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Disclaimer needs changes


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It is my not so humble opinion that the disclaimer carried at the foot of every story at The Castle requires a gentle amendment. At present it is entirely US ego-centric, totally out of line with recently published readership data. A simple addition of of the words " US children" before the word eighteen would obviate the problem. Other countries allow their young adults more flexibility to read about their growing sexual interests at an earlier age. They don't permit them to handle Kalashnikovs legally, though. Europeans are bizarre that way!

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I must respectfully disagree with your statement about changing the disclaimer. While various countries around the world do have differing ages of consent concerning sexually explicit material, a matter I think requires no debate here, the disclaimer tag at the end of each posted story and chapter does state that if it is illegal for you to view such things in the area you reside in, you take all responsibility for your own actions, whether or not your particular status of majority permits such by law. I cannot ask someone who is deemed under the laws of their own culture to un-see something they have seen after a determination of age and status any more than I can tell someone who heard a curse word shouted in anger to un-hear it.

The Castle is doing something that lawyers around the world call "covering their ass" in requesting that those under the age of 18 to leave, based on the established law in the country of origin of the web based material and the physical location of the servers in question. I would note that such a warning is posted at the bottom of the text area, which means that if someone read all the above story material, no matter of or speaking to its potential lewd, graphic or morally questionable subject, that such a person may already have read all of such before finding the warning. In which case, that individual with a free will has the simple task of either reflecting on the nature of what they've read, or to heed the advice and not return. No one is forcing anyone to stay or to break the laws of their own present territory, religion, political environment or their own moral behavior.

Freedom does come with the moral responsibility to behave as you know you should. You can always choose to cross the boundaries of the law, but you must also bear the brunt of the law's bite if you step across the line of your own accord. And yes, age of consent laws for something as simple and generally harmless as sexually explicit material may be different from culture to culture, often for reasons that may not make a lot of sense between the differing cultures, but using a gun analogy is probably not accurate. After all, there are news reports stretching back many years showing adults putting AK-47's into the hands of child soldiers in East Africa.

Personally, I'm all for letting youths explore their sexuality here, in a safe environment where they can read that they aren't evil, aren't inherently bad. Where they can have a sense of fun, imagination, connection to others of like mind. I would openly welcome those asking questions about themselves to seek the answers they crave so desperately in a place where they can be safe, protected, enlightened, and allowed to find their own path. But I also know that what we all want, and what the world is willing to accept is a difficult balancing act. The wire is high, the fall potentially devastating for those who choose to walk this tight rope. We can offer a hand best from a place of stability, to those crossing the abyss.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? We welcome them.  The only thing we do not allow at the Castle is personal attacks. Even if you don't agree, your opinions matter, and should be heard. Feel free to put your mark to this post. Do you feel that the Castle Roland legal disclaimer statement needs to be amended? For those unsure what it reads, see below, and do make your voice heard here.

The bottom text reads as follows: 

If you are under 18 years of age, please leave now. By clicking on any link above, you have agreed that you have read the Disclaimer. Further, you have asserted that you are of lawful age to view such material in your area. All stories are copyright of their respective owners and are used here with their express permission.

The actual disclaimer statement reads as follows:


All stories on this site are copyrighted. Copyrights are the properties of their respective authors and are used here with the authors express permission. No story may be used, copied, or distributed without the authors direct permission in writing. Permission however, is granted to download only the copy you currently have in view on your browser.

The stories on this site are works of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, any events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

These stories may contain scenes which may contain sexual depictions or references, or may be violently graphical in nature, which may not be legal in your area. If you are under 18 years of age or material of this nature is unlawful where you are viewing, please leave now.

By continuing to browse this website, you have agreed that you have been notified of the potential content of this site. Further, you have asserted that you are of lawful age to view such material. You have further agreed that neither the author(s), nor editor(s), nor the website administrators will be held responsible for any consequence of you viewing or downloading any content of this website.


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The website does not contain (to my knowledge) images or videos of a pornographic nature and therefore I do not believe the paragraph - These stories may contain scenes which may contain sexual depictions or references, or may be violently graphical in nature, which may not be legal in your area. If you are under 18 years of age or material of this nature is unlawful where you are viewing, please leave now. is required.

It might be considered to place a warning along the lines of: The following story may contain scenes of a sexual and or violent nature which may not be suitable for all readers.

Is there a law in the USA which restricts the purchase of published books (text) by age? If there is no such law then you are free to publish online anything you like without age restriction. The published works on the site are literary works and not pornography, they are not (this is the crucial point) intended to corrupt public morals.

That's all you need to cover the website, to comply with the laws of the hosting country.

Here is an article from the BBC News about age restrictions and books:

Unlike television - with its nine o'clock watershed - and the age classification of films and video games, and even the labelling of explicit lyrics on music, there is no age restriction on buying books in the UK.

Read the full article.

I found this article about the situation in the USA:

Two New Orleans bookshops are challenging a new Louisiana law that requires websites publishing material deemed harmful to minors to verify the age of their users, saying it would make them appear incorrectly to be “adult” bookstores.

Full piece here.

I would conclude that in the USA, the first amendment outweighs any requirement for age restriction on access to literary works. Such age restrictions would only apply to pornographic adult sites, with images and video. However, the USA is an extremely restrictive country in terms of it's interpretation of moral values and the list of banned books (see wikipedia), therefore, it is perfectly understandable to keep the age restriction warning for the site which is hosted in the USA.

 The question is one of protecting the website and it's owners. To be able to publish with a minimum risk. Were I starting a similar website I would not host it in the USA, rather I would choose Stratos in Germany (an excellent hosting site), but as things stand, the story ends with - better safe than sorry.




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I think it pretty clear to the rest of the world, that the US is a fairly puritan nation. So, with that said, a child under US law is by definition, anyone under the age of 18. Children (in the US) do not enjoy the full spectrum of rights that adults would enjoy.

Besides any individual federal laws there may be, there are also individual state laws that must be adhered to. Simply because we cannot control who calls up the website and reads the material, we must approach lawful activities in as wide (or narrow, as the case may be) a manner as we can. To directly answer the question: Yes, there are laws which "protect" children from published stories which may contain only text.

The disclaimer is worded in the manner in which it is, because the law makes a distinction between what "may not be suitable" versus "may not be legal (lawful)" mean. Because we know that there are people that are not US citizens; may reside in other countries; may be under different laws, the "or" clause gives us some protection against criminal or civil liability. Much of this is required here in the US, because of the current litigious nature of our culture.

While the story website operates worldwide, because the owner(s) and operators of the website are all US citizens and all currently reside within the political boundaries of the US, we must adhere to (the more restrictive) US law. This, regardless of where the site actually resides.


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