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OnlyFans is a content hosting subscription service where creators earn by sharing exclusive and usually adult content with fans. Because of its reputation for explicit content, OnlyFans frequently raises the question, "Is OnlyFans illegal?" because of the stigma attached to it.
But don't fret; OnlyFans is safe to use and legal in most countries except Dubai, Russia, Turkey, and Belarus. India, on the other hand, permits access to the site but bans creators from uploading content.
The laws about sex work and sexually explicit content are also frequently ambiguous—so you may wonder if creating an OnlyFans account is legal in your case. Be guided as this article explains the legalities of OnlyFans and covers relevant topics around it.
Overview of the Limitations on OnlyFans
OnlyFans’ legality of adult content varies depending on the jurisdiction where the account is used. Besides national laws, OnlyFans imposes guidelines on who can post and what can and cannot be posted on the platform.
One notable rule is the age requirement; before anyone can publish on OnlyFans, they should be at least eighteen. They must also be permitted to use and upload to the platform by local laws.
In contrast to other adult content sites, OnlyFans also sets limits on its sexual material. Content creators must comply with the company, as breaking guidelines may lead to a temporary suspension or a permanent ban.
Fans pay to see what the creator doesn’t post anywhere else—personal and exclusive content. However, content creators aren’t free to post anything. According to OnlyFans’ Acceptable Use Policy, content creators are prohibited from posting content that shows, promotes, advertises, or refers to the following:
- Firearms, weapons, or any goods wholesale, possession, or use is subject to prohibitions or restrictions
- Drugs or drug paraphernalia
- Self-harm or suicide
- Lack of consent
- Sexual assault
- Sadomasochistic abuse or hardcore bondage
- Extreme fisting
- Genital mutilation
- Urine, scatological, or excrement-related material
- Revenge porn or any sexually explicit material from an individual who has not given consent to the material
- Escort services, sex trafficking, or prostitution
- Unsolicited sexual content or unsolicited language
- Hate speech
- Personal data or private or confidential information
OnlyFans banned sexually explicit content in 2021 but reversed their decision after receiving backlash from sex workers. The no-porn policy was met with heavy criticism, and some people think it was essentially suicide as it's mainly used to distribute such content.
For content featuring public nudity, it should not be taken from a place where public nudity is illegal. Sexual activities should also not be from a "public place where members of the public are reasonably likely to see the activities being performed."
Content that promotes other businesses and other harmful content is also banned. OnlyFans further forbids the following concepts and actions:
- Conveys the idea that it originates from another individual or business.
- Causes or is calculated to cause inconvenience or anxiety to anyone else or which is likely to upset, embarrass, or cause grave offense to anyone else.
- Used or is intended to be used to extract money or another benefit from anyone else in exchange for removal of the Content.
- Involves or promotes third-party commercial activities or sales like:
- Sales promotions
- Product placements
- Job postings
- Employment ads without OnlyFans' consent
The list is very long, but the general rationale behind these restrictions is to protect the platform's users. OnlyFans aims to keep users and fans from engaging in an unethical, unlawful, or detrimental way.
With all these limitations, you may ask, “What legal issues are there around using OnlyFans?”. Well, there’s a lot!
OnlyFans Legal Concerns
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OnlyFans, like any other social media platform, is an essential part of marketing and engaging with an audience. But you must be mindful of the possible legal repercussions whether you are a user or subscriber.
Let’s start with the main OnlyFans legal issue that content creators deal with—intellectual property infringement.
The majority of the content on OnlyFans is readily available to fans. There is a high likelihood that a subscriber will screengrab the content and share it on other websites.
OnlyFans always makes it clear that sharing content outside its platform is not allowed as per its terms of service. Each creator's branded content is safeguarded by OnlyFans, who also assures them that no one else will share their work.
Anyone found to be taking screenshots and illegally redistributing them will have their account banned. It's a common misperception that subscribers get free reign over the usage of the content after they pay for it.
Content creators themselves should also avoid violating each other's intellectual property rights. It involves using copyrighted content, patents, trademarks, reproduction, distribution, or exhibition without authorization.
One of the simplest and fastest fixes is to add a watermark before uploading your content. It functions as a digital signature. It may not completely stop theft, but it does make it more difficult for thieves to resell or claim your content as their own. Luckily, OnlyFans has a built-in feature for this. You can configure it in the settings, under “Privacy and safety.”
Some creators have expressed dissatisfaction over OnlyFans, saying it does not have a large enough team to manage the frequent copyright violations. Contacting the website directly to request the removal of your stolen content ASAP is advantageous. OnlyFans remove any uploaded content they find on other social media platforms by sending out cease and desist notices.
