opinion

Say Goodbye to the Tits

Stephen Yagielowicz
I had two really good discussions yesterday regarding the current ‘2257 situation, company policies and the broader impact of record keeping burdens beyond adult.

The first came about when Playboy’s TGP Manager (and longtime XBIZ Moderator) Vendzilla came by for a Sunday visit. Protective of their brand and its public image, Playboy has strict guidelines against the free display of hardcore content as well as on the uses of its softcore material, including the context in which it appears. These are of course reasonable and prudent steps designed to showcase a company that is “a step above” – and as such, Playboy enjoys many opportunities and a level of exposure that less “mainstream” companies can only envy.

The second discussion was on ICQ later that evening with another longtime XBIZ Moderator, Joe Fredericks, who in addition to his adult ventures operates in the biker magazine market.

A common thread between these talks was how the “tits and smiles” crowd would handle the newly enhanced ‘2257 legislation; including its impact on secondary producers. There is a softcore subset of the industry that focuses on showing no more than “tits and smiles” as a way to promote sponsors without the heretofore required model ID documents, as well as to reach a different demographic while also enjoying a great degree of protection against an obscenity prosecution.

Many of these operators – including TGP owners trying to lower their risk level – obtain their “tits and smiles” thumbnails by cropping out any hardcore imagery in a base image, but they risk an interesting case in doing so; potentially having to spend all of their money in court trying to prove that their thumbnail was really a unique derivative work rather than a selective representation of the work which is subject to ‘2257 – and as such requires a statement for the original image.

So with simple nudity now being a major concern, many folks are now further taming their offerings to avoid potential legal problems. Yes, the days of seeing tits for free could be coming to an end. But, that’s not true really; as I’m sure the overseas operators will step up to the plate and fill any vacuum the domestic players leave…

The problem extends well beyond adult, too. Joe was telling me that some of the biker magazines are no longer running submitted photos of topless models on motorcycles, girls publicly flashing at events and other such depictions due to ‘2257 concerns.

With all of this in play, it will be interesting to see how the industry adapts to its current challenges. But even as I type this, more sites are closing over ‘2257 concerns; the big question over this aspect of the equation is, “to the benefit of whom?”

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