ATVOD: 29 U.K. Porn Sites Violated Rule 11

May 27, 2014 9:00 AM PST

LONDON — ATVOD, the authority that regulates video-on-demand in the U.K., said today that 29 adult websites were found to have violated Rule 11, a statute that requires operators make sure those under 18 can't access hardcore porn.

ATVOD said that the 29 porn sites, offering hardcore and BDSM fare, are operated by six companies, including Bra Busters of Britain, Hardglam, Madame Caramel, Miss Jessica Wood, One Stop Porno Shop and Speedy Bee.

Four of the six companies — Hardglam, Madame Caramel, One Stop Porno Shop and Speedy Bee — have had their cases referred to parent U.K. regulator Ofcom for possible sanctions.

"Under this sanctions procedure, operators who fail to comply may be fined — Playboy TV was fined £100,000 for similar breaches in 2013 — or  have their right to provide a service suspended, as happened in relation to the service Jessica Pressley last year," ATVOD said in a statement today.

In November, ATVOD for the first time used its powers to suspend an online adult website — JessicaPressley.com — under the U.K.’s Communications Act. ATVOD and Ofcom both determined that the website company failed to keep explicit videos or images beyond the reach of children.

JessicaPressley.com was operated as the official website for the U.K.-based porn star for six years.

Pete Johnson, who leads ATVOD as chief executive, said in a statement that the regulatory agency intends to send a clear message to U.K. porn providers.

"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,” he said.

Some of the 29 sites determined to have breached Rule 11 are FaceSittingMistress.co.uk, MissJessicaWood.co.uk, PantieLand.com, IDreamOfErin.com, OneStopPornoShop.com, ObsceneMachines.com, GetDirtyWithJuliet.com, AllStarNikki.com, HardGlam.com, BigObjectSluts.com, HardCoreMachines.com, OnlyCFNM.com, SlutsInCostumes.com, UKFootSluts.com, UKPantieSluts.com, SmokeyMouths.com, UKStockingSluts.com, WaterSportSluts.com, HotMatureTrisha.com, TrishasFriends.com, AuntieTrisha.com and DirtyDoctorsVideos.com.

Rule 11 requires an effective content-access control, or CAC, system that verifies that the user is 18 or over at the point of registration or access by the mandatory use of technical tools for age verification, including:

  • Confirmation of credit card ownership or other form of payment where mandatory proof that the account holder is 18 or over;
  • A personal digital identity management service, or PIN, which uses checks on an independent and reliable database, such as the electoral roll; or,
  • Other comparable proof of account ownership which effectively verifies age.

Most of the sites also were found to have breached ATVOD Rules 1 and 4, requiring fee payments to the video on-demand regulator.

It wasn't determined at post time when Ofcom would be hearing the cases.

ATVOD also announced Tuesday that it continues to focus on foreign hardcore sites, particularly tube sites that offer free content, and that it has Parliament's blessing.

"Over the past year, ATVOD has worked with the UK payments industry — including MasterCard, Visa Europe, PayPal, UK Cards Association, the Payments Council and the British Bankers’ Association — to design a process which would enable payments to be prevented to foreign services which allow children to view hardcore pornography," ATVOD said.

ATVOD noted that it is advocating to U.K. financial institutions and card companies the possibility of declining to process payments to websites operating outside the E.U., which allow under-18s in the U.K. to view explicit pornographic content.” 

"The payments industry has now made clear that to put such a process into place there would need to be clarity that foreign websites which allow children to view hardcore porn are acting in breach of U.K. law," ATVOD said. "The payments industry has therefore proposed a licensing scheme – similar to that being introduced for foreign gambling websites — as the best way of providing the necessary clarity."

ATVOD said that representatives of the U.K. payments industry discussed the initiative with members of the U.K. Department for Culture, Media and Sport earlier this month and that the agency is currently considering the feasibility of the licensing proposal.

An opposition amendment, which would introduce such a licensing regime, has been tabled to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, currently at report stage, ATVOD said.

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