Rather than bore you with our own admittedly superficial political pontifications, we thought it appropriate to let a few of our more opinionated adult cyber-citizens speak their minds concerning the upcoming election and it's relevance to our industry.
Colin Rowntree used to be a social worker and an orchestral conductor, but then he saw the light and now he runs the classy internationally renowned fetish site Wasteland (www.wasteland.com)
"I think everybody is so happy with the status quo right now as far as in our industry, so the best case scenario would be to get Gore in there with Lieberman. Although that does give some variables that you don't know about, like Al Gore and Tipper and their crusade to get porn out of the libraries, so it could actually end up backfiring on us. Whereas you just so typically stereotype the Republicans as coming in like storm troopers and shutting everything down - and that's pretty much what I think would happen - but who knows, they could pleasantly surprise us. They are money-driven much more than social justice-driven, so it could actually end up okay. But if I had to bet my money on the industry not getting shaken down too bad, I'd have to go with Democrats at this point, because I do think that Clinton did a very good job of making a healthy economy and there's not a lot broken right now. So if they have any sense whatsoever, they won't try to fix what's not broken.
"I think [another] big concern is going to be these various seats over a four-year period on the Supreme Court that are up for appointment. If you do end up having George the Second in there, that's going to have a much further long-lasting effect for the adult industry. A case in point is the whole COPA thing and the CDAs, which floundered and never got anywhere during the Clinton administration. If you do end up having a majority of Justices on the Supreme Court who are more amenable to that sort of thing, you now open yourself up to much more strict and severe legislation. Of course, protecting children online has always been the great smokescreen for trying to get porn off the Net.
"If the political mandate after the November election makes it the mandate to get rid of [online porn], you can bet your bottom dollar that they [law enforcement] have all of their little arsenal of tools ready to go, because they've been prepping them for years. But it's like if you were running a successful retail business in Key West. You've got contingency plans for when the big hurricane comes, and you know that if you need to move that business to LA that you've put away your money and know what to do. Strategically, most of the larger companies now have structured offshore entities. So a lot of the groundwork is in place as far as the larger players basically moving in a way that would, by flipping a switch, transfer the entire ownership offshore."
Steve Easton is a photographer and the founder of APIC Worldwide (www.a-w.org), a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the continued education and enforcement of Internet copyright law.
"[Regarding Joe Lieberman's stand on obscenity], I really don't think it's an issue. It may be an issue for them to gain support initially to win the election, but when it comes right down to it, I think there's a whole lot more to take their time up than Internet porn. I really don't think the government's going to waste any time on it. And if they do, it will be only be to enforce the laws under the Constitution, which wouldn't be a bad thing for those of us trying to make a legit living at it. It [Internet porn] is a worldwide situation. How are they going to stop it? If they knew how, I think somebody would have jumped on it already. And I don't think that a Gore administration [would be] in any position to address pornography, especially after following Clinton. Gore being Clinton's Vice President, and [Clinton's] carrying on sexually, I don't think he [Gore] wants to touch it. He's just going to get criticized all to hell.
"I think [the Democrats] whole issue is morality and family and all this stuff, and they're just throwing that at us to get elected. The Republicans I don't think will even address pornography on the Internet even to get elected. I don't think they'll go that route. But the Gore thing has always been family values, and I think him picking Lieberman was as a point situation in the standings. Personally, I like Gore-Lieberman. I don't think they can stop [Internet porn], but I do think they can probably stop it in its capacity right now, maybe tame it down a little bit, which I don't think would be a bad thing. I think it would probably be a good thing for the big players. It would get rid of all this "free" garbage, which I think would be the best thing for the adult Web, if it was run the way the magazine industry was run, or the video industry was run, before all this. Get rid of all these thieves and these people who don't belong in the business, who decided to get in it because the media said there was money in it. But even the big companies are not going to censor their "free" stuff, because they can't compete with the ones who won't. But if the government says, okay, you want to have a porn site, fine, make people pay to get inside it before they see anything so that our kids aren't seeing this stuff all over the Internet, then we no longer have to pay for traffic. We no longer have all of these free hosting companies that are sucking up all the traffic. We no longer have all the scams and the uncensored banners all over the place. I just think it would be a benefit to the people who play the game legitimately."
Steven W. Workman is an intellectual property, media and e-commerce attorney with offices in Boca Raton, Florida, Chicago and Los Angeles. He also has a website at www.worldweb-law.com.
