Christine Dhanagom

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Porn industry fights anti-obscenity laws, claims porn isn’t ‘obscenity’

Christine Dhanagom

March 31, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP) announced yesterday the launching of a lobbying effort to oppose enforcement of anti-obscenity laws.

The ASACP is an association of internet porn sites who claim to support efforts to protect children from viewing pornography, as well as the elimination of child pornography from the web.

In a letter to Congressional legislators, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and state attorney generals across the country, ASACP CEO Joan Irvine claimed that there was “no need” for the enforcement of obscenity laws, since “the legal adult entertainment industry is not involved in obscenity.”

The ASACP letter was prompted by a February letter sent by several U.S. Congressmen to Attorney General Holder urging the Department of Justice to adopt “a consistent and strong commitment” to the enforcement of anti-pornography laws.

“As you know, adult obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment,” wrote Congressmen Randy Forbes and Mike McIntyre. “Congress has for decades passed laws seeking to curb the production and distribution of obscene pornography, including on the Internet. . . . We believe it is imperative that the Department, with cooperation by the FBI, investigate and prosecute all major producers and distributors of adult obscenity.”

In another letter to colleagues seeking support for the enforcement effort, Senator Orrin Hatch wrote, “Congress has put laws on the books, but those laws will not be effective until they are enforced.”

Patrick Trueman, CEO of Morality in Media and former chief of the U.S. Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Criminal Division, told LifeSiteNews that the ASACP’s claim that its members are not involved in obscenity is tantamount to a claim that they do not distribute hardcore pornography, which, he said, is “a bald-faced lie.”

In the 1973 decision Miller vs. California, the Supreme Court affirmed the constitutional legitimacy of laws regulating or prohibiting “patently offensive ‘hardcore’ sexual conduct,” and rejected the argument that such materials were protected by the First Amendment. 

“The distribution of hardcore pornography in America subjects one to federal obscenity laws,” Trueman explained. “Distribution of hardcore material is the lifeblood of the porn industry. They don’t make money on softcore pornography.”

According to Trueman, internet porn sites, major cable providers such as Comcast and Verizon, hotel chains, and retail stores across the country consistently violate Title 18, Section 1465 of the United States Code, which prohibits the “production and transportation of obscene matters for sale or distribution,” including by means of “an interactive computer service.”

They continue to break the law, said Trueman, because “they know the justice department is looking the other way.”

He further explained that vigorous enforcement of the law, which has been declining since Clinton took office, is virtually non-existent under the current administration. Under Attorney General Holder, there have not been any indictments of adult pornographic producers, and the Department of Justice’s Obscenity Prosecution Task Force has been shut down.

Anti-pornography groups such as Morality in Media are joining with recent Congressional efforts to support renewed enforcement of these laws.

“Only 20% of households have any blocking software, and the porn industry knows that. Even if parents have blocking software, their kids can get pornography on cell phones, at the homes of their friends, they can get it at some public libraries,” said Trueman. “And it all comes from this porn industry that pretends to be concerned with protecting children.”

“The battle is now joined on Capitol Hill. Congress can choose. Do they want to help the porn industry or do they want to help American families?”

For information on how to contact your Congressional representative click here.

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