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ASACP Announces 'Restricted to Adult' Site Label

Provides method for preventing minors from accessing adult material online

ASACP Announces 'Restricted to Adult' Site Label
LOS ANGELES - Eighteen months ago, First Amendment attorney Paul Cambria promised the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on the Internet that the adult Internet industry would find a way to prevent minors from accessing adult material on the Web.

Now, thanks to the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP), it has.

"Everybody is concerned about what their children are doing on the Internet," stated ASACP executive director Joan Irvine at a press conference called for 3:30 p.m. Friday at the Erotica LA convention. "Therefore, we are pleased to announce the 'Restricted To Adult' – RTA – website label."

"For the first time, an unprecedented coalition of the adult entertainment industry, free speech advocates and parental filtering software companies have come together to protect our children," she continued. "We have assembled this group of people and created the RTA label, and now we're talking to companies, along with our group here today, to recognize the RTA label."

The group to which Irvine referred includes some of the most powerful figures in the adult Internet community. Among the initiative's "Platinum" sponsors are AVN Media Network, Xbiz, Playboy.com, AdultFriendFinder.com, Epoch, Livesex.com, ATKingdom.com and NationalNet . Present with Irvine at the announcement of the RTA initiative were AVN's Paul Fishbein, Xbiz's Alec Helmy, LFP Video Group's Theresa Flynt, Free Speech Coalition executive director Diane Duke, First Amendment attorney Greg Piccionelli and actress/director/producer Stormy Daniels.

RTA was conceived as a free "metatag" – a string of numbers and characters to be embedded in the headers of adult Web pages – which can be recognized by a wide variety of software filter programs.

"It underscores the adult industry's interest in child protection," Irvine explained. "However, RTA is just like any other parental filtering tool; parents need to be involved."

Parental involvement is crucial, Irvine said, because a recent study showed that just 41% of parents have installed filtering software on their family's computers.

"We have to get the message out to parents," she pleaded. "We have to get them to be using [filtering] systems to protect their children."

An Xbiz poll conducted in mid-June found that 49% of the webmasters who responded said that they were using the RTA label, and just two of ASACP's sponsors, AdultFriendFinder and Pornotube, receive 20 million unique visitors per month to their sites, demonstrating that the reach of the RTA initiative is growing rapidly.

"What's most exciting is that children who could have access to these sites are not going to; they will be blocked out," Irvine stated. "If only two of our sponsors are bringing in that much traffic, imagine how many other children are going to be blocked from seeing age-inappropriate information."

Irvine said that she had been talking to and corresponding with federal legislators to inform them of the RTA program and to solicit their support for the project.

"As a parent myself, I know how valuable this tool will be," said Fishbein, "not only to the parents themselves, but to the adult webmaster community, which can now have less fear of government action against them, and to the government itself, which can now rest a little easier knowing that the adult industry is taking important steps to prevent unwitting web surfers from inadvertently accessing material which they would not want to see and which might not be appropriate for them."
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