A landmark ruling in Germany establishes that porn portals based in other European countries are also regulated by German youth protection authorities. The Higher Administrative Court (OVG) in Muenster has rejected complaints by two porn portals from Cyprus against a ban on distributing pornographic Internet offerings in Germany. In doing so, the court upheld the Administrative Court’s decisions in summary proceedings in Duesseldorf. Minors evidently are a target group of the international porn industry.
No Child Protection Wanted
The Administrative Court of Duesseldorf had ruled in favor of the Media Authority of North Rhine-Westphalia, which had taken action to protect children and young people against the porn sites Pornhub, xHamster, YouPorn, and MyDirtyHobby, which are operated from Cyprus. The media regulators prohibited their further distribution in Germany as long as the pornographic content was not removed or it was ensured that only adults had access to it.
Given the great importance of the protection of minors, the providers could not oppose the ban based on the country-of-origin principle, according to which only the rules in force in an EU member state apply to Internet providers from that country. The OVG decisions are final.
Child Porn & Sex Trafficking
These porn site operators attack not only minors but also allow the distribution of porn videos showing sex scenes with minors. In December 2020, the New York Times published a report titled “The Children of Pornhub” – wherein the author explained the child porn problem. The Canadian operators, who now also have companies in Cyprus, were sued in the U.S., as was their payment processor Visa. Child pornography is apparently part of the business model of these porn site operators. And children are apparently also the target group.
Cyprus is not only the favorite for financial services operators but also the home to large operators of porn sites. For years, they refused to provide their offerings with a youth protection system that meets the requirements of the Commission for the Protection of Minors in the Media. The media watchdogs want to oblige porn providers to put effective age verification upstream of their offerings.