opinion

UPDATED: Porn Industry - Come To New Hampshire!

Colin Rowntree

[An Update at the bottom of this page from Marc Randazza....]

No matter what you may have heard, there are only two states in the continental US where you can legally record real people having sex for money onto film, tape or memory card with the intent to sell those images. Those states are California and New Hampshire. New Hampshire remains untouched by condom wars at this point.

New Hampshire? Huh??????

Yes, there are production companies that get away with producing adult content in places like Florida, Nevada, Georgia and Texas. . . But that does not mean that it is legal to produce porn there. It is a matter of if/when you get caught. And when the law comes knocking on your porn set door, you will face legal fees, loss of income and a lot of valuable time while the law figures out if you were engaging in an illegal activity or not.

Filming real people having sex on camera for money is legal in California due to the legal precedent created in 1988 when the California Supreme Court decided the case of “California v. Freeman,” by declaring that producer and director, Harold Freeman was not engaged in “pimping” or “pandering” when he hired consenting adults to appear in “non-obscene” sex acts. This verdict makes the filming and producing of hardcore pornography legal in the State of California. While the State of California has tried to overturn this verdict, it still stands that it is legal to produce sexual content for sale to the public in California.

In 2008, the New Hampshire Supreme Court also declared that in the case of “New Hampshire v. Theriault,” defendant Robert Theriault was not engaged in “pimping” or “pandering” when he hired a consenting couple to appear in “non-obscene” sex acts. The ruling cited that the defendant had not solicited the couple “to have sexual intercourse for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification as opposed to making a video.” Part of this decision was based on precedent set by California Supreme Court’s ruling in “California v. Freeman.” There are allegedly plans to appeal the New Hampshire decision. However at the time of this post, it is legal to produce hardcore porn in New Hampshire.

In both of the above cases, First Amendment Rights of Free Speech in America also played a role in the ultimate decisions. Creating “art” is defended as a category of Freedom of Speech.

So, after watching the California drama playing out from our Wasteland.com home based in New Hampshire, I thought it might be helpful to put in a pitch for studios moving to the "Live Free Or Die" state rather than Nevada. (and yes, ironically, "live free or die" is our state motto on our license plates, stamped out by incarcerated prisoners here. Oh dear....)

But first, let's take a look at Nevada.  The obvious choice for studios wanting to flee California and that strange little man with his condom agenda that now is making this a decision point at gunpoint.

At the surface, Nevada looks like a great alernative to LA and CA in general.  Kinda-sorta liberal. Lots of cheap real estate (with black mold) and a hop skip and a jump to get performers in from LA for shoots. Nice airport!  Good entertainment on the strip!  But, filming porn in Nevada is illegal, and falls under the prostitution and pandering laws.  And maybe worse, Vegas is a 100% Union Town.  If you thought CalOsha and Wienstien were a pain in the ass, just wait till the Teamsters knock on your door to make sure the guys you have hauling cables and handing out pizza have a union card at 1000% the expense of the kids you had doing it in LA.

Sure,common knowlege is that Vegas is all "corporate now", divested of its rat pack, made-men beginnings, but what is worse? Frank Sinatra or Steve Wynn having their hand down your pants to rip your wallet out of your ass "for protection"?

Anyway, let's move back to the topic at hand of the great "Granite State" of New Hampshire being your new porn home......

Location, Location, Location!
NH is a lovely state, situated equidistant between NYC and Montreal (4.5 hours by car to either).  If you consider moving here, do what we have done - move to the southern edge bordering Massachusetts.  The NH/MA border is known as the "thin line between comedy and tragedy", but if you locate more than 30 miles north of the Mass border, you just might run into some scary people.  Look at Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and other small cities clinging to sane life on the Mass border.  Everything north of that is right out of a Steven King novel. Bring your own banjo and albino creepy guys.

Taxes, Taxes, Taxes!
If you do consider moving to New Hampshire, be sure to rent both your home and commercial property.  When Angie and I moved up here 20 years ago, we loved the concept of no sales or personal income tax, but then discovered the annual tax bill on our 5000 sq foot home was over $12k.  ouch.  RENT!

Culture, Culture, Culture!
One of the nice things about being in Southern NH is being so close to Boston, NYC and Montreal.  Great arts and entertianment towns.  The one thing you will find, being a busy pornographer though is that after the first year, it will all get kind of dull and after the first time yoiu go to a Red Socks game and have a drunk Irish guy puke on your shoes for no reason, you'll probably just stay home and watch HBO.

Talant, Talent, Talent!
This is the odd one....  New Hampshire is 35 miles north of Boston, and 4.5 hours from both NYC and Montreal. Boston is sort of a wash for performers.  It's very conservative there and most "nude models" are in Harvard Law School and have more sense than to do video porn which will come back at them eventually); but...NYC has a large pool of talent, as does
Montreal, but bringing talent in from Canada violates the "Mann Act" ( federal crime for transporting models over international borders). NYC performers tend to think outside the porn box, making for odd negotiations.

Climate, Climate, Climate!
New Hampshire has a wonderful climate 5 weeks of the year!
Lovely 74 degrees.
Bugs the size of your puppy, but fine.......
The rest of the year sucks. Beware.
(oh, heating costs this winter were about $1500 a month for our house and studio. Painful!)

So, that is my insider report from the Great White NorthEast!
Maybe it's time to move? But where, if you have elderly parents or community ties in the USA and want to live a normal life? Prague/Hungary/Madagascar/Mozamique are lovely for about two weeks, and then you miss "home"....  Oh. And there is that "out for the frying pan, into the fire" varable.  Careful. careful......

Colin

UPDATE From Attorney Marc Randazza....

Re: Nevada..

It is legal in Nevada.  They tried to change the prostitution statute to fit adult film, and we showed up at the state assembly meeting and not only got them to change back, but the Atty. Gen. noted in the legislative history that they did so because they considered people versus Freeman to be good law in Nevada as well. 

Also remember that half of people v.  Freeman was a reliance on the First Amendment. That still applies in all 50 states, DC, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands. 

At this time, if it has an American flag flying over it it is legal to film porn there. 

However, it is a good idea to examine the states prostitution statute to see if you need to rely on the First Amendment or if you just need to rely on the statutory construction of the prostitution statute in that state.

That said, I would fucking kill to move to New Hampshire.  I love it there. 

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