Love Out Of Lust Series

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

When People Confuse Censorship to Company Policy and Regulations

In the past, I have heard people make complaints of how Amazon was putting erotic authors in the back-burner, or how some publishing companies won’t publish gay romance, or how other companies are looking to ban nudity on their sits, or better yet how the a government regulation is defined to be censorship.

First of all, let me set the record straight, censorship is wrong, but most people do not know what is the differences between these three. When an author, an artist, or a producer cannot make money off these works, they are the first to bitch about censorship, because they don’t like the new regulation or mandate. I usually look at them as people who prefer to bend the truth only for their own purpose.

What people need to realize about censorship is it isn’t the same as industry regulations or company policies. What censorship really is, is the government that enacts a law or policy prohibiting any kind of media at their sovereign states. I could give you a list of things that would classify as censorship, for example:

In Japan, you cannot view penile penetration scenes in pornography as it is prohibited.

In some countries around the world, pornography is prohibited.

An international news network isn’t allow to broadcast or syndicate its programming.

Talks in some parts of the United States about enacting a law that prohibits a citizen to film the police, even if they aren’t interfering with the investigation.

Numerous talks about banning pornography in countries like the United States and the United Kingdom. (It has happened in the past, but failed)

These are prime examples of censorship; not just in the United States but around the world. Censorship is basically when a government or bureaucracy prohibits the media to inform or express artistically, or prohibiting anyone from expressing their rights or opinion. Censorship, yes is really an act of control; only to control what they will allow in their country. Surely, it’s wrong, but yes, these countries have their own sovereign right to do so without your permission or approval, and it happens in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada – English speaking nations with a more modernize structure.

However people do need to understand that they cannot confuse government regulations and company policies as censorship, because I learned most people are just ranting they either don’t like the new rule implemented, and yes, change is motherfucker. When you’re used to playing things this way, and the game has changed, of course this will upset you, but I think before you start bitching and ranting you should know the difference between these three.
Now, I already gave a prime example of what censorship really is, but let’s get down to company policy, because here’s where I hear a good amount of bitching from my industry – the erotic writing industry.

Recently, in February 2015, Google did announce that Blogger would no longer accept blogs that contain adult content. Now, this was a game-change for me to, because I’ve been using Blogger – The AfterDark World w/ Ray Sostre for four years, since 2011. I use pornographic images on my blog to describe snippets to my writing groups, and I do list it as #NSFW (not safe for work) on the social network sites. They urged users to either migrate their material to different blogs or set their settings to private. Newer blogs would be prohibited to contain adult content. Now, thankfully this plan never followed through. They realized the number of bloggers who had been with them since inception (1999). When Google backtracked their decision, I was relieved, because I love using Blogger for my stories, and I really didn’t want to move my work to WordPress or other sites, but I was willing to if they did.

Now, is that wrong? No, I will tell you why:

A private company can decide whatever they wish to choose, any direction they want to go to, without your consent or approval of any such. Now, of course there will be a backlash, but they reserve the right to. Yes, there will be ramifications, but they can set their own policy, it is not censorship.

Amazon, most famously known for putting erotic authors in the closet, can do the same thing to. Keep in mind Google, Tumblr, and Amazon’s core audience is the general public. You can debate it all you want that you’re part of the general public. You can debate that erotic content makes up a significant percentage of users, but you can’t tell them who they want to chose for their market.

Amazon established itself for the general audience; Google’s sole purpose was for the same thing. Now, of course they can set the policy to allow erotic content, but they also have to set standards of what they allow in their companies. I am the owner of AfterDark Online; I even set my standards of what I allow there.

I remembered making a Twitter comment in 2012 about censorship is wrong, but a person criticize me about not allowing incest stories, rape fantasy stories, and golden showers on my site. I told the person that is the policy standard of AfterDark Online, and I am entitled to run it the way I choose. Then this person argued that if I’m against censorship, I should give the people whatever they want. You think I would fall for that bullshit trick? No.