"It's not the death knell of anything if one given person is in the White House. Now, if we get a Republican-controlled congress and a Republican president, then I think we would be in for some real headaches and problems. You would have the refuge of the courts, but that refuge is of little assurance when you still have to go through the prosecutorial process. But I don't think we're looking at that. The U.S. public has for years and years demonstrated an uncanny ability to recognize that a balance of power between the two parties - the White House being occupied by one Party and Congress being controlled by another - has an extremely beneficial effect upon the well-being of the country. And it affords each side in this debate, conservatives and liberals, a certain amount of chest thumping and finger pointing.
"But a Democratic victory, given the vice-presidential candidate, given Tipper Gore's stated proclivity toward keeping children's morals in line, would be a problem as well. Do I feel better about them? Of course I do. But I still don't feel great about them, but you still have a separation of powers in the government, you still have the courts as the bulwark of the First Amendment, and I don't see the courts backing down on that.
"Now, Janet Reno is the best friend this industry has had, because for all of the slings and arrows directed her way, she is a huge booster of the First Amendment. When she goes, it isn't going to be the same. Whether it's Al Gore and Joe Lieberman, or a Republican in the manner of George W., you're going to have a different Attorney General, and different marching orders given to the Justice Department. So this industry has got to brace itself for a good amount of harassment, locally perhaps even more so than federally. I have a theory, which I can not back up, which is that under Janet Reno the states have been told to lay off, this is Internet, this is international, this is nationwide, this is our province, so lay off. I think that is why there has been such a scant amount of prosecutions at the local level.
"Now, what about the possibility of a national [obscenity] standard? It's a possibility, but imagine the uproar, imagine the Christian Coalition and the ACLU and everybody else in Congress arguing about what should be the national obscenity standard. I don't see it happening, and I don't see the Supreme Court saying, we are going to usurp state rights by way of obscenity. That's a huge political bomb. So, I think instead the courts will go, yeah, we respect all these state laws on obscenity, but when it comes to the Internet, it can't apply because of the Commerce Clause. That would be the smart way for the courts to go, and I hope they do it."
Larry Flynt. How insulting would it be to actually provide a bio for arguably the most famous pornographer on the planet? We don't know. We wouldn't dare do it. But if you really don't know who he is, you might find a clue at www.hustler.com.
"I find it hard to believe why anyone could be a Republican, anyone who's concerned with individual freedom. Bush frightens the hell out of me. I don't think he has the experience required to do the job. I think some of his ideas are really crazy, whether it's guns or dealing with Social Security or Medicare, or what have you. And I'm surprised that the average American can't see through this fa�ade. Let's face it, Republican administrations have always been terrible for the adult industry. And when you look back over the past century, you realize that the individual rights and civil rights that we gained came under a Democratic administration, and not a Republican one. So that is what frightens me. And that's why I'm a Democrat.
"I see the upcoming race between Bush and Gore as being 'Dumb and Dumber.' Gore is sort of predictable. But unless you're a billionaire like Ross Perot, or something like that, I think that it's very difficult to get your foot in the door. I really like to say I'm an independent, but unfortunately there are no independents to vote for. But when you go in that voting booth to cast your vote, you're not voting for your perfect candidate. What you're doing is you're voting for the lesser of two evils, because you don't like either one of them, but it's a question of how you're going to fare, how your business is going to fare, how the economy is going to fare. You have to consider these factors in voting.
"I donate money to campaigns for people who I really like and I'm interested in what they're doing. Like [California state senator] Tom Hayden is a friend of mine, and he's as far left as you can get, and he's proud of it. So, when I get someone that's not the tiger who's looking to change his stripes, so to speak, what you see is what you get, I like that. There are several other state senators in California that I contribute to. I don't want to mention their names. But obviously, it's been people in a position to help Hustler regarding our gaming license.
"What disappoints me in the adult industry is the amount of apathy that exists. I'm talking about people who take their individual rights and civil liberties for granted. And I'm disappointed that more members don't take it more seriously. There should be not only one adult political action committee; there should be several of them nationwide. Nothing frightens politicians more than to see people in large numbers disagreeing with what they stand for. You know, that'll back a politician down quicker than anything. But if you're not there to make that protest, it's not going to happen. Any time you feel your right to free expression is being threatened, you've got to stand up and be counted. You've got to speak out. You see all of these other organizations speaking out for their various causes. The adult industry has got to speak out."