The Adult Provider Network is an organisation representing a wide range of individuals and companies engaged in the provision of satellite and web-based adult programming, and adult films, across the world. The diversity of both our membership and our executive committee enables the APN to speak with a unified voice, representing the interests of the adult industry. Our aim is to encourage and facilitate a continuing dialogue between the adult film industry and Government, regulators and parliamentarians responsible for framing legislation to govern adult content.
Relationship with Legislators
In April 2015 the UK Conservative party released their Election Manifesto, which included the pledge to:
“Stop children’s exposure to harmful sexualised content online, by requiring age verification for access to all sites containing pornographic material”
It was clear that should the Conservatives win the election, this pledge would have huge ramifications for the adult industry worldwide. An honourable pledge, and one with which the APN certainly agrees, but one which must be tackled carefully. It is vital that children are protected in line with Government and public expectations, but also to ensure a level playing field for the adult industry as a whole. If non-compliant sites are permitted to continue, then children are left unprotected, compliant sites lose business, and the law will fail.
To that end, some key players in the adult industry approached Westminster offering their knowledge. Portland TV and MindGeek have been at the forefront of cooperation, both as members of the Digital Policy Alliance and as individuals. Offering their experience and advice, but also helping to create a positive change in perception of the industry with both parliamentarians and the public.
In February 2016 the Government department responsible for bringing the Manifesto Pledge to the statute book, the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS), published a public consultation on Age Verification. This drew over 3000 replies, and the DCMS published their response to the Consultation in July 2016. This response included a key “next step”:
“Maintain ongoing engagement with pornography providers, age verification providers, and other parts of the industry, to ensure that the regulatory framework is targeted and proportionate, to achieve maximum impact and to enable compliance”
“Prior to the new laws coming into force, it will be essential for the regulator, the Government, and the industry to maintain an ongoing dialogue: on the detail of the law itself, on how regulation and enforcement will operate, and to guarantee best practice from all sides.”
This direct engagement from Westminster is a huge step for the adult industry, but one which requires continued cooperation, and a wider mandate from the industry as a whole. To that end, Chris Ratcliff (Portland TV) and David Cooke (MindGeek) decided to refocus and reform the APN to represent the international adult industry, and feedback the members’ views to Government.
The APN was originally formed in 2011 to represent the interests of the UK adult industry as a subset of the ATVOD Industry Forum. At that stage the playing field was hugely uneven due to the law only applying to UK based, TV-like sites. Our remit then was to continue dialogue with regulators to establish clearer rules for our UK based members, from which we gained huge insight into the legal and regulatory process. It therefore seems a natural fit for the APN to expand its membership, refocus it’s aims, and act as a positive voice to lawmakers worldwide.
The Digital Economy Bill 2016, which includes Age Verification legislation, has now been given its first reading in the House of Commons and is expected to achieve Royal Assent in Spring 2017. We as the adult industry have a unique opportunity to help shape the law which affects us, hopefully leading to similar positive dialogues with other Governments throughout the world.
If you want to be part of the solution, join the APN and get your voice heard in the heart of Government.