Ensure Compliance for Adult Websites: Learn about age verification, record-keeping, and legal obligations. Avoid risks with expert guidance.
For website administrators in the adult content industry, it’s vital to play by the rules to protect your platform, users, and maintain the integrity of the industry. This article is here to help you navigate the compliance requirements for various adult content websites, including dating platforms, adult social media sites, adult webcam platforms, content creator platforms, and pornographic websites.
No matter what kind of adult content website you’re managing, compliance with legal regulations is a must. We’ll dive into the important aspects of compliance, such as the record-keeping obligation under 18 U.S.C. §§ 2257, the provisions of FOSTA-SESTA (the “Protecting Sex Trafficking Victims Act” and the “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act”), and the prohibition on promoting prostitution under 18 U.S. Code § 2421A.
Let’s get real for a moment. Every performer or content creator featured on your website needs to go through an age verification process and provide consent for their content to be showcased. This applies to everyone involved in creating and sharing adult content, ensuring compliance and protecting against exploitation.
We’ll also touch on international implications, like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and emerging state regulations that may have different requirements depending on where you operate. Plus, we’ll highlight the potential consequences of not complying with these rules and explore how partnering with third-party identity verification companies can make your compliance journey smoother. By staying compliant, you can uphold industry standards, earn user trust, and create a safer environment within the adult content industry. So, let’s dive in!
What types of sites are we talking about?
When it comes to the adult content industry, there’s a diverse range of websites and platforms that these regulations apply to. Let’s take a look at some of the different types and what they offer:
Content Creator Platforms: Platforms that enable adult content creators to showcase and monetize their work, such as platforms for adult models, photographers, and producers.
Adult Webcam Platforms: Platforms featuring live webcam performances, interactive adult content, and virtual interactions.
Pornographic Websites: Platforms hosting explicit sexual content, adult videos, and pornography.
Escort Directories and Escort Agencies: Escort directories serve as platforms that list and provide information about professional escorts and where users can find information to connect with their companions. Escort agencies act as intermediaries between clients and escorts, offering a range of professional escort services.
To shore up compliance in the adult content industry, website administrators should consider the following:
- Age Verification Procedures: Implement robust age verification processes to verify the age of performers involved in explicit sexual activities. Require performers to provide valid identification documents, such as driver’s licenses or passports, and maintain accurate records of their personal information.
- Record Keeping: Establish a comprehensive system to securely store and manage performer records, including names, ages, and identification documents. Regularly audit and update these records to ensure accuracy and compliance with the record-keeping requirement under 18 U.S.C. §§ 2257.
- Content Moderation: Proactively monitor and moderate content on your platform. Develop clear guidelines and policies that prohibit content related to sex trafficking and prostitution. Invest in well-trained moderators who can promptly identify and remove such content.
- User Reporting Mechanisms: Provide users with accessible reporting mechanisms to report instances of sex trafficking or illegal activities. Promptly investigate and take appropriate action on reported content to maintain a safe environment for users.
- International Implications and Emerging State Regulations: Global compliance extends to understanding international regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which may impact privacy practices.. Moreover, emerging state-specific regulations demand your attention. For instance, Louisiana Act No. 440, which became effective on January 1, 2023, requires citizens to prove their age before accessing mature content. This law impacts platforms with 33.3% or more adult content. Additionally, Utah Senate Bill 287, effective from May 3, 2023, mandates age verification for accessing adult content within Utah’s borders. Other states are emerging with laws regarding online adult content, including Mississippi Senate Bill 2346, Virginia Senate Bill 1515.
Consequences of Non-Compliance
Non-compliance with the record-keeping requirement under 18 U.S.C. §§ 2257, the provisions of FOSTA-SESTA, and the prohibition on promoting prostitution under 18 U.S. Code § 2421A exposes website administrators to significant risks, including fines, criminal offenses, and civil liabilities. Let’s explore some specific risks associated with non-compliance:
- Legal Penalties: Failure to comply with the provisions of 18 U.S. Code § 2421A can result in severe legal consequences. Website administrators who own, manage, or operate an interactive computer service with the intent to promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person, and who either promote or facilitate the prostitution of five or more persons, or act in reckless disregard of the fact that such conduct contributes to sex trafficking, can face fines, imprisonment for up to 25 years, or both, as outlined in the statute.
