opinion

Coming Together as an Industry Has Never Been So Important

Tim Henning

2013 is seeing a surge of activity in the war against child exploitation and unauthorized access to age-restricted materials on the Internet, making headlines and causing many cries for action against the adult entertainment industry, which continues to be wrongfully painted with the brush of balderdash that lays blame for illegal CP at its doorstep. Nevertheless, getting the vital message out that the adult industry is not to blame for CP remains a necessary endeavor and one that ASACP does not shy away from despite the difficulties involved.

CP HOTLINE REPORTS SEE CONTINUED GROWTH

The argument against porn is very easy to make, so politicians love to slap the industry around. I don’t want to see this industry bled to death by 1,000 little cuts. —Attorney Marc Randazza

During the legal panel at the most recent XBIZ Summit in Miami, I discussed various aspects of ASACP’s mission, including its CP Reporting Hotline, which is seeing a prolonged and disturbing uptick in activity.

For example, the Hotline saw an increase in average reports per month from 4,890 in 2011 to 9,307 in 2012 to a staggering 11,571 so far in 2013, with 7,518 reports sent to authorities and international hotlines during the first four months of this year.

As for 2012’s final numbers, ASACP’s CP Reporting Hotline received an average of 306 daily reports, totaling 111,680 raw reports during the year — of which 19,929 reports (or approximately 18 percent) were instances of suspected child pornography that were then subsequently forwarded to relevant law enforcement agencies and international hotlines for further action.

For context, these recent figures represent a substantial increase over the Hotline’s historical daily average of 219 reports — a 140 percent rise in reports that indicates the need to continue this valuable free service, which sits on the frontline of online child protection.

As an indicator of the total scope of the problem, ASACP received 741,600 raw reports to its Hotline between August 14, 2003 and December 31, 2012 — for nearly threequarters of a million instances of material potentially pointing to the abuse of a child, somewhere in the world.

These at risk youth are involved in situations that might go unnoticed and unstopped, if it were not for the resources provided by ASACP — resources that it can only make available through the continued generosity of its sponsors, members, supporters and other contributors.

RTA OFFERS ALTERNATIVE TO GLOBAL PORN CRACKDOWN

Another topic that came up at the recent XBIZ Summit in Miami is the recent moves made by world governments, centered on providing greater protection for children from viewing age-restricted content on the Internet and in the mobile application arena. Other efforts target all of “adult” entertainment in its entirety — a practice typically limited to totalitarian regimes, such as those found in China and Utah…

While addressing the latter issue is more difficult, tackling the former is easier; where a functional and robust solution to preventing minors or other unwanted audiences from exposure to adult oriented or otherwise age-restricted materials can be found in ASACP’s Restricted To Adults (RTA) website label, which is freely available for websites and mobile devices, including via a WordPress plugin.

Online age verification is an ongoing and increasingly mandated challenge: from Germany’s strict regimen with its post-office visitation and ID presentation requirements, to the U.K.’s much publicized fining of companies for having inadequate age verification mechanisms, while seeking the establishment of an opt-in porn access process similar to the German model.

RTA is available here and now, however; and when used correctly and in conjunction with parental supervision and filtering software, provides an effective solution to the problem of inadvertent access to age-restricted content.

Other examples of the need for unified, proactive action can be seen in Iceland’s banning of adult entertainment earlier this year — a move that gives the country the distinction of being the first nation in the free world to proffer such restrictions — along with the series of EU-based anti-porn resolutions that are sure to be revisited until passed.

Given this climate of control, the writing is on the wall: kids are a universally convenient excuse for the prohibition of porn — so if you want to keep your business alive, keep kids out of and away from it — and remember that RTA is the best solution for doing so today. Other steps you can take will include adhering to ASACP’s established Code of Ethics and industry segment-specific Best Practices.

A CALL FOR ADULT INDUSTRY UNITY

Offering a variety of services, tools, advice and advocacy only makes a difference when stakeholders take heed, however; and this has been a stubborn source of discord and division which has hurt the adult biz for years — and which is a situation with little hope of improvement until business owners take their company and its needs seriously.

While ASACP’s sponsors have come to this same conclusion, and thus support the only organization that helps them protect their businesses by protecting children; much work needs to happen for raising awareness and support among the countless other operators that are happy to benefit from the work of ASACP, without bearing any of the burdens, financially or otherwise.

This same situation applies to other groups that protect the industry’s interests, such as the FSC, which faces its own financial challenges.

Attorney Marc Randazza emphasized the importance of the industry coming together in support of common goals at the XBIZ Summit legal session, saying, “We are all small businesses that are easy to pick off, one by one.”

Randazza explained that issues such as condom laws, patent trolls, and political pandering are all best faced by a united industry that could pool its resources against these negative business factors.

“The argument against porn is very easy to make, so politicians love to slap the industry around,” Randazza said, adding, “I don’t want to see this industry bled to death by 1,000 little cuts.”

It is hard for the industry to portray itself as a legitimate collection of enterprises when we cannot come together to defend ourselves against our foes — and are unwilling to sacrifice in order to enable professional trade representation.

They say that organizing the adult entertainment industry is akin to herding cats, but perhaps the common goal of protecting children will prove a uniting force. If that sounds like something that your company can stand behind, then contact me at tim@asacp.org and we’ll get the ball rolling! To all of our members and sponsors I offer a heartfelt thank you for your generosity and continued support!

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