A Concern about Mature Content.

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Artificial Sugar, Aug 29, 2016.

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  1. So, on another site I role play on, mature content (sex scenes and such) are not allowed at all.
    When I brought the topic up about possibly creating a section for adults, as we have here on Iwaku, I was told no (which I expected, but I thought I'd try), and they brought up a few concerns for me.

    The admin, as well as a few mods, stated again and again that if you are caught role playing with someone under eighteen, you can get into legal trouble, even if they say they're eighteen online, like here on iwaku.
    I know that the sections are divided, and I myself never do sex scenes with anyone under eighteen, even in Pm, but..

    What if this does happen? If someone under eighteen is pretending to be older, and someone sees their message and reports me? I mean, how much trouble would I really get into?

    Another two concerns they brought up are:

    1- Allowing adult content on a site will most likely get the site in legal trouble and they'll have to be shut down.

    2- Teenagers are not allowed to write sexual scenes, even if it's with someone their age.

    Is this all true, or were the mods just being assholes?​
  2. So, first off, I actually saw that topic and given that response and a few other recent events, I'm planning on writing a PSA on all the legalities involving sexual content in roleplays.

    Long story short though, here's the deal:

    1. While you can get in legal trouble for CYBERING with a minor, you are unlikely to get in trouble for roleplaying with one unless you are also hitting on them or talking about meeting up in real life, especially if you in good faith made an attempt to verify their age and believed they were 18 or older. Anyone who lies about their age on this site is in violation of ToS and is more likely to get in trouble than you are, unless it's proven that you knew their age and didn't care. We don't allow sexual content in roleplays between teens and adults JUST TO BE SAFE because the line between RP and cybering can be blurry.

    2. It's not illegal for teens to write about sexual content. Literature has a lot of leeway that other media- say, film and video- do not when it comes to sexual content. While strictly it still might be illegal for them to cyber, it's also highly unlikely for teens to get prosecuted due to Romeo and Juliet laws and other factors unless something more is going on there.

    And we're not a cyber site. We are a roleplay and writing site. That distinction DOES matter.
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  3. Oh yeah, and by the by, we've had the Feds tell Diana she's doing things the right way. We've actually cooperated with them on a few cases where people were being assholes.

    And we're still here.
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  4. If you are caught roleplaying with someone under 18 and DID NOT KNOW, you would not be legally held accountable. You are not liable for someone else's lies. This is the same as real life if a teenager lied about their age with a fake ID to access a drinking bar and then slept with an adult there. THEY are breaking the law, THEY are doing something against site policy.

    If we, a hobby site, are able to train our staff to investigate users and tell the difference between genuine "I had no idea" people and the people who are actually seeking out minors to write sexual content with - ACTUAL PROFESSIONALS would be 100% better at it. You would only get in trouble if you continued to roleplay sexual content with that minor, or willfully with held information that the member was a minor. At worst a pissed up parent could try to bring charges against you or sue you, but a thorough investigation would get it thrown out.

    Most sites that ban all smut content are just trying to protect themselves from getting sued and having to deal with the really ANNOYING nonsense that can come with having a cop investigate the site or one of the members. OR they are protecting their monetary investment, because their site is a business and businesses have much stricter laws about what is allowable. Businesses especially have to be careful because of frivolous lawsuits. These are TOTALLY understandable things for a site owner to not want to deal with.

    As for Iwaku itself, I have personally spoken to police on multiple occasions, and have cooperated with investigations in to member's activity since 2001. Once was an undercover cop who hung out on the site investigating a predator. The second was an FBI agent looking in to a report about some girl's blog. In a couple weeks I'll likely be talking to another one about a child porn case. If our policies weren't sound, my ass would have been in trouble a long time ago. The research that has gone in to making sure our policies protect our members AND management has been years in the making. This is why we enforce our age rules VERY STRICTLY.

    There are no laws against what a teenager can WRITE. If a teenager wants to write about sex, they most certainly can. If a teenager wants to write about sex with a co-author, yes they can. If a teenager wants to a famous movie star and have saucy sex scenes, yep they can to that too. Roleplaying is a fun mixture of writing and acting. It is creative expression.

    CYBERING LAWS gets tricky. Age of consent laws in America are different state by state. Nearly ALL of them are focused only on Adult-Teen sexual contact. These laws are to protect teens from adult predators, not prevent teens from doing normal teenager things and fooling around with each other. After that point it gets super grey and will always depend highly on the case and circumstances at hand.

