It goes without saying that I’m a bit of a rebel. You have to have something of an independent spirit to get into the online adult entertainment industry. I have enjoyed more than eight years working as an adult webmaster and as an industry journalist. I love the culture of this industry. Everything from the message boards, to the industry gatherings, and the actual work of being involved with the production of industry-related websites. For many people the online adult industry provides a creative outlet for expressing themselves through adult websites. For those of us who are lucky enough to have a full time career in this industry, we are afforded a unique lifestyle free from many of the restraints offered by mainstream corporate America.The alternatives to the adult industry aren’t very attractive to me. Some stuffy job in the city that requires a nasty commute? Some obnoxious boss on a power trip? How about those cubicles and florescent lights so popular in mainstream office buildings?
I like participating in industry events. I like getting together with people who have an open view of sexuality, sharing a few drinks, and talking business in a fun environment. I like an industry that isn’t dominated by gigantic corporate interests. Try making money opening a coffee shop next to Starbucks? Try opening just about any kind of retail store in an America dominated by big chains and Wal-Mart. I like the creative side of adult entertainment – and yes, I think building adult websites is a creatively-minded job. With the adult internet, a smart independent person can still find success because the cards aren’t stacked insurmountably against anyone.
So I’m serious about protecting this industry.
Unfortunately, a lot of people are serious about knocking it down.
I honestly don’t think an industry like the adult entertainment industry can survive without people who are willing to fight for its right to exist. It is constantly under attack from ultra-conservative right-wing censorship groups who always claim to be trying to “protect children.” Larry Flynt knows something about these groups. We’ve seen their work in all kinds of legislation aimed at making adult business more difficult. We’ve seen the Communications Decency Act (CDA) and the Child Online Protection Act (COPA). We’ve seen the “virtual child pornography” bill that would have effectively banned all “barely legal” content along with most adult anime content. Usually these threats are beaten back, but occasionally one sticks. Right now I can identify three areas that are a significant threat to online adult entertainment:
1) 2257 record-keeping laws and regulations. Most people in the adult industry have seen the new regulations signed by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and most of us know that these regulations are a significant and possibly insurmountable burden for most online adult businesses. Work from home webmasters and amateurs are hit especially hard. Unless these regulations are successfully challenged… well, let’s not think about that. The 2257 regulations are nearly impossible to follow, and failure to get everything right can result in five years in prison for the first offense – all because you didn’t keep your paperwork in the right manner.
2) Dot XXX. It now appears that ICANN is going to approve the creation of a dot-xxx domain name extension. It is widely expected that grandstanding congressmen will attempt to force adult websites onto dot-xxx domain names, and in fact several congressmen have already announced their support of such a move. This of course creates all kinds of problems for dot-com owners, forces webmasters to pay the high dot-xxx domain name registration costs (expected to be $60 per domain), and makes it a lot easier for government censorship advocates to stifle the industry. And since dot-xxx is a “sponsored” domain name, an organization will get to set the rules as far as what webmasters will be able to do on a website using a dot-xxx domain.
3) Obscenity laws. The Department of Justice recently announced the formation of an “Obscenity Task Force” designed to target adult entertainment businesses and charge them with promoting obscenity. Obscenity laws have been used in the past by the DOJ to put people in prison simply for distributing adult content that is by adults and for adults. The DOJ is serious about pleasing Christian conservatives who want to see adult webmasters and other industry professionals thrown in prison.
Because there are so many threats to the adult entertainment industry, I have volunteered to serve on the Board of Directors of the Free Speech Coalition. I believe that this industry needs a strong trade association that will stand up for the rights of all adult businesses against the kinds of threats I outlined above. I have been impressed with the quality of people working at the Free Speech Coalition – everyone from Executive Director Michelle Freridge to Chairman Jeffrey Douglas and Communications Director Tom Hymes. They have convinced me that the organization has the best interests of the entire adult industry in mind, and I am happy to assist them however I can in protecting this industry that I love so much.
If you are part of this industry, either as an amateur hobbyist or a professional businessperson, you cannot afford to sit back and let others fight for your business. You need to be involved. The Free Speech Coalition really needs your support, and you can give that support by becoming a member. YNOT backs the FSC and its fight against censorship. Please join us in the cause.
Joining at this time is especially important, since the Free Speech Coalition is the ONLY organization that is fighting the new 2257 regulations on behalf of the industry.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I hope to be participating in the online adult industry ten years from now. Hell, twenty years from now. Some of you I know very well and some of you I am looking forward to meeting at the next industry event. I don’t believe for one second that the censorship crowd will even succeed in shutting down the adult entertainment industry. How much damage they do while trying, however, is going to depend on how hard we fight back.