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Notice to Industry: ‘Underage Fantasy Stories’ sexual entertainment services

9 May 2011


Following a recent adjudication concerning sexual entertainment services that use ‘underage fantasy’ subject matter, this Notice is issued in order to clarify PhonepayPlus’ position pertaining to the provision of such content via premium rate.

‘Underage Fantasy Stories’ services are defined as those which make any reference or implication to the involvement of persons under the age of 18 in a sexual context, regardless of whether anyone involved in the provision of the service is, in fact, under the age of 18. All subject matter which can be categorised as such, if provided through premium rate services, is highly likely to constitute a breach of Code provisions.

How ‘Underage Fantasy Stories’ services are regulated by the 11th edition of the Code of Practice

The current Code of Practice (11th edition, amended April 2008) (the ‘Code’) is clear that sexual entertainment services and associated promotions must not contain references which suggest or imply the involvement of persons under 18 years of age; this is stated in paragraph 7.11.2 of the Code:

7.11.2     Sexual entertainment services, and promotions for them, must not contain references which suggest or imply the involvement of persons under 18 years of age.

PhonepayPlus reminds all providers of the existence of rule 7.11.2 of the Code, and hereby gives notice that any premium rate sexual entertainment services which contain content, scenarios or fantasy elements which imply, suggest or allude to the involvement of minors – i.e. ‘underage fantasy’ content – will be highly likely to breach this rule.

How ‘Underage Fantasy Stories’ services are likely to be regulated under the new edition of the Code of Practice

The new edition of the PhonepayPlus Code of Practice, due to take effect on 1 September 2011, does not contain a specific rule around the involvement, or implied involvement, of persons under 18 years of age in premium rate sexual entertainment services. However, Rule 2.5.1 of the new edition of the Code states the following:

2.5.1     Premium rate services must not cause or be likely to cause harm or unreasonable offence to consumers or to the general public.

PhonepayPlus hereby gives notice that any premium rate sexual entertainment services which contain content, scenarios or fantasy elements which imply, suggest or allude to the involvement of minors – i.e. ‘underage fantasy’ content – will be highly likely to breach Rule 2.5.1 of the new edition of the Code on the grounds of causing unreasonable offence to the general public.

PhonepayPlus also hereby gives notice that any premium rate services which provide ‘underage fantasy’ content will be subject to a formal investigation under either the 11th or  new edition of the Code, depending on which Code is in force at the time the potential breach occurred. Where appropriate, PhonepayPlus will also pass details of services which provide ‘underage fantasy’ content to appropriate child protection bodies or enforcement authorities.

Should any PRS provider have suspicions or reservations about any content, they are advised to err on the side of caution and contact PhonepayPlus before the content is made publicly available.

For further assistance, please contact the Industry Affairs Team via:

Email compliance@phonepayplus.org.uk
Call   0845 026 1060*
Writing to Industry Affairs Team, Clove Building, 4 Maguire Street, London SE1 2NQ

*Calls provided by BT will be charged at up to 5p per minute. Mobile and other providers’ charges may vary and are likely to cost more.