An Amsterdam court has ruled that xHamster must remove all amateur, sexually explicit videos in which the performers aren’t documented as consenting. This includes videos with the appearance of candid or secret recordings where no documentation exists, and those made outside the Netherlands. Evidence of consent must be produced by Hammy Media, owner of xHamster, or made inaccessible in the Netherlands. The decision came about after the Expertise Bureau Online Child Abuse submitted 10 videos to xHamster, where no proof of consent could be obtained, even though Hammy Media argued that since 2021 only professional producers and verified members can upload content.
XHamster has three weeks to comply with the ruling or be subject to fines of €10,000 (around $11,000) per video, which will increase by €500 ($550) per day that the video remains public, up to €30,000 ($33,000). The ruling is historic, with major implications for the adult industry, according to Otto Volgant of Dutch law firm Boekx Advocaten. XHamster has one of the more rigorous content verification systems in the adult industry; however, Director of public affairs at the U.S. porn industry lobby group Free Speech Coalition, Mike Stabile, questions why adult sites are being specifically targeted.
The case raises questions about the thousands of sites, adult and non-adult, that host unverified content – including Twitter. According to Stabile, inside and outside the industry, concerns about private or copyrighted content being distributed without consent are of utmost importance, but there is no evidence that xHamster isn’t removing non-consensually distributed content when it’s reported to them. He points out the government should not be targeting adult sites for issues that are internet wide. XHamster is yet to respond to the ruling.