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Paul Cambria: 2

Paul Cambria: 2

February 16, 2007
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" In 1973, the Supreme Court made it clear that the written word could be prosecuted. "

In part one, we began our discussion with famed adult lawyer Paul Cambria. In this conclusion, we'll continue with a look at the evolution of juries, obscenity cases and beyond:

XBIZ: One thing 1st Amendment attorney Clyde DeWitt has pointed out about the evolution of juries in obscenity cases is that today's 60-year-old juror is a baby boomer who is old enough to remember Woodstock and the sexual revolution and all the upheaval of the 1960s and 1970s — quite a contrast to someone who was a 60-year-old juror 20-30 years ago.

CAMBRIA: Well, there's no doubt about it. But you really have to see what happened to them between then and now. You really have to be careful when selecting juries, which is why I use consultants for everything when I'm picking jurors. Jury selection is 75 percent of the game.

XBIZ: You were practicing law long before the advent of the Internet. In what respect has the growth of online adult affected your work as a 1st Amendment attorney?

CAMBRIA: It has added a new dimension to it because we are now advising so many adult website [operators] not only about content but also 2257. I'm also one of the principal lawyers in the Free Speech Coalition's lawsuit attacking 2257. So the Internet has made a lot more work for me. I have eight lawyers who have been with me for years and years — lawyers who are all extremely experienced in all aspects of criminal law, constitutional law and 1st Amendment law. I literally had three of them hopscotching around the country in the last month advising on 2257 record-keeping plans; we've been advising some of the largest adult companies and some of the smallest adult companies. It has been just one company after another with 2257.

XBIZ: How great a source of frustration is the international nature of the adult Internet for the Christian Right?

CAMBRIA: The Religious Right was unhappy when adult entertainment was a collection of magazines and books in a brick-and-mortar location, let alone now when anybody and everybody has access to adult entertainment online in their living rooms. This has to be making them crazy.

XBIZ: In 2006, roughly what percentage of e-commerce on the Internet would you estimate is adult entertainment oriented?

CAMBRIA: I know that every day, the amount of adult entertainment on the Internet keeps growing by leaps and bounds. My guess is that of the $13 billion that is spent on adult entertainment in this country every year, at least half of it comes from e-commerce. You know as well as I do that in the next five years, you won't have a television in your house, you'll have a giant PC — a giant personal computer — and that will be your source of television programs, downloads, video-on-demand, whatever. Basically the Internet will take over everything.

XBIZ: One obscenity case that adult webmasters and civil libertarians have been quite concerned about is the case of Red Rose Stories. Is the U.S. returning to a trend of text-based obscenity prosecutions?

CAMBRIA: I never thought text was a major target, but remember that many years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court made it clear that the written word is subject to the same obscenity test and standard as visual material. There is nothing new about that; we just haven't seen another prosecution of the written word until recently. But I don't think you're going to be seeing too much of that type of thing in the future. To be honest with you, I think that case is an anomaly.

XBIZ: Before the Red Rose case, adult webmasters who published erotic fiction sites were operating under the assumption that the written word would not be prosecuted for obscenity even though it had been prosecuted a lot in the past. Did they have a false sense of security?

CAMBRIA: They didn't know the law. In 1973, the Supreme Court made it clear that the written word could be prosecuted. The laws have never changed; the only thing that has changed is that somebody recently decided to prosecute the written word on the Internet.

XBIZ: Is Mary Beth Buchanan, the federal prosecutor in the Red Rose case, just rolling the dice to see if there is an appetite for text-based prosecutions of adult webmasters?

CAMBRIA: That's a possibility. Buchanan got all this attention with the Extreme Associates case, but what other attention is she going to get unless she continues to ride that horse? The horse needs a new track; so now, the track is, "Well, I'll take it to an even greater extreme, and we'll go after the written word." This case is all about Mary Beth Buchanan trying to get some publicity for herself. The next thing you know, she'll be running for the Senate. It's a familiar refrain. This is all about her trying to get her name out there and get known for something, and that's what's going on with this case; she's trying to exploit the adult entertainment industry for her own gain.

XBIZ: Is Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' interest in prosecuting consensual adult entertainment continuing to drain valuable law enforcement resources that could be used to combat child pornography and terrorism?

CAMBRIA: I've said that several times in the past. There are only so many FBI agents; there are only so many courtrooms and only so many judges — only so many district attorneys and local police officers. These days, people are more focused on avoiding terrorist violence, and to divert these finite resources to something like adult entertainment is really unconscionable. More and more people are realizing that. Look at the FBI when they tried to recruit agents for their new porn squad; look at how many agents protested and said: "We have more important missions out there than this. I don't want to be on that squad."

XBIZ: Let's discuss the midterm election results. What are some of the possible repercussions for the adult industry?

CAMBRIA: Obviously, the change in the House of Representatives is a big deal. We're hoping that it may have the effect of slowing down legislation that the conservative Republicans might have had on their agenda. Obviously they can't count on the House to just follow suit. They got rid of Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania, which is phenomenal, and I think Nancy Pelosi is going to be a great Speaker of the House. What will be interesting is this: Will the Republicans now say, "We didn't do enough for our constituents — the Religious Right and all the rest of them — so we need a big push to try to make them happy"? Obviously, the Religious Right has been unhappy with the pace and rate of prosecutions by the feds.

XBIZ: Overall, has the George W. Bush era been better or worse for the adult industry than you expected?

CAMBRIA: So far, it has been much better because nothing has really changed. Aside from saber rattling, nothing has really changed.

XBIZ: If federal prosecutors are having a harder time getting obscenity convictions for vanilla adult entertainment, does 2257 become their weapon of choice?

CAMBRIA: That clearly is true. 2257 is a pretty technical statute, and it's fairly easy to find a violation. They couldn't get Al Capone on other violations, so they got him for tax evasion — and the same theory applies to prosecuting adult entertainment companies. Not that the adult industry is Al Capone, but I bring that up as an example of the fact that when the government puts a bull's-eye on you, they figure out a way to hit the mark. If they can't get you for obscenity, they get you for 2257 and record keeping.


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