I will do my best to not pile my political views on you through this blog. I know this is a bit different from my standard offerings, but I can’t get this out of my head. So I choose to dump it into yours. Everyone has a right to their own opinion. I will try to keep my liberal agenda to a minimum (I can’t even write that without laughing).
On December 1st, 2014 the British government enacted new legislation called the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014. Codenamed by many as the Anti-porn Law. Living in the U.S., this addendum to the Communications Act of 2003 didn’t get much press from mainstream news. But BDSM organizations all over the country moved to support their UK communities from these new, harsher rules. It’s been a couple of months since these regulations went into effect, and I’ve had some time to stew on what the larger ramifications will be for our friends across the pond as well as here. As I prepare for my own visit to the British Isles I am curious to know how the kink community is doing there.
The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 attempts to restrict Video on Demand (VoD) and other on-line pornography websites to the same regulations and rating system that purchasable porn DVDs currently face. Salable DVDs at porn and sex stores in the UK have been unable to show any of the below acts since the Communications Act of 2003. It was decided that the online community was just as accessible to children and therefore needed the same oversight. They decided that some content was deemed not acceptable, even for a R18 rating (See pg. 24). The below will not be able to be produced in the UK per the rating regulations:
• material which is in breach of the criminal law, including material judged to be obscene under the current interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act 1959
• material (including dialogue) likely to encourage an interest in sexually abusive activity which may include adults role-playing as non-adults
• the portrayal of sexual activity which involves real or apparent lack of consent. Any form of physical restraint which prevents participants from indicating a withdrawal of consent
• the infliction of pain or acts which may cause lasting physical harm, whether real or (in a sexual context) simulated. Some allowance may be made for moderate, non-abusive, consensual activity
• penetration by any object associated with violence or likely to cause physical harm
• sexual threats, humiliation or abuse which do not form part of a clearly consenting role-playing game. Strong physical or verbal abuse, even if consensual, is unlikely to be acceptable.
The changes also restrict specific activities from being shown on UK websites. To clarify, viewers can still watch material produced by foreign companies, only UK producers are being restricted. These producers will not be able to create content which includes any of the below:
• Aggressive whipping
This legislation was drafted and enacted in less than one month (if only the U.S. government could do anything so quickly). It was not advertised or debated very publicly and outcry regarding it has grown significantly since it went into effect.
I’m sure it won’t surprise you that this section will be quite short. Basically, the only thing I could come up with for this argument is that hard copy DVDs have had these same regulations since 2003. This act just makes the VoD and DVD companies follow the same rules, making things ‘fair’ in the porn business world. And after I came up with this weak rebuttal I immediately started refuting it in my head. Mostly, why are these regulations in effect for anything, DVDs or VoD. But, give me credit, I tried to see their motivation.