ATVOD Q&A with Pete Johnson at XBiz EU 2013
ATVOD is a hot topic in the adult business right now and I was tasked with filming the Q&A with Pete Johnson at XBiz EU 2013. There are many people waiting to see what he has to say given that an audio recording has been made available since Pete Johnson announced at an AITA meeting a couple years prior to this event that ATVOD was here and that if any adult company hasnt signed up it was effectively breaking the law.
It caused major ripples in the adult business when the fees to join were £2,900 per site! Since then the fees have come down and along with that came a lot of confusion and misinformation. For the most part, a lot of people ignored it thinking it would just go away. Alas it was not to be. In its time ATVOD has effectively forced the closure of several websites including Strictly Broadband and Playboy to move overseas with massive fines ranging from £60,000- £100,000 imposed for non compliance by OFCOM for being in breach of rule 11.
Now with the very real possibility of David Camerons ISP filter blocking of websites, one can only wonder where all this is going and what the future will be for the adult content producing business if sites are blocked while being severely restricted by ATVODs rules and regulations.
The first time ATVOD was mentioned was at an AITA meeting which I recorded (and so glad that I did) of Pete Johnson announcing that the “association of television on demand” has been up and running for two years and that if you signed up then you would still owe money from the previous years you were in arrears if you were in business at the time. Still, the initial feeling was, this wasnt a bad thing if they did something about the piracy and filesharing that was rife at the time. Imagine to our surprise then that when Pete left the meeting, he left a room full of people still reeling by what he just told us.
In essence, what it felt like was extortion: £2,900 per site to be paid to a company to regulate with restrictive practices preventing you from running your business effectively while not doing anything about the tubes and file sharing sites. It felt like a deliberate attempt to screw UK business over while the pirates were allowed to flourish loading their sites up with stolen content of legal sites without interruption to their service available for free and without age verification for being outside the jurisdiction of ATVOD and because it was “user generated” It seemed all to confusing to the UK vendors of product and mercurial on ATVODs part as they moved the goal posts to catch every single variation of business model available to the point they have included the banks in their arsenal of legal weapons to enforce their will on UK business. This betrayed any real understanding of the business and alienated dialogue between them and the UK business they sought to regulate without understanding that the UK business have famillies too that they dont want children being exposed to pornography either
We were left scratching our heads thinking that doing it the way they were was all about making a lot of money for themselves while in effect doing absolutely nothing to prevent children accessing adult oriented content on the internet.
The real smack in the face was yet to come when TVX supremo Chris Ratcliffe signed up to ATVOD and then joined AITA seemed all to obvious what his motives were at the time. It sure wasnt to promote being a good legally abiding citizen because he didnt address the issue once to his fellow mmbers at AITA but listened to their complaints about it while they were embroiled in their own battles with ATVOD.
It wasn’t too long after that Jerry Barnett resigned his position from AITA for lack of support to go solo and form a one man mission with his Sex & Censorship to tackle the ISP filter blocking that came about at the time that needed opposing. ATVOD was already here to stay.
Just before this video was recorded it was reported that Chris Ratcliffe the only member who was “representative of the adult industry” was removed from the panel of its members. I’ll leave you to do the math on that as Pete Johnson provides an eloquent enough answer to that question and a lot more that should shed some light on those who feel they were very much in the dark about the workings of ATVOD in its remit to regulate online content in the UK