The Sssh.com house blog Erotic Scribes posted an article last Thursday called The Challenges of Crowd Funding Porn Movies, which is most specifically about Shine Louise Houston’s effort to crowd-fund the making of Snapshot, a “sex-positive, queer porn production”. Erotic Scribes quotes Houston about the challenges of funding of the movie:

“As a smaller company working on the fringe of the adult industry, funding any project is a big concern. It’s a value of the company to produce our projects independently to keep full creative control over our work. But that stance poses some challenges.

That’s why we’ve taken the plunge into crowd funding. We’ve seen other campaigns on Kickstarter get pulled for being associated with the adult industry so we were very wary about heading a campaign of our own. We finally decided to go with Indiegogo and we were very upfront with them about being adult and asked them to review our campaign before it was launched. To our surprise we passed inspection. But two days into it our campaign was pulled, but not for reasons you would assume. Our raffle tickets in our VIP party perk were against their TOS. Who knew. Their explanation was that you can’t give a prize that is entrance into a contest. Fair enough. Since we pulled the raffle tickets it’s been smooth sailing… kind of.

It’s true that Indiegogo has always had the buzz of being slightly less porn-hostile than, say, Kickstarter, which flatly prohibits “pornographic material” in its TOS. But IG’s historical position on pornography projects can best be described as “muddled and squeamish”. Last year their Australian rep flat-out said for publication “We have some restrictions – we don’t allow fund-raising for pornography.” IG’s TOS don’t say anything specifically against porn, but the TOS do prohibit posting “links to sites that contain sexually explicit material.” (If you thought the Snapshot pitch by a maker of queer porn movies was oddly anodyne, sexless, and lacking in links to Houston’s work, that’s why.) One furry site exploring their adult crowdfunding options asked about Indiegogo’s porn policy and received this less-than-ringing endorsement from Indiegogo customer service back in 2013:

We are not completely opposed to adult content, but as our site is visible to minors, we require that all adult-themed campaigns be discrete. We do not allow nudity or other explicit or graphic content.

Now, in 2015, the word again is that Indigogo allows porn projects, as long the would-be producer can put together a funding pitch that doesn’t link to anything sexually explicit, like, say, the producer’s production studio and life’s work.

What about supporting Snapshot itself? In the abstract, I’d love to see the project get funded, because intelligent porn doesn’t get made via traditional funding models; we need functional new ones. But queer porn is way outside my usual line and I’m not at all familiar with Houston’s work. If it helps you decide, Violet Blue at Tiny Nibbles is an enthusiastic supporter of Shine Louise Houston and the Snapshot project; Violet says “I strongly recommend throwing even just $5 in the kitty.” So there you have it!

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