U.K. Regulators Order Porn Site Closed

Nov 16, 2013 6:15 AM PST

LONDON — ATVOD for the first time has used its powers to suspend an online adult website under the U.K.’s Communications Act.

JP Media, operators of JessicaPressley.com, was ordered barred indefinitely from operating the website after ATVOD and parent communications agency Ofcom said that the website company failed to keep explicit videos or images beyond the reach of children.

ATVOD, U.K.’s video-on-demand regulator, says operators of JP Media face criminal prosecution if they deny the order, but as of Saturday morning the six-year-old site was inoperable. JessicaPressley operated as the official website for the U.K.-based porn star.

A second porn site, PleasuringHerself.com, also now closed, was subject of recent enforcement action by ATVOD, as well. The site offered short clips, with some titled “All She Needs Is a Vibrator” and “Pushing Her Vibrator in Deep.”

ATVOD said that JessicaPressley.com and PleasuringHerself.com both operated from the U.K. and provided free-to-view R18-equivalent porn content. They both did not have a robust paywall for premium content in defiance of Section 368K(3)(a) of the Communications Act of 2003, the regulator said.

JessicaPressley.com was ordered suspended on Oct. 7 by Ofcom, but the site was closed the next day and is no longer available.  ATVOD said that JP Media did not comply with the regulator and was closed only after ATVOD asked Ofcom to impose a statutory penalty.

PleasuringHerself.com closed in late August after ATVOD reached an enforcement notification over the site.

“The services each broke the statutory rules in two ways,” ATVOD said in a statement late Friday. “Firstly, they allowed any visitor free, unrestricted access to hardcore pornographic video promos/trailers or still images featuring real sex or masturbation in explicit detail. 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 18s ATVOD ruled that each service had also failed to put in place effective access controls in relation to the full videos.”

Pete Johnson, who leads ATVOD as its chief executive, said that the agency’s enforcement activity over the past two years “has sent a clear message that U.K. providers of hardcore pornography on demand must take effective steps to ensure that such material is not accessible to under-18s.”

“The action taken in relation to the provider of Jessica Pressley service is the first of its kind and demonstrates that the ATVOD rules that apply to U.K. VOD services are backed by effective enforcement procedures,” he said. “We will continue to take robust action to ensure that U.K. 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.”

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