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America's Debate > Archive > Assorted Issues Archive > [A] Big Trials and Legal Cases
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Cyan
Federal obscenity laws, for the most part, have not been enforced on any grand scale for the past ten years, but recently, a new case has emerged between the city of Pittsburgh and Janet Romano & Robert Zicari AKA Lizzie Borden and Rob Black of Extreme Associates, Inc.

It may be dirty but is it legal?
QUOTE
When the case against Lizzie Borden and Rob Black was filed in Pittsburgh, a collective shudder coursed through the adult entertainment industry. Borden and Black, a husband and wife whose real names are Janet Romano and Robert Zicari, have set themselves up in the capitals of porn--offices in North Hollywood, residence in Northridge, warehouse studio in Van Nuys- -but they're actually outsiders within the industry, and their express purpose is to find taboos and exploit them. Not the taboos of society--the taboos of the porn industry. (And yes, they exist.) Whatever the huge porn factories refuse to do, Borden and Black thrive on. It's a niche business for fetishists- -most of their films involve subject matter that I can't even describe here--but it's lucrative enough to sell 20,000 copies of their most famous release, and Exhibit A for Ashcroft, a film called "Forced Entry."


Obscenity Indictment Start of Justice Department Crackdown
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The U.S. Supreme Court decided in 1973 that materials are obscene if they (1) appeal to the prurient interest, (2) are patently offensive, and (3) lack serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value in the view of an average, reasonable person applying contemporary community standards.


The questions for debate:

1. Do you believe that the materials being produced by Extreme Associates, Inc. should be legal or illegal. Please state your reasoning.

2. What is your opinion of the federal obscenity laws?
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unabomber
QUOTE
1. Do you believe that the materials being produced by Extreme Associates, Inc. should be legal or illegal. Please state your reasoning.


they should be legal. my reasoning: three words; FREEDOM OF SPEECH. add onto that that the movie you mentioned (forced entry) while dealing with a touchy subject (rape) featured WILLING women. (were these REAL rapes, caught on camera, I would have a problem with it) these people have a constitutional right to make this material, even if you don't like (in which case, don't watch or buy it!)

QUOTE
2. What is your opinion of the federal obscenity laws?


I feel that they blatently violate the freedom of speech. they force other peoples morals on me. while I may find some of the material offensive, who says someone may not? some people think NUDITY is offensive (remember when john ashcroft had the statues covered?) if you find it offensive don't watch it!
CruisingRam
Well, as long as it involved CONSENTING ADULTS I am all for it- nothing wrong with some hardcore kinky sex IMO- the poeple against it are just jealous anyway LOL
Jaime
CruisingRam - please be constructive. It's hard to debate one-liners. down.gif
CruisingRam
Sometimes brevity is the key to common sense LOL- My comment is- Nothing consenting adults do or buy should be illegal as long as it does not directly harm a non-consenting person- i.e.- if you want to make a kinky sex video- a really nasty one, go right ahead- and the goverment has no business making it illegal, regulating and taxing perhaps, you know, making sure OSHA guidelines are kept, some taxation etc- but not illegal. That was a long winded way to say what I said in my "one liner" LOL hmmm.gif
nighttimer
I'll thank John Ashcroft and his band of religious zealots at the Justice Department to keep their filthy hands and thoughts off of my porn, thank you very much. These guys should take full advantage of an opportunity to mind their own business.

I saw that particular episode of Frontline where they walked out of the filming of "Forced Entry." I was grossed out and disgusted too, but my morality is not your morality and what I find repellent, you may find alluring.

Extreme Associates makes some pretty foul stuff, but they are just part of a new trend toward gonzo porn. I could explain at length what that means, but some of you already know and the rest would only be appalled.

Defending the right of pornographers to create even stomach-churning bile is just as important as defending the right of consenting adults to purchase and view it.

ermm.gif
Cyan
Nothing kills a thread like total agreement. mellow.gif

I also believe that Extreme Associates, Inc. should be allowed to produce the material that they do without being charged with violating obscenity laws. The scenes within the videotape are fictional and they are acted out and viewed by willing participants.

