|24th February |
John Stagliano refutes nutter campaign
See article from
Adult film maker John Stagliano (Buttman) issued the following statement decrying the recent attacks on personal liberties by moral crusaders:
This week, the group 'Pornography Harms' continued its campaign to ban free
speech and adult entertainment through a letter circulated around Capitol Hill with the goal of spurring elected officials into enacting the group's dangerous agenda. The letter cites worn-out and debunked claims that view.
Recent statistics show those claims simply are not true. A study from a Clemson University economist showed that violent and sexual crimes have actually decreased as Internet usages have increased. The study's author found that
states whose Internet access expanded the fastest saw rapes and sexual crimes decline the most.
We are tired of being slandered. It is apparent that if people are left free to consume pornography, if they so choose,
the world is a healthier, less violent place.'
In 2008, the Department of Justice's Obscenity Prosecution Task Force brought charges against Stagliano in a trial which gained national attention over its free speech
implications. In July of 2010, the trial ended in a Judicial Acquittal after the Judge ruled there wasn't sufficient evidence presented by the prosecution to convict. Groups such as Pornography Harms have lobbied government agencies and elected officials
to continue to stifle first amendment / free speech rights through similar prosecutions.
The recent Pornography Harms letter urges readers to donate to Morality in Media, an organization with a long history of First
Amendment suppression tactics and alignment with other censorship driven groups. They have frequently used similar outlandish claims and factual distortions as part of their extremist agenda, such as claiming there's a link between gay marriage and mass
killings. If these anti-speech activists are initially successful with their censorship agenda, they won't stop until they have turned all broadcasts and publications in line with their narrow worldview.
The only real
violence involved is prosecuting someone like me with an obscenity law, a law that you can't know in advance when you are breaking it.'
|26th February |
John Stagliano fails to convince court that obscenity laws are unconstitutional
Based on article from
A federal judge in Washington, D.C., refused to dismiss a case against pornography producers who were charged with trafficking hard-core porn films across state lines and displaying illicit movie trailers online.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon
rejected their claim that federal obscenity laws are unconstitutional.
John Stagliano and Evil Angel Productions Inc. claimed that federal laws criminalizing the interstate trafficking of obscenity were unconstitutional. They argued that the law
barring a Web site from displaying obscene materials was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad, because made online material subject to the community standards of the most conservative jurisdictions in the country.
But Judge Leon said the
law was confined to a very narrow legal definition of obscenity. He said he is certain that online material will be judged as a whole and not individually according to obscenity laws, quashing filmmakers concerns that the trailer would be taken
out of context.
Federal obscenity statutes require items to be judged in context of surrounding work. The government will have to show that the trailer is obscene in the context of the Web page, Leon said.
He also rejected their claim of a
right to sexual privacy, saying such a right does not cover the distribution of obscene materials. He said the producers' case pales in comparison and does not even remotely approach the sexual privacy cases concerning homosexual rights and
rights to obtain birth control. However you look at it, obscene material is not protected by the First Amendment, Leon concluded.
Update: Trial Set
26th March 2010.
See article from xbiz.com
A federal judge has set a July 7 trial date for the obscenity case
against John Stagliano and his two production companies, Evil Angel Productions Inc. and John Stagliano Inc.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, at a status conference in Washington at 3 p.m., set the trial date one month and one day after he
rejected Stagliano's claim that federal obscenity laws are unconstitutional.
Leon said last month that obscene material is not protected by the 1st Amendment: Having considered the defendants' overbreath of arguments, I am not convinced that
such strong medicine is warranted in this case. Nor am I convinced that the federal obscenity statutes are unconstitutionally vague as applied to Internet speech.
|12th February |
US court rules that the legality of porn is determined by the most repressive 'community' in the US
Based on article from
One of the issues we've talked about repeatedly over the years is the question of what is the internet jurisdiction .
If you think that just because it appears on the internet, anyone's laws apply, then you reach an untenable situation
where all online content is controlled by the strictest, most draconian rules out there. That makes little sense.
