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The final shape of the Digital Economy Bill

Posted at 18:37 on 18 Apr 2017 by Pandora Blake

Since the Digital Economy Bill passed to the House of Lords a few months ago, I’ve been following its progress closely. I’ve also been doing my best to intervene in the amendment of the Bill by lobbying the Lords - specifically, sending out a briefing on behalf of Backlash after the second debate, before the Bill was discussed in committee. Each time any transcripts have been published, I’ve read them - and started writing blogposts about each stage of the debate. But I’m not a lawyer, and the passage of a Bill through Parliament is a dense legislative process. Honestly, it’s taken all of my capacity to read, digest and comprehend the Hansard transcripts; I didn't also manage to write succinct, accessible reports on the changes as they happened.

I'm going to have to ditch those half-written drafts now, because the Lords have voted on their final amendments to the Bill, and passed it back to the House of Commons for approval. Section 3 on age verification for online porn has changed in some significant ways. In theory there is still the opportunity for MPs to disagree with the changes and propose amendments of their own; bills can be passed back and forth between the Houses until agreement is reached. But realistically, with a General Election just having been announced for 8 June, it's very unlikely that there will be time for an extended game of legislative ping pong. It's much more likely that the Bill will be rushed through in wash-up without any further changes. So this draft is probably the final shape of the forthcoming Digital Economy Act 2017.

I’ve spent a couple of days reading up on the Lords committee report and third debate, and I think I understand them as well as I’m going to. So here’s my overview of the final shape of the Digital Economy Bill.

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Tags: age verification, BBFC, classification, cybersecurity, Digital Economy Bill, extreme porn legislation, lobbying, online harassment, privacy, prohibited content, slut-shaming, young people

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Follow me on Instagram!

Posted at 10:00 on 7 Apr 2017 by Pandora Blake

Follow me on Instagram!

Last month you may have noticed a new link which appeared in my sidebar: I started an Instagram! I'm really interested in a medium based around images and am enjoying the focus on the visual; it's a combination of pictures from my trips, activism and events, selfies, and of course some glamour and spanking shots.

Of course like so many social media sites (*cough* Facebook *cough*) Instagram doesn't allow nudity, so that means I have to be judicious in my selections of exactly which spanking shots to share - no pictures of bare buttocks or nipples. However I think I manage to navigate it quite well. Do feel free to follow me at @pandorablake - there's also a new @dreamsofspanking account - and let me know what you think!

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Tags: instagram, social media

 

Huck Magazine article on indie porn

Posted at 22:02 on 5 Apr 2017 by Pandora Blake

You may remember my post last month, telling how I had a journalist and photographer over to my home one evening to watch me and Blath shooting a ritualistic, witchy content share scene. Well, the photos and resultant article are now available in Huck Magazine.

The piece contains some good stuff: talks in a positive way about queer kinky porn, critiques the Digital Economy Bill and Age Verification, and quotes Vex Ashley and Bishop Black along with me and Blath. It also does a bit to center our work in the historical context of political porn, rather than trying to claim that we are inventing it (as a lot of journalists do when they hear about alt porn for the first time). And at least there isn't any pointless "can porn be feminist???" questioning. I have to admit I'm also struck by the pictures - the photographer did a great job of capturing the dark sexy vibes of the scene (credit to Blath for the arty lighting). Sequins and "decriminalise sex work" postcards: yup, that's a queer porn set.

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Tags: age verification, Blath, Digital Economy Bill, ethical porn, fairtrade porn, feminist porn, media, porn, queer porn

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Discussion on the Digital Economy Bill in London next week

Posted at 21:00 on 4 Apr 2017 by Pandora Blake

Open Rights Group

Next week I shall be speaking alongside Myles Jackman in a discussion with Martin Ashworth of ORG London (Open Rights Group), on the potential impact of the Digital Economy Bill and Age Verification on individuals in the UK. ORG London has over 1200 followers on Meetup, so hopefully this will be a well-attended event and will help to get the word out prior to the upcoming vote on the Bill.

