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Germany moves closer to banning Pornhub and YouPorn

Germany has taken one step closer to implementing a ban on Pornhub, YouPorn and MyDirtyHobby, following a court ruling upholding that authorities are justified in banning the porn sites for not complying with age verification rules.

On 1 December 2021, the Düsseldorf administrative court said that a ban on the three sites, based on child protection regulation, did not breach local or international laws. MindGeek—owner of the three affected sites—had argued that because the sites were based in Cyprus the German rules did not apply to them.

Rejecting MindGeek’s protestation, the Associated Press reports that judges in Düsseldorf say that German law applies to the sites, because “children and young people are at risk of serious and grave danger from freely available pornographic Internet sites.”

The sites were not named by the court, but were identified by the German magazine and website Spiegel.

The media authority of the German region of North Rhine-Westphalia ruled that the three sites should be banned, but has given them a final chance to comply with regulations.

If the sites implement rigid age verification systems, they can avoid the ban. Tobias Schmid, director of the North Rhine-Westphalia media authority, said: “This is not only legally mandatory, but also technically very simple.”

The ruling comes at a time when online porn sites are facing intense legal scrutiny in many countries, perhaps most notable the US, where lawmakers are moving to toughen porn safety, identification and verification rules.

In Germany, Schmid has been leading the anti-porn charge. He has attempted to have the porn site xHamster blocked in Germany, and called for OnlyFans to have stricter regulation.

In October 2021, a French court dismissed a lawsuit filed by child protection organizations, seeking to ban porn sites including Pornhub and YouPorn, due to allegedly lax age restriction processes.

MindGeek can appeal the decision of the Düsseldorf court. Or, it can just implement proper age verification processes for its site in the country, if it wants to continue operating there.

Read Next: All aboard the Boob Bus: A brief history of Pornhub (2007 – 2021)

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Jamie F
Jamie F

Jamie is a freelance writer, contributing to outlets such as The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, CNN and Vice, among others. He is also the creative force behind the Audible podcast Beast Master.

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