And yet some courts still think this is the appropriate interpretation of the law.
In the US it's already troubling enough
that the issue of indecency is measured on an amorphous community standards basis, but when it comes to the internet, what community applies?
A recent ruling in the 11th Circuit Court of appeals on a pornography case, the court seems to
have made a ruling that effectively says all online content should be held to the standards of the strictest communities. Thus, an erotica website targeting a NY subculture should be held to the standards of a southern bible belt rural community? That
seems ridiculous, but it's what the court said.
In this case, a guy who produced porn content in California was tried in Tampa, Florida, because investigators downloaded his content there:
The Atlanta-based court rejected arguments by Paul
Little (Max Hardcore)'s attorneys that applying a local community standard to the Internet violates the First Amendment because doing so means material can be judged according to the standards of the strictest communities.
Other courts, including
one in California, have found differently on similar questions, so it seems likely that, at some point, this issue will finally go back to the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, it seems likely that the Supreme Court will focus on what counts as community
standards rather than whether or not laws against obscenity even make legal sense under the First Amendment.
|30th July |
FBI lash out at BDSM DVD distributor
article from xbiz.com
Barry Goldman, who operates Torture Portal, Masters of Pain and Bacchus Studios, has been charged by a federal grand jury in Newark, N.J. with distributing obscene DVDs through the mail.
Goldman was charged with eight counts of sending DVDs
containing allegedly obscene films from Jersey City to addresses in Montana and Virginia.
The indictments for 18 U.S.C. § 1461 and § 1467 include the films Torture of a Porn Store Girl , Defiant Crista Submits and Pregnant and Willing
. The videos all were mailed in 2006 and 2007.
The Justice Department is seeking forfeitures of all copies of the movies, as well as proceeds from the sale of the movies.
Regulators also are seeking the forfeitures of domain names
MastersOfPain.com and TorturePortal.com, as well as an email address, SirBNY@aol.com.
Bonnie Hannon, the Justice Department's lead attorney in the case works for the agency's Criminal Division's Obscenity Prosecution Task Force. Investigation of
the case was conducted by the FBI's Adult Obscenity Squad based at the Washington field office.
The obscenity case, originally filed in Montana, was changed to New Jersey, according to an XBIZ source. But in the midst of the appeal, the
government dismissed the case, claiming it is not their policy to file obscenity charges in the place of receipt in the absence of other contacts by the defendant with the place of prosecution.
If convicted, Goldman faces a maximum penalty of
five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on each of the eight counts charged in the indictment.
Update: Painful Court Appearance
21st August See
article from business.avn.com
Pornographer Barry Goldman's obscenity case has been
put on a fast track, with a trial date set for Oct. 27
|2nd July |
Rob Black and Lizzie Borden sentenced to a year in jail
article from pwnewsnow.com
Rob Zicari better known as Rob Black and his wife Janet Romano (stage name Lizzie Borden) were each sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison after pleading guilty to once count of conspiracy to distribute obscene materials last March.
As part of the guilty plea, Zicari and Romano admitted that through the parent company of XPW, Extreme Associates, Inc., they mailed three obscene movies to Pennsylvania, where this whole thing started.
The movies that essentially brought down the company were Forced Entry - Director's Cut, Cocktails 2 - Directors Cut , and Extreme Teen #24 .
They also got in hot water for distributing the material through Internet
As part of of their plea agreement the couple was also sentenced to a two year probationary term upon their release from prison.
Offsite: In Defense of Extreme
29th October 2009. See article from reason.com
|12th March |
Extreme Associates trial called off after guilty pleas
article from business.avn.com
In the longest running obscenity case in American history, Extreme Associate owners Rob Black and Lizzy Borden have each entered guilty pleas to one count of conspiracy to distribute obscene material. Trial had been scheduled to begin with jury selection
The plea capped a legal battle, begun in 2003 with a 10-count indictment, that had promised to deal with cutting edge free speech issues.
