Telegraph Columnist: Is It Time for U.K.-Approved Porn?

Jan 7, 2015 12:44 PM PST

LONDON — A Telegraph columnist asked in a published piece today whether it's time for state-approved porn in the U.K.

Columnist Martin Daubney admits that his "massively controversial proposition" could even achieve the unthinkable — it could "unite censors, MPs, child protection agencies and, perhaps most astonishingly of all, the pornographers themselves."

Daubney in his piece surmised that because the demand for online porn is not going away, it might be time for the state to  legislate, control and tax it.

Daubney went on to spell out how his U.K. state-controlled porn could work, including moves to revoke or modify new rules that force online video-on-demand sites to comply with R18 rules and to approve websites with compulsary age verification through groups like the Adult Provider Network, an organization representing those in the adult biz.

"An agreed 'whitelist' of sites would be approved by both ATVOD and the government, and licenses put out to tenure," he wrote. "Everything else would be 'blacklisted'" and blocked by ISPs.

Some of the porn on the U.K. sites would be free, he wrote. But high-def and "personalized" porn would be charged for, with a portion of that revenue taxed and going to back to the government.

"Brits would be watching porn, but at least we’d know what they were watching," he wrote. "[P]orn sites would be able to offer support to anybody who felt their porn use was getting out of control."

Jerry Barnett of Sex & Censorship, however, said there is fear of ATVOD's increasing clout that worries online adult operators.

"If ATVOD got the ability to write blacklists and whitelists and censor our Internet, it would make its leader one of the most powerful people in the U.K.,” Barnett said. “For the pornographers, having a government-regulated pass is a very good way to make money.”

Some readers of the column were critical of Daubney's approach, including those who derided the idea of living in a nanny state.

"What about limiting the supply of vibrators, or making it a criminal offense for a female to reject a man's sexual advances," a reader commented. "What about regulating and taxing gossip on female ... what about regulating and taxing the supply of news on websites such as The Daily Telegraph. It would be a crime to print anything critical of the state!"

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