May 2000: Legal Beat


By: Lawrence G. Walters

Copyright violations have always been a concern for participants in any entertainment industry. Recently, the issue of intellectual property theft has risen to the forefront of the adult Internet scene. On May 10, 2000, the front page of the New York Times predicted the death of copyright protection in the Digital Age. The ease with which text and graphics can be copied and re-posted or downloaded from the Internet provides intellectual property thieves with the incentive and tools required to violate Webmasters’ copyright on a global basis. “Pagejacking,” as it is commonly called, is the practice of completely copying a web site’s page and re-posting it somewhere else on the Internet, thereby obtaining any benefit associated with the page including traffic or payments. Pagejacking has become rampant on the Internet, yet traditional intellectual property laws have proved to be insufficient in protecting intellectual property.

The Adult webmasters are in the process of coming up with “community” rules, regulations and procedures for self regulation. It may be that, as predicted by the New York Times, we look back at the concept of copyright protection in twenty years, like we look at the concept of witch burning today.

On the other hand, a Federal judge ruled that the web site violated major record labels’ intellectual property rights, and the site has voluntarily ceased operations to the utter disappointment of numerous web surfers who enjoy downloading free music. Bad news for the kids looking for free music, but good news for those seeking to protect intellectual property rights on the web. However with sites like and others which distribute information or software anonymously, protection of copyright and trademark rights will become increasingly difficult.

Meanwhile, on the lighter side, it looks like the would-be Millionaire bride, Darva, may get her wish yet, by posing nude for Playboy. My, how quickly the tables turn.

Rumor has it that a new hormone patch, undergoing clinical trials for FDA approval, can boost the sex drive of women whose uterus or ovaries have been removed. According to Dr. John Buster, Baylor University Professor of Gynecology, “it affects how you look at life, how you perceive colors, how you feel things.” Indeed.

On the home front, the State of Florida allowed a bill to die quietly which would have criminalized the transmission of indecent material on the Internet where the sender had reason to believe that minors could gain access to the materials. This is the latest in a long line of attempts to censor the Internet based on concerns about access to adult material by minors. Strangely, the bill also created the only known requirement of reporting criminal offenses, i.e. mandatory reporting of any individual whose computer is believed to contain child pornography.

The State House in Harrisburg also approved a new bill allegedly designed to protect children from pornographic email, which requires that any email containing pornographic images or advertisements for porn sites be labeled with the words “ADV Adult” in the subject line. The bill’s sponsor, Senator Melissa Hart, R-Bradford Woods, claims “My bill just makes exploring on the web a little safer for kids.” Ironically, the bill is not focused on web surfing, but rather email. Even our legislators making laws applicable to emerging technologies don’t know the difference between web surfing and email.

Lawrence G. Walters, Esquire, is a partner in the law firm of Wasserman & Walters in Winter Park, Florida. His practice is limited to First Amendment and constitutional law. He represents clients involved in all aspects of adult media. You can access the firm’s web site at: