Is owning an adult website legal?

My friends ask me all the time, “is owning an adult website legal?”  In some countries, it is legal.  Countries like Canada, USA, and brazil make it legal to manage a website, so you can earn some money.  However, there are other countries that make it either illegal or partially illegal, such as china, Libya, Algeria, and Australia (partially illegal).  Do your own research at your own country to see if it’s legal own an adult site, because laws do change frequently.

Also, when comes to owning a website, there are many guidelines to follow to make it legal.  The top two concerns you should look into are copyright infringement and underage videos.  If you upload your own contents to the website, it shouldn’t be a problem (as long as you don’t make illegal videos like underage contents).  However, if you have a user upload system, then you need to constantly look out for these two items to protect yourself from the law.

There are many adult websites that copyright stuff, does it really matter if I do it too?  Can you even copyright adult materials?  These are some of the questions you probably asked yourself before making your website.  Let me tell you straight out, every content that you produce, you own it.  It doesn’t matter if it’s an adult material and it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a patent or a copyright for it.  If someone takes your content and upload it on their website, you can sue them for it, even if they’re just embedding the videos.

There are many websites that get away with this because they use the user upload system as a scapegoat.  Since the users upload it to the website and not yourself, you can use them as a scapegoat.  When this occurs, the company who’ve made the content will contact the owner of the website to have it taken down (cease and desist).  What cease and desist tells you is, stop all illegal activity and don’t do it again.  Usually, the owner of the website has certain amount of days to have it down (this is why we see so many videos that are taken down, not only on adult sites, but on YouTube as well.

But does this solve the problem?  It doesn’t.  Users will continue uploading contents, video makers will continue sending letters, and the owner will continue taking down contents.  This is one of the reason why we still see copyrighted videos all over the internet.  But is this ethical?  The website owner found a loophole, since they can pay someone to upload the content (such as people in china) whenever a content gets taken down.  I think it’s not ethical.  People make stuff to earn money, but it’s getting stolen.

Some user upload contents now ask for 2257 and automatically filters out copyrighted contents.  However, it may cost a lot to implement such system.  Either way, if you are starting out from scratch, you should avoid copyright by either making your own contents or asking for permission.

Now onto underage contents.  You probably thought of stuff like, Tor/onion apparently has illegal adult stuff, why not do it there?  I understand that you can make a lot of money on tor thanks to the bit coins, but there are a lot of consequences that result from this.  This doesn’t just end up in a lawsuit, but a jail time.  Not only that, you are encouraging trafficking and ruining someone’s life.  When it comes to adult contents, you shouldn’t have any underage person at all.  The age restriction is made, because kids don’t know what he or she is getting into.  Look into 2257 statement if you are afraid of certain contents people upload.  This will help you verify the model’s age.

Items like disclaimer, terms of service, privacy policy, 2257 statement, and DMCA information are couple of things that should be on the website.  You can do it yourself or hire an expert lawyer in the field to draft these pages, as they’re the only protection you’ll have.  Depending on how you manage the website and what contents you’ll have, you’ll be required to have different pages.  Also make sure there is a reminder for new visitors that the website is for a certain age group, so that if someone accidentally enters your website, he or she will have the option of getting out before viewing the contents.

Last of all, make sure to talk with a lawyer who are in this field.  It’s good to spend couple bucks to sit and talk so you can learn everything you can to run and manage your adult website.

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