- Criminal Offenses: Non-compliance with the aforementioned laws may lead to criminal charges. Engaging in activities that promote or facilitate prostitution or sex trafficking, as described in the statutes, can result in the initiation of criminal investigations and subsequent legal proceedings against website administrators.
- Civil Liabilities: Non-compliance may also expose website administrators to civil liabilities. Individuals who have been affected by sex trafficking or prostitution facilitated on the platform may file civil lawsuits seeking damages, potentially resulting in significant financial loss for the website administrators.
- Reputational Damage: Non-compliance can lead to reputational damage for both the website and its administrators. Public knowledge of non-compliance can harm the platform’s reputation, leading to a loss of user trust, reduced user engagement, and negative publicity that can impact the long-term viability of the business.
- Increased Scrutiny and Investigations: Non-compliant websites may attract heightened scrutiny from law enforcement agencies, regulatory bodies, and advocacy groups. This increased attention can result in comprehensive investigations, putting the website administrators under increased legal and operational pressure.
It is crucial for website administrators to understand the potential risks associated with non-compliance and the serious consequences they may face. To mitigate these risks, it is strongly advised to prioritize legal compliance, including implementing the necessary age verification procedures, record-keeping practices, content moderation, and user reporting mechanisms as outlined in the compliance suggestions section. By doing so, website administrators can protect their platforms, users, and themselves from the legal and reputational hazards of non-compliance with these critical regulations.
How Third-Party Identity Verification Companies Can Help
Partnering with reputable third-party identity verification providers, such as Token of Trust, can assist adult content websites in achieving compliance with the record-keeping requirement under 18 U.S.C. §§ 2257, FOSTA-SESTA, and the prohibition on promoting prostitution under 18 U.S. Code § 2421A. These companies have expertise in verification requirements, archival obligations, and privacy regulations necessary for compliance. By leveraging their services, website administrators can streamline the verification process, enhance data security, and ensure adherence to legal requirements.
Compliance with the record-keeping requirement under 18 U.S.C. §§ 2257, FOSTA-SESTA, and the prohibition on promoting prostitution under 18 U.S. Code § 2421A is crucial for website administrators in the adult content industry. By implementing robust age verification procedures, maintaining accurate records, moderating content effectively, and providing user reporting mechanisms, administrators can ensure legal compliance and create a safe environment for users. Additionally, it is essential to stay informed about international implications, such as GDPR, and emerging state regulations that may impact compliance requirements. The risks of non-compliance, including legal penalties, reputational damage, user safety concerns, increased scrutiny, and emerging state regulations, emphasize the importance of prioritizing compliance. Partnering with reputable third-party identity verification companies can further assist website administrators in achieving compliance and mitigating risks. By proactively addressing compliance obligations, website administrators can protect their platforms, users, and the integrity of the adult content industry.
Please note that the information provided in this article is for general guidance purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, we are not lawyers and do not offer legal counsel.
The content presented here is based on our understanding and interpretation of the relevant laws and regulations at the time of writing. However, laws can vary by jurisdiction and may change over time. Therefore, it is crucial to consult with legal professionals or seek expert advice to ensure compliance with specific legal requirements applicable to your jurisdiction and industry.
We recommend that website administrators consult with qualified attorneys or legal experts who specialize in the adult content industry and related regulations to obtain accurate and tailored advice based on their specific circumstances. Legal professionals can provide guidance on compliance obligations, risk management, and any legal implications relevant to your particular situation.
By accessing and using this article, you acknowledge that Token of Trust is not providing legal advice, and you should always seek professional legal advice before making decisions related to legal compliance.