Patreon Updated Its Rules On Adult Content, as well as NSFW Content Creators Are Worried

After the crowdfunding platform Patreon announced improvements to its rules about adult content on its site, creators are airing their frustrations as well as concerns in an open letter in which’s already collected more than 800 signatures.

Patreon updated its Terms of Service last week, explicitly prohibiting the sale of pornographic material or sexual services, as well as telling creators, “You can’t use Patreon to raise funds in order to produce pornographic material such as maintaining a website, funding the production of movies, or providing a private webcam session.”

In an email to adult content creators sent Wednesday afternoon, Patreon CEO Jack Conte said in which the brand-new language simply clarified its existing policy on pornography. “We did update four (as well as only four) areas of our actual content policy: incest, bestiality, sexual depiction of minors, as well as suggestive sexual violence. If you’re just reading the headlines, you’ll be under the impression in which we’re ‘cracking down on adult content.’ Again, This specific is actually not what’s actually happening,” he wrote.

yet some content creators say the move is actually a crackdown on creators who offer patrons access to content like erotic films, nude photos, private Snapchat feeds, as well as video chat sessions in exchange for monthly fees.

In a response to Conte’s email sent to reporters, the authors of the open letter say they’re disappointed in Conte’s response, which they say essentially means “sex workers unable to change or censor their work to fit brand-new requirements should lose their income as well as in which legal expressions of sexual creativity do not have a home on their platform.”

“[Conte] both moves to come out strongly against specific forms of expression, such as “real people engaging in sexual acts”, while going on at length about how not bad a home Patreon is actually to creators,” the statement reads.

Patreon features a reputation for having long been a digital haven of sorts for creative types who operate inside the gray area between sex work as well as artistic production. As the open letter points out, Patreon pushed back when payment processors like PayPal tried to ban adult content creators on the platform through using their services. For these reasons as well as others, adult content creators believed the platform was supportive of their work.

Patreon has experienced enormous growth through 2016 to 2017, doubling the number of patrons as well as creators on the site, according to a May press Discharge. Last month, the site raised $60 million in a Series C funding round, landing the item a valuation of $450 million. yet in which rapid expansion hasn’t been without controversy. Some of Patreon’s most favorite creators are products of the current political moment (think dirtbag leftist podcast Chapo Trap House), as well as the site has banned creators on both the right as well as the left for violating its terms (inside the former case, for seeking funds for a project in which could lead to loss of life, inside the latter case, for doxxing as well as publishing instructions on how to sabotage a railroad.) Like additional tech platforms, Patreon has struggled to clearly delineate how the item made those decisions.

today, the item seems the company is actually having a similar problem communicating its policies around what counts as pornography, as well as what doesn’t, causing frustration as well as financial concerns for some of its 50,000 creators.

“My personal belief is actually in which online content policy is actually in its infancy right today – most of tech doesn’t do content policy well,” Conte wrote in his email to creators. “In fact, I think tech on the whole under-invests in content policy.”

The creators who composed the open letter to Patreon had emphasized in which communication around these issues has been poor. “We’re deeply disappointed in your handling of clarity with regards to adult content on your platform, as well as the mixed messages we have been receiving,” the open letter reads. “Not only in which, the most vulnerable among us – disproportionately queer, trans, disabled, people of shade as well as those whose first language is actually not English – are literally scared for our lives.”

The letter goes on to say in which adult content creators “have been courted by [Patreon], worked closely with [Patreon] on promotion, creation, as well as even website features,” as well as as a result are confused about why the terms are changing.