I am a bit surprised that there hasn't been more opposition, though.
Wertz
Janet Romano and Robert Zicari should be put to death immediately - and all their sick, disgusting output burned. mad.gif Just trying to be obliging, Cyan. happy.gif

I'm afraid I have to join the consensus parade here. Obscenity laws are themselves obscene - not to mention unconstitutional. They should all be abolished at once.
BecomingHuman
I, too, agree that as long as the pornography is made with willing participants, I can see no reason why it shouldn't exist. It's not like they were passing it out to children on the streets, I'm sure those people who viewed their products were in no way offended.

"Result: a 10-count indictment that could result in 50 years each in prison, $2.5 million each in personal fines, and $5 million in fines to their company."

The punishment also seems to be way too harsh.
Victoria Silverwolf
Although we are in general agreement here, allow me to play devil's advocate. My reading of this news article indicates that the performer agreed to be beaten in order to produce this film. Now, if this was entirely faked, this case is no more objectionable than any Hollywood film which depicts violent rape in an exploitative way. (Although I may loath the film Humanoids From the Deep for this reason, I certainly would not attempt to make it illegal.) However, what if the performer (out of economic desperation, or genuine masochism) is actually beaten on film? At what point do we say that this is legal? May people agree to be violently murdered on film? (That such people exist is a sad fact.) We would probably say not. Therefore, I would contend that the filming of acts which should be illegal in and of themselves -- such as assault -- should not be legal. This particular instance seems to be a borderline case. If the violence being depicted is entirely faked, there is no cause to make it illegal. (Just as, if an adult pretends to be a child in a pornographic film, there is no reason to make it illegal.)

To sum up: Laws against obscenity are not justified; laws against violence are justified.
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Cube Jockey
QUOTE(Victoria Silverwolf @ Sep 16 2003, 09:13 PM)
However, what if the performer (out of economic desperation, or genuine masochism) is actually beaten on film?  At what point do we say that this is legal?

I had the impression (maybe incorrectly) that assualt was a crime that was legally actionable only if the victim pressed charges. Supposing that is true this film would be legal, albeit in bad taste, because the performer agreed to being beaten.

Murder is different story and does not require someone to complain about it before it is actionable. Thus legal snuff films only fake death, they cannot actually kill anyone.
Mrs. Pigpen
QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Sep 16 2003, 02:54 PM)
I had the impression (maybe incorrectly) that assualt was a crime that was legally actionable only if the victim pressed charges.† Supposing that is true this film would be legal, albeit in bad taste, because the performer agreed to being beaten.


Actually, sexual assault is considered a crime (hence illegal) even without the pressing of charges. Obviously, it wouldn't be prosecutable unless the victim filed charges, but it would still be a reportable offense. Often (depending on the state, I think) assault charges might be filed even after the 'victim' consented, under the influence of drugs or alcohol for instance.
nileriver
Now that would be a tad silly. Say these people digest some beer before they do a shoot. Then some government agency steps in and pronounces it a crime because of such. Then i guess that same thing can be presented at frat parties and who knows how much other stuff. The real reason such a scenario would be used is so some do gooder could assault something they thought was wrong. Like the legal system and such, America is free to be corrupted. Now you may decide to spend your life as a discerning person that shuns everything, maybe some others are not. If this is not killing people and the participants know what they are doing, even with the drinks, then what is the problem besides you may not like it, you donít have to look at it.

I would like to take this time to point out something that makes me angry. The field of psychology has become polluted and corrupted by people like such, moral psychologists is what i call them, the sell drugs and tell people that they are sick in a way to get employment by the government or the church. What they are doing is not psychology but just trying to keep a job. Its sad, but its America, i just know that i wont turn out like that, or degrade my field for a dollar or some personal agenda of myself or any group of people i belong with. This does have such to do with the thread because I am sure some psychologist somewhere is trying very hard to keep a job, this of course is a prime opportunity to combine some nifty words and such people donít understand with some relative moral slang, gift wrap it and sell it.
Mrs. Pigpen
QUOTE(nileriver @ Sep 16 2003, 06:12 PM)
Now that would be a tad silly. Say these people digest some beer before they do a shoot. Then some government agency steps in and pronounces it a crime because of such. Then i guess that same thing can be presented at frat parties and who knows how much other stuff. The real reason such a scenario would be used is so some do gooder could assault something they thought was wrong. Like the legal system and such, America is free to be corrupted. Now you may decide to spend your life as a discerning person that shuns everything, maybe some others are not. If this is not killing people and the participants know what they are doing, even with the drinks, then what is the problem besides you may not like it, you donít have to look at it.


