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Is it legal if an adult person builds an erotic (NSFW) web site, is it legal for that person to accept donation (so other people can still use the site if they don't feel like donating yet) from other adults?

Assume that the site developer lives in the US.

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    There is no universal legal system. Where are you based?
    – a20
    May 23 at 13:00
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    Your local tax office will likely call the donation “payment” and “income”.
    – gnasher729
    May 23 at 13:43
  • As edited, I do not think this is a request for specific legal ,advice, and should not be closed as such May 23 at 21:05
  • “Site Developer lives in the USA”. More relevant is where is the developer working, where is the site located, where is the nsfw content created.
    – gnasher729
    May 23 at 21:23
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It is legal under US law to accept donations without giving anything specific in return. It is also legal to write and publish erotic content, so long as it is not legally obscene (under the Miller test), and does not involve images of actual children. It is even legal to charge for such work (and many do) but the OP does not seem to want to do that.

A comment mentions tax implication, although the question does not ask about them. According to "Do You Have to Pay Income Tax on Crowdfunded Money?" from The Balance, The IRS definition of a gift is:

A gift proceeds from a ‘detached and disinterested generosity,’ and is made ‘out of affection, respect, admiration, charity or like impulses.’" (quoted from Internal Revenue Service. "Number: INFO 2002-0112," Page 3.)

A gift is not taxable income. I gather that creating something, allowing anyone to access it, and asking those who appreciate it to donate is probably not legally income in the US, but I can find no clear statement on the matter. One would do well to consult a tax attorney on the matter if significant funds are derived from such a source. If one provides something of value in direct return for the donation, it is income, as far as I can determine, but again check if it matters to you.

If the sites is created or hosted outside the US, the laws of the countries involved may apply. Sexual content is an issue on which laws vary widely, and what is lawful in one country may be seriously illegal in another.

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    So, in the US, an e-girl streamer doesn't need to pay income tax on the donations her simps give her? That seems surprising to me, if they're working a full-time job and earning thousands of dollars from it.
    – nick012000
    May 24 at 1:49
  • @nick If people can only view the program by paying, then I am sure it is income and taxes must be paid. If people are free to give or not, and still watch the program, then I think it is a gift and there is no tax, but I am not sure. May 24 at 2:03
  • @DavidSiegel Although you already said you are not sure in the situation of using without donation, in this case, it should be considered as a gift, correct? People can use the site exactly the same way regardless they give donation or not, in that case, it should be a gift? May 24 at 8:32
  • @nick012000 I remember the IRS starting to come after them at one point. Most of them do have content that's only available to patrons, like personal streams. May 24 at 11:38
  • @user16004927 In that case I would think that the donations would count as gifts, but I have nbot found anything clear-cut in law or case law saying so. May 24 at 13:36

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