I'm developing an app where artists can post their portfolio, including their art. Now I'm unsure what to do in this case.

Example: An Artist produced (artistic) nude tattoo photos / artworks / phptos, etc. which is (at least by law) forbidden in some regions to show this to underage persons (21, 18, 16, whatever).

Should I..

a) force the user, if he/she want's to visit the gallery, as there could be such content or

b) implement an option, where the artist has to state, if there's 18+ material on the gallery and only then force the user (age check link. [but most of us had the experience clicking the "Yes, I'm 18+ y/o"-Button]) or

c) ignore this and get sued?

Therefore I'm interested how the user would react to this obligation? Are there alternatives?

  • I'd go with B ; otherwise i wouldn't use your service or i would create plenty of single-use-accounts to check out the concent – BlueWizard May 31 '16 at 11:25

This is both a legal issue and a UX issue:

For the legal issue, all you have to do is to ask for the user's explicit consent that they are legal to view the material before you present it to them. This is usually implemented as a "Yes, I'm 18+ / No" button as seen on most adult material websites, although some others (e.g. Steam) choose to ask your birthday instead. Whether the user lied is irrelevant; you presented them with clear options. If they lied it's like trying to pass by showing a fake ID - you will not be legally responsible.*

For the UX issue, anything that hinders the user to view content needs to be minimal. Your site's main purpose is to present content, not collect user information. If you have no functionality that requires user registration, don't do it. I already have enough accounts and passwords on various emails, forums and the like. I don't want another one.

Combining the two, it means:

  • If your site only offers adult material, present the "Yes I'm 18+ / No" dialog at the landing page, OR
  • If only portions of your site offers adult material, present the dialog before a user enters such area, but leave the rest open for public (hint: this will improve your SEO as well)

* If you wish to know more, I suggest asking at Law.SE.

  • Hm, the only use for the registation is to get access to the rating/comment function to prevent abuse. But the log in is possible with Facebook, G+, etc. – pguetschow May 31 '16 at 6:20

Generally, a few such websites include a link of Family Filter: ON or OFF.
By default the filter is ON so the adult content is not visible to anyone who visits the site. If the user clicks on the ON link a system shows confirmation message to user to confirm that he/she is 18+, if the user confirms he is, then the Family Filter is turned OFF allowing the user to see adult content.

Your system has to maintain the confirmation status records so that you don't get into any legal issue.

  • That sounds like an interesting Compromise. Would this prevent me from being sued by some internet-law-freaks? – pguetschow May 30 '16 at 11:44
  • @TechTreeDev Just keep the action in your record and you won't get into any trouble! Check the edit. – Diego May 30 '16 at 11:55
  • Yeah, was thinking of this, too, but would be hard to identify the user later by just having the IP, wouldn't it? – pguetschow May 30 '16 at 11:57
  • @TechTreeDev I guess the confirmation functionality itself should be enough. You dont have to maintain records, because you are taking users consent before showing the inappropriate content. – Diego May 30 '16 at 16:20
  • Diego is right. And I don't think you need to keep records, if theonly way to view such material is by performing an action, there's no way you'll have any issues with this (although some tracking could be useful just to remember user's choice) – Devin May 30 '16 at 19:12

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