opinion

The Price of Freedom

Stephen Yagielowicz
There’s a few high-profile court cases revolving around adult Internet companies currently underway, and while I’m not going to get into the details of any particular case, I do want to bring up something that most folks never consider until it’s far too late: the enormous (and often devastating) financial expense required to mount a court defense – costs that occur whether or not you win or lose.

Not inconsequential, the massive fees that a top attorney and his legal staff will incur may run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars and be enough to bankrupt an operation. Forget about a happy ending; sure you might be able to escape jail time if you’re found “innocent,” but you’ll be putting your lawyer’s kids through college or buying him a nice vacation home in the process.

It’s not just the billable hours – hours that cost several hundred dollars per – either, but the additional expenses, such as finding your attorney and staff a comfortable place to live and work out of while your trial is underway. You might not have considered that, but since there are only a handful of truly qualified, experienced adult Internet attorneys, you won’t likely be fortunate enough to be prosecuted in his home town – or yours.

While some forms of insurance might cover legal fees associated with civil actions, there’s no insurance that I know of that will pay your legal fees if you’re facing criminal charges. Most attorneys will work with you to find a way to fund your defense if they feel that there’s a reasonable chance they’ll be paid, however.

One of those ways is the establishment of a legal defense fund where through pleading, fear and misinformation, you can manipulate generous and well-intentioned peers to pay for your sins, um, “defense,” against what are ‘obviously false and trumped-up charges.’ There are other options, of course, but every little bit counts…

The real issues for those in the industry not facing prosecution is “do the merits of a particular case justify its prosecution, and if so, should I still support the defendant?” and tied to that is the question “should the fact that I’m in porn mean that I should support the lowest common denominator simply because ‘we’re all in this together?’”

Considering both of these fundamental questions, the answer I come up with is “no.”

Freedom isn’t free, and there are consequences to our actions. Taking responsibility for one’s deeds is sadly no longer the American way; blaming others, and expecting others yet to foot the bill, seems to be the popular choice. Still, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Regardless of whether or not you may be called to account for your actions, it makes prudent sense to devote a good percentage of your income to both proper legal advice and to establishing a “war chest” in the event of prosecution. Not only will you be far better prepared should the worst occur, but you’ll have a nice addition to your retirement fund should you never need to pay for a protracted legal defense.

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