XBIZ EU’s Day 2: Compelling Discussion on Sex, Censorship

LONDON — XBIZ EU wrapped its second day of seminars, events and business networking on Saturday at the Hilton London Metropole Hotel.

Speed networking started the day off for attendees, who later heard seminars in the afternoon on the latest tips and trends for the cams and e-dating sectors as well as for the mobile and traffic markets — all sponsored by online processor NETbilling.

Another seminar, “Sex and Censorship: Reversing the Trend,” offered compelling discussion of the current climate and warning signs for online adult companies operating in the U.K.

That discussion, moderated by XBIZ’s Don Parret, offered fresh insight of ATVOD's case against “femdom” site Urban Chick Supremacy Cell (UC-SC-Femdom.com) and its operator Itziar Urrutia, who was victorious in an appeal over two counts against her company.

Urrutia, a seminar panelist, was charged with violating ATVOD regulations over not registering her website and because she did not provide a so-called CAC system that verifies that users are 18 or over at the point of access.

But ATVOD was recently overturned by parent communications regulator Ofcom in an appeal in  the case, which said that Urrutia’s website did not meet the definition of an ODPS, or on-demand programming service, as defined in the U.K.’s Communications Act.

The Urban Chick website was ruled in the appeal to be nothing more than a blog with a femdom look and home page where a topless woman wears a balaclava, torn tights, army boots and is pointing a gun. Ofcom said that ATVOD got it wrong and the site is not a video-on-demand portal.

“Even though ATVOD lost its case, I still could be a target in the future [if the rules are amended],” Urrutia told the intrigued audience members who heard a very detailed account of her ordeal with the VOD regulator.

Jim Killock of the Open Rights Group, focused his part of the sex-and-censorship discussion on filtering in the island nation.

In the U.K., ISPs have automatically been imposing filters on new customers since the beginning of the year unless specifically asked not to do so. Existing customers are next in the policy imposed by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Killock said that the ISPs, in many cases, are blocking sites that are not harmful to children. 

"Sometimes, the sites are blocked by mistake and sometimes they are blocked deliberately,” Killock said. “Many blogs and forums are blocked by default."

Killock’s Open Rights Group has created an embedded tool that runs checks on all the major broadband and mobile filters of U.K. ISPs — Andrews & Arnold, BT, 3, Everything Everywhere, O2, Plusnet, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Vodafone — and allows users to query which sites are blocked. Parret noted that even XBIZ.com and SFW companion site XBIZNewswire.com have been blocked by nearly all of the U.K.’s broadband and mobile filters.

In addition, Jerry Barnett, who runs Sex & Censorship, offered an overview and historical discussion of censorship through the ages in the U.K. to audience members. Ben Yates of Pervlens Media also participated in the symposium on sex and censorship.

In another seminar, titled “Traffic: Traffic: Tapping Adult-Friendly Ad Networks,” panelists discussed the basic ways to buy and sell traffic successfully in today’s market.

Moderated by Kenny of Kennies Pennies, traffic panelists included Sebastian Garel-Jones of Adultmoda, Alex LeCompte of mobidea, Kaylyn Sanders of FriendFinder Networks and Sarah of Ero-Advertising.

Another seminar, “Mastering Mobility: The Next Big Shift in Media Delivery,” took a look at all aspects of the now-maturing mobile sector, including billing, design, marketing, traffic, monetization and more.

Julia Dimambro of Cherry Media, Sebastian Garel-Jones of Adultmoda, Alex LeCompte of mobidea and Joey Gabra of Affil4You were participants in the seminar, which was moderated by Kristen Kaye of XBIZ.

Later, after Saturday’s seminars and speed networking, XBIZ EU attendees enjoyed rounds of drinks at the Juicy Ads Grand Union Happy Hours before most headed out to the Spearmint Rhino Party in London’s Soho District for an evening of naughtiness.

XBIZ EU concludes on Sunday with a farewell toast in the morning.