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August 22, 2012

UK ATVOD cracks down on porn on-demand services

UK ATVOD had confirmed that 13 of the total investigated porn video services have violated the rules as the material could be accessed by under-18s

By CBR Staff Writer

The UK’s co-regulator of editorial content in video on-demand (VOD), the Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD), has recently investigated about 23 UK porn video services confirming that 13 have breached the rules as the material could be accessed by under-18s.

According to the regulator, two of the investigated services have violated the rules and have now closed, while seven have complied with the rules, by putting all hardcore material under an effective access control mechanism.

ATVOD Chief Executive Pete Johnson said the agency has made good progress in ensuring that UK operators of regulated VOD services comply with rules designed to protect children from harmful content, but it is not complacent and will continue to monitor relevant services and act as required.

"Our recent enforcement activity has sent a clear message that UK providers of hardcore pornography on demand must take effective steps to ensure that such material is not accessible to under-18s," Johnson said.

"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."

However, four services, which were identified by the agency have taken no action and so have now been handed to Ofcom, ATVOD’s back-stop regulator, to consider whether to impose a financial penalty or restrict or suspend the service being offered.

ATVOD, which has now established itself as the defined regulator of video on-demand in the UK, has also been offered more operating freedom by Ofcom, which will allow it to no longer seek prior approval before publishing new guidelines.

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