Pandora Blake (who produces Dreams Of Spanking) continues to write strongly and well about the risks of commercial censorship of adult material:

As a porn producer my primary experience of censorship has not been legal, but corporate. Anyone who creates erotic media and wants to find a way to make it available to others is at the mercy of restrictions placed by financial institutions, publishers and distributors. We might all want to increase the diversity of erotic material available, but however innovative we are, unregulated commercial bodies still have the power to control the marketplace.

The internet is an empowering, liberating tool, but the truth is that everything online is controlled by corporate entities somewhere down the line. Everything has to be hosted somewhere, and the online publishing tools and marketplaces that make distribution so accessible for independent creatives have lot of power. In the 21st century we may not have to be accepted by an agency or publisher to distribute our work, but individual companies still impose restrictions that control what can be published online.

Any erotica writer will be familiar with Amazon’s foibles when it comes to adult content – and the loss of sales many authors experienced when the online bookstore stopped adult fiction from showing up in search. Likewise, Google is famous for its adult content restrictions; you may remember when Blogger gave users four days to remove any “adult advertising” under threat of having their blogs summarily deleted. In its search algorithms Google has recently started favouring pages which are linked to a Google Plus account – where pseudonyms and porn links are not permitted, effectively discriminating against sex workers and adult content producers.

Then there are the problems that arise when you try to monetise adult content online. Paypal is famously harsh – and arbitrary – in its restrictions. Online financial institutions control our money, and they have the power.

If you want to sell porn or erotica, you can’t use Paypal, WePay, Worldpay, SagePay or any of the standard credit card processors. You have to use a specialist service that caters to “high risk” merchants (a category which includes gambling and porn sites). I produce spanking porn which is openly and explicitly consensual and ethically produced, but which sometimes includes severe punishment, up to and including judicial caning. Despite the fact that none of my work is illegal under the UK extreme porn legislation, it is notoriously difficult to find a credit card processor willing to handle transactions. Most billing agents that serve adult sites do not permit images of vivid welts or bruises, both of which are a common feature of my personal sex life, and therefore of the porn I choose to make.

There’s much more. (Link spotted via Violet Blue.)

Similar Sex Blogging: