LOS ANGELES — Several content creators are reporting issues with a new form of paperwork that OnlyFans has been requesting since late December 2020.
Based on emails and documents shared with XBIZ, it appears that the popular premium fan site has been demanding a specific kind of model release according to a template offered by the company.
But creators accustomed to industry standard recordkeeping — including the legally mandated 2257 form and widely available industry-attorney-drafted model releases — say that OnlyFans has refused to honor their compliance paperwork.
The problem is compounded by creators who own content with a full set of paperwork — which OnlyFans has now decided not to accept — for material that features models who are no longer in the industry, or who are unreachable or no longer living.
Sources have indicated to XBIZ that OnlyFans' insistence on this specific form is the direct result of MasterCard and other credit cards creating new compliance policies in the wake of Nicholas Kristof’s sensationalist article “The Children of Pornhub,” published by the New York Times on December 4, 2020.
Immediately after publication of the article, Kristof and one of his main sources, religiously inspired anti-porn activist Leila Mickelwait, began directly pressuring politicians and credit card companies via social media to alter the way the latter had been doing business with adult merchants.
Shortly after MasterCard and Visa announced their cancellation of payment processing with Pornhub and MindGeek properties, OnlyFans started sending automated emails to content creators who had uploaded explicit non-solo content.
“Hello,” the emails began. “You recently uploaded the content of another model to your timeline. Use of third parties content without permission is a violation of our Acceptable Use Policy. Your account may be paused/features limited during verification time.”
The email requested that the creator “provide Photo of valid Government-issued ID/Passport that belongs to the person featuring in your content and signed Release Form (example attached)” including the legal name of the account user, the model's legal name and date of birth, the model’s ID/passport number, the model’s signature and a handwritten date of release.
The OnlyFans requirement also including a photo that depicts the model holding both their ID and the OnlyFans-approved form.
Issues immediately arose with creators uploading legitimate studio content — previously only the studio itself was responsible for the 2257 and other recordkeeping — and also with people who had shot “content trade” videos and had kept their own legally valid records that nevertheless did not strictly follow the new OnlyFans template.
Sources have also suggested to XBIZ that the specific wording of the OnlyFans template reflects legal advice concerning compliance with the credit card processing requirements.
The result is that some people who have legal content which they shot and own, or that a studio shot legally, and who have legally compliant 2257 and model releases, are nevertheless prevented from uploading that material by OnlyFans, based on new MasterCard policies prompted by a mainstream press-fueled anti-porn panic.
All this is occurring at the very same time that the courts have let stand a ruling that even the 2257 requirement is, in fact, unconstitutional.
As the nation’s courts — after a protracted battle with involvement by Free Speech Coalition and other first amendment advocates — helped prevent random searches of adult companies by federal authorities, a private company (OnlyFans) is seemingly bowing down to other private companies (MasterCard and Visa) who will now decide what recordkeeping is valid for the entire adult industry and all independent sex workers.
Tracking Down Estranged Partners and Retired Models
Today, model and independent producer Allie Eve Knox took to social media to express her frustration about having to provide the novel, OnlyFans-rubberstamped paperwork.
“So, [OnlyFans] won't accept my model releases that I have had signed or my own 2257 documents and instead now I have to chase down models to have them use both [OnlyFans’] model release and take a photo with that model release,” she tweeted.
Knox added that she sees this as “a sign [of things] to come from platforms,” and that it will be to the detriment of producers.
“I have content on 19 sites,” Knox elaborated. “If I have to have every model I've worked with sign 19 different forms and then take 19 pics with the forms instead of just accepting my totally legally compliant paperwork... I will have to track down dozens of models to re-sign for every platform.”
“Do you have any idea how much time that will take?” she asked. “Plus uploading after already sending all my legal documentation? I'll go out of business. Or have to censor my content or, even worse, take it down because of the hassle.”
She then perceptively added that she suspects “this is a Visa/MasterCard issue where they are putting the pressure on OnlyFans to stay extra compliant.”
Knox resigned herself to taking down some of the content, which she relies on to make a living. “I don't want to track down retired models” to get them to redo their paperwork based on OnlyFans’ new standards, she stressed. “Certainly won't be able to do that in a 48-hour turnaround like required.”
She also pointed out that if models in legally shot content with legal paperwork were now estranged from their creators (ex-partners, for example), or not in the industry, or had changed their minds, the new rules would essentially end up voiding that legitimate content, based on a corporate policy.
A Veteran Producer With 'Ironclad' Records
Veteran producer Miles Long spoke to XBIZ and described his OnlyFans accounts as early casualties of OnlyFans’ purge of content that did not comply with the newfangled documentation requests.
Long had been an active poster on OnlyFans since May 2020, uploading a mix of current lifestyle content and material from his library of adult videos, which he has legally produced for decades. Long told XBIZ he has always kept records according to the industry standard, and has trademarks and copyrights around his brands that he regularly enforces through lawyers.
Having attorney-vetted paperwork has long been a standard for content producers and before December 24-28, 2020, Long believed all his content to be ironclad.
It was then that he received a form letter from OnlyFans like the aforementioned request for OnlyFans-compliant records. “Before that, they weren’t asking for anything,” Long told XBIZ.
Since Long had specific objections to the wording of the OnlyFans release, he tried to solve the issue offering the mountain of compliance paperwork he had accumulated over the years.
“I tried to solve this amicably,” he said, by calling other veteran adult industry figures and brokers who are now working with OnlyFans. After a couple of months, he said, one of his contacts admitted that the company should have done something instead of ignoring Long’s pleas to be heard.
That was three months ago, and his contact has stopped communicating with him and his legal content is still censored from the platform.
“You know there’s a problem,” a frustrated Long told XBIZ. “You know that you’re totally incorrect, you know I have access to model releases, 2257s, as well as physical releases where my copyrights and trademarks over the material is right there… and you do nothing?”
“They haven’t gotten back to me in five months,” Long told XBIZ. “I’ve informed APAG [the Adult Performance Artists Guild union], I have all the emails [from] them, I’ve informed my attorneys — this is now for me an issue of bad [client] support. They’ve been ignoring this and more and more content creators are fed up.”
Accounts Shut Down and Vanishing Funds
APAG President Alana Evans also told XBIZ the union is aware of the situation. “Over the last six months we have had numerous creators contact us because their studio content [which is legal and includes industry-standard records kept by the studios] was flagged," she said.
Content producers who do not appear in their own videos, Evans said, “have been told, because they do not appear in the scenes themselves, they needed to supply additional paperwork that includes current IDs for every model, even if the content is old.”
But the loss of income to creators and producers as a result of OnlyFans’ new requirements may also end up benefitting OnlyFans.
“The producers are not asked for paperwork as they upload the content, so the product garners sales,” Evans explained. “If the producers are unable to locate the models, some who are deceased, their account is flagged, all of their funds frozen and eventually their account gets closed.”
She said APAG has assisted in cases where producers of vintage content have had their pages shut down and thousands of dollars vanish.
Current-day producers have encountered the same issues. "Again, the accounts are closed and funds are taken,” Evans said. She initially talked to OnlyFans regarding several of these accounts, but the conversations have stalled.
“They have been asking for things beyond 2257 requirements,” Evans said, noting that OnlyFans had initially presented these templates as suggestions to help models, but now seems to have turned them into requirements and “they’re forcing them upon performers.”
XBIZ contacted some industry attorneys to comment on this story, but they are not at liberty to comment since they have been retained by the company in question.