    And again these laws are about CYBERING and soliciting sex. These are NOT about writing and the freedom of creative expression. Cybering and using Iwaku as a tool to get sex is also against our site policy and if we feel people are breaking the spirit of this rule, we ban them.

    In the long run, it's really just what a site owner feels safe and comfortable in being responsible for, and if they're willing to back it up with their policies and enforcement of those policies. Iwaku wouldn't be able to run things the way it does if we weren't getting on people's ASS about breaking our age-restriction rules. Nor could we allow some of this content if we were a for profit site.

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  5. Thank you both so much for answering my questions! (And helping my anxiety). I feel much better now, and I did think that the other admins and such were just being assholes, really.

    The staff here is so kind and wonderful when answering questions and dealing with people.

    I really appreciate it!
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  6. I suspect it's less a matter of those admins and such being assholes, more a matter of them not having done any research into the laws that pertain to this sort of thing. It's quite understandable that they would not be familiar with the law in this area, because why would they research it if they don't want sexual content on their site at all? There are very solid business reasons to avoid any sexual content. Iwaku allows it because Iwaku is not in the business of making money; we're just here to be a place for people to indulge in a hobby with others with similar interests, so we can comfortably allow things that are not illegal but which would drive away advertisers or potential users.

    Anyway, about the law stuff, the short version is that US law on written sexual stuff is SUPER complicated. To understand it fully you'd have to dig through a bunch of old cases (particularly Supreme Court rulings) to see how the First Amendment has been interpreted to give written works greater legal protections than many other artistic mediums. Most people try to apply laws about sex and consent to writing, but that's not even accurate for cybering, which is generally done for sexual gratification, whereas roleplaying falls into the art category in the same way a co-written novel does.

    I could go on, but I'll leave the details to Astaroth's PSA on the topic. Just remember that people being ignorant of the law in regards to writing sexual content doesn't make them assholes, it just makes them one of the normal 99+% of people who don't have a firm grasp on this one specific area of the law. :P
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  7. True. I've just got a bit of a grudge against them, I guess. :p
  8. Aw, well don't do that! Running a website is risky business, especially when it involved a huge community. The more members a site has, the higher risk the owners of that site can land in to craaaaaazy situations. An owner has to weigh the risk and reward then decide whether or not certain choices fit in with their vision of what they want for their community, and if those choices are worth the risk.

    For me, freedom of expression is #1 over everything. I want to write about anything that my little muse wants to write, and I believe everyone should have that right and be able to do it in a safe environment. In order to do that, we had to put a LOT of work in to making sure we're within the bounds of the law - and even then I still run the risk that one day someone's parent is going to get pissed off, call the cops or try to sue. I have a personal lawyer that specializes in Internet crap JUST IN CASE, cause I've had plenty of people threaten me over the years. (Surprisingly never over smut content though. O_O It's always been disputes over bans of all things.)

    For me, it's worth the risk to accomplish my vision! I am prepared to handle any problems or consequences that pop up. Other owners will have different goals and different priorities. You gotta respect their vision!

    This is why it's awesome there are so many RP sites out there. <3 They're all different and you can find the site that fits in with your own ideals and makes you comfortable.
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  9. Wait what? What possible basis could people have for that? o_o
  10. No real basis for it, just the whole "HOW DARE YOU BAN ME THAT'S AGAINST THE LAW UNBAN ME THIS INSTANT OR I'M GONNA SUE!!!" rigamarole. It has no basis in law or logic, just emotions and stupidity and people threatening legal action because they want to intimidate Diana into caving to their wishes. Sheer stupidity, basically.
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  11. Actually, one time this guy said he was going to call his lawyer because banning him denied him access to his roleplays which were his intellectual property. It was pretty silly.
  12. I figured.
    Just got thrown off because the lawyer deal was mentioned right beforehand.
    That's sounds like a "Better call Saul" kind of case.
  13. Crazy misinformed people will threaten you for all KINDS of things. O_O Sometimes they even KNOW they're wrong, but they do it anyway just to drag you through the hassle and cost of having to deal with it.

    That's another good reason why a lot of site owners will avoid high risk policies on their site. This is actually one of the reasons why Iwaku doesn't allow real people porn images on the site AT ALL, even under spoilers or age locks. That's a lot crap I don't want to have to deal with policing. >:/
  14. B... but... Diana! This is the Internet! ;A;

  15. This makes me happy for the silly reason that skin textures bother me. 8D
  17. SKIN TEXTURE IS NASTY. I'm so happy I'm not alone in my pain!

    It's especially bad when I can see like... pores or any part that moves all... jiggly-like, though boobs (at least partly covered) are fine, as long as I approach ready for them.
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