Customs have recently issued a $7,500 ‘infringement notice’ to one of our members for importing 40 DVDs – four of which they believed may have been RC. This is a new enforcement measure from Customs.

Read the exchanges we have had with Customs to get up to date.

Dear Jim,
Hope all is well with you.

One of our members has received an infringement notice for $7650. The alleged contravention involves four titles.

Horizon- Wicked Pictures
Bangkok Connection- Marc Dorcel
The Bodyguard- Marc Dorcel
Rich Little Bitch- Marc Dorcel

I was able to find the three Marc Dorcel films on the Classification database as X18+ and I believe that the film Horizon is classified but was not able to find it on the database this morning.

This is the first time we have seen an infringement notice such as this one (attached). Is this a new procedure that Customs will follow?

It does seem quite heavy handed particularly when the member in question goes to considerable lengths to ensure that his shipments do not contain material that may breach section 4A. There were 46 titles in the shipment and according to the notice only 4 were found to be offending even though 3 of the 4 appear to be classified.

For your information we will no longer be able to rely on classifications as all classification of X rated material has ceased. The last company that classified, Calvista, made the decision to stop selling X18+ due to the difficulty of importing the masters to edit for classification. The impasse between Customs and Calvista was irreconcilable.

I understand that our member can make representations to the CEO of ACBPS, and they will be doing this. Is there a time frame for this action? Obviously these procedures and the delays they cause getting the product to market have a commercial impact.

Kind Regards
Fiona

Hi Fiona,

Jim is working on another project at the moment and he has passed on your enquiry to me.

I’m not intricately familiar with the Infringement Notices, but I can give you some basic information.

The information regarding timeframes stated in the notice is: Any request for withdrawal must be made before the end of the Payment Period.

The payment period is 28 days not including Sundays or public holidays.

Information on the infringement notice scheme is here:

http://www.customs.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/INSGuide2014.pdf

This guide may also answer any other questions that your may have in relation to the infringement notice scheme.

If you believe that the notice was issued in error, your member may certainly make a written application (sent to the address in the contact details section of the notice) and, where possible, include the entries from the classification database to assist.

Regards,
Lyn Foster
A/g Director Community Protection | Trade Branch

Hi Lyn,
Thank you for getting in touch.

I understand the timeframe from our side but I am interested in what the timeframe from your side.These films were seized in April. Our member received the notice in 3-4 months later in August.

Do you have any idea how long the CEO has to consider our submission before making a decision?

There must be a better way. No doubt it is taking up the time of Customs officials and if it goes to court it will waste not only time but money.

Our industry has implemented a number of procedures to ensure that their products are legitimate. We have discussed these with you and Jim over the years.

The products being imported are just a drop in the ocean considering the amount of content Australians are accessing on line. It just seems a bit pointless that we have to spend so much time and effort trying to import non violent erotic adult films.

All the best
Fiona