International outcry against UK online porn regulations

Posted at 11:38 on 7 Dec 2014 by Pandora / Blake

Tags: atvod, AVMS, censorship, Extreme porn legislation, Fairtrade porn, Gender politics, in the news, Kink activism, media, Politics

For a while I continued to update my previous round-up with new links about ATVOD's new online porn regulations, but they are coming too thick and fast. This is round-up number two, and I want to open with two quotes from Australian feminist porn director Ms Naughty's article in the Daily Life, which made me cry:

Australian feminist porn performer Zahra Stardust is writing her PhD dissertation on the legal regulation of pornography. She says "Those of us who are making queer, feminist, and kinky porn are doing so as an act of civil disobedience, because we know from lived experience that the cost of censorship in our communities is too high. These laws actively produce a heterosexist, misogynist sexuality as 'normal', whilst pathologising and closeting practices that actually life-affirming, consensual and meaningful. Fisting (an activity which is non-phallic) and ejaculation (which leaves visible evidence of pleasure) operate for many of us as pleasures of reclamation and resistance in a world that devalues and denies our sexualities."

A plethora of incredulous articles and blog posts have appeared in the wake of the new laws, questioning the basis for sexual censorship of this sort. Petitions have been organized and a rally is scheduled for the Houses of Parliament next week. The willingness to stand up for alternative sexual representation reveals a shift in attitudes; people aren't ashamed of their porn anymore. The kinksters and the female ejaculators are mad as hell, and they're standing up for their right to pleasure - and pain.

The problem with banning female ejaculation in porn - Ms Naughty, Daily Life.

I am hugely encouraged by the outcry in response to these changes this week, both from the UK and worldwide. As a fetishist and a pornographer I'm used to being an edge case, and I generally assume that my ideas are as unusual as my work. But for once, it feels like public opinion might be on my side. Which is good, because I, along with a growing number of other UK fetish producers, intend to refuse to comply with the new guidelines, and to take this to the highest level in our fight to get the regulations changed.

Not only has the Daily Mirror poll come out at 90% in favour of not banning consensual BDSM porn, but PornHub have run an analysis of British porn viewing stats which backs up my impression that we are a kinky bunch: the UK consistently searches for porn in the newly restricted categories of porn more than the rest of the world.

The ongoing media coverage makes it pretty clear that I'm not the only one who thinks these regulations need to be challenged.

News

UK bans BDSM practices & female ejaculation in porn - Ruby May on Vimeo.

Magazines

  • The U.K. Crackdown on Porn And Why It Hurts Independent Producers - Filmmaker Magazine. "These majority-female, BDSM porn producers being targeted are the niche market the mom-and-pop shops to the big corporate, male-run production companies that cater to the much larger, straight guy audience for porn."
  • Under the UKs New VOD Regulations, BDSM is SOL - YNot. "The vagueness of the TV-like standard doesnt bother ATVOD one bit, however. From ATVODs perspective, it allows them great freedom to expand their authority according to shifting and evolving definitions of their own devising."
  • Has the UK really banned squirting? What is and isnt legal in online pornography - Recombu. "'Guidelines do change over time,' Jackman said, 'but the fact they have not changed post-Peacock is worrying. Given the result of that particular case there is clearly room for a challenge to the law.'"
  • It's about censorship, not sexism - Jerry Barnett, Sex and Censorship. Can't it be both? I agree that the threat to civil liberties and digital rights is the truly worrying one, but I don't think any of the people (including me) using the egregiously sexist highlights of the regulations as an attention-getter are actually denying that.
  • Ten Questions for the BBFC about R-18 porn rules - Strange Things Are Happening. I liked this bit, responding to BBFC senior examiner Murray Perkin's claim that "'We may not classify any material which may be subject to prosecution.' "Well, I'm sorry - but prosecution doesnt mean conviction. Surely they should only be outlawing material that has consistently been found guilty in court, not images and acts that the CPS and police simply dont approve of. Given how few obscenity cases (a) take place and (b) are defended in front of juries, this cosy arrangement between official bodies, none of whom have to back up their claims with actual facts, seems incredibly dodgy especially when the only case in recent years to actually be defended ended with a very fast acquittal. And lets not forget, until the end of the 1990s, the CPS and police still maintained that vanilla hardcore sex was legally obscene, again flying in the face of actual jury decisions."
  • Why the UK is banning porn studios from depicting a bunch of sex acts - Vox. "The restrictions on obscene content and extreme pornography aren't new at all. What's changed is the application of the R18 standard to online porn." Some good clarifications here as well as excellent quotes from Jiz Lee and Stoya.
  • Carry on censor - Jane Fae, Eye For Film. "The BBFC continues to cover its hypocrisy over censorship with the figleaf of an obligation to conform to the law."
  • UK Porn Stars Give Their Thoughts On The New Porn Laws - Buzzfeed. In-depth interviews with Lexi Lowe, Paul Taylor, Jerry Barnett and Itziar Bilbao Urrutia.
  • #ThingsNowBannedInUKPorn: Internet reacts to government censorship of UK pornography - Destrier. A fantastic collection of Twitter snark.
  • In Defence Of Face-Sitting. What The Porn Ban Means For You - Nichi Hodgson, Ask Men. "Please. I've endured packed train rides that were more oxygen-starved. And we're talking about consenting adults, here. As pro-domme Nikki Whiplash who sells face-sitting clips online puts it, 'The idea that seeing a clip of one of my little models supposedly controlling the breathing of one of my big strong boys in a clearly acted fantasy scenario could then go off, copy the act and somehow smother themselves to death as a result is pretty patronising. It would take two of these presumed idiots getting together to result in any kind of face-sitting accident.'"

Blogs

Academic

  • The regulation of pornography on video-on-demand in the United Kingdom, Julian Petley, Journal of Porn Studies. Free to view. From the synopsis: "By EU standards, the approach adopted has been a strict one, raising questions about whether the UK authorities have gone beyond the requirements of the Directive, and thus whether their policies need underpinning by new legislation at the national level. This in turn poses further questions about the desirability of such legislation, its compatibility with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the advisability of driving abroad the providers of adult on-demand services, and the practicability of attempting to regulate transnational media traffic in an increasingly online world where standards of acceptability vary widely from one country to another."

The official petition on the Govt website is now online and has nearly 2500 signatures already - if you're a UK resident and haven't signed it yet, go and sign it NOW.

If you aren't in the UK and want to make a stink about this, join my campaign to inundate ATVOD with complaints using their own complaints form (intended for complaints about inappropriate programming, not about ATVOD, which just makes it funnier).

If you can, join us at the protest next Friday - and spread the word.

Comments

[…] fetish and feminist porn producers in the UK, am now a criminal. There was a protest and a bunch of media coverage. I talked about the new laws on Channel 4 News. The petition collected a few thousand names, and […]

[…] - http://pandorablake.com/blog/2014/12/international-outcry-uk-online-porn-regulations/ […]

For definitive comment on the new regulations banning certain acts in on demand pornography, please see oglaf.com for 7th December.

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