Posted on 25 February 2013.
EXCLUSIVE: A porn company directed by Perth entrepreneur Malcolm Day has been banned from importing objectionable videos which it wanted to cut to satisfy the censor.
Perth-based founder of adultshop.com.au, Mr Day, is a director of Melbourne-based Calvista Australia Pty Ltd which imports, edits and sells pornographic movies.
The company is the nation’s largest wholesaler of sex toys and X-rated DVDs.
In a decision published today, Administrative Appeals Tribunal of Australia senior member Anne Britton and member Simon Webb rejected Calvista’s appeal against an import ban imposed by the director of Australia’s classification board.
Michael Bassett, a University of Western Australia psychology graduate and Calvista’s Chief Executive Officer, told the tribunal that Calvista had imported about 480 films a year from studios in the USA and other nations.
Calvista contended its sole reason for wanting to import objectionable films containing offensive depictions of sex and/or violence was to excise the worst scenes and submit the edited film for classification by Australia’s censors.
HEINOUS AND ABHORRENT
Calvista claimed that a full range of sexual material, including the most heinous and abhorrent content, was openly available on the internet in Australia, and that unclassified films were being distributed by unscrupulous operators.
The company said that permitting it to import, then censor, such movies might help counter black marketeering, and be in the public interest.
The tribunal was impressed by this argument. But it noted that in 2001 AXIS, a trading name owned by Calvista, had asked to import objectionable goods.
The tribunal stated there was no evidence that permission was granted but it appeared Calvista had imported films anyway.
“Calvista’s conduct of importing objectionable goods without permission, and therefore unlawfully, despite its clear knowledge from August 2001 that permission was required, goes to its reputation generally,” the tribunal declared.
“Negative aspects of Calvista’s reputation, and doubts about its ability to comply with conditions, outweigh the positive aspects we have identified.”
During the hearing much was said about the relationship between Calvista, its parent company Delecta Ltd, adultshop.com Pty Ltd, the reputation of Mr Day and the extent of his involvement in Calvista.
The tribunal was unable to form a view about Mr Day’s character or reputation, or the extent to which he was involved in Calvista’s operations or business activities. The tribunal therefore concluded that matters concerning Mr Day did not shed light on Calvista’s reputation.
“It is probable that Calvista has imported films … at least one of which contained revolting or abhorrent phenomena …,” the tribunal noted.
“It is not clear, under the terms of Calvista’s proposal, how such a film would be identified prior to importation.
“Thus, at the first mark there are questions about Calvista’s ability to comply with the threshold terms of the permission sought.”
The tribunal said Calvista’s past conduct raised further questions about its ability to comply with any import conditions that may be imposed.
“We were taken to several striking examples in which Calvista failed or omitted to excise content that clearly exceeded the classification standards under the X18+ category before submitting films it had imported and edited for classification, causing the films to be classified RC [Refused Classification],” the tribunal noted.
“It is conceivable that such omissions or failings are the innocuous fault of a high volume business, as Mr Bassett suggests.
“Whether that is correct or not, these are matters that go to Calvista’s ability to meet any conditions imposed, and to its reputation in matters relating directly to objectionable goods that it imported, albeit without permission.”
Photo of Malcom Day by Luke Ford, Wikimedia Commons
‘No porn’ sign by ‘Piast’, Wikimedia Commons