Adult content creators face a problem, a problem that is only going to get worse. This problem stems from technological innovation, our increasingly interconnected world, and the rise of uncaring, or even automated, puritanical bureaucracy.
That problem is the ever-increasing dominance of Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms and the sanitized Acceptable Content Policies they bring with them.
The growth of StudioWhy
Over the past three years, StudioWhy has grown from a small group to almost becoming a private platform where popular fandom content creators can collaborate on interactive projects. Around a year ago, I knew that StudioWhy needed to get more organized. We needed to streamline our workflow and begin working more like a professional team.
From December 2019 through February of this year, I began searching for the right tools we could use, the right platform that our company could use to grow. What I discovered was something incredibly disheartening and somewhat terrifying.
Almost Every. Single. One. of the popular file storage and project management platforms out there has explicit rules forbidding “obscene,” “pornographic,” or “indecent” content. In cases we violate these rules, many of these companies reserve the right to delete our data without notice.
Google Drive’s policy states, for example:
“Do not distribute content that contains sexually explicit material, such as nudity, graphic sex acts, and pornographic material. This includes driving traffic to commercial pornography sites. We allow nudity for educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic purposes.”
I reached out to other adult content creators to confirm if this was just actually enforced for businesses or nothing more than legal padding.
According to a member of Kupaa Networks:
“Gsuite is not immune from this. Entire domains have been shut down for violation of content on a business drive. I know this because i had to migrate a client to MS Azure because of it.”
“They sent a generic template notice to the client and shut down their access”
This termination was for an artistic reference folder the company had. They did not get their account or content back.
“Is deceptive, fraudulent, illegal, obscene, defamatory, libelous, threatening, harmful to minors, pornographic (including child pornography, which we will remove and report to law enforcement, including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children), indecent, harassing, hateful”
In case of a violation of this policy:
“Without affecting any other remedies available to us, Atlassian may permanently or temporarily terminate or suspend a user’s account or access to the services without notice or liability if Atlassian (in its sole discretion) determines that a user has violated this Acceptable Use Policy.”
This policy is an issue because Atlassian’s tools are used by companies all over the world. However, Atlassian also provided what seemed to be the perfect solution. Atlassian offered $10 perpetual starter licenses of their self-hosted server products for up to 10 users.
The perfect* solution
This deal was fantastic. I spent the next two months learning how to set up and configure a Virtual Private Server with these Atlassian applications. I also found an incredibly nice self-hosted file-syncing solution known as FileRun to store and sync our files.
Task management, an internal wiki, a code repository, email, and file-sharing all synced with a user directory and single-sign-on. The system worked so well that, last month, I built my own in-house build server to run Atlassian’s Bamboo continuous integration solution.
These professional solutions, all working together, available for a fraction of the normal price, hosted on our own private host where almost nobody could tell us what fictional content we could or could not make. We even had an individual attempt to file a false report about us to our host, which they thankfully dropped after we explained the situation.
I felt the system that I had put together was working so well that I needed to share it with people. A bit over a week ago, I customized how this blog appears to anonymous users and made it public, specifically to write an in-depth tutorial explaining how adult content creators could build their own private ecosystem, free from any overbearing and puritanical content policies.
The same day I configured this blog, Atlassian announced this.
Atlassian will stop selling all self-hosted server licenses on February 2nd, 2021. The end of all support will be February 2nd, 2024. The only other self-hosted option is Data Center, which is typically for 500+ users.
Don’t #@!% the customer… unless they draw #@!%ing
One of Atlassian’s core tenants is allegedly “Don’t #@!% the customer”.
In justifying their decision, Atlassian had used language such as "these changes are in service of your organization’s long-term success" and "we believe we can address every concern a customer might have well before the end of server maintenance in 2024."
So I reached out, with a sliver of hope that maybe, just maybe, they would allow adult content on their servers. Unfortunately, although my feedback is going to the CEO’s, the end result was this:
"I apologize, but our Cloud option will not be available as an option to satisfy your needs.”
We were #@!%ed. And not just us, but every single adult content creator who could have benefited from this amazing ecosystem that Atlassian had enabled us to put together. This ecosystem that we could have shared with the world.
This turn of events was unfortunate, but ultimately, StudioWhy will make do. However, this situation reveals our cloud-based world's unfortunate reality: Safe platforms for adult content creators are disappearing.
So what do we do about it? We need our own ecosystem. We need a place for porn.