If you're in London next Tuesday evening (April 11th), come along to Newspeak House in Bethnal Green to learn more, and to meet me and Myles!

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Tags: age verification, censorship, Digital Economy Bill, kink activism, law, Myles Jackman, ORG, public speaking

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Interview for Bottom Up Magazine

Posted at 20:00 on 31 Mar 2017 by Pandora Blake

Page preview from Bottom Up MagazinePage preview from Bottom Up MagazinePage preview from Bottom Up Magazine

I talked in a previous blogpost about a fun interview with a French indie magazine called Bottom Up, the print version of which is now available! They gave me heaps of coverage in this issue, including a report on the Kink Olympixxx which talks about censorship relating to the Digital Economy Bill, a review of Dreams of Spanking, and a very sweet and flattering profile of me followed by an interview - the full transcript of which is below.

I particularly adore this picture of me and Myles at the Kink Olympixxx!

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Tags: Digital Economy Bill, interview, media

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Introducing the London Porn Film Festival

Posted at 17:30 on 29 Mar 2017 by Pandora Blake

Postcards of the London Porn Film Festival

I’m SO happy that London has *finally* got its very own London Porn Film Festival, courtesy of those fabulous queers over at Wotever World <3 It’s on next week from Friday to Sunday (April 7-9), and I’m delighted that they are showing two Dreams of Spanking films: Please May I Come, Mistress and Queer as in Fuck You. Even better, I shall be there to do some Q&As! Ever since I first attended the amazing Berlin Porn Film Festival in 2014, I’ve longed for a London equivalent to showcase radical queer porn in its many beautiful diverse forms, so this is super exciting - please help me support it so it can become an annual event!

Please May I Come, Mistress is part of a 100-minute programme with seven other shorts under the title ‘A Thousand Queer Sexualities - films that span a breadth of erotic possibilities, and at the same time subverts them and swerves past the easy answers’. This film screens alongside Since You Asked So Nicely by Ms Naughty at Bright Desire, starring myself and Parker Marx in my first published boy/girl scene - which is queerer than you might expect.

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Tags: Charlie J Forrest, Dreams of Spanking, ethical porn, fairtrade porn, Fauni Cate, feminist porn, film festivals, queer porn, Wotever World

 

Queer Porn at the British Film Institute

Posted at 14:51 on 28 Mar 2017 by Pandora Blake

Myles Jackman, Jiz Lee, Pandora Blake and Jay Bernard at Sexit, BFI Flare

When I started making spanking films I never once imagined that I would get a chance to screen them at the British Film Institute. Porn - especially queer porn and fetish porn, and Dreams of Spanking is firmly in both camps - is in many ways innately counter-cultural. When I launched the site I didn't expect the draconian criminalisation that would follow; but equally I didn't expect that queer porn, specifically my queer spanking films, would be considered cultural enough to be shown somewhere like the BFI.

It's a bittersweet juxtaposition, perfectly illustrated by something I noticed when I arrived at the BFI for Flare, the LGBTQ film festival, at which I was taking part in a panel discussion around how porn law affects queer porn. The banner across the Flare reception desks proclaimed the sponsors of the event; and there on the left was the legend "Supported by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport." How ironic that the very department of the civil service supporting this event is the one which introduced a statutory instrument in 2014 criminalising many forms of queer porn, including my own. It was surreal to speak about that criminalisation, to a sympathetic audience eager to learn how they can resist state oppression, at an event supported by the very public body responsible for that oppression. For me, that dissonance aptly summarised the widening gap between legislation imposed from above by those who have no clue about sexuality or sex work, and an increasingly open-minded public who mostly consider the sex lives of consenting adults to be their own damn business.
 
Before the panel proper, I recorded a video interview alongside queer porn icon Jiz Lee, and Chocolate Chip, who stars in Snapshot, the new "porn noir" sexy whodunnit by Shine Louise Houston, with questions asked by Flare programmer Jay Bernard. Jay is one of the curators of the festival, and they did an amazing job co-ordinating the Sexit panel and programming queer films that center people of colour. The interview was intended to be streamed via Facebook Live, but apparently the BFI is an old old building with shitty connectivity, so it was recorded instead - I'll link the video as soon as it's available. 

