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  1. #1
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    The Porn Problem

    I am a webmaster and not a lawyer, so I am not familiar with all aspects of the law. I would like to start a Web site where people can upload pictures. The pictures can be anything: their car, their house, a cool web graphic, or even nudes of themselves or a friend. The whole idea is to not censor people's creativity. The problem is this.... What if a 15 year old girl uploads a pic of her breasts? What steps would I need to take in order to stay on the right side of the law?

  2. #2
    Avoid the inevitable. Katasdf's Avatar
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    Not like I know much, but I just came across this thread.

    Put a form before anything when they sign up, saying that if they upload anything illegal (Such as what you've said), then they can and will be held responsible to the full potential of the law.

    That's all that I can think of, good luck
    Chris
    This is probably mine --> Design Heights

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy dc dalton's Avatar
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    You have to watch yourself there if its a free website!

    Couple of things that can get you into trouble:

    1. Someone uploading child porn

    2. Someone uploading images they dont own (copyright problems)

    and last but not least

    3. People uploading ANYTHING that could be contrued as aiding terrorism


    Im just finishing up a site similar to what you are talking about but the lawyers told me plain and simple it has to be a paid service so you can trace people back via their CC Info AND having a CC (although not perfect) helps stop kids from getting in and doing what you have mentioned..

    You also have to tell them that ANY infractions of policy (as mentioned) will not only get them banned from the site you MIGHT be required by law to turn over their personal info and the images to law enforcement..

    This is NOT something you want to do the wrong way cause the problems could land you in court (or worse)

  4. #4
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    Talking to a lawyer would be best, but I'm going to send you a PM.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  5. #5
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    Okay, this is what I was thinking:

    1) Let everyone vew PG-13 content an dless

    2) Make people pay (so they are age verified) if they want to see non-PG13 stuff



    Now, what about incorporating in another country besides the US... Such as panama or amsterdam. What if pictures were hosted in another country (even though the sites servers are in the US)? Would this add any more protection?



    Also, if someone submits a photo of themselves naked... Do I have to collect a copy of their driver's license?

  6. #6
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    Anytime you allow nude photos...Your site is bound to become a porn haven and degrade everything else you want to accomplish.

  7. #7
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    One thing I do not understand is this...

    "Sexual intercourse" and "bestiality" (sex with an animal) seem pretty clear - if your website displays images that a prosecutor believes involve minors engaged in sexual intercourse or bestiality, expect to be prosecuted. Which acts constitute "masturbation" or "sadistic or masochistic abuse" may be more difficult to define, because participants engaged in such activities tend to do so for a sexual purpose. Clearly a child could appear to be engaged in such activities without intending a sexual purpose. What a child intends by his or her actions is irrelevant, however, because Federal law prohibits "simulated" as well as actual acts. Many states also address this issue by prohibiting images of minors touching or displaying their bodies "for the purpose of sexual stimulation of the viewer."
    I have been on myspace.com before and there are TONS of minors that pose sexually stimulating pictures of themselves. How have they not gotten in trouble?


    How does big-boys.com not get in trouble for showing nudity to minors?

  8. #8
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    On the other side of things, if someone were to upload a dodgy photo of a minor, every person from the UK that simply views it (even by accident) is technically breaking the law and is supposed to end up on the sex offenders list. So if it becomes a common problem with your service then authorities may decide to pull the server offline and go through the access logs for this reason. It's unlikely to happen but it's possible.

  9. #9
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    You could use a combination of approaches - legal, procedural, active moderators keeping an eye on things, and maybe a self-governing community.

    For example, craigslist.org has managed to avoid legal problems that might result from porn, nudity, prostitution, and fraud being posted on their website by allowing other users to 'flag' certain posts if they are questionable. Obviously this can get complicated, but if you are making a community-type site, you might be able to leverage that community to self-police the content.

    I'm not sure if that applies to your model, but it's a thought.
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

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  10. #10
    SitePoint Member MarketJunction's Avatar
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    If you look at past court cases, you will see that you are 100% liable for anything on your network. Whether or not you get in trouble is another matter, but you are indeed liable.
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