Here’s why, and every company does this – say no to a current customer and potential customer: Show me a company that gives a customer whatever they want, and I will show you a company that goes out of business. My core audience is for women who like conventional erotic stories; not for those that want to read extremely dark or taboo content. If I open the doors to authors who write incest, golden shower stories, scat stories, rape fantasies, then I’m eliminating my core audience. Some will argue that there are women who like these stories, but I won’t allow it on my site. That is why I have Story Submission Guidelines on AfterDark Online; the same reason why other companies are entitled to make their own company policies. It is not considered censorship.

Now I’m going to differentiate the meaning of Regulations, because I know, especially in America, many people define regulations as the enemy of freedom. And what I also learned that there people around the world that doesn’t know the similarities of local, state, province, municipal, and federal are all considered to be government. Regulations is not classified as censorship, and don’t try to debate it, because the sole purpose of regulations is when it affects the safety of mass number of people, either in their livelihoods or health, you need to have regulations to ensure fairness.

Now how can someone call regulations the enemy? It’s very simple. There are people who don’t like mandates when it affects their pockets, going back to how they enjoyed making money, even if they were ripping people off or putting others’ health at risk. Yes, there are honest companies, but regulations are also there to protect people against an industry’s negligence, because they don’t care what happens to you, only what happens to their pockets.

I can give you an example of why regulations aren’t considered censorship – a recent one.

In 2012, voters in Los Angeles County enacted Measure B, County of Los Angeles Safer Sex In the Adult Film Industry Act, requiring the use of condoms in all vaginal and anal sex scenes in pornography productions that is filmed in Los Angeles. This measure also requires porn production companies to obtain health permits prior to production and to post the permit and a notice to performers regarding condom use during production.

Now, first of all, as a writer, I don’t include condoms in my stories, since characters in my stories do not contract HIV/AIDS or any other STI, unless I decide to include it in the story. I’m exempt, because I’m not using live people to act out my story. However, I am in full support of the law, since I learned about the HIV scare in the porn industry in 2004 and 1998. They all occurred in Los Angeles, before this mandate was put through.

To the porn production companies, they would argue that it is a violation of free speech. Now, that is bullshit, because when you are using people and demanding them to do extreme scenes at the expense of their health and lives, there should be a regulation for it, because guys like them only see one thing – the bottom line. Like the mindset of any management, they can find someone else that willing to do what they say, only for the money.

In 2004, the HIV outbreak in the porn industry was due to negligence of the production company, not the porn actor Darren James. They tested him too soon, after arriving back from Brazil, and there were talks about Brazil having a higher HIV rate than the U.S., and they weren’t sure of the frequency of HIV testing. In 2009 and 2010, there were a number of people in the industry that were let go, because they contracted the virus that causes AIDS. If anyone wants to argue about Cameron Bay, who contracted HIV, mind you she was doing a shoot in San Francisco. There is no known ordinance mandating condom use, but I wouldn’t be surprise they’d follow suit.

Now surely, the major porn productions had tried to get the regulation repealed, but the repeal failed which resulted to a mass exodus of the industry leaving Los Angeles County, about 95 % of them moving to other counties in California and Southern Nevada.

Now, yes, regulations can hurt things, but when its measuring up against the risk of others it needs to be enacted to protect those from negligence. To a person who opposes regulations, until you become a victim of negligence or fraud, you will always criticize it.

Is that defined as censorship? No. Could it affect sales of pornography, yes, but will I watch a porn scene that has a condom? YES. I love erotica and porn, and yes, I care about the actors who perform in the industry. For years, I’ve learned how the porn industry has tossed them out in the streets when they contracted HIV, and even though this law is in its early stage, it’s to benefit the safety of actors. There is a law for law enforcement to be required to wear a bullet-proof vest, part of an OSHA requirement (Occupational Safety Hazard Administration). There is a law for food workers to wear gloves and hair nets when preparing food. There is a law for custodians in handling chemicals, including proper protective equipment. I have no quarrels about a law that mandates the use of condoms on a porn set. Safety first – Always. A regulation may be a hassle, but it's not considered censorship when measured up against a number of people affected.

I hope I had explained the differences of between censorship, company policies, and regulations. No one should ever confuse it, because censorship is wrong, but a company’s discretion and a regulation to ensure safety and security for others isn’t censorship to freedom.

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