It's actually more then a tad silly, but it is the law. I knew of a case in which a consenting but intoxicated female decided to press charges later (courts martial hearing) and the man ended up in prison. I strongly disagreed with the ruling, but it happened nonetheless.

My point being, there are probably grounds in which videotaping a violent sexual assault, even under consent, might be against the law. There was more than likely a bit of substance use prior to (or during) the movie. The woman might've been coerced into acquiescing as well. I don't know the situation, but Linda Lovelace claimed she did some of her scenes at the point of a gun.
I'm actually taking a devil's advocate position myself, supporting Victoria's devil's advocate position. I've never met a libertarian (which I am) who would care about a consensual adult movie. blink.gif
nileriver
I listened to a neat argument once on a talk show about violence in the media. Now i do agree that some people in America may not understand what they put in their head, and that children are more receptive to such, but those two groups are also at risk to many things most people like, such as guns, or cars. The overall point is picking and choosing what to ban or make illegal on the base of taste and common thought is not sitting well with me. I am pretty sure the past civilizations of the world dealt with such problems regardless of t.v or video games, and more to the point I think its a cover for ignorance or deeper problems in society, one point being education systems, but even there is a battle ground.

More or less this type of pornography is nothing new, and it does come with societies required checks and balances. I think its just another capitalist venture that will turn a profit, and probably why animals are going extinct laugh.gif
flsts
just a curious notion.....If the "government" is trying to prosecute them extreme associates, etc... for making it, shipping it... is the government prosecuting the person whose name and address has been withheld so far who (allegedly) ordered/ subscribed for it and are they in the prosecution's sights also? If not , why not. Shouldn't they be held more accountable for breaking the obscenity laws of their local more so than a company in another state? Just curious if they are just going after the "big guys" or are they going to follow the equally guilty concept etc... hmmm.gif
OlympiaManet
Maybe I am just a little kinky freaky...

I know women who are what is termed "pain sluts" in the BDSM community. They can take anything you give them as far as spankings, bull whips, floggers, etc. and the euphorea and erotic pleasure that is recieved goes higher and higher with each "lashing." Even the Dominant feels this euphorea... though in a different manner. These ladies do not need to be tied down at all as they willingly sit there and take it. They are not under the influence of alcohol or drugs as that thins the blood and that's a bad thing when you are bleeding from whip marks!

I also know of at least one guy who told me that his girlfriend from his hometown likes for him to sneak into her place (when her parents aren't home) and dress up in a mask, etc. tie her up and generally just act like a rapist. He says it was her idea and I can tell that he was probably one of the most gentlemanly and respectful guys I know. He really cared about her and took care of her. They had a safeword and stuff and they knew eachother pretty well. I do not think he beat her... but he did consentually role play raping her.

The most important thing to me is that the two people know what the heck they are doing! After care is necessary as well as limits lists, safe words, etc.

Anyways... *huggs* smile.gif

Oly.
Izdaari
Freedom of speech -- as originally intended by the Founders -- applies primarily to political speech, not to pornography or "symbolic speech". However, no authority is given by the Constitution to regulate pornograohy, and accordingly I would oppose any federal attempt to outlaw it. I would not have a problem with local authorities banning this stuff, though I would probably not vote to do so,.
Looms
This is exactly what I was talking about in the VR Porn thread. What right does the federal government have to tell people what to fantasize about? Everything that happened involved concenting adults. I cannot believe that two people are going on trial for thought crime.

Just out of curiousity, why is it that all the people saying that it's wrong to prosecute bad taste in this case, didn't say the same in the other thread?
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