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Tags: activism, Digital Economy Bill, Dreams of Spanking, ethical porn, Extreme Porn legislation, fairtrade porn, feminist porn, Gender politics, Jiz Lee, kink activism, listen to sex workers, Myles Jackman, obscenity, porn, queer porn

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La Fete du Slip

Posted at 11:09 on 10 Mar 2017 by Pandora Blake

Pandora Blake at La Fete du Slip porn film festival

I'm writing this blogpost on my way back from Switzerland, where I've been staying in Lausanne for five days for La Fete du Slip. Apparently it's the biggest festival of its kind in Europe after the Porn Film Festival Berlin - I'm told that six thousand people attended this year. It was my first time there. I was invited to accompany the screening of my film Please May I Come, Mistress, and they kindly offered some help with expenses which made it possible. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet members of our extended international porn family, discover hot new films, and visit Switzerland for the first time.

I’m always curious to visit new places. Lausanne is a small town on the Swiss bank of Lake Geneva, with the French Alps decorating the horizon. It’s hilly, each incline a hidden third dimension invisible on Google maps, but quickly discovered puffing up and down cobbled streets, or trying to work out a way between different levels of roads and bridges on foot. The central streets are paved and tidy, with restaurants, little shops and all the other trappings of a wealthy town. Other areas - like Arsenic, the venue hosting the porn film screenings - are more like the cities I’m used to, with large concrete infrascructure, graffiti and somewhat more urban decay. Even by London standards it's very expensive. Food and drink costs over twice what I expected, and I still hadn't got used to it by the time I left.

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Tags: ethical porn, feminist porn, film festivals, Four Chambers, Goodyn Green, Jiz Lee, La Fete du Slip, Lilith Luxe, Mad Kate, Mathias Antonietti, Mickey Mod, queer porn, Vex Ashley

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Interview about feminism and submission at ErikaLust.com

Posted at 11:00 on 4 Mar 2017 by Pandora Blake

I recently gave an interview to fellow feminist porn producer, the fabulous Erika Lust, which is now available on her website, complete with some pictures and sexy gifs! We talked about how I make my porn ethical; how Dreams of Spanking is at risk from the Digital Economy Bill here in the UK; how many of the fetish acts which seem to have been highlighted as “unacceptable” are those specific to female domination porn; feminism and submission; BDSM in the mainstream, and more. It had to be cut for length, but just for you dear readers here is the interview in full:

Dominance and submission at ethical porn site Dreams of Spanking

Hi Pandora! It's so great to talk to a woman on the same mission as myself to change the face of porn, *virtual high five* :) Now down to business. Your work has been described as "ethically produced fetish content" on your site Dreams of Spanking. Can you explain a little what this means?

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Tags: censorship, Digital Economy Bill, Dreams of Spanking, ethical porn, feminism, feminist porn, kink activism, stigma, submission

 

Briefing the House of Lords on age verification

Posted at 12:18 on 3 Mar 2017 by Pandora Blake

Briefing on the age verification section of the Digital Economy Bill - by Pandora Blake for Backlash

Along with the statement about the Women's March, one of my first actions in my new role as spokesperson for Backlash was to write a briefing about section 3 the Digital Economy Bill, and send it out to 151 members of the Lords, in advance of the Bill going to Committee stage. We targeted the briefing to those members sitting on relevant committees, those who had contributed to the second debate on the Bill, and Liberal Democrats whom we might hope would be sympathetic to issues of net freedom, privacy and civil liberties.

It was no easy task to condense my research and findings on the potential harms of this bill into a short, easily digestible format. To make it more likely that the briefing would be read, I summarised the main arguments in a single cover page, and then fleshed out the three sections - privacy, freedom of expression and lack of supporting evidence - in more detail over three subsequent pages. If you're looking for a succinct introduction to the problems with the age verification policy, I think it's a reasonable start.

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Tags: activism, age verification, Backlash, Digital Economy Bill, kink activism, lobbying

 

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