ltd. £60,000 for failing to have effective age verification controls. The company was sold in 2012 to a U.S. company after its U.K.-based operator said he couldn't comply with Britain’s strict new rules over age verification.
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