In March, the Crown dropped charges Sweet faced for obstructing a film classification officer.
The British Columbia Film Classification Office (BCFCO) asserted that Sweet’s films fell under its jurisdiction because they are distributed over the Internet and needed a license to do so, in contravention of the British Columbia Motion Picture Act.
In 2004 the BCFCO raided Sweet’s studios. According to SEG webmaster Max Sweet, the raid “assisted by the Vancouver Police Department, FCO inspectors seized computer discs and other corporate materials and then charged SEG and Steve Sweet personally, for breaches of the Motion Picture Act; specifically for carrying on the business of an adult film retailer and distributor without being licensed to do so.”
In April 2004 Sweet was acquitted of 20 counts of distributing obscenity for combining explicit sex content with violence, torture and cruelty. He was arrested with three other employees from his company.
The videos in question consisted of one “Pee Lovers” scene, two “Miss Pain” scenes and eight “Sado Slaves” scenes. With the exception of the “Pee Lovers” scene, the performances in question all document bondage and discipline/sado-masochistic play.
Three weeks into the trial, Judge R.R. Low determined based on the advent of the Internet since 1995, that the availability of sexually explicit material has become widespread, mainstream and requires a certain amount of participatory involvement from the viewer, which in effect would qualify as consensual involvement in the viewing of certain types of explicit or violent content.
The judge also determined that BDSM culture is part of “normal and acceptable adult sexual behavior.”