Sex in the Union: EU Law, Taxation and the Adult Industry

European Law Reporter, No. 4, pp. 144-150, 2010

7 Pages Posted: 12 May 2010  

Uladzislau Belavusau

University of Amsterdam

Date Written: April 1, 2010


In March of 2010 the ECJ rendered what appeared to be a routine judgment in the realm of taxation. The objects of the levying were films, which are displayed in individual cubicles on a pay per minute basis. The Court excluded such display from the tax benefits enjoyed by other categories of cinema. However, this illusion of a traditional internal market dispute easily disappears if one sexes up the decision, in which judges were essentially confronted with a subtle legal concept of «cinema» and its controversial constituent, pornographic movies. In the best of Victorian traditions, the Court omits any reference to the very word sex, which raises certain concerns about the adequacy of the rhetorical construction of this 21st century decision and its strikingly puritan judicial appraisal of sexuality.

Erotic Center BVBA ./. Belgische Staat, ECJ (Eighth Chamber), Judgment of 18 March 2010, C-3/09

Keywords: EU law, taxation, pornography, cinema, sex

Suggested Citation

Belavusau, Uladzislau, Sex in the Union: EU Law, Taxation and the Adult Industry (April 1, 2010). European Law Reporter, No. 4, pp. 144-150, 2010. Available at SSRN:

Uladzislau Belavusau (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam ( email )

Department of European Studies
PC Hoofthuis | Spuistraat 134
Amsterdam, 1012 VB


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