educational

Adult Webmastering Basics: Part 11: Legal Issues

Domenic R. Merenda
Staying out of jail is a worthwhile pursuit. While this worst-case scenario only befalls a handful of careless webmasters every year, the current administration’s Justice Department would like to see more individuals put out of business. You can minimize your exposure to not only jail time but to other forms of harassment by being responsible, being prepared, and being honest.

Child Pornography and the ASACP,
The first and most important responsibility you have as an adult webmaster trying to stay out of jail is to distance yourself as far from child pornography as possible. Not only is dealing in this heinous subject matter a free ticket to a long stay in prison, even associating with characters involved in these activities can make your life miserable.

Take a cue from industry giants like Sex.com, HELMY, ARS, and Sexkey. Support Adult Sites Against Child Pornography (ASACP) at the Guardian ($25/month), Crusader ($100/month), or Executive ($200/month) level, depending on your means and generosity. Membership in the ASACP helps fight the good fight, as well as brings us closer to the goal of effective self regulation rather than a knock at everyone’s door. The requirements for membership spell out other great ideas, including:

  • Include a 2257 Disclaimer or state in a prominent position on all access pages including, but not limited to: entry, home, splash and join pages, that “All models were 18 or older at the time of depiction.”
  • In cases where an occasional model is over 18, but looks younger, the 2257 Disclaimer or a statement that “The models are 18 or older” should be prominently displayed on each featured page.
  • It is unacceptable to use meta tags, any search engine keywords or text that denote child pornography, such as, but not limited to: kiddie, child, pre-teen or any form of lolita, etc.
  • Review sites which direct traffic to your site and parse those which feature unacceptable terms.

Your compliance with these and other “required” terms and conditions is reason enough to join for at least $25/month. You’ll be in good company as well, with a reported 4700 plus sites already “taking a stand” against child pornography.

Understanding Your Obligations to 2257 Compliance
Of all the regulatory hiccups in our industry, 2257 is the one most likely to bite an unsuspecting webmaster in the ass. You should not (and, arguably, cannot) ignore this law, or you may live to regret it.

To give you an understanding of the complexity and breadth of this law, a mere article cannot cover all of the bases you could potentially be responsible for. Consulting an attorney that specializes in the adult entertainment field is a wise first step. If you decide to tackle the problem yourself, make sure you’ve checked and double checked your countermeasures. “I didn’t fully understand the law” won’t keep you out of jail. You’ve been warned.

Pay Your Dues to Uncle Sam
Al Capone was sentenced to 11 years in Federal prison, fined $50,000, charged $7692 for court costs, and $215,000 in back taxes for tax evasion. This was the early 30’s, mind you, and in today’s terms Capone paid a princely ransom. If the man with a gang of thugs, judges and cops in his pocket, and money that would today total into the billions could not escape a tax evasion rap, what do you think your chances might be?

Paying a full and honest accounting of your taxes is an important step in staying in the adult webmaster game. This isn’t to say you should cheat your own checkbook by denying yourself fair deductions, just don’t overdo it.

As a side note, the XBiz forums have been buzzing with discussions about offshore accounts and money laundering lately. These gray and semi-gray areas may be asking for trouble in the wake of the Patriot Act and a Post-9/11 world. Cheating is never a good idea when it comes to the government.

The Countdown To Launch
After figuring out the legal complexities of the site, it’s time to put the finished product online and get some feedback. Our next article will address uploading the site to your host and soliciting some opinions from other webmasters.

Stay Tuned – We’re waiting to see your site!

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