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Is OnlyFans Prostitution in Maryland? Lawyer Says…

This week, our criminal lawyers discuss a young woman’s worry over starting an OnlyFans page to make money.

The Question: Is it prostitution for someone to create, post, and sell pornographic videos and pics on the “OnlyFans” amateur porn platform in Maryland?

Is it illegal for me (23F) to create, post, and sell pornographic video (and nudes/naked pictures) on OnlyFans, for a profit, in the state of Maryland?

I am struggling with how legal it is to sign up with OnlyFans, using it to post pornographic videos/pics and nudes of myself, and then collect the income from it. In reading Maryland’s obscenity & prostitution laws, it looks like it’s illegal to set up an only fans and use it to make money, since that might fall under “prostitution’ laws/criminal law.

I really would like to set up an OF [OnlyFans] and create content but I’m deathly afraid of violating the law and getting arrested as soon as I deposit the OF [OnlyFans] money into my bank account. Does anyone know if it’s illegal to have an OnlyFans account for selling/posting porn?

The Answer: As long as the material is not revenge porn and the individuals depicted in the videos gave their consent and are of age, OnlyFans is not considered solicitation or prostitution.

The global COVID-19 pandemic devastated many people’s financial situation through job loss and furloughs. OnlyFans has seen an increase in users since the start of the pandemic.

You can think of OnlyFans like Playboy, Penthouse, or Hustler magazines. The people posing gave their permission in exchange for payment to take those photos. A customer then pays the price for either a subscription or an issue to the magazine—kind of like how a fan would purchase a nude photo or video from your page. Pornography is a big business in the US.

In a sense, you are operating your own “pornographic magazine/website.” Nude photos and videos created by yourself and sold by you are a legit business and means of making money.

Prostitution is the actual sale of sexual intercourse, and solicitation pursues a sexual encounter through payment. You are not prostituting by selling nude photos. If that were the case, then Hugh Hefner would never have been able to create Playboy magazine.

Now, any of your fans offering to pay for a sexual encounter with you are committing solicitation and could be charged criminally. Or, if you posted a nude video or photo of someone without their consent to your Only Fans for annoying or harassing them, then that is revenge porn and a crime in Maryland.

As long as you are only selling nude photos and videos of consenting adults, there is no crime, and you are free to deposit the money you make into your bank account without worry. If there is anyone else in the photo or video with you, make sure to sign a waiver that states they have given their permission to be in the content.

As stated in the beginning, you are not the only person who decided to create income with a pornographic OnlyFans page.  Soliciting sex or prostitution is very different from pornography.

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Our automatic disclaimer: We’re lawyers, but not necessarily your lawyer, and do not represent the individual who asked this question. We’re providing this information for general educational purposes based on the publicly available information provided by the anonymous Internet user. Any number of details may change how this individual’s attorney may pursue this legal situation, differently from how we suppose above. If you have a similar question, then you should consult with a lawyer about your specific situation to get a “real” response!