Patreon CEO Jack Conte first acknowledged the letter having a tweet on Tuesday evening.

as well as in his email to creators on Wednesday, he said the perception in which its policies on adult content are changing is actually inaccurate. “Patreon’s stance on pornography has not changed,” he wrote. “We have never allowed pornography or sexual services on Patreon as well as in which stance has been clear in our guidelines since they were first published a few years ago.”

yet currently on Patreon, there are plenty of NSFW creators who offer “risque photos”, “erotic films”, one-on-one video chats, access to private Snapchat feeds, as well as even clothing in which they’ve worn while working out. Creators who rely on Patreon for some or all of their income say the problem comes down to the fact in which Patreon gets to define the difference between what is actually erotic art, as well as what is actually porn, which means in which erotic or adult content in which appears more “artsy” is actually more likely to survive on the platform, whereas content in which is actually more explicitly pornographic will not.

In his email, Conte said he realizes “in which ‘pornography’ is actually difficult to define, as well as ‘you know the item when you see the item’ is actually a totally inadequate policy. So we’ve added additional detail to the pornography section of our content policy, as well as the team will be spending even more time clarifying our guidelines inside the future. As of This specific morning, the guidelines state in which we don’t allow ‘real people engaging in sexual acts, such as masturbation or sexual intercourse on camera.’”

So far, Patreon hasn’t removed any creators’ pages based on these brand-new rules. In his email, Conte said he “won’t pull the rug out through a creator’s income, even inside the case of a policy violation.”

yet gaming website Kotaku reports in which some erotic games in which raise fund son Patreon, including one with an incest storyline, have already been flagged as “under review.”

“The team actually built a brand-new system, a suspension tool, over the last few weeks, to avoid sudden removals,” he said. “Suspension may still seem harsh – I totally understand in which perspective – yet inside the case of a policy violation, the item gives the creator a chance to talk having a team member as well as get their page back up as well as running.”

yet creators who spoke with BuzzFeed News said they worried in which Patreon could decide their content was pornography rather than art, as well as ask them to either change their business product or leave the platform.

Erika Lynae, a Patreon creator who makes sex ed films as well as reviews sex toys, said the ability of artists like Four Chambers, an erotic film collective in which joined Patreon more than three years ago, to make nearly $27,000 per video via Patreon made the item seem like Patreon was okay with adult content.

“the item seemed like porn (both funding the item through the site as well as offering the item was a patron reward) was perfectly fine as long as the item wasn’t explicitly called porn as well as the item was marked as NSFW. They’ve always seemed very supportive of adult creators earning money through their site,” she said. So This specific is actually definitely a change, not a clarification, because the item doesn’t mesh with what their policy has actually been in practice thus far.”

This specific support for adult creators was what convinced Patreon creator River Lovett to quit cam girling on MyFreeCams.com as well as move her business over to Patreon. inside the a few months since she joined Patreon, Lovett has acquired 110 Patrons, most of whom pledge nine or more dollars per month.

“As of right today my only income is actually through Patreon,” Lovett told BuzzFeed News via a direct message on Twitter. “Adult workers such as myself came to Patreon because the item was the only payment platform in which did not discriminate against sex workers. the item is actually very hard to fund adult content as well as art independently because most major payment processors refuse to work with adult workers, forcing them to sell through third party companies who take 50-60% of our profits.”

For today, while she builds her adult film brand, Lovett is actually living off her savings. ”I was hopeful in which in a few months I could be creating enough to make films full-time as well as start a career, yet the item’s getting more difficult for me due to the fear of being banned through Patreon,” she said.

The open letter to Patreon has only two specific demands: in which Patreon promise to protect the incomes of creators who aren’t doing anything illegal, as well as in which the item “end the system of arbitrarily judging what is actually as well as isn’t acceptable expression.”

Liara Roux is actually one of the NSFW creators who helped draft as well as circulate the letter. She said her concern is actually less for herself, as well as more for additional creators of adult content, whose pages are more explicit about offering porn, or who don’t have additional ways of creating a living. (Roux’s Twitter account was deactivated not long after the open letter to Patreon began circulating.)

“I had a dedicated fanbase before [P]atreon,” Roux wrote via email. “I previously worked in tech as well as can make a paysite myself. They’ve already encouraged me to make my own paysite. I chose to work with [P]atreon because I believed in [P]atreon. in which’s what makes This specific so disappointing.”

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