France, Germany Move Forward With Efforts to Block Adult Sites

France, Germany Move Forward With Efforts to Block Adult Sites

PARIS — Prompted by anti-porn activists and politicians, courts in France and Germany moved forward this week with proposed mandates to block adult sites over compliance with controversial age verification mandates.

A Paris court will rule next month on whether French media regulator Arcom “has the right to block access to international porn sites in France unless those sites can guarantee they can prevent minors under 18 from accessing them,” Reuters reported earlier this week. Arcom's action came in response to a complaint by several associations claiming to represent “the children.” 

Meanwhile, across the border in Münster, Germany, the Higher Administrative Court has dismissed complaints from Cyprus-based platforms, including xHamster, seeking the reversal of a recent ban by the Düsseldorf Administrative Court.

Both developments — along with a recent reversal of policy by the Conservative government in the U.K., which has now vowed to “crack down” on adult sites like Pornhub and xHamster — are being celebrated by international War on Porn crusaders as stepping stones in a strategy that would culminate in the total banning of adult content by open platforms like Twitter and Reddit.

A Moral Panic on Behalf of 'the Children'

The current French action by so-called “children’s rights” organizations, in alliance with anti-sex-work SWERF activists and extremist Catholic groups, specifically targets tube sites Pornhub, Tukif, xHamster, Xnxx and XVideos.

At a Tuesday hearing, lawyers for the adult sites argued that “the court was not authorized to rule on the case as the law was not in line with the constitution,” Reuters reported.

Arcom told the news service that the court will rule on Oct. 4 as to “whether it can decide on the issue or whether the case needs to go to the appeals court.”

As XBIZ reported, France’s age verification mandate was surreptitiously added to a hastily approved domestic violence law during an atypical and sparsely attended COVID-era session of the French Parliament in July 2020.

The law specifies that adult companies should be required to institute measures beyond simply asking an internet user whether they are of age. It also empowers a government official — the president of Arcom — to demand that the president of the judicial court order ISP providers to immediately block infringing sites in the entire country.

According to French tech journalist Marc Rees, who has been reporting on the developments for news site Next INpact, the tube sites’ appeal is a challenge to the controversial law’s constitutionality, based on the legislators’ vagueness in drafting it, which violates the legal principle of “freedom of expression and communication.”

The German Bureaucrat With a ‘Fetish for Order’ Keeps Moving Ahead

In Germany, the Higher Administrative Court in Münster confirmed the decisions of the Düsseldorf Administrative Court, siding with one-man anti-porn crusade Tobias Schmid, head of the State Media Authority of North Rhine-Westphalia.

As XBIZ reported, Schmid, who has been described as having “a fetish for order,” targeted xHamster as part of his crusade to require age verification for viewing sexual content in Germany.

The obscure local bureaucrat’s efforts led to a court issuing a “network ban” and blocking access to xHamster last March.

The daily newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine noted at the time that “the network ban is the harshest sanction provided by the German Telemedia Act” and that it is “unpopular and is quickly classified as ‘censorship.’”

“Of course, blocking the network is a dramatic intervention,” Schmid told the paper. “With this offer, however, the right to freedom of expression should not be affected too much. It is simply a business with pornography, and done at the expense of children and young people.”

According to a report by German news station N-TV, the Higher Administrative Court found no constitutional objections to the ban.

“In view of the high priority given to the protection of minors, the providers could not counter the ban with the so-called country of origin principle, according to which internet providers from an EU member state are only subject to the rules there,” N-TV reported this week.

Copyright © 2024 Adnet Media. All Rights Reserved. XBIZ is a trademark of Adnet Media.
Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission is prohibited.

More News

U of Wisconsin Professor Pens Essay About Crusade to Get Him Fired for Creating Adult Content

The veteran University of Wisconsin academic who was removed from his post as chancellor last year because he had made adult content, penned a piece for The Chronicle of Higher Education detailing his ordeal and ongoing attempts to fire him from his tenured position as a professor.

Fans Utopia Launches Fans Utopia +

Fans Utopia has launched a new website, Fans Utopia +, designed to support up-and-coming performers who seek to connect with their fans and sell merchandise without committing to the full-service model offered by the flagship service.

AEBN Probes Threesomes in Trends Article

AEBN has published a report on threesomes, comparing theory with practice, and fantasy with reality.

Centrobill Now Offering Fully Licensed PIX Payments in Brazil

Centrobill has launched a PIX payments initiative in Brazil, featuring a 24/7 transaction window allowing for immediate processing.

Spain's Government Fails in Attempt to Recriminalize, 'Abolish' Sex Work

Spain’s Socialist Party (PSOE) suffered a sound defeat on Tuesday in its attempt to recriminalize sex work in Spain, as a controversial bill promoted by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s government failed to gain parliamentary support among the party’s ruling coalition allies.

Heritage Foundation President Calls Trump God's 'Imperfect Instrument' to Achieve Porn Ban

The president of the Heritage Foundation has asserted to CNN that Donald Trump’s notorious interactions with porn stars do not disqualify the presumptive Republican nominee from implementing the conservative organization’s plan to criminalize all production and distribution of adult content.

California Republicans, Democrats Send Controversial Age Verification Bill to Senate

The California legislature’s version of the age verification bills being sponsored around the country by anti-porn activists passed unanimously in the state Assembly on Thursday with bipartisan support, and is now being considered by the state Senate.

UK Regulator Ofcom Rejects OnlyFans' Complaint About Unfair Treatment by the BBC

U.K. communications regulator Ofcom has rejected a formal complaint from OnlyFans, which alleged unfair treatment during a 2022 BBC report about its moderation practices.

Child Protection, Civil Liberties Groups File Amicus Briefs in Support of FSC Court Petition

Several child protection and civil liberties groups have filed amicus briefs in support of the Free Speech Coalition's (FSC) petition to the Supreme Court.

Woodhull Urges the Supreme Court to Find Texas AV Law Unconstitutional

The Woodhull Freedom Foundation and the Electronic Frontier Foundation submitted a brief to the United States Supreme Court on Thursday, urging the justices to rule against Texas’ age verification law.

Show More