Standing on the Shoulders of Giants…

On July 30, 2012, in Life, by PornLaw

 

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”. Sir Isaac Newton

I usually find it obnoxious to start a post or any writing by quoting someone famous. It undermines the author’s credibility and in a way insults the original speaker since most quotes are taken out of context. And perhaps I am indeed doing that here but I cannot find words more appropriate to the way I feel about being an attorney in the adult industry.

I have the career that I do because the giants before me decided to stand up and fight for what they believed in. Most notably the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. You might say that they were also fighting for not being thrown in jail and losing their own freedom but more importantly they fought for what I believe in. If you can say that the US troops fought on the beaches of Normandy for our freedoms and not their own self-preservation then I can say that men like Milton Luros, Reuben Sturman, Larry Flynt, Paul Little and John Stagliano fought for your and my First Amendment rights.

I believe as an industry we tend to forget the sacrifices many had made in regards to their personal freedoms and financial security to produce porn. I also think that the fans fail to see the sacrifices made in order to provide them their daily enjoyment that they use with such disregard. With the advent of free Internet porn, our product as become nothing more than just Kleenex. To be used once and thrown away with no regard to what sacrifices were made before it appears on your computer or television screen.

Even now there are forces that try to censor what the American public watches and reads and how that effects the very lives of those in the industry. Most people believe that porn is, for all intents and purposes, so mainstream that obscenity prosecutions just don’t happen any more. That obscenity prosecutions are from days long ago when Justice Potter wrote his most famous of all words “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced…but I know it when I see it…”

Many I think would be surprised to know that within the last 10 years there have been several major porn obscenity cases instituted by the FBI/DOJ including cases against Max Hardcore/Paul Little, John Stagliano and little known author Karen Fletcher. Ms. Fletcher was prosecuted for a having a blog of short erotic stories with a total of 29 paying members. She was prosecuted for words, no pictures, just words on a screen.

There have been other small obscenity indictments that don’t get national press as well. Recently in Florida, pornstar Kimberly Kupps was arrested and prosecuted for filming pornography in her home and distributing such content via the Internet (in the year of our lord 2011).

Currently there are units in LAPD that are actively investigating and busting porn producers in Los Angeles. I had the pleasure of representing Porn Dan after he got busted for shooting without a permit in Chatsworth in a warehouse. We were fortunate that we were able to get the charges against him dismiss entirely. Others aren’t and wont be so lucky.

Porn is still a bad word in most places. I often say porn is like prisons. Everyone wants them (it) but no one wants to live next door to one or to where its being made. Americans like their porn at a distance. They don’t like the ease of the accessibility most now have to it on the Internet but they aren’t ready to ban it. They love to come to AVN and Exxxotica and mingle with pornstars but god-forbid if one wanted a job in a normal office environment. So I suppose we should be thankful we have at least come this far in regards to acceptability. We still have a long way to go.

However, until the clear and present danger of a criminal prosecution has been lifted from the industry, we will always be the “wild wild west” full of outlaws. The work kind of requires it. Who would be willing to face criminal sanctions for producing porn unless they had at least an outlaw mentality. And how many men and women would star in such films and risk imprisonment unless they also had a similar attitude. Are any of you reading this willing to give up your day jobs for a chance to produce porn and go to jail ? I think not.

People often ask me when is the industry going to clean itself up and start acting right. I guess I should be asking when are those in mainstream society going to stop trying to put us in jail ? Personally I think once criminal prosecutions are shelved by all law enforcement we as an industry can start to mature and become more mainstream. Until then I suspect we will remain a quasi-legal industry with an outlaw mentality.

Remember the next time you download your favorite porn parody from a torrent site or watch your favorite pornstar on a tube site, the stolen porn you are getting for free could cost that person their freedom. Perhaps paying for it might just help them not only make some new porn but stay out of jail if the police come knocking on their door.

Tagged with:  

On Being a Lawyer in Porn…

On July 30, 2012, in Life, by PornLaw

 

I have to say that I am a very lucky individual. After fifteen years of practice I still wake up everyday looking forward to what I do. Most lawyers hate what they do by the time they are in their fifth or sixth year of practice as I actually did. Prior to getting into porn, I was an insurance defense attorney with seven years of experience in employment law and workers compensation. Insurance defense was not very interesting but it paid the bills.

Even though after just five years in I was able to start my own firm I still did not enjoy my practice. It was not challenging or interesting. I did have the good fortune of representing some of the largest employers in California including LAPD, LAFD, Los Angeles Unified School District, Boeing, Lockheed and Teledyne to name a few. But I also had the opportunity to represent companies such as Warner Brothers, Universal Pictures, Entertainment Partners and Cast & Crew, which gave me my first taste of the entertainment business.

Representing these entertainment giants is what led me down the not so primrose path to porn. I was approached by the Free Speech Coalition to give a presentation to their membership about on set injuries and how the interplay with employment and workers compensation law. Most of the then current adult industry attorneys were basically First Amendment specialists and did not have the background in employment law that I did. I happily agreed and have never looked back.

Needless to say after the seminar I was intrigued by the industry though I was never a big fan of porn. I think my earliest remembrances of porn was being in college and watching John Stagliano’s series about big boobs. But other than that I couldn’t name a single pornstar. It wasn’t until I came to California for law school that I had any real exposure to porn. While just a 1L in law school I was able to spend time with the man that founded the industry in Los Angeles, Milton Luros. That, however, is a story for another post but Google his name and see how important he is to this industry.

Even though I wasn’t a fan I did love what the industry stood for. I was always a supporter of free expression and love working in that environment. I actually worked as a DJ in a strip in New Jersey before law school and had also taught many of the bartenders that worked in various strip clubs. So I spent a fair amount of time hanging out with strippers and bartenders. I even lived with a stripper for three years before heading off to law school. Obviously, I had no problems with the free expression of sexuality as a way to earn a living.

So being a porn lawyer is almost a natural fit for me. I believe in the little guy and while we may be thought of as being a billion dollar a year industry I can assure you it’s mostly made up of little guys just trying to make a living. The days of millionaire pornographers are over. Now porn is basically made by a group of people with a passion for it. If things continue as they are we will be delisted as an industry and become a mere hobby – if piracy is let unchecked.

For those of you that are law students or lawyers thinking this is a great business to be in, you might want to think long and hard about that decision. While porn is definitely more mainstream then it use to be, there is still a stigma attached to it that will follow you, one that will definitely effect how the world sees you and what clients will hire you.

Either way, sometimes happiest is just more important than anything else.

Tagged with:  
Untitled Document