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Age verification: Problems with classification

Posted at 21:01 on 20 May 2016 by Pandora / Blake

Response to the Government consultation on Child Safety Online: Age Verification for Pornography

1: Evidence of Harm

2: Sex education

3: Privacy, surveillance and freedom of speech

4. Credit cards, classism and social exclusion

5. Problems with the existing classification system

The proposals assume a straightforward definition of “pornography” which is not workable in practice. During the second reading of the Online Safety Bill in the House of Lords Baroness Brinton argued that:

“A simplistic definition of pornography will cause immense problems in our courts. How do you define arousal and to what level of arousal - partial, full? Is that arousal the view of the average person on the Clapham omnibus, or should the definition cover the various fetishes that people may have? The famous film director Quentin Tarantino is a foot fetishist. There are a number of people who have assessed his use of bare feet in all his films. Clearly they arouse people with the said fetish.”

If a website calls itself “porn” or “erotica” but none of its contents depict nudity, staged violence or sexual acts - a foot fetish website is a perfect example - should it be categorised as a “sex work” for classification purposes? What harm could a young person possibly come to, looking at artistically lit videos of bare feet?

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Tags: age verification, AV consultation, AVMS, BBFC guidelines, British Fetish Film Festival, CPS, ethical porn, feminist porn, fetish porn, freedom of expression, freedom of speech, media, Myles Jackman, obscenity, politics, porn

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British fetish film-makers are organising against censorship

Posted at 22:35 on 28 Feb 2016 by Pandora / Blake

Today thirty British fetish film-makers met to discuss UK porn censorship, particularly the news that at the start of 2016 video-on-demand regulator ATVOD was shut down and re-absorbed into its parent body, Ofcom. The occasion was the British Fetish Film Festival, a new event that aims to bring film-makers together and showcase the diversity and creativity of kinky erotica produced in the UK and abroad.

Led by femdom pornographer, artist and activist Itziar Bilbao Urrutia - who organises with Backlash, the UK non-profit organisation defending freedom of sexual expression - we shared knowledge around the changing landscape of porn censorship in the UK, and brainstormed strategies to resist attempts to close us down. As Itzi pointed out, “putting all of us out of business is not going to stop porn being available online.”

Under the ATVOD regime, many of us were targeted for censorship, and some of us have had our websites forced offline entirely. Some, such as myself, have appealed to Ofcom regarding ATVOD’s decision - as Itzi did, successfully, in the wake of ATVOD’s investigation into her site the Urban Chick Supremacy Cell. While many appeals to Ofcom are still pending, that organisation has become the sole regulator of video on demand, and none of us knows how we will fare under the new regime.

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Tags: ATVOD, AVMS, Backlash, British Fetish Film Festival, censorship, civil liberties, internet freedom, Itziar Bilbao Urrutia, Myles Jackman, Ofcom, porn, sexual freedom

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Help us diversify the British Fetish Film Festival

Posted at 20:02 on 20 Jan 2016 by Pandora / Blake

The British Fetish Film Festival is still brand new. The first event, in 2013, was a closed group of producers only, testing the format and giving kinky UK filmmakers the chance to screen their work in front of their peers. This was actually the first film festival I ever went to, and it was invaluable to see how fetish films play on the big screen.

I learned a lot about the different requirements of a festival compared to viewers watching films individually online: for instance, pacing needs to be much tighter in a festival edit; long kinky shots that would allow viewers the chance to climax at home are wasted on the big screen, because people probably aren't masturbating at a film festival; and funny films are almost universally better suited to festivals than unfunny ones. In fact, it was watching my online edit of Marital Discipline on the big screen at the zeroth British Fetish Film Festival that inspired me to start cutting festival versions of the films I wanted to submit to the Feminist Porn Awards that year, a process which eventually resulted in my shooting Houseboy for the Berlin Porn Film Festival, and winning the Short Film Competition last year. So I owe a lot to the British Fetish Film Festival, and I'm keen to help other UK filmmakers benefit from it too.

Tags: Ariel Anderssen, British Fetish Film Festival, film-making, Hywel Phillips, kink activism, porn

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