opinion

Swimming with the Sharks

Stephen Yagielowicz
You might have seen the news on XBIZ today about the FSC meeting with California lawmakers over “Assembly Bill 1551, as amended, [which] creates an adult entertainment venue tax that seeks to tax the sale, storage, use, or other consumption of adult materials.”

This is just one of the latest rounds of regulatory wrangling that the adult industry has had to engage in, as we face an ongoing and widespread campaign of intimidation by the revenue-hungry and often ideologically-driven forces that seek to profit from – or even outright oppose – a consenting adult's right to legal commerce in adult entertainment materials.

With all of the attacks we endure, it’s refreshing to see folks on our side, such as our industry trade organizations, taking a stand in our defense.

But organizations can’t do it all by themselves; they need our help: both in financial support as well as in personal involvement, with individual operators giving of their time and resources to further the interests of the industry at large.

One way in which you as an individual operator of adult websites can help, is by lending your support to the RTA project, a proactive approach to online adult industry self-regulation sponsored by the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection.

I received an email the other day from ASACP Executive Director Joan Irvine about RTA, which I’d like to share with you:

“You may have read in the news about the Cyber Safety for Kids Act of 2007, a new Senate bill that would require (among other things) mandatory labeling by adult websites. This is the third bill introduced in Congress this year that includes such a requirement.

Just as 2257 regulations are used as a club to batter the adult entertainment industry, a mandatory government website label could become yet another tool in the hands of people who want to put you out of business.

The way to head off this scenario is self-regulation. (The more the adult industry can publicly demonstrate it’s capable of self-regulation, the less politicians can grandstand about “cleaning up the Internet.”)

That’s why ASACP introduced the RTA (“Restricted to Adults”) website label. RTA is free to use, voluntary, and universally available to any website that wishes to clearly and effectively label itself as being inappropriate for viewing by minors.

If you haven’t yet done so, I urge you to adopt RTA today. ASACP will soon be launching some mainstream publicity efforts for RTA, including a major press conference in June. So we need to show the industry acting in unison – and right now!

Just copy and paste this META tag into the header section of every page on your site that includes content inappropriate for minors:

[CODE][/CODE]

Once you’ve labeled your site with RTA, please also add the RTA logo to your homepage. Just use one of the[se] buttons and link it to www.RTALabel.org. This will help spread the word, and show consumers your commitment to keeping minors off your site.

For more information, please visit www.RTAlabel.org.

Aside from labeling your sites with RTA, you can also help by contacting your affiliates and clients, and recommending that they use RTA. (We can supply you with a sample email in html or plain text.)

With your help, we can improve online child protection – and achieve a real political and public relations victory for the entire adult entertainment industry.

Please get in touch if you have any questions. Thank you for your help, and for your continued support of ASACP’s efforts to protect children online.”

As you can see from Joan’s letter, we have a chance to make some headway here, but only if we can come together to take action in support of our industry and livelihood.

Are you ready to help make a difference?