In fact, just three videos were indicted - Forced Entry and Cocktails 2 ,
both directed by Borden, and Extreme Teen 24 , credited to Stanley Ferrara but reportedly the work of several directors - as well as six video clips.
But as noted in AVN's recent editorial , defense of obscenity requires huge
amounts of cash, and with Extreme Associates long closed, and Black and Borden reportedly employed only sporadically - and with an almost universal lack of support from the adult industry - it was too much to expect that attorneys H. Louis Sirkin and
Jennifer Kinsley would be willing to handle the projected two-week trial (and its subsequent appeals) on a pro bono basis.
Estimates of the possible sentences that could be imposed under the plea have ranged from as little as 10 months in prison
for each individual defendant to as much as five years, and a possible fine of $250,000 for each individual and the corporation. The couple will be sentenced on July 1.
|26th February |
Max Hardcore as shown in Channel 4 documentary
Thanks to Mac
Can I just start by saying I am on the whole in agreement with you and your anti-censorship stance.
The one thing I do take
issue with is your articles defending Max Hardcore as much as I enjoy porn etc.. he crosses the line of what is acceptable and is a very sinister character. I am very broadminded and all for as long as consenting adults etc.
The reason I take
exception to Max Hardcore is I saw a documentary on Channel 4 about an English girl who travelled to the US to try make it in porn films. She met various porn producers and had some trials with them which were quite run of the mill adult affairs but the
exception was Max Harcore. At first he came across quite friendly but the difference with him was come his trial he had the girl dress very child like and forced his penis down her throat literally choking her and making her vomit and she naturally
became very upset, crying and had to stop. His reaction was utter fury and threatening and he had a couple of menacing nasty bouncer types there as well and the Channel 4 crew had to intervene as they feared for the girl's safety.
As I have said
I am all for consenting adult porn etc.. but to me Hardcore crosses the line even for me.. wanting the women in his videos to appear in children's clothes suggest to me paedophile inclinations which I would hope you would absolutely condemn and to me he
crosses and pushes the consent barrier and really does exploit women for money. I was overjoyed to see he has gone to jail as after seeing him and his attitude in the Channel 4 documentary that is where he belongs and I vowed never to buy anything
associated with him!
Update: Appeal arguments refuted
3rd April 2009. See
article from business.avn.com
Attorneys for Paul Little, better known in the adult
industry as "Max Hardcore," H. Louis Sirkin and Jennifer Kinsley, filed their appeal of Little's conviction last June on ten counts of interstate transportation of obscene material and posting obscene materials on the Web on January 21 - and
now, just over two months later, the Justice Department has responded, attempting to refute the perceived factual and legal errors identified in the appellant's brief.
Update: Appeal lost
6th February 2010. See article from xbiz.com
A three-judge panel of the 11th
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday affirmed Max Hardcore's convictions but remanded sentencing over punitive fines, which it said the lower court assessed in error.
|24th January |
Max Hardcore files appeal against obscenity conviction
article from xbiz.com
As Max Hardcore prepares to begin serving his 46-month sentence for supposed obscenity crimes, his attorneys have filed an appeal to the 11th US Circuit
Court of Appeal.
Hardcore attorneys point to a dozen issues of contention, including whether community standards should be applied to online material and whether a defendant’s sentence can be enhanced for sadomasochism when the evidence is
that the acts were not painful.
The attorneys also want the 11th Circuit to weigh whether federal obscenity laws are unconstitutional when it comes to criminalizing the sale of adult material for private viewing, as well as whether the
government can prosecute an online adult company when it didn’t have proof that defendants knew their site was hosted in the district of prosecution.
They also claim that the Miller test requirement that material be taken as a
“whole” is impossible in the context of the Internet.
Attorney Jeffrey Douglas, who represented Hardcore at U.S. District Court in Tampa, said at the time that it was a “sad day for America” when he was convicted.