Another common concern among Onlyfans content creators is a type of cyber sexual harassment—revenge porn.
Revenge porn refers to digital abuse where inappropriate content is shared without the subjects' permission. For instance, someone will use OnlyFans to post pornographic images of their partner, ex, or someone they know. They may also intend to make money from it.
Non-consensual sharing of intimate media is never right. It is highly against OnlyFans' rules, and if someone reports their content is being used without permission, OnlyFans will ban the person responsible.
Should you come across any unlawful content, such as non-consensual or underage material, OnlyFans offers reporting tools for flagging.
Another deceitful practice of content creation is faking sexually explicit media using someone's likeness, aka deepfake.
A "Deepfake" refers to content where someone's face or body is digitally modified to appear as someone else. Machine-learning algorithms create such technology.
OnlyFans forbid nonconsensual deepfakes in their policy. What's permitted are the entirely fictitious avatar models that don't resemble real people.
AI imagery produced by deepfake technology can be realistic, but OnlyFans has stringent performer verification requirements. All human models must submit identification and consent documentation to monetize content.
Expect more robust protections against synthetic media as deepfake capabilities progress. But as technology progresses, cyberattacks are also a modern concern on the platform.
One cyberattack happens every 39 seconds. OnlyFans is no exception as internet-related crimes rise. Cybercriminals deceive fans and content creators into accessing phishing websites using the direct messaging feature. They use phishing scams to lure people into downloading malware, usually to divulge their personal information.
Resolving a cybercrime takes an average of 6.7 hours; therefore, the work may be excessive. It is indeed a very real and present threat to most businesses.
Data breaches might also cut your earnings or put your sensitive information in danger. Be careful, as nearly 4 billion records were compromised by data breaches only in 2019. To be safe, take all necessary security measures and familiarize yourself with the crucial precautions you can take.
Speaking of earnings, whether you make little or hefty money on OnlyFans, you are no exception to taxes. OnlyFans is stringent when it comes to paying taxes.
OnlyFans Taxation Law
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All content creators must declare and pay taxes on their OnlyFans income. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) views the creators of OnlyFans as small company owners. You are required to pay self-employment taxes at a fixed rate of 15.3% on your revenue. You are liable for $5,355 in SECA taxes if your adjusted gross income (AGI) is $35,000.
Some expenses related to your OnlyFans account qualify as write-offs. For instance, using your phone for work calls or content creation. You can subtract it from your total income and put yourself in a tax bracket with a lower tax rate.
How OnlyFans Taxes Work
As mentioned above, all OnlyFans creators are considered self-employed rather than W-2 employees and work independently on the platform.
According to US law, OnlyFans must submit to the IRS Form 1099-NEC (Nonemployee Compensation), an information-sharing document that details all payments made to content creators. If your annual income exceeds $400, you will receive the 1099-NEC form for nonemployee compensation.
If you don't know how to file taxes as an OnlyFans creator, follow the below steps:
Step 1: Get your 1099-NEC form. You can expect it to arrive in the mail, or download it straight from the dashboard of your OnlyFans account.
Step 2: Fill out the form specific to self-employed people or the Schedule C (Form 1040). You should use this to report your income and expenses from OnlyFans to the IRS.
Step 3: Also file Schedule SE (Form 1040), the form for calculating the amount of self-employment tax you owe.
Step 4: Determine if you should pay quarterly. For instance, you must make quarterly estimated tax payments if you expect to owe more than $1,000 in yearly taxes. These payments must be made by the following dates: April 15, June 15, September 15, and January 15 of the next year.
Dealing with finances and taxes may not be fun, but it’s how you can make money as a creator.
How Much OnlyFans Does Pay
OnlyFans asks for banking details upon sign-up so you can receive money from your subscribers. An inexperienced OnlyFans creator often earns $150 a month, but the highest earners can pull in $100,000 monthly on average.
How do you get paid on OnlyFans? Well, the most popular way is with paid subscriptions. You can choose your subscription rate with a minimum charge of $4.99/month and a maximum of $49.99/month. You may offer pay-per-view (PPV) content and other interactions with fans, such as tips. Providing free content to your followers is also allowed.
OnlyFans does referrals where creators get paid 5% of the referee's first year's earnings, up to a maximum of $1 million.
So, is subscribing to OnlyFans legal? Definitely yes. OnlyFans is safe and legal. It’s also very strict with rules for fans and content creators. Before using OnlyFans, you must be aware of the laws and regulations within the site and the national laws. But it can be used in good and bad faith, so all content should be morally and legally acceptable.
Sharing OnlyFans content without authorization or content creators not paying taxes may also have serious legal repercussions. Furthermore, the platform encourages conscientious participation and aims to foster an environment where interactions are constructive and respectful.