Home > Features > The 1st Amendment and Webmaster Responsibility • Bookmark   • Newsletters   • Register Search Options


The 1st Amendment and Webmaster Responsibility

The 1st Amendment and Webmaster Responsibility

April 27, 2004
Text size: 
Get XBIZ News
XBIZ Research
Will virtual reality boost the paysite market?
Yes, it will soon
Yes, but in a few years
Out of 153 votes. Results based on votes submitted by members of XBIZ.net social network.

" Are there any laws against on-line pornography? Yes, there are. "

Editor's Note: With a constant flow of breaking news, moneymaking articles and thoughtful message board posts, XBiz offers so much content that it's easy to miss important, relevant information and discussions. Here's a recent edition of "The Pit," where Vendzilla discusses your responsibility concerning The 1st Amendment. You won't want to miss his remarks, nor will you want to miss the follow-up comments made by your fellow XBiz'ers. Read. Participate. Enjoy! ~ Stephen

The 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

This presidential race has created the fascinating sight of both major candidates portraying themselves as crusaders for family values. In some areas, like Hollywood's marketing of R-rated flicks to 10-year-olds, or Janet Jackson flashing her breast, the debate is whether new laws are called for.

On the Internet, however, the hot-button issue is quickly becoming "Who will enforce the laws we already have?" According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, one in four youths aged 10 to 17 reported an unwanted exposure to online pornography in the past year, with 60 percent not telling a parent. The information on this is several years old and is sure to be higher now, with children being led to porn sites through misleading site names, spam, chat rooms and instant messages.

While e-pornographers invade the innocence of countless children online, the burden of protection has fallen to parents. Surveys show that support for restrictions of Internet pornography consistently gets at least 70 percent approval. But in 1997 the Supreme Court rejected the Communications Decency Act - an attempt to protect children from online smut. Similarly, the fate of the Child Online Protection Act (COPA or CDA II) has been in legal limbo since November 1998. Are there any laws against on-line pornography? Yes, there are.

The CDA and COPA tried to use a "virtual cyber-wrapper" to replicate online the same harmful-to-minors laws (think: soft-core porn) that cause bookstores to keep Penthouse and Hustler away from kids. The ACLU was a vocal opponent. Both times, the ACLU argued that the new law was unnecessary because the existing obscenity laws (think: hard-core) apply equally in the online world.

There's just one catch: The Department of Justice basically stopped enforcing the obscenity laws - online or offline - five or six years ago. In hearings of the House Commerce Committee, Justice officials conceded that such prosecutions were minimal. Hustler publisher Larry Flynt said on CNN's Crossfire that "the Reagan and Bush administrations averaged 120 prosecutions a year. There's been virtually no prosecutions under Clinton." District attorneys could start by going after anything involving animals, torture or rape. Or sites that use hidden child-oriented words - like Nintendo, Pokemon or Barbie - that trick search engines and draw in unsuspecting children.

With "benevolent neglect" there are no worries about ever going too far. So who's going to do something about this? Recent debates here on XBiz have got many crying "Vote Democratic!" The enforcement of existing laws is critical to cleaning up the mess and making the Internet a safer place.

We must be responsible in our endeavors in the online porn community!


Legal Protection for Amateur Shoots

Any adult industry professional who creates video content with actual first-time amateurs will come to an early knowledge that later performer regret is commonplace. Recognized performers who regularly... More »

Legal Options to Address Pirated Cam Performances

Many webcam performers have experienced a new trend in online piracy — the illegal recording and publication of live webcam performances. The “business model” is disturbingly simple:... More »

A Retrospective on the Adult Industry’s Tall Climb

As certainly the oldest member of the current adult-industry Fourth Estate, and having written for many adult publications, some of which no longer exist, I write this in the first person which, if you... More »
Stay informed of the latest industry developments. Get XBIZ newsletters delivered to your inbox. Subscribe today!
Enter email address:

* To manage existing subscriptions click here.

Submit your press release to
multiple news outlets with 1 click.
Subscribe to RSS news feeds or
add free content to your website.
Access XBIZ news and articles
with your mobile device.
Subscribe to XBIZ Premiere magazine, the industry's leading adult retail trade publications, delivering the most timely and comprehensive business news and information to producers and retailers of adult products.



Nov 04 - Nov 06
Edison, New Jersey

2016 Inked Awards

Nov 05 - Nov 05
Edison, New Jersey

XBIZ 2017

Jan 09 - Jan 13
Hollywood, CA

XBIZ Awards 2017

Jan 12 - Jan 12
Los Angeles, CA
Everyday thousands of business professionals browse XBIZ's industry directory for quality products and services. Not listed yet? Your company could be losing potential new business. Submit your company today!
Use XBIZ RSS feeds to stay informed of the latest industry developments or as a